20 Short films you shouldn’t miss at the 11th Seattle Asian American Film Festival (Part 2)

We continue with our list of short films that you shouldn’t miss at the Seattle Asian American Film Festival which will take place in-person from February 23 – 26, and online from February 27 until March 5, 2023.

Ka Hoʻi: The Return by Mitchel Merrick – USA | 2021 – 20 minutes

In KA HO‘I, an aging Hawaiian War Veteran grapples with the nightmares of his past, and the even scarier thought of being forgotten as the world around him seems to leave him in the dust. One night, he hears a familiar voice calling him from the beach, and what he encounters is beyond anything he could have imagined.


Missile by Christopher Hwisu Kim – USA | 2022 – 11 minutes

When Alison Cho gets an emergency alert on her phone warning of an imminent missile attack, she calls her mom in a panic—only to struggle to explain the situation because she doesn’t know the Korean word for “missile.”

NAMBA: A Japanese American’s Incarceration and Life of Resilience by Emily Hanako Momohara
USA | 2022 – 45 minutes

A coming-of-age journey in the midst of war and bravery, NAMBA introduces us to May Namba, a Japanese American woman incarnated during WWII. Told in coversation with May’s grandaughter, Miyako, NAMBA chronicles how May’s experiences as a Japanese American woman shaped her life into one of activism and advocacy. As the NAMBA family returns to Minidoka, the site of their incarceration, Miyako imagines what she would do if faced with the same experiences.

Only the Moon Stands Still by Johnson Cheng – USA | 2021 – 21 minutes

A slice-of-life tale of three generations of Chinese women confronting the realities of having to shut down their family’s ballroom dance studio and bid farewell to a life that has defined them for so long.


Plum Town by Kelly Yu – USA | 2021 – 15 minutes

A young land developer returns to his childhood home in the Chinese countryside for the first time in a decade to convince his stubborn father to finally sell the failing plum orchard. However, when the two find themselves unable to understand each other, they turn to the dusty old karaoke machine in the house to find a common language.

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

REYNA is an animated short film about Vina, this year’s lead Queen in the Santacruzan festival, who struggles to get ready after members in the community make negative comments about her appearance.

Srikandi by Andrea Nirmala Widjajanto – Indonesia | 2021 – 9 minutes

SRIKANDI is a fantasy drama modern retelling of an Indonesian myth of the same name. After her father’s death takes a toll to her family’s income, teenage Anjani struggles to regain control as her mother tries to sell their house, which doubled as her father’s puppetry studio. Little did she know that he had been teaching her the ways of a shadow puppeteer in private, as women are not allowed to practice it. When she returns to the puppets, Anjani is able to reconvene with her father’s spirit, learning one final lesson through the art-form.


The Last Ferry From Grass Island by Linhan Zhang – Hong Kong | 2020 – 14 minutes

A Hong Kong hitman retires as a fisherman on the peaceful Grass Island. One day, his Chinese apprentice shows up, tasked to kill him before the last ferry departs.


Wax and Wane by Beidi Wang – USA | 2022 – 15 minutes

At the dawn of Mid-Autumn Day, when secluded immigrant Wu Sui is urged to remove her birth control ring implanted twenty years ago under China’s One Child Policy, she decides to keep the emergency surgery a secret, but reuniting with her family forces her to reckon with her wounded past.


When You Leave by Jason Yamamoto – USA | 2022 – 16 minutes

A young Japanese American must confront his past and learn the price of freedom when given the opportunity to leave the WWII incarceration camp where he is imprisoned.

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