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San Diego Asian Film Festival Kicks Off 19th Year

Festival serves up food and family for opening and closing nights

Photo credit: Clover Films

Hye-won (Tae-ri Kim) flees the city for the country and the simple joys of cooking food from what she grows in Soon-rye Yim's "Little Forest."

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Beth's recommended viewing

"Little Forest"

"Ramen Shop"

"One Cut of the Dead"

"The Legend of the Stardust Brothers"

"Dead Souls"

"A Land Imagined"

"Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings"


"Big Brother"

"Ash is Purest White"

"3 Faces"



"Mystery Kung Fu Theater"

"Long Day's Journey Into Night"


The 19th annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, or SDAFF, serves up a delicious pair of films followed by food for its opening and closing nights.

The festival opens Thursday night with "Little Forest," a South Korean film that follows a young woman on an emotional journey guided by the food her mother used to cook. Following the screening, local San Diego chefs have been asked to create food inspired by the film.

SDAFF artistic director Brian Hu said, "Asians love food and family is a big part of our lives."

The festival closes with another film and food pairing, "Ramen Shop" and a film-to-table reception.

The festival's website describes it as "Enjoy a love letter to Singaporean cuisine during our closing night After Party, featuring SDAFF’s film-inspired attempt at 'Ramen-teh' (Ramen + Bak kuh teh)!"

This is a dish inspired by the film in which a young man who owns a ramen shop in Japan travels to Singapore to connect with his past and his estranged grandmother and food is the link that pulls them together.

To help guide attendees through the smorgasbord of film offerings, the festival is broken up into sections. Hu said that Asian cinema is so diverse that the festival is like six mini festivals. Attendees can look to Special Presentations for films with food and parties; to Masters for works from acclaimed veteran filmmakers; to Discoveries for bold new works from new artists; to Asian American Panorama for films and documentaries from Asian Americans; to Asia Pop to find out what films are box office hits from around the world; and to Short Film Programs for a diverse sampling packed into one screening.

This year the festival screens films at its home base of UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley with opening and closing nights at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Plus additional venues of Digital Gym Cinema, Edwards Mira Mesa, and UC San Diego for the Taiwan Showcase (that includes free screenings of Taiwanese VR shorts).

The festival runs Thursday night through Saturday, Nov. 17.

The 19th annual San Diego Asian Film Festival serves up a delicious pair of films followed by food for its opening and closing nights.


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Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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