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Calgarians invited to fascinating FascinAsian film festival at Calgary’s Central Library in May

Calgarians will have a chance to take in some of the best in Asian-Canadian film and shorts this May, with the second annual FascinAsian Film Festival.

The festival runs from Thursday, May 11 through Sunday, May 14 at Calgary’s Central Library.

“We kick off with the pre-festival free film on the Thursday night, we have our opening on Friday, and basically we have our Saturday full day with short films,” said festival director Judy Eng-Hum.

Thursday’s free film will be Disney’s Turning Red, which was directed by Canadian Domee Shi.

The festival weekend opens on Friday with the multi-award winning Riceboy Sleeps by Anthony Shim, which is the story of a Korean mother determined to create a better life in Canada than the one she left behind.

Shim, who directed 2019’s award winning film Daughter, is also a Asian-Canadian actor of note who has performed on TV and silver screen productions like Star Trek Beyond, Supernatural, The Man in the High Castle.

The festivals’ short programming, which is playing on May 13, had hundreds of submissions.

“We’ve had over 200 submissions of short films, and so we’ve decided to do three-series of short films in our programming. Some of them are first time directors and producers,” said Eng-Hum.

“We’re super excited about them showcasing those films.”

Saturday’s feature film will be Dealing with Dad, directed by Warner Brothers Sitcom Writing grad, and multi-award winning director Tom Huang. The film is about adult children who unexpectedly return home when their father falls into depression, making him become nicer than the jerk he was before.

Audiences will have a chance to ask Huang questions after the film in a hosted Q&A with the filmmaker.

Sunday’s finale film will be a free showing of Karen Cho’s documentary Big Fight in Little Chinatown, which takes audiences into the fight over the pandemic, anti-Asian racism, and the erasure of traditional Chinatowns. Cho will also be available to audiences after the showing for a Q&A.

More than just films

The festival’s other goal is to engage Asian Canadians with the world of media.

FascinAsian will be hosting a panel with famed creator of Kim’s Convenience, Ins Choi, on May 13, about his experience of becoming a playwright and screenwriter in Canada.

CBC’s Chris dela Torre will be hosting a panel on Saturday on the world of film and media production, with opportunities for audience members to ask questions about how to enter into the film business and how to find continued success.

Friday and Saturday nights will be holding receptions for networking, followed by a festival awards dinner on Sunday evening at the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre Cuisine Restaurant.

“We’ve got cultural performances, and panel discussions, and we’ve got a dumpling demonstration on Sunday as well,” said Eng-Hum.

“It’s more than a film festival, it’s learning about the culture as well. And learning about how, as an Asian, you can get involved in media.”

For more details on the festival, a complete lineup of films, and to purchase tickets, see fascinasian.ca/calgary-2023.