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Sundance Film Festival – Asian Presence 2022

We present the Asian films that will be screened at the Sundance Film Festival which will take place online and in person from January 20th – 30th, 2022.

*The short film competition will be announced soon, we will update the article if we find Asian films in that category*

World Cinema Dramatic Competition

Leonor Will Never Die by Martika Ramirez Escobar – Philippines | 2021 – 99 minutes

Leonor Reyes was once a major player in the Filipino film industry after creating a string of successful action films, but now her household struggles to pay the bills. When she reads an advertisement looking for screenplays, Leonor begins tinkering with an unfinished script about the quest of young, noble Ronwaldo, forced to avenge his brother’s murder at the hand of thugs. While her imagination provides some escape from reality, she goes all-in after an accident involving a television knocks her out, sends her into a coma, and transports her inside the incomplete movie. Now Leonor can play out her wildest dreams firsthand and discover the perfect ending to her story.

With her feature film debut, writer-director Martika Ramirez Escobar expresses a joyous love for cinema through the film’s irreverent form and the wide-eyed, endearing lead performance from Sheila Francisco. Escobar concocts a winning mixture of zany misadventures, awesome period recreations, and self-reflective storytelling while grounding the story in the genuine emotions of a family suddenly torn apart. (Sundance Film Festival 2022)

Screening Dates:
January 21st, 2022 | Friday | Prospector Square Theatre, Park City | 9:30 pm MST
January 22nd, 2022 | Saturday | Broadway Centre Cinemas 6, Salt Lake City | 3:00 pm MST
January 27th, 2022 | Thursday | Holiday Village Cinemas 1, Park City | 2:30 pm MST
January 28th, 2021 | Friday | Egyptian Theatre, Park City | 9:00 pm MST

Online Screening:
January 22nd, 2022 | Saturday | 10:00 pm MST (Available until Jan. 23rd – 1:00 am MST)
January 24th, 2022 | Monday | 8:00 am MST (Available until Jan. 25th – 8:00 am MST)

World Cinema Documentary Competition

All that Breathes by Shaunak Sen – India | 2022 – 97 minutes

Brothers Saud and Nadeem were raised looking at a sky speckled with black kites, watching as relatives tossed meat up to these birds of prey. Muslim belief held that feeding the kites would expel troubles. Now, birds are falling from the polluted, opaque skies of New Delhi and the two brothers have made it their life’s work to care for the injured black kites.

Shaunak Sen’s intricately layered portrait reveals an evolving city and a fraternal relationship bonded by purpose. The film’s patient, roaming camera skillfully uses scale and perspective to draw attention to the interconnectedness of an ecosystem — one that humans are a part of, not apart from. The social unrest that begins to materialize in the streets is seen through the perspectives of the brothers and their family, as well as the insects and animals that share the urban landscape. There is both cruelty and tenderness in nature, and Sen elegantly captures how they coexist, while emphasizing the ways in which all living beings must evolve to survive.  (Sundance Film Festival 2022)

Screening Dates:
January 21st, 2022 | Friday | Egyptian Theatre, Park City | 9:00 pm MST
January 22nd, 2022 | Saturday | Redstone Cinema 2, Park City | 1:00 pm MST
January 23rd, 2022 | Screening Room, Sundance Mountain Resort | 6:00 pm MST
January 27th, 2022 | Thursday | Prospector Square Theatre, Park City | 9:00 am MST
January 28th, 2022 | Friday | Broadway Centre Cinema 6, Salt Lake City | 3.00 pm MST

Online Screening:
January 22nd, 2022 | Saturday | 2:00 pm MST (Available until Jan. 22nd – 5:00 pm MST)
January 24th, 2022 | Monday | 8:00 am MST (Available until Jan. 25th – 8:00 am MST)

Midwives by Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing – Myanmar | 2022 – 89 minutes

Hla and Nyo Nyo live in a country torn by conflict. Hla is a Buddhist and the owner of a makeshift medical clinic in western Myanmar, where the Rohingya (a Muslim minority community) are persecuted and denied basic rights. Nyo Nyo is a Muslim and an apprentice midwife who acts as an assistant and translator at the clinic. Her family has lived in the area for generations, yet they are still considered intruders. Encouraged and challenged by Hla, who risks her own safety daily by helping Muslim patients, Nyo Nyo is determined to become a steady health care provider for her community.

Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing’s remarkable feature debut was filmed over five turbulent years in a country that has long been exoticized and misunderstood. The filmmaker’s gentle, impartial gaze grants unique access to these courageous women who unite to bring forth life. Filled with love, empathy, and hope, Midwives offers a rare insight into the complex reality of Myanmar and its people. (Sundance Film Festival 2022)

Screening Dates:
January 24th, 2022 | Monday | Prospector Square Theatre, Park City | 11:00 am MST
January 25th, 2022 | Tuesday | Redstone Cinemas 1, Park City | 6:30 pm MST
January 26th, 2022 | Wednesday | Broadway Centre Cinemas 3, Salt Lake City | 3:45 pm MST
January 27th, 2022 | Thursday | Egyptian Theatre, Park City | 7:30 pm MST
January 28th, 2022 | Friday | Screening Room, Sundance Mountain Resort | 3:00 pm MST

Online Screening:
January 25th, 2022 | Tuesday | 8:00 am MST (Available until Jan. 25th – 11:00 am MST)
January 27th, 2022 | Thursday | 8:00 am MST (Available until Jan. 28th – 8:00 am MST)

Kids Section

Maika by Ham Tran – Vietnam | 2022 – 105 minutes

Things could be better for 8-year-old Hung, who is grieving the loss of his mother who died a year ago. His relationship with his father is strained, his best friend is moving away, and to top it all off, a greedy landlord is bullying his father to force them out of their apartment. He finds solace by watching the night sky from the roof of his apartment building. One night, he witnesses a meteor shower and an errant falling star that lands in the nearby countryside. He investigates, but instead of finding a fallen star, he meets a new friend, and he decides to do everything he can to help her.

Written and directed by Sundance Film Festival alumnus Ham Tran (Journey from the Fall, Sundance Film Festival 2006), Maika is inspired by the 1978 children’s TV show from Czechoslovakia of the same name. With gorgeous scenery, a fast-paced narrative, and charismatic performances, this sci-fi film for kids from Vietnam is a fun-filled adventure that touches on universal themes of friendship, family, and compassion. (Sundance Film Festival 2022)

Screening Dates:
January 22nd, 2022 | Saturday | Broadway Centre Cinemas 6, Salt Lake City | 6:00 pm MST
January 24th, 2022 | Monday | Library Center Theatre, Park City | 8:45 am MST
January 25th, 2022 | Tuesday | Redstone Cinemas 2, Park City | 4:00 pm MST
January 29th, 2022 | Saturday | Prospector Square Theatre, Park Cty | 9:00 am MST
January 30th, 2022 | Sunday | Broadway Centre Cinemas 6, Salt Lake City | 12:00 pm MST

Online Screening:
January 25th, 2022 | Tuesday | 6:00 pm MST (Available until Jan. 25th – 9:00 pm MST)
January 27th, 2022 | Thursday | 8:00 am MST (Available until Jan. 28th – 8:00 am MST)

Photos used in this article are courtesy of Sundance Institute

For more information about the festival please go to: https://festival.sundance.org

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