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Asian presence at the Sundance Film Festival 2021

We present the list of Asian films that will be screened at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, which will take place online from January 28th until February 3rd, 2021.

This year the Sundance Film Festival will present four features and nine Asian short films. The festival will show two narrative features, Fire in the Mountain by Ajitpal Singh and One of the Road by Baz Poonpiriya. One feature documentary, called Writing With Fire by Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh. Sundance will premiere the latest movie from Sion Sono, “Prisoners of the Ghostland”. As for the short films they will screen nine excellent productions from India, Mongolia, Philippines, Vietnam, and South Korea.

Fire in the Mountains by Ajitpal Singh – India | 2020 – 87 minutes
Section: World Cinema Dramatic Competition
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Chandra and her husband, Dharam, run the Swizerland Homestay, an inn that hovers high above the only road in a small Himalayan village. The terrain poses a problem for the family, who must transport their son Prakash down the mountain in his wheelchair to go to the doctor and school. Though Chandra believes Prakash needs more medical attention, Dharam isn’t as keen on the idea. He’d rather put the money toward a shamanic ritual he believes will rid them of a deity’s curse, the cause of Prakash’s affliction. Tensions increase as their worldviews collide and slowly erode their familial ties. (Sundance Film Festival)

Screening:
Online Premiere: Sun. 1/31, 7:00 p.m. MT
24-hour on-demand screening window begins Tue. February 2nd, 8:00 a.m. MT

One for the Road by Baz Poonpiriya – China, Hong Kong, Thailand | 2021 – 136 minutes
Section: World Cinema Dramatic Competition
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Boss lives a seemingly charmed life as a popular bartender in New York City, with an endless line of female customers after hours. One night, his estranged friend Aood calls from Bangkok with the news that he’s dying and asks Boss to come home. As the two travel down memory lane throughout Thailand, returning items to Aood’s exes, their pasts and reasons for their broken brotherhood are exposed. But Boss doesn’t know the whole story, and when Aood has one last gift to return, it might destroy their relationship forever.

Screening:
Online Premiere: Thu. 1/28, 8:00 p.m. MT
24-hour on-demand screening window begins Sat. 1/30, 8:00 a.m. MT

Writing With Fire by Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh – India | 2020 – 92 minutes
Section: World Cinema Documentary Competition
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Black Ticket Films.

You have probably never heard their names before. You might not be familiar with their news outlet, Khabar Lahariya, India’s only all-female news network. Yet the women we meet in Writing With Fire are some of the most inspiring and fearless reporters you will ever encounter.

Screening:
Online Premiere: Sat. 1/30, 7:00 p.m. MT
24-hour on-demand screening window begins Mon. 2/1, 8:00 a.m. MT

Prisoners of the Ghostland by Sion Sono – US | 2020 – 100 minutes
Section: Premieres
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute

In the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town, a ruthless bank robber (Nicolas Cage) is sprung from jail by wealthy warlord The Governor (Bill Moseley), whose adopted granddaughter Bernice (Sofia Boutella) has gone missing. The Governor offers the prisoner his freedom in exchange for retrieving the runaway. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct within five days, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman—and his own path to redemption.

Screening:
Online Premiere: Sun. 1/31, 7:00 p.m. MT
24-hour on-demand screening window begins Tue. 2/2, 8:00 a.m. MT

Short Films

Lata by Alisha Tejpal – India | 2020 – 21 minutes
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Ravi Kiran Ayyagari.

Lata, a 23-year-old domestic worker, navigates her way through an upper-class home in South Mumbai. Doors consistently open and close, giving Lata selective access to the various contending realities that occupy this space.

Mountain Cat by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir – Mongolia, UK | 2020 – 14 minutes
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute

A troubled girl is coerced into seeing a shaman. Trapped by the ancient beliefs that pacify her mother, she finds peace in the physical realm, unleashing her repressed, youthful spirit on the shaman when she realizes his true identity.

Ava From My Class by Youmin Kang – South Korea, US | 2020 – 11 minutes
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Anna thinks Ava is the best actress in her class.

Trailer:

Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss by Sonny Calvento – Philippines | 2019 – 16 minutes
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Rommel Sales.

Vangie, a miserable contractual saleslady, is about to lose her job. But in her desperate attempt to persuade her boss not to sack her, Vangie uncovers the ultimate jaw-dropping secret to regularization.

Trailer:

The Unseen River by Phạm Ngọc Lân – Vietnam, Laos | 2020 – 23 minutes
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Stories told along the river: a woman reunites with her ex-lover at a hydroelectric plant; meanwhile, a young man travels downstream to a temple in search of a cure for his insomnia.

Trailer:

KKUM by Kang-min Kim – South Korea, US | 2020 – 9 minutes
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute

My mother’s dreams have always been strong premonitions for important moments in my life. I rely on her dreams more than any religion.

Trailer:

Misery Loves Company by Sasha Lee – South Korea, US | 2020 – 3 minutes
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute

As Seolgi is lying on a grass field with friends, a shooting star falls, and dark, intrusive thoughts hit her. Her melancholy blooms into bright and colorful “flower people,” dancing and wishing for a meteorite to end the world

Tears Teacher by Noémie Nakai – Japan | 2019 – 11 minutes
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Yoshida is a self-proclaimed “tears teacher.” A firm believer that regular crying promotes healthier living, he’s made it his mission to make more people weep.

To Know Her by Natalie A. Chao – Hong Kong, US | 2020 – 15 minutes
Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute

A poetic exploration of the camera’s gaze and a family’s relationship with the filmmaker’s mother.

For more information, please go to the Sundance Film Festival’s website: https://festival.sundance.org

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