CinemAsia Film Festival 2024 presents the Competition Program and Closing Film
From March 5 to 10, the 16th edition of the CinemAsia Film Festival will bring Asian cinema to Amsterdam at Studio/K, Rialto De Pijp, and Rialto VU. Since CinemAsia’s first edition in 2004, the Competition program has been at the heart of the festival. This year, the competition features seven titles from a new generation of filmmakers from China, Japan, Indonesia, India, Mongolia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. On March 10, the 2024 CinemAsia Jury Award winner will be announced during the closing ceremony, and the festival will conclude with the film GAGA by Golden Horse-winning director Laha Mebow, the first indigenous female director of Taiwan, who will be in attendance.
Seven competition films covering the diversity of Asia
In the COMPETITION program, CinemAsia puts the spotlight on emerging independent filmmakers with a distinct artistic voice and cinematographic vision. The films showcase the wealth of themes and genres in Asian cinema and reflect a mosaic of cultural, social, and political characteristics from the region.
A SONG SUNG BLUE (China 2023) by Geng Zihan – Dutch premiere
During one ordinary summer in Harbin, shy teenager Xian meets the older, free-spirited stepdaughter of her estranged father. Together, they explore their lives and desires under the restless summer sun, marking the end of their childhood innocence. Nominated for the Caméra d’Or and Queer Palm at the 2023 Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes.
ANDRAGOGY (Indonesia 2023) by Wregas Bhanuteja – European premiere
The life of respected school teacher Prani is turned upside down when her angry outburst at a coconut cake stall is filmed and goes viral. Director Wregas Bhanuteja, who won 12 Citra Awards at the Indonesian Film Festival for his first feature film Photocopier (2021), crafts a unique drama that playfully approaches cancel culture and social media dynamics in Indonesia.
ASOG (Canada, Philippines 2023) by Seán Devlin – Dutch premiere
The newly unemployed Jaya travels through the Philippines to compete in a queer beauty pageant. Along the way, they meet fellow Filipinos enduring the aftermath of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan. A hybrid docu-fiction that sheds light on the impacts of climate change. Winner of the Outstanding Screenwriting Award at Los Angeles OutFest, the Audience Choice Award in Vancouver, and the Best Performance Award in São Paulo. Director and comedian Seán Devlin was also a consulting producer for the Oscar-nominated Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020).
CITY OF WIND (France, Mongolia, Portugal, Netherlands, et al. 2023) by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir – Dutch premiere
A coming-of-age story about 17-year-old shaman Ze (Bold-Erdene) in contemporary Mongolia as he navigates between tradition and modernity, communal duties and personal desires. Director Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir’s debut feature won the Orizzonti Award for Best Actor for first-time actor Tergel Bold-Erdene and was nominated for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival.
GURAS (India, Nepal 2023) by Saurav Rai – Dutch premiere
In the mountains of Darjeeling, 9-year-old Guras searches for her missing dog, leading her to mystical places and encounters with supernatural beings. Saurav Rai’s second feature film takes the audience on a journey through scenic landscapes, telling a story of growth, loss, and a girl’s world on the cusp of change. Winner of the Proxima Special Jury Prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
REMEMBERING EVERY NIGHT (Japan 2022) by Kiyohara Yui
On a sunny afternoon, three women’s lives intertwine and rustle in Tama New Town, a residential area on the outskirts of Tokyo. Through serene long takes and a drifting camera, this daydream-like film offers a reminder of the simple pleasures of ordinary life. Following her first feature film Our House (2017), director Kiyohara Yui returned to Berlinale with this quietly moving piece of Japanese cinema.
SNOW IN MIDSUMMER (Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore 2023) by Chong Keat Aun – Dutch premiere
On 13 May 1969, young girl Ah Eng and her mother survive a night of deadly racial riots against Chinese people in Kuala Lumpur. 49 years later, the middle-aged daughter goes searching for answers. This is the second feature film by Malaysian writer-director Chong Keat Aun, which was nominated for 9 Golden Horse Awards including Best Narrative Feature and Best Director. For his debut film The Story of Southern Islet (2020), Chong won the FIPRESCI Prize in Hong Kong and Best New Director at the Golden Horse Awards.
Closing film GAGA with director Laha Mebow in attendance
GAGA (Taiwan 2022) is a heartwarming family portrait by acclaimed Taiwanese-Atayal director Laha Mebow (Lokah Laqi 2016), the first indigenous female director of Taiwan. The film follows an Atayal family who must stay together after the death of their beloved grandfather Hayung, while facing land disputes, a village chief election campaign, and an unexpected pregnancy. Mebow’s filmmaking earned her the Best Director awards at the 2022 Golden Horse Awards and the 2022 Singapore International Film Festival. The cast includes a mix of professional and non-professional Atayal actors, whose remarkable performances won awards at Golden Horse and Taipei Film Festival.
The complete program will be announced on cinemasia.nl on February 6, and ticket sales will begin.