CinemAsia Film Festival Reports Significant Growth During Impactful Anniversary Edition

Jin Ong’s Abang Adik Wins the 2024 CinemAsia Audience Award

The 16th edition of the CinemAsia Film Festival, which also commemorated its 20th anniversary, concluded another successful edition in Amsterdam with the Taiwanese film Gaga, where the director, Laha Mebow, shared her filmmaking process and insight in a warmly received Q&A. Additionally, CinemAsia founder Doris Yeung, who announced she is taking a well-deserved break, received a resounding standing ovation for her two decades of dedicated efforts to promote Asian representation on Dutch screens. She proudly experienced her final edition as Executive Director, during which the festival saw a 20% increase in attendees and received widespread recognition in national media. Following the main festival in Amsterdam, CinemAsia will go On Tour to Nijmegen, Rotterdam, and The Hague in May and June.


New Generation of Asian Film Enthusiasts: Young and Culturally Diverse

NVP Film, the Dutch association for distributors, stated earlier this year that “the general public has found its way back to the cinema after the COVID-19 crisis, but total attendance in 2023 is still 14% lower than in the years before the crisis (the average of 2017-2019).” CinemAsia’s continued growth demonstrates an optimistic trend. In line with the rise of Asian cinema on the global stage, CinemAsia welcomed more visitors in 2023 and 2024 than in its peak year of 2020, just before the lockdowns. This anniversary edition witnessed a remarkable 20% increase in festival attendance compared to 2023. Even before the weekend began, the festival had exceeded the attendance figures of the previous year. Alongside its growing loyal following, the festival greeted many new faces from a new generation of Asian film enthusiasts. CinemAsia finds that audiences increasingly value the diversity and authenticity of Asian storytelling, experiencing it during a festival driven entirely by the communities representing these Asian countries.

CinemAsia’s diverse programming included 59 films, consisting of 33 feature films and 26 short films, as well as its inaugural VIRTUASIA selection of 11 innovative VR projects. The festival also created space for community interaction and networking through special programs, industry panels, queer nongkrong workshops, the first-ever Queer Asian Club Night, the annual karaoke, and Asian Food Market.

Celebrating Asian Representation and Filmmaking in the Netherlands

CinemAsia’s mission to promote diversity and Asian representation was celebrated in this anniversary edition with an Asian-Dutch film retrospective featuring classics such as Fow Pyng Hu and Brat Ljatifi’s Jacky (2000) and Yan Ting Yuen’s Chin. Ind. Life Behind the Serving Hatch (2001), along with In-Soo Radstake’s Made in Korea (2006). Following 40 productions in CinemAsia’s own FilmLAB, this edition premiered the latest FilmLAB short film, Chinh Tran’s Old Miss (2024). Founder Doris Yeung, as she expressed to De Filmkrant, can look back on “a period during which more than a million Asian Dutch citizens became more visible on screen.”


CinemAsia 2024 Audience Award Goes to ABANG ADIK by Malaysian Director Jin Ong

The final award announced by CinemAsia is the Audience Award, based on the votes of festival attendees. Abang Adik (Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore 2023) emerged as the audience favorite of 2024. This Golden Horse winning film by Jin Ong, exploring themes of love and sacrifice, depicts the bond between two undocumented brothers, Abang and Adi, which is tested after Adi’s pent-up anger causes a fatal accident. Coming in second in audience votes is Ajoomma (Singapore, South Korea 2023) by He Shuming, followed by the documentary Life Unrehearsed (Germany, South Korea 2023) by Banpark Jieun.

CinemAsia 2024 Jury Award for A SONG SUNG BLUE and a Special Mention for ASOG

On Sunday, March 10, the drama film A Song Sung Blue (China 2023) by Geng Zihan received the 2024 CinemAsia Jury Award. The jury, comprising Marit van den Elshout (director of FilmForward and former head of IFFR Pro), Dutch actor and director Martin Schwab (Flikken Maastricht, Pulang), and director Wei Shujun (rising star in Chinese cinema with his films Ripples Of Life, Only The River Flows), judged as follows: “Focusing on female coming-of-age, the film does not dwell superficially on the concept itself but vividly depicts the genuine and sentimental moments between two young women. On top of that, the cinematography is captivating, and the editing is precise and fresh.”


The hybrid documentary Asog (Canada, Philippines 2023) by Seán Devlin received a special mention from the jury: “This film stood out in its freshness and sense of urgency and in the original manner in which it deals with big social topics, such as climate change, post-colonialism and capitalism. The film challenges the way we look at cinema in its eclectic hybrid style using different forms, styles and music that together sometimes feel overwhelming, but make sure that the film delivers the message and stays with you. The acting of the two lead actors is intense and captivating and it’s clear the film has been made with a lot of passion and urgency.”


CinemAsia 2024 On Tour in May and June

Following the celebration of 20 years of the CinemAsia Film Festival in Amsterdam, CinemAsia will go on tour throughout the Netherlands in the upcoming quarter: Indo Film Café at Lux Nijmegen on May 12, Filmhuis Den Haag from May 24 to 26, and LantarenVenster in Rotterdam on May 16 and mid-June. More information about CinemAsia On Tour will be announced on the website: