30 Short Films you shouldn’t miss at the Asian American International Film Festival (Part 1)

These are thirty short films you shouldn’t miss at the Asian American International Film Festival which will take place in cinemas (in New York City) and online from August 3 – 13, 2022.

– Selected Films – (Part 1)

A Winter Glove (장갑을 사러) by Hyeonju Lee – South Korea | 29 minutes
Section: Turning the Page

In-kyung, a piano teacher at a private academy, is informed by her longtime boyfriend Sang-hyun that he will be taking a job in Japan. She decides to start taking Japanese classes without his knowledge; when asked why she’s learning Japanese, In-kyung finds herself unable to answer. In the class, she meets Young-kyun, a young man who wants to learn piano. (AAIFF 2022)


All I Want is Everything by Alexandra Cuerdo – USA | 18 minutes
Section: Dreaming in the City that Never Sleeps

Alice Kim strives for top universities and a prestigious job in the medical field. Unfortunately, her grades won’t make the cut, and her undocumented status adds a roadblock to many of her plans. But she;s willing to take any means necessary to achieve her ambitions — even if that includes dealing with forgery, fraud, drugs, and crime in the most chaotic, colorful parts of New York City. (AAIFF 2022)


And Still, We Thrive by Joy Xing – China, Canada | 5 Minutes
Section: Ones to Watch: Filmmakers under 21

A Chinese immigrant wistfully looks back on the triumphs and challenges of his 23-year-long journey in Canada, reflecting on the language barrier and his limited contact with home. (AAIFF 2022)

Beauty Queen by Myra Aquino – Philippines | 18 minutes
Section: Who Run the World

1942, Pampanga, Philippines — When the Philippines is invaded during WWII, Remedios, a beauty queen, runs to the mountains with her brother to join the Hukbalahap resistance. She struggles to find the strength to be who she needs to be for her country — while still unapologetically being herself. (AAIFF 2022)


Bus Girl by Jessica Henwick – UK | 12 minutes
Section: Leading from the Front

An aspiring young female chef navigates the cutthroat world of high-end cooking. (AAIFF 2022)


Cambodia Town Thrives by Brandon Soun – USA | 5 minutes
Section: Visual Communications: Digital Histories and Armed with a Camera

Cambodia Town in Long Beach, California is not only home to the largest population of Cambodians in America, but also to many diverse immigrant communities. Small mom-and-pop businesses are the cultural keepers of this neighborhood. With threats of gentrification, community members have mobilized to ensure the prosperity of their hometown. (AAIFF 2022)

Cocoon Love by Xiaowen Wang – USA, China | 15 minutes
Section: Heirlooming Large: Family Stories

A teenager is sent back to stay in her hometown village with her grandparents. As she begins a budding friendship with a classmate, she is forced to confront her past and imagine a much different future. (AAIFF 2022)


Ekiden by Haruna Azumi – USA | 23 minutes
Section: Dreaming in the City that Never Sleeps

A documentary about six runners in New Yorkwho participated in a traditional Japanese long-distance relay race. The historical objective of an Ekiden was to send written messages across on a Tasuki (sash) to distant regions in Japan prior to modern telecommunications. Running could be a literal and figurative representation of the year 2020. This inspired the group of diverse runners to write and share their messages of positivity and unity as they run through the city. (AAIFF 2022)

Entrance by Matthew Leung – Hong Kong | 21 minutes
Section: Growing Taller

Anthony receives his secondary school allocation, resulting in grave disappointment. His mom Irene signs him up for the final stage of the application process, known as “door-knocking,” at the secondary school of her choice. However, Anthony fails to complete his entrance exam after getting stuck on the last page. During a bathroom break after the exam, he obtains the answer to the problem from two other students. He then finds an opportunity to retrieve the exam paper and completes it, going down a path that shakes up his moral compass. (AAIFF 2022)


Exhausted by Tiffany Jiang – USA | 2 minutes
Section: Leading from the Front

When I recorded my nightly routine on the night of the Atlanta spa shootings, I had no intentions of making a film. I only knew I needed to document how drained I felt, both physically and emotionally, after hearing such devastating news after a string of attacks during an already difficult year spent in isolation. While social media provided a way for Asian Americans to connect in the aftermath while separated, it also showed just how many people said nothing at all or moved on within days. EXHAUSTED serves as a reminder that the attacks are still ongoing. I hope this film provokes conversations about mental health, transparency, and support for and within our Asian American community. (AAIFF 2022)

Firecracker by Caroline Guo – USA | 15 minutes
Section: Fresh Starts and Sweethearts

On the night of their anniversary in Beijing, a young Chinese woman Annie Wang is confronted with a life-changing decision: whether to keep her Asian-American girlfriend Sam Lee a secret from her traditional family with the upcoming Chinese New Year, or dare to be her true self. Faced with mounting pressure from Sam who’s looking to take things to the next level, family who’s pushing her to come home for the holidays, and society that expects her to act a certain way, Annie and all her relationships threaten to reach a breaking point when she’s forced to figure out if there’s a path forward for her in all this…or if she’ll just have to carve out her own. (AAIFF 2022)

Fit by Surya Sundararajan – India, USA | 18 minutes
Section: Ones to Watch: Filmmakers Under 21

It’s the first day and Mala is hiding in the back. Shreya offers to take her shopping after school. Mala finds some cargo pants but Shreya vetoes them. She gives Mala some clothes, but Mala isn’t really feeling it. Shreya says she looks amazing. The next morning, Mala’s mother doesn’t approve of Mala’s outfit and tells her to go change. Mala decides to sneak the clothes to school. At school, Shreya’s friend starts to hang out with Mala more. Shreya exposes how Mala never liked Hannah. Mala is picked up by her mother, who’s livid that she snuck the clothes to school. Mala tells her what happened and they talk at dinner. The next day, Mala draws on, and wears her new cargo pants to school. (AAIFF 2022)

Get Loved by Teresa Lee – USA | 7 minutes
Section: Below the Line

When ad executives ask a group of women to watch and react to a yogurt commercial, Gray writes a heartfelt letter and shares it as if she is in group therapy. Her attempt to find connection falls flat on the group. When the session ends, Gray asks if she can keep the notes she wrote, but the company won’t let her. GET LOVED is a comedic ode to our universal quest to be seen and heard, and the misguided paths our lonely souls tread to get there. (AAIFF 2022)

Gugu by Rae Hu – Hong Kong, China | 30 minutes
Section: Growing Taller

Set in the backdrop of ’90s Wenzhou, a young girl Gugu lies to her parents for the first time. She comes to understand the life and the secrets of her father, who tries to set up an overseas business throughout the day trip with her. At the end of the day, she has to conceal the incidents when facing her mother. Through Gugu’s eyes, this film demonstrates the unique childhood memories of children born in the ever-changing ’90s Wenzhou. Stirring feelings of guilt and nostalgia, the film explores life in China during large-scale economic reform and a childhood with absent parents. (AAIFF 2022)


Last Call by Eysham Ali – Singapore | 13 minutes
Section: Who Run the World

Nadia, who is in her 40s, is a new airport ground staff. In her first week on the job, she must deal with a stubborn elderly passenger who arrives late for check-in and insists on traveling to attend his daughter’s wedding. (AAIFF 2022)

To see the 2nd part of this list please go HERE

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