15 Short Films you shouldn’t miss at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival

These are fifteen short films you shouldn’t miss at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival which will take place in cinemas and online from November 3 – 13, 2022.

Beast by Urvashi Pathania – USA | 2022 – 9 minutes

A non-binary South Asian teenager uses Bharatanatyam dance to explore their gender identity.


Beauty Queen by Myra Aquino – Philippines | 2021 – 18 minutes

1942, Pampanga, Philippines– When the Empire of Japan invades the Philippines during WWII, Remedios, a beauty queen, runs to the mountains with her brother to join the Hukbalahap resistance. From there,she struggles to find the strength to be who she needs to be for her country– while still unapologetically being herself.


Disconnected by Mauria Jensen – Aotearoa (New Zealand) | 2021 – 17 minutes

When a construction worker from South Auckland loses the last connection he has with his dead Mum, he spirals into a state of depression, prompting an intervention from beyond the grave.


Duet by Shae Xu – China | 2020 – 14 minutes

After they’ve long since drifted apart from each other, a high school music teacher meets an old colleague. When they decide to perform together as piano-duet partners, unspoken feelings inevitably resurface.

Graveyard by Ali Daraee – Iran | 2022 – 15 minutes

A young mother loses her baby due to negligence. But since the presence of the father is required for burial permission in Iran, the young mother strives to find her missing husband and becomes more involved in diverse and serious issues.

Last Flight by Tianyi Jiang – China | 2022 – 15 minutes

On Chinese New Year’s Eve 2019, a young journalist receives the opportunity to report on COVID-19 in Wuhan, but her mom refuses to let her go.


Lin by Lillian Xuege Li – USA | 2021 – 12 minutes

Lin is an immigrant working in a Chinatown restaurant in New York City. Trapped in her family and work life, she finds her camcorder as a secret outlet. As an unexpected encounter unfolds, her secret exposes. The incident, however, becomes an opportunity for her to come to the realization to seize her own narration.

Murder Tongue by Ali Sohail Jaura – Pakistan | 2022 – 18 minutes

It is May of 1992. The state sanctioned “Operation” has put the city of Karachi at constant unrest. Abdul Aziz Ansari wakes up at night and is informed by his daughter in law, Naseema that his son hasn’t returned home. As a knock on their door later at night summons them to the hospital, what they witness along the way is known today as the most brutal chapter of the city’s history, a sentiment of hatred towards their race, deep rooted beneath the system.


Pili Ka Moʻo by Justyn Ah Chong – USA | 2021 – 14 minutes

The Fukumitsu ʻOhana (family) of Hakipuʻu are Native Hawaiian taro farmers and keepers of this generational practice. While much of Oʻahu has become urbanized, Hakipuʻu remains a kīpuka (oasis) of traditional knowledge where great chiefs once resided and their bones still remain. The Fukumitsus are tossed into a world of complex real estate and judicial proceedings when nearby Kualoa Ranch, a large settler-owned corporation, destroys their familial burials to make way for continued development plans.


Reyna by Jenielle Ramos Salarda – USA | 2022 – 6 minutes

Vina, Queen in the Santacruzan festival, struggles to get ready after hearing negative comments about her appearance. Supportive sister Joy encourages Vina to embrace herself as she is by discussing the historical context and origin of these harmful comments before leading the festivities.

Spider by Minami Goto – Japan | 2021 – 8 minutes

Edo Period in Japan. Suzu, a woman whose precious younger sister was injured by bandits, finally discovers their whereabouts. Suzu tries to cut down the culprit, but there are two suspects. Suzu tries to find the culprit by relying on the clue “spider” left by her sister.

Still Rolling by Liang-Chun Lin – USA | 2021 – 19 minutes

When the TV show is wrapped and people are celebrating, Ching finally gets to calm down and process what she has experienced during the production. Her co-workers try to bond with her at the party while she’s busy figuring out how much she can compromise to keep going as well as taking a good look at other women around her.


Tapa: The Cloth That Binds Us by Nancy Thompson
USA, Samoa, Tonga, Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji | 2022 – 10 minutes

In the islands of the South Pacific, the pounding of the mulberry bark can still be heard to this day. This ancient practice has made its way along with its people to every different corner of the world. We follow along as a young Pasifika woman learns the ways of making tapa cloth, demonstrated by her mother and grandmother. Growing through this process, she finds herself. After having battled it out within herself, the struggles of being a Pasifika woman in diaspora, she learns to carry the core values of of this process with her, everywhere.


Unfamiliar Familiar by Hae-Sup Sin – Switzeland | 2022 – 28 minutes

A middle aged Swiss-Korean woman flies to Korea in the midst of the pandemic after receiving news of her mother’s death. Due to the measures, she spends her obligatory quarantine in the abandoned parental home. There, she gets confronted by a familiar, yet unfamiliar feeling from her past and present.


Where No One Lives by Li Anne Liew – USA | 2022 – 15 minutes

On one night in an old apartment building, a newly independent young woman, a pair of dysfunctional siblings and an aging widow become part of a seemingly intertwining story separated by walls. Rory, alone in her dream city, is afraid that she has made a big mistake in moving away from home; A disgruntled Margaret contends with the various trials of her tough family on her birthday; Kai confronts his once close sister before he leaves home forever – all while sounds and interactions between the three rooms bleed into each other, reminding them of a bigger world and community outside.


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