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Boston Asian American Festival Goes Virtual

Entering its 12th year, the Boston Asian American Film Festival (BAAFF) will hold its screening virtually from October 21– 25, 2020. A co-production of the Asian American Resource Workshop and ArtsEmerson, the BAAFF is New England’s Largest Asian American Film Festival with a mission to  empower Asian Americans through film by showcasing Asian American experiences and serving as a resource to filmmakers and the Greater Boston Community. All films will be available for virtual viewing during the whole festival and there will panels and Q&As with the directors throughout.

The schedule features a diverse list of short films, documentaries, and panels with the filmmakers, actors, and producers. The festival will open with Definition Please, a film by Sujata Day, and wrap up on October 25 with A Thousand Cuts, directed by Ramona S. Diaz. The festival will also have two centerpiece films: the centerpiece documentary will be 76 Days by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, and Anonymous and the centerpiece narrative will be Coming Home Again by Wayne Wang.

Definition Please; Sujata Day​; USA; 2020; 91 minutes

A woman standing in a living room

A scene from Sujata Day’s Definition Please. Courtesy of Boston Asian American Film Festival.

Monica Chowdry, a former spelling bee champion lives at home with her ailing mother and must reconcile with her estranged brother in order to take the first steps in realizing her dreams and moving on with her life. Subtitled, “Nobody Ever Spells Out How to Grow Up,” the film shines a light on the struggles of the South Asian community. The screening will conclude with a Q&A discussion with director Sujata Day, and actors Ritesh Rajan and Anna Khaja on October 21 at 7:30 pm.

76 Days ; Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, Anonymous; USA; 2020; 93 minutes

Two men in hazmat suits leading an old woman down a corridor.

A scene from 76 Days. Courtesy of BAAFF.

Raw and intimate, this documentary captures the struggles of patients and frontline medical professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan. The screening will conclude with a Q&A discussion with director Hao Wu and moderator Callie Crossley on October 23 at 7:00 pm.

Coming Home Again: Wayne Wang; USA/South Korea; 2019; 86 minutes

Based on a personal essay by Chang-rae Lee published in The New Yorker, Coming Home Again is an intimate family drama about a mother, a son, and the burden of family expectations. Chang-rae, a first-generation Korean American, has returned to his family home in San Francisco to care for his ailing mother. The screening will conclude with a Q&A discussion with Director Wayne Wang and Producer Donald Young on October 24 at 4 pm.

A Thousand Cuts; Ramona S. Diaz; USA/Philippines; 2020;  120 minutes

Nowhere is the worldwide erosion of democracy, fueled by social media disinformation campaigns, more starkly evident than in the authoritarian regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Journalist Maria Ressa places the tools of the free press—and her freedom—on the line in defense of truth and democracy. The screening will conclude with a Q&A discussion with Ramona Diaz and moderator Trish Fontanilla on October 25 at 4 pm. This will be followed by an additional livestream Q&A with filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz and Maria Ressa in conversation with Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Emmy-nominated filmmaker at 8 pm. Presented in partnership with the Asian American Film Festival Collective.

For the whole line-up, please visit http://www.baaff.org/2020.html

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Currently pursuing an MA in Publishing and Writing, Emerson College, Amala is a self-proclaimed aficionado of films and books. She is dedicated to amplifying the need of diversity where she hopes someday to see an accurate representation of herself in the creative industries. When she is not binging or reading, Amala can be found tinkering with new software or chasing after cats.

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