On this past weekend, from November 3rd through the 6th, the Blanton Auditorium was proud to present the 9th annual Austin Asian American Film Festival.  The AAAFF is a yearly event that promotes the culture and experiences of Asians and Asian Americans that are present within media as well as celebrates the talents of Asian American filmmakers.  Not only does this festival endorse the Asian voice within the media arts but also introduces the public to a cinematic vehicle in which to learn about and acknowledge their experiences.  However, not all films present this year merely focused on cultural representations.  The AAAFF provides a wide variety of filmmakers the chance to showcase their art.  Films this year ranged from documentaries about imprisonment to stoner comedies to even sci-fi thrillers.

I was able to attend a public screening for a series of narrative shorts, where I witnessed stories about a young, Korean girl’s developing sexuality, a Prussian woman’s surreal entrapment in a film project, and a lemon tree growing out of a man’s stomach!

If you weren’t able to attend this year’s festival but are a fan of film or Asian culture, be on the lookout for next year’s, because the AAAFF really is a great way to experience diversity within film, both culturally and stylistically.

At the end of the festival, awards are given by the festival’s own jury and audience members.  Below are the winners for this year’s festival. Be on the lookout for these films and show your support!


Best Narrative Feature – Grass, Tanuj Chopra, USA

“Under the influence of too much grass, two women unwittingly embark on a transformative journey in self-reflection. The camera acts as a fluid mirror as they delve deep and taunt each other with humor and truth, all in the confines of one day in the park. The director creates a wonderful vehicle, using only one location, one prop, and two incredibly talented actors to embark on a marathon of improvisation to produce two believable characters who at the end of the day will never be the same.”

Best Narrative Short – The Waltz, Trevor Zhou, USA

“With an inattentive son and hardworking husband, Ling finds a hobby in waltz classes which begins the revelation of what’s most important in her life. With few characters, director Trevor Zhou creates a simple narrative with easily relatable family and personal conflict despite the specific immigrant experience, allowing the audience to sweetly feel for every character.”

Best Documentary Feature – Breathin’:  The EddyZheng Story, Ben Wang, USA

“The award for Best Documentary Feature was essentially unanimous, as not only does it portray the incredible journey of its subject, but exposes the many layers of the immigrant experience, justice system, and one’s civil rights.”

Best Documentary Short – Born-Again Artist, Christopher Kim, USA

“The award for Best Documentary Short realizes the possibilities of combining artistic expression and bridging the connections among people of color, opening up the imagination for career opportunities and choices.”


Best Narrative Feature – After the Storm, Hirokazu Koreeda, Japan

Best Narrative Short – The Waltz, Trevor Zhou, USA

Best Documentary Feature – Breathin’:  The Eddy Zheng Story, Ben Wang, USA

Best Documentary Short – Forever Chinatown, James Q. Chan, USA