The festival showcases 140 films from 15 countries, making it the second largest exhibition of Asian cinema in the country.
Notable guests include Daniel Dae Kim from CBS’s “Hawaii Five-0” and C.S. Lee from Showtime’s “Dexter.”
The festival also welcomed many up and comers in new media.
“The landscapes have changed,” said Leo Nam of Vantage Point. “Festivals now have to and deserve the respect of a new distribution platform.”
“You’re going to see a lot more of streaming series that go straight to Amazon, Hulu, things like that,” said Philip Wang of the Youtube group, Wong Fu Productions. “I think traditional entertainment outlets are going to have to become more mobile. It’s great because the power is going to the consumer more, to the niche markets. It’s really an exciting time.”
The San Diego Asian Film Festival is the brainchild of former San Diego local news anchor, Le Ann Kim, who went through the transition from mainstream to new media 14 years ago. She is now the Executive Director of Pacific Arts Movement – the group that organizes the festival.
“We believe that storytelling comes in a lot of different forms,” said Kim. “Storytelling, like in journalism, is what enriches and colors our life. Because without stories, we are living our lives in black and white.”
This year, the organizers changed their name to Pacific Arts Movement to incorporate and celebrate all forms of art.
Jason Yang, who was selected as Madonna’s concert violinist, performed at the Gala as a special guest.
The festival also honored Jason Dasilva, a multiple sclerosis survivor who developed AXS Map, an iPhone application that helps people with disabilities navigate to wheelchair friendly establishments.
“I was diagnosed with MS in 2005, and iPhone came out a little later, and thought, ‘Why is there nothing like Yelp for people with disabilities to find if they are wheelchair accessible or not?’ Time just went by, didn’t come out, so… I made it,” said Dasilva.
Dasilva’s “When I Walk” was also selected as the Festival’s centerpiece film.
Organizers stress that it doesn’t matter if you are white, black, yellow, or purple. It’s all about celebrating great art.
“I happen to be a certain color, or a certain race, but I think it’s all about supporting each other,” said Angela Sun, director of the documentary “Plastic Paradise.”
“My goal and my vision is that people will say, ‘Oh, Asian Film Festival! That’s cool!'” said Kim. “No matter where they come from. They don’t think it’s just an Asian thing. It’s an American thing. Our stories are just as American as any other film or culture, and I think that’s the message we want to create. There’s no difference between all of us. We are all human.”
The San Diego Asian Film Festival continues until November 16 at various locations around San Diego.