New York Asian Film Festival continues to break the mold

China 24

A zombie apocalypse in Hong Kong–monsters, gangsters, and unlikely romances. These are just a few of the stories on display at the annual “New York” Asian Film Festival.

CGTN’s Liling Tan took a sneak peak at the films with award-winning Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Chun and veteran actor Eric Tsang.
Follow Liling Tan on Twitter @LilingTan

In the dark and heart-wrenching drama titled “Mad World,” first-time Hong Kong director Wong Chun forays into a subject not often addressed in Asian films—mental illness.

Audiences have called it brave and honest.

“I hope that the film will be a chance for them to understand a bit more of the real situation of mental illness instead of creating stigma or creating labels to the patients,” Wong says. “I have been very conscious if we are dramatizing anything or if we are dramatizing in a good way or the right way.”

Hong Kong star Shawn Yue plays a financial analyst with bipolar disorder released from an institution into the care of his estranged father, played by megastar Eric Tsang who also won the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

“This award has become even more meaningful to me now,” Eric explains, “because it’s not just because I’m a filmmaker or an artist, but because I have done some good and helped the young filmmaker community. So this award has made me proud, and I’m so happy I have been given this award.”

Mad World is among 57 films being screened at the 16th New York Asian Film Festival. And the genres run the gamut from thrillers to dramas to romance by up and coming filmmakers from all across Asia.

That includes numerous films from China, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, taking viewers from trials and tribulations to hijinks and hilarity.

“We went seeking for more rarities, from Southeast Asia in particular, younger filmmakers, films directed by women focusing on female protagonists for example,” says Samuel Jamier, Executive Director of the New York Asian Film Festival.

“With the rise of the debate about fair representation of minorities in the U.S., I think more and more we play a substantial role in bridging these gaps and trying to smooth out differences.”

The New York Asian Film Festival, now in its sixteenth year, has been widely acclaimed for discovering and talent-spotting new Asian filmmakers.