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Subway Cinema has done much to bring cult and classic Asian cinema to NYC, and that continues with the tenth installment of the Old School Kung Fu Fest. Running April 21 to the 30th, the theme of this year’s fest is Sword Fighting Heroes, showcasing Taiwanese cinema and wuxia warriors with 12 movies being screened at the Metrograph theater (7 Ludlow St, New York, NY) and three films that will be streamed online.
Festival highlights include the US premiere of The King of Wuxia, a documentary about King Hu, the revolutionary filmmaker who re-invented wuxia movies and turned them into high art, plus three of his films — A Touch of Zen, The Valiant Ones, and The Fate of Lee Khan.
An fascinating work of action animation, The Legend of the Sacred Stone is an all-puppet wuxia from the Huang family, master puppeteers who owned Taiwanese airwaves with their po-te-hi puppet storytelling in the 1980s.
See sword fighting ladies in four films starring actress Hsu Feng (A Touch of Zen, The Fate of Lee Khan, The Valiant Ones, A City Called Dragon), four starring Polly Shang-kuan (Swordsman of All Swordsmen, Ghost Hill, Grand Passion, The Bravest Revenge), and one starring Josephine Siao Fong-fong (The Daring Gang of Nineteen From Verdun City) in which she’s only 12 years old.
The Old School Kung Fu Fest is shaping up to be more fun than a warehouse full of fake swords.
To learn more, go to: https://www.subwaycinema.com/
10th Old School Kung Fu Fest: Sword Fighting Heroes EditionApril 21 - 30th, 2023
Metrograph7 Ludlow StreetNew York, NY 10002
Los Angeles’ long running queer film fest, Outfest Fusion, returns March 24 to April 2, 2023. True to its name, Outfest Fusion is an offshoot of the Outfest film festival with online and in person screenings featuring the work of today’s leading, and emerging, QTBIPOC artists and storytellers at venues across LA including the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, the Los Angeles Theatre Center, and more along with most of the films being available for streaming.
Outfest Fusion began in 2004 and this entry of the festival opens with a ceremony honoring two Outfest Fusion alum; Elegance Bratton (The Inspection) and Bird Runningwater (Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program). The opening festivities will screen several short films, including Baba, directed by Sam Arbor and Adam Ali, in which a young gay Libyan man lives underground with his friends and dreams of fleeing to England, but when he has to find his passport, he finds warmth where he least expects it and questions whether he should leave.
Outfest Fusion also includes a plethora of shorts, features, docs, and panel discussions. Panel workshops such as How to Craft the Perfect Pitch and Navigating Commercial Filmmaking as a QTBIPOC Creative are free to attend. Fusion Family Day showcases short films aimed at kids and families, while the One Minute Movie Contest tasks filmmakers to create bite-sized cinematic works.
Running since 1982, the mission statement of Outfest is to create “visibility to diverse LGBTQIA+ stories and empowers storytellers, building empathy to drive meaningful social change.”
To learn more, go to: https://www.outfestfusion.com/
Outfest FusionMarch 24 - April 2, 2023
Online and Various Venues in Los Angeles
The Socially Relevant Film Festival (SRFF) is now in its tenth year of cinema and documentaries with a message. Running March 16 to the 31st, SRFF features filmmakers and stories from around the world with over 70 films from 23 countries. SRFF’s mission is to shine the spotlight on filmmakers who tell compelling, socially relevant, human interest stories across a broad range of social issues without resorting to gratuitous violence or violent forms of filmmaking.
The festival opens March 16 at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater with the documentary Shabu and feature Tnaash. Directed by Shamira Raphaëla, Shabu is a documentary from The Netherlands, follows a teenager from Rotterdam who must pay back the repairs for a trashed car over the course of one summer while also pursuing his musical passion. Tnaash, directed by Boudy Sfeir, is set in the aftermath of the August 4th Beirut Port explosion where Lebanon’s first trial by jury must decide the fate of an illegal Syrian refugee accused of brutally killing a social activist known for helping the damaged community after the blast. Other films include the New York premiere of Only Child in which a 60-year-old adoptee from Dublin navigates the misogynistic landscape of Ireland's past in a relentless search to find her birth mother with only her name and town of birth known.
Along with its extensive features block is six thematically divided short film blocks: Family and Adoption, Home and Health, Climate Change, LGBTQ, and BIPOC Films. SRFF will also include Q&As, Happy Hours, Workshops, Staged readings of scripts, and an Award Ceremony to recognize the work of the talented filmmakers that the jury will pick.
To learn more, go to: https://www.ratedsrfilms.org/
Socially Relevant Film FestivalMarch 16 - 31, 2023
Various Locations in NYC and Online
Judy Blume Forever
Running in person March 2 - 5 at Barnard College is the 13th Annual Athena Film Festival. Centered around women in leadership, the festival includes film screenings, in-depth panel discussions and live talks with filmmakers and industry experts, and special events in addition to shorts, feature films, and documentaries.
The festival’s centerpiece film running on March 4th is Judy Blume Forever, directed by Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok, is a documentary on one of the most beloved and banned authors in the United States.
Other films include the New York premiere of The Lost King, directed by Stephen Frears and written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Daughter of Rage (La hija de todas las rabias), written and directed by Laura Baumeister de Montis, as well as screenings of The Lost King, directed by Stephen Frears, Angry Annie (Annie Colère), directed by Blandine Lenoir, and My Emptiness And I (Mi vacío y yo), directed by Adrián Silvestre. The festival will also screen Women Talking, directed by Sarah Polley, which is nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
“Entering the 13th year of the Athena Film Festival I could not feel more proud of the unique and exciting slate of films we are sharing with our audiences this year. We look forward to bringing these important and underrepresented voices to the big screen,” said Melissa Silverstein, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of AFF and Founder of Women and Hollywood.
“The narratives we see shape our understanding of the world,” said Umbeen Bhatti, Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director of Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership. “At the Athena Film Festival, audiences won’t encounter tired, outdated narratives, but rather, narratives that more accurately reflect the world we live in and the future we want to build.”
To learn more, go to: https://athenafilmfestival.com/
Athena Film FestivalMarch 2 - 5, 2023
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