Director’s Message

Welcome to the 12th edition of CinemAsia. Last year was my first endeavour as Artistic Director, and call it beginner’s luck, the festival significantly increased our audience attendance. This year, we have expanded the team to embrace new members, creating unprecedented synergy and passion. As a result, our programme has grown from 29 to 35 feature films from 14 countries and regions, of which there are 3 international and 12 European premieres. We welcome guests from 10 countries and regions.

Our Competition continues to champion new talent, featuring 9 films by directors with a singular voice, tackling multicultural themes. Our Official Selection again offers a wide spectrum of genres that challenge, inform and entertain. This year, we boast a breathtaking lineup from mainland China, all made with a piercing social conscience. Our theme “Little People. Big World” spotlights minority or marginalised children all over Asia, but also concerns any individual trying to find their feet in a complex globalised environment.

We introduce a new culinary section — OISHII Asia. Each of our films showcases a mouthwatering national cuisine, which will whet your appetite for the meals sold by our pan-Asian catering partners in the cinemas. We also hold two Special Presentations that we believe are of particular aesthetic and social worth for Dutch audiences. Our special events promise to engage and enthral.

As FilmLAB celebrates its 10th year as The Netherland’s only talent incubator dedicated solely to filmmakers with Asian roots, we are proud to present four documentaries on the subject of “Crafts and Cultural Heritage.” We are simultaneously organising FilmLAB Writers Room to mentor 10 participants developing short film scripts.

Last year, the masterclass on directing held by CinemAsia’s jury members Martin Koolhoven and Joko Anwar was a big hit. This year, we welcome Mary Stephen, a Hong Kong-born, world-renowned editor for Eric Rohmer, to hold a keynote lecture on storytelling that harmonises East and West. We’ve also stepped up fostering ties between Dutch and Asian filmmakers in our industry programme.

This year we continue our partnership with Taipei Media School (TMS) as we welcome new interns Michael Zeng and Tony Yu, while playing a bigger role in cross-cultural education, by partnering with arts school IVKO and Voices of Tolerance to develop co-productions by Taiwanese and Dutch high school students. The completed films are premiered at CinemAsia Film Festival.

After two years at CinemAsia, there are countless things to be thankful for: the core-team and numerous volunteers who makes work seem like fun, CinemAsia Managing Director Hui-Hui Pan who shares my vision and backs me all the way. I’m especially grateful to funds, sponsors, and partners who help us grow and realise our ambitions as an organisation that’s the byword for diversity. Most important of all, we thank you, the audience, for giving meaning to everything we do.


Maggie Lee
Artistic Director