Film festivals are back, and (if the recent one in Oak Cliff was any indicator) with a vengeance. There’s a heightened enthusiasm for cinema after months and years streaming movies at home in our PJs — that’s what we’re hearing from organizers and attendees. While movie-ing from bed is a solid pastime, that’s just not the same as sharing space with filmmakers and fellow movie geeks. And the upcoming Asian Film Festival of Dallas’ new organizers promise an unprecedented 2022 lineup with programming designed to invigorate audiences, showcase heroic women and create once again that communal cinematic experience.
The promoter tells us the AFFD has revitalized itself, retooled and taken steps to adapt, streamline and refocus its approach in an age of film festival attrition.
The festival, now in its 21st year, starts July 21 at Oak Cliff’s historic Texas Theatre with Wenxiong Xing’s Too Cool to Kill and wraps July 24 at the Angelika Film Center in East Dallas with Roshan Sethi’s 7 Days. (Watch the trailers at the links; these films look so enjoyable.) In between is a litany of highly anticipated events at both venues.
Executive director Thomas Schubert and and lead programmer Paul Theiss are new to the AFFD team. They say to expect, among other innovations, a tighter, more condensed festival schedule, a Saturday evening red carpet event for filmmakers and press and a Sunday day-long celebration of female filmmakers.
Schubert says he and the other organizers this year are “looking at what we do through a different lens” and taking “a fresh approach.”
“AFFD has always been a signature event for Dallas film lovers, introducing exciting films and cinema to DFW, and this year we hope to shake up the event aspect of the film festival in our return, as well,” Schubert says.
Theiss says this year’s crop of films is as good as it gets.
“We made no assumptions with our programming this year, prioritizing films and filmmakers that would inspire audiences to come back for that big screen experience,” he says. “To that end, adding a handful of films from our guest programmers will also add surprises and new perspectives to the schedule.”
Special guest programmers include Justina Walford (programming director, Oxford Film Festival and the Billy the Kid Film Festival) and Frank Yan (co-director of programming, CineCina).
Additional highlights include Park Hoon-Jung’s The Witch 2: The Other One, Shô Miyake’s Small, Slow but Steady, and Tom Huang’s dysfunctional family comedy Dealing With Dad, the programmers note.
Here is the full lineup with summaries and ticket information.