Director Ringo Lam will be presented with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, superstar Aaron Kwok with the 2015 Star Asia Award, and Japanese actor Shota Sometani with the 2015 Screen International Rising Star Award
Film lineup to include the North American premieres of Nobuhiro Yamashita’s La La La at Rock Bottom and Yim Soon-rye’s The Whistleblower and the international premiere of Namewee’s Banglasia, which was banned in Malaysia
A spotlight on Myung Films and Korean women filmmakers and a joint film tribute to Japanese legends Ken Takakura and Bunta Sugawara are among the notable sidebars
NEW YORK (May 21, 2015) – The New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), North America’s leading festival of popular Asian Cinema, is back for its 14th edition.
Co-presented with Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema, the festival will run from June 26 to July 11, 2015. The Film Society events take place from takes place from June 26 through July 8, and SVA Theatre takes over from July 9 to 11 at 333 W. 23rd Street.
Initial details include notable awards to be presented to director Ringo Lam, superstar Aaron Kwok, and actor Shota Sometani. The festival will also host a slew of North American film premieres, as well as spotlight the works of Korean female directors and honor the memory of Japanese legends Ken Takakura and Bunta Sugawara with a joint tribute.
Hong Kong’s legendary director Ringo Lam (“City on Fire”) will receive the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. One of Hong Kong’s most influential directors, Lam was directing comedies when City on Fire was released in 1987, fusing the social-protest movie with kinetic action filmmaking. It was followed by the massive hit “Prison on Fire” later that year, and then “School on Fire”, a movie so unblinking that nervous Hong Kong censors sliced it to ribbons.
Lam became one of the city’s best action filmmakers, and one of the few local directors to be so deeply concerned with the price of progress, the corrosive influence of money on human relationships, and the lives of the little people crushed beneath the wheels of change. In 2003, he directed what was to be his final feature and went into semi-retirement, only to be lured out again in 2015 with “Wild City”, in which Lam’s tooth-and-claw vision of modern urban living remains untamed.
Hong Kong’s superstar actor-singer Aaron Kwok (“Divergence”, “After This Our Exile”, “Cold War”) will receive the festival’s 2015 Star Asia Award on June 26. One of Hong Kong’s ‘Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop’, Kwok has won dozens of awards for his chart-topping albums.
For over 30 years, Kwok has performed steadily both on television and in movies and is respected for his box-office star power as well as his outstanding acting chops. He has worked with some of Hong Kong’s finest directors, like Johnnie To, Jacob Cheung, Andrew Lau, and Patrick Tam.
Kwok’s self-described method acting was rewarded in 2005 and 2006 when he won back-to-back Golden Horse awards for Best Actor, a feat previously achieved only by Jackie Chan. He was awarded his first Best Actor prize was for his performance in 2005’s Divergence, but it was his work in the 2006 “After This Our Exile”, for which he won his second award, that blew audiences away. In that film, Kwok’s fearless portrayal of a gambling addict exhibited a serious commitment to his craft as well as a complete lack of vanity. He then went on to give a series of startling performances in films like Yim Ho’s “Floating City”, the blockbuster “Cold War”, as well as his upcoming tour de force, “Port of Call”.
Japanese actor Shota Sometani will attend the festival on July 4, on the occasion of the New York premiere of “Kabukicho Love Hotel”, to receive the Screen International Rising Star Award. Director Ryuichi Hiroki will also be in attendance.
This marks the second year of a partnership with Screen International, with whom the NYAFF will honor an emerging talent in the East Asian film world each year. At age 22, Sometani is already a leading man in both blockbusters and indie gems and has earned critical acclaim on the international film festival circuit. In 2011, he received the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor at the Venice Film Festival for his performance in “Himizu”, along with his co-star Fumi Nikaido (last year’s recipient of the Screen International Rising Star Award).
Notable NYAFF titles this year will include the North American premieres of Nobuhiro Yamashita’s “La La La at Rock Bottom”, and Yim Soon-rye’s “The Whistleblower”, and the international premiere of Namewee’s “Banglasia”, which was banned in Malaysia, its home country.
The festival will also feature a section on Korea’s production company Myung Films, highlighting a few of their major works — “Cart”, “The President’s Last Bang”, “The Isle”, and “Waikiki Brothers” — as part of a greater focus on women who work behind the camera. Producer Shim Jae-myung and directors Yim Soon-rye (“The Whistleblower”) and Boo Ji-young (“Cart”) will be in attendance.
Japanese film legends Ken Takakura and Bunta Sugawara, both of whom passed away last November, will be the subject of the first joint tribute outside of Japan. It will feature the brand-new digital remaster of the 1973 classic “Battles Without Honor and Humanity”, and is screened for the time in North America — among others.
NYAFF is possible with the support of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York, the Korean Cultural Service New York, the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York, The Korea Society, and Japan Foundation New York. Subway Cinema receives generous year-round support from Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation.
NYAFF sponsors include Hotel Beacon, The Kitano Hotel, Møsefund Farm, Manhattan Portage, Well Go USA, Mizu Shochu. Media partners include Screen International and Chopsticks NY.
Tickets will go on sale on June 9 for Film Society Members and June 11for general public, both at the box office and online. Discounts are available for Film Society members. Read more about the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Screenings will be held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th Street, between Amsterdam and Broadway), and SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues).
NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL (NYAFF)
Now in its 14th year, the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) is North America’s leading festival of popular Asian cinema, which The New York Times has called “one of the city’s most valuable events.” Launched in 2002 by Subway Cinema, the festival selects only the best, strangest, and most entertaining movies to screen for New York audiences, ranging from mainstream blockbusters and art-house eccentricities to genre and cult classics. It was the first North American film festival to champion the works of Johnnie To, Bong Joon-ho, Park Chan-wook, Takashi Miike, and other auteurs of contemporary Asian cinema. Since 2010, the Festival has been produced in collaboration with the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
Founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, the Film Society of Lincoln Center works to recognize established and emerging filmmakers, support important new work, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility, and understanding of the moving image. The Film Society produces the renowned New York Film Festival, a curated selection of the year’s most significant new film work, and presents or collaborates on other annual New York City festivals including Dance on Camera, Film Comment Selects, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, NewFest, New York African Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival, New York Jewish Film Festival, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema and Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. In addition to publishing the award-winning Film Comment magazine, the Film Society recognizes an artist’s unique achievement in film with the prestigious Chaplin Award, whose 2015 recipient was Robert Redford. The Film Society’s state-of-the-art Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, located at Lincoln Center, provide a home for year-round programs and the New York City film community.
The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from American Airlines, The New York Times, HBO, Stella Artois, The Kobal Collection, Variety, Trump International Hotel and Tower, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts.
For more information, visit www.filmlinc.com and follow @filmlinc on Twitter.
Subway Cinema is America’s leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the exhibition and appreciation of Asian popular film culture in all forms, building bridges between Asia and the West. With year-round festivals and programs, the organization aims to bring wide audience and critical attention to contemporary and classic Asian cinema in the U.S. In 2002, Subway Cinema launched its flagship event, the annual New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), which is North America’s leading festival of popular Asian cinema. Subway cinema’s other events and initiatives include Old School Kung Fu Fest (OSKFF), New York Korean Film Festival (NYKFF), and year-round special screenings and filmmaker tributes.