20th New York Asian Film Festival screens multiple South Korean films
The 20th Annual New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) takes place August 6-22 with in-person programming at the Film at Lincoln Center and the SVA Theater, as well as options to view select films virtually. After a completely virtual 19th edition, NYAFF will present in person nearly half of the more than 60 titles of this year.
“It’s been tough, but after last year’s unprecedented all-virtual edition, we’re excited to be back in person,” said Samuel Jamier, executive director of NYAFF and president of the New York Asian Film Foundation.
NYAFF’s 2021 lineup will include several critically acclaimed South Korean films, opening with a screening by Ryu Seung-won Escape from Mogadishu, which will be released in Korean theaters at the same time. The tense political thriller is based on a true story, focusing on the escape of representatives from the North and South Korean embassies during the Somali civil war in the 1990s. It stars Kim Yeon-seok, Jo In -sung and Heo Joon-ho. The film’s planned release in 2020 has been postponed due to COVID-19.
The festival program includes Fish pound, a historical black and white film directed by Lee Joon-ik. The film, starring Sol Kyung-gu and Byun Yo-han, is about an exiled Joseon-era scholar and a conservative fisherman writing a book together. The film won the Grand Prix at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards in May 2021.
English lessons from the Samjin company is a 2020 comedy-drama written and directed by Lee Jong-pil, starring Go Ah-sung, Esom, and Park Hye-su. The actresses play company employees who take an English course in the hope of promotion, but in the process discover their company’s involvement in illegal business. They decide to investigate. The film won the award for Best Picture this year at the 57th Baeksang Awards.
Three sisters was written and directed by Lee Seung-won. The story follows three middle-aged sisters, played by Kim Sun-young, Moon So-ri, and Jang Yoon-ju, as they throw a birthday party for their father. While sisters have different issues that hinder their progress in life, they can each trace the cause of their dysfunction back to their upbringing. Three sisters won Best Supporting Actress for Kim Sun-young at the 57th Baeksang Awards.
Fighter is a film about a North Korean defector living in South Korea. She wants to become a professional boxer and faces discrimination while adjusting to life in the south. The film is directed by Jero Yun, who directed the film The good days, and stars Lim Seong-mi, Baek Seo-bin and Oh Kwang-rok.
Midnight is a 2021 South Korean thriller written and directed by Kwon Oh-seung. The film, starring Jin Ki-joo, Wi Ha-joon, and Kim Hye-yoon, depicts the terrifying pursuit of a deaf woman by a psychopath. The film was also slated for 2020, but postponed due to the pandemic.
Are also presented I do not fire myself, a film about adapting to a new workplace, directed by Lee Tae-gyeom; 10 months, a story about a pregnant player, directed by Nam Koong-sun; and Snowball, a coming-of-age story directed by Lee Woo-jung.
The festival program is subject to change and other films may be added.
NYAFF was the first North American film festival to champion Asian cinema films. Since 2010, the festival has been produced in collaboration with Film at Lincoln Center. The New York Asian Film Foundation Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to exhibiting and appreciating Asian film culture and building bridges between Asia and America.