13th Annual Asian Film Festival of Dallas Kicks off Thursday night

Asianfilmfest.jpg
Still from Leading Man.

In its 13th year, the Asian Film Festival of Dallas (AFFD) is one of the biggest celebrations of Asian filmmaking in the South. And with more than 60 films being shown from nine different countries, this year's festival is shaping up to be the most diverse in the event's history. "We have more feature films, more family-friendly films," says AFFD publicist Teresa Nguyen said. "And we have more countries represented as well as more filmmakers in attendance."

There is something for everyone this year, as the festival's organizers have gathered everything from obscure film fest fare, like the award-winning Bangladeshi film, Television, a light-hearted generational satire directed by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, to Japanese film Samurai Hustle.

"Samurai Hustle actually only opened in Japan two weeks ago, and went straight to number two," AFFD co-founder Stephen Carlton says. "The only reason it's not number one is that Frozen has been there for 17 weeks. As far as Japanese films, it's gone straight to the top ... and we're the international premiere and that really excites me."

Devotion is not a strong enough word to describe how the guys at AFFD feel about Asian film. Carlton got his film showcasing start showing the latest films coming out of Hong Kong to handfuls of people in the 90's.

"In the mid 90's we didn't really have art theaters really other than the (Inwood Theatre) so there weren't many international films shown," Carlton says. "I thought with the Angelika started we would get more Asian movies, which I loved, and that didn't really happen." So Carlton, along with co-founder Mye Hoang decided to take matters into their own hands.

"I was approached by Mye Hoang, who used to come to my movies ... and she suggested that we start a film festival, an Asian film festival, and that's how we got going," Carlton says.

AFFD is a labor of love for all involved. It's a festival where filmmakers and fans can come together and revel in the kind quirky, genre bending, experimental fun that defines Asian cinema. As AFFD's Operations Director David Gibson puts it: "The best thing about these films (is that) you never know what's going to happen."

That sounds pretty refreshing after yet another Transformers movie, doesn't it?


The festival will kick off with the US premiere of Black Butler, a live action movie based on the popular Japanese anime and comic series of the same name.

The film takes place 130 years after the anime series, and revolves around wealthy orphan Shiori (Ayame Goriki), who sells her soul to demonic butler Sebastian (Hiro Mizushima). The unlikely duo finds themselves investigating a mysterious series of murders in this gritty (if not a little absurd) action romp. "It probably will be our most popular film of the entire festival," says Carlton, so be sure to get your tickets sooner rather than later.

The festival runs from July 10 to the 17 at the Angelika Dallas. For a full list of showings and events head to asianfilmdallas.com and check out this handy guide to maximizing your film fest fun. And be forewarned, there will be subtitles.


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