The Asia House Film Festival
The Asia House Film Festival, generously supported by Prudential plc, returns for its eighth year in 2016 with a diverse programme of 19 films that includes several European premieres and UK premieres. All of the films will be shown in London for the first time.
The 2016 Festival, which will take place from 22 February to 5 March, includes 11 feature films, three documentaries and five short films coming out of countries including Japan, China, Kazakhstan, Myanmar and Afghanistan.
The Festival will kick off on 22 February with the opening night gala at the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho where last year’s Festival opened to a full house. This will be followed by a move to the historic Regent Street Cinema where screenings will take place from 25 to 28 February.
Selected events will occur during the same week at Asia House. The 2016 Festival will come to a close on the first weekend of March at The Cinema Museum in Kennington with a special one-day retrospective entitled ‘Singaporeana’. This will feature British and American films shot in Singapore during the 1960s and 1970s.
“There are some enthralling, insightful and hugely entertaining titles emerging from places you’d least expect, and which we rarely get a chance to see onscreen,” said the Festival’s Artistic Director, Jasper Sharp.
The theme for the 2016 Festival is ‘Breaking Boundaries’, with the programme selection exploring transnationalism and globalisation.
“Many of the films selected reflect ideas of how cultures, identities and experiences are increasingly transcending geographical boundaries and, though the Asian continent encompasses such a vast and varied range of peoples and nations, there are commonalities between these that will resonate with everyone,” Sharp explained.
The films selected represent a globalised world in which culture, politics and economies are transcending national boundaries. There are a number of international co-productions featured too, reflecting how the film industry has also globalised.
The Regent Street Cinema became the birthplace of cinema in the UK in 1896, when the Lumière brothers’ Cinématographe machine was demonstrated to the press there. The cinema closed to the public in 1980 and became a lecture theatre. Following a fundraising campaign the 119-year-old cinema re-opened its doors in May 2015, reinstating one of the most historic cinemas in Britain to its former grandeur.
To date the Festival, which is a major celebration of Asian cinema, has previewed and premiered films including In the Absence of the Sun (Indonesia, 2014); The Last Reel (Cambodia, 2014), Passion (Mongolia, 2010) and Unforgiven (Japan, 2013).
The full Festival programme details will be available on the Asia House website in January.
Asia House has had an ongoing programme of film screenings throughout 2015 including its Fortnight of Film in August. A number of pre Film Festival screenings have begun, including a screening of Taiwanese documentary Dive With You (2015) in December 2015 and American director Alex Azmi’s film To Climb a Gold Mountain (2015), scheduled to be shown on 14 January 2016.