CinemAsia Film Festival announces opening film and celebrates 20th anniversary



The 16th edition of the CinemAsia Film Festival will take place from March 5 to 10 at Studio/K, Rialto De Pijp, and Rialto VU in Amsterdam. This edition marks the 20th anniversary of CinemAsia. For two decades, the festival has been bringing the latest and best of Asian cinema to the Netherlands. As part of the celebration of twenty years of Asian-Dutch filmmaking, the festival will open with the telefilm HAPPY PALACE by Nicole van Kilsdonk, written by Yan Ting Yuen and Ilse Ott, followed by a Meet & Greet with the cast and crew. The Competition section will feature the Venice-winning Mongolian film CITY OF WIND by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir. Additionally, the Panorama section will present the European premiere of the highly anticipated Indonesian thriller 24 HOURS WITH GASPAR by Yosep Anggi Noen.


Opening Film HAPPY PALACE: Celebrating 20 Years of Asian-Dutch Filmmaking

On Tuesday, March 5, the CinemAsia Film Festival will open with an exclusive screening of the telefilm HAPPY PALACE (Netherlands 2024) directed by Nicole van Kilsdonk, written by Yan Ting Yuen (CinemAsia board chair 2006-2010) and Ilse Ott. The film is a heartwarming dramedy that challenges the clichés happening inside and behind the scenes of the Chinese-Indonesian family restaurant, Happy Palace. The film is produced by FIXY in co-production with NTR. CinemAsia played an advisory and executive role in the production and is proud of the collaboration with the Asian-Dutch community, with a majority of the cast and crew having strong ties to the festival. 


The screening is part of CinemAsia’s retrospective on Asian-Dutch diaspora cinema, which will include a Meet & Greet with the main cast and crew of HAPPY PALACE to discuss the collaboration with the Asian community in making this film. The event will explore the development of the Dutch film landscape over the past 20 years and the possibilities for the future.


At the Forefront of Asian Cinema

Over the past 20 years, the festival has showcased over 1000 Asian films, sharing the diverse perspectives of modern Asia. 


The program includes titles in Competition from a new generation of talented filmmakers. Among them is the Dutch premiere of CITY OF WIND (France, Mongolia, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Qatar 2023), the debut feature of award-winning director Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir. City of Wind won the Orizzonti Award for Best Actor at the world premiere in Venice for Tergel Bold-Erdene, who plays the 17-year-old shaman Ze. The film is a cinematic coming-of-age story about Ze as he navigates between tradition and modernity, communal duties and personal desire in contemporary Mongolia.


The Panorama section showcases the diversity of Asian cinema across various genres. In this section, the dystopian sci-fi thriller 24 HOURS WITH GASPAR (Indonesia 2023) by Yosep Anggi Noen (The Science of Fictions) will have its European premiere. Based on Sabda Armandio’s novel from 2017, the film follows private detective Gaspar in a crime-ridden futuristic Jakarta, with only 24 hours to solve the mystery of his childhood friend’s disappearance. The film stars Reza Rahadian (Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash), Laura Basuki (Before, Now & Then) and Shenina Cinnamon (Photocopier). It won the Citra Award for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Indonesian Film Festival and received 8 Citra nominations, including Best Film and Best Director.