22nd DOXA Documentary Film Festival – Asian Presence 2023

We take a look at the Asian films that will be screened at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival which is taking place from May 4 – 14, 2023 in Vancouver, Canada

*Note: The list includes films made by filmmakers with Asian ancestry or films that were produced in Asia.

– Feature Films –

Big Fight in Little Chinatown by Karen Cho – Canada, USA | 2022 – 88 minutes

The pandemic and anti-Asian racism has accelerated the disappearance of many Chinatowns in North America, and with them the rich heritage of Chinese immigrant communities. Big Fight in Little Chinatown is a film about resistance, as people fight to stay where they’ve grown cultural roots. (DOXA 2023)


Delikado by Karl Malakunas – Philippines | 2022 – 94 minutes

“Who else will fight for El Nido if all of us are afraid? That is why we are sacrificing our lives for this place.” The island of Palawan contains one of the oldest and most biodiverse rainforests in the world. However, like so many other naturally rich areas, the region is imperiled by the stripping of resources and a growing tourism industry, funded by overseas investors and corrupt politicians. -jc


Mother Saigon by Khoa Lê – Canada | 2023 – 100 minutes

Through an intimate series of character portraits, Má Sài Gòn constructs a dynamic ode to Saigon’s Queer and Trans communities. Director Khoa Lê follows the lives of different residents as they navigate their vibrant yet melancholic city, full of beautiful and complex relationships. Through an exploration of love, belonging and the need to connect, a hopeful vision of the future begins to surface. This colourful film offers glimpses of a Saigon where the Queer community can thrive and live lives surrounded by love. -jc


The Golden Thread by Nishtha Jain – India, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Netherlands, Norway, UK | 2022 – 91 minutes

This gorgeous, meditative film follows the production of jute fibre—a material commonly used for twine and basket weaving—from farms in West Bengal to the jute mills that have long employed many thousands of low-wage workers. Working conditions and pay continue to decline as profits are prioritized over labour; meanwhile, mills downsize and shutter amidst mechanization and campaigns for higher wages. What will remain for workers who have toiled for decades—in many cases recruiting their relatives and friends to the factories—and whose livelihoods rely on this industry? (DOXA 2023)

– Short Films –

Chasing Light by Hân Pham, Dave Rodden-Shortt – Canada | 2023 – 5 minutes

Legendary Canadian filmmaker Nettie Wild reflects on the milestones of her compelling career in this short and sweet profile. Known for documentaries with high-stakes political subject matter, Wild is never one to shy away from contradiction and collaboration. -SB (DOXA 2023)

Chinatown 2050 by Linda Zhang, Maxim Gertler-Jaffe – Canada, UK | 2022 – 18 minutes

How might the pandemic shape the future of Toronto’s Chinatown? Five scenarios tackling this question are imagined by Asian-Canadian youth, their speculations brought to life by a visual collage of dreamlike LiDAR 3D modelling scans. The hope is to preserve vibrant streetscapes rather than create an empty tourist attraction. -KR

What They Left Behind by Vicky Xingyu Gu – USA | 2022 – 7 minutes

Through animated retellings of memories with her late grandfathers, Xingyu Gu wades through complex feelings of grief. As she comes back into the present day, her grandmother’s mourning allows her to make peace with the complicated relationships in her family. -jc

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