NYAFF 2021 Announces Variety Star Asia, Rising Star & Action Cinema Awards Recipients Plus the World Premiere of Spiritwalker


This year’s festival will present four works by Gordon Lam Ka Tung,
including Soi Cheang’s LIMBO and Chan Kin Long’s HAND ROLLED CIGARETTE.
Also screening will be SNOWBALL, starring Bang Min-a; HERE AND THERE,
starring Janine Gutierrez; THE ASIAN ANGEL, starring Sosuke Ikematsu;
and the World Premiere of a new version of SPIRITWALKER by director Yoon Jae-keun.

Gordon Lam Ka Tung, Hand Rolled Cigarette © 2020 Hand-Roll Cigarette Film Production Company Limited

The New York Asian Film Foundation and Film at Lincoln Center have announced a range of awards for the upcoming 20th edition of the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF). The festival will be screening over 70 films, both virtually and in person, to audiences in New York and across the country from August 6 – 22, 2021. Tickets go on sale today.

Gordon Lam Ka Tung, one of today’s most versatile and prolific actors in the Hong Kong cinema, will receive the VARIETY STAR ASIA AWARD during the festival, which is showcasing an unprecedented four of his most recent films. Lam stars in Soi Cheang’s electrifying Limbo, a brutal thriller about the hunt for a serial killer, and Chan Kin Long’s gritty cross-border drug-runner bromance Hand Rolled Cigarette, makes a mandatory cameo in All U Need Is Love, in which many of Hong Kong’s movie stars are stuck in one hotel during the COVID pandemic, and serves as a producer on Ricky Ko’s Time, about three retired assassins who decide to get back in the game.

Lam now joins the ranks of previous Star Asia Award winners Donnie Yen (2012), Sandra Ng (2014), Aaron Kwok (2015), Lee Byung-hun and Miriam Yeung (2016), Gang Dong-won and Duan Yihong (2017) and Kim Yoon-Seok (2018).

Bang Min-a (center), Snowball © MILESTONE COMPANY / MOTTO

To mark NYAFF’s 20th edition, a trio of gifted young actors from three different countries have been chosen to receive the RISING STAR ASIA AWARD: Bang Min-a from South Korea, Janine Gutierrez from the Philippines, and Sosuke Ikematsufrom Japan. Each of their latest films will be featured at NYAFF: Bang appears in Snowball, Gutierrez in Here and There, and Ikematsu in The Asian Angel.

Notes Samuel Jamier, Executive Director of NYAFF and President of the New York Asian Film Foundation: “Although they are at different stages in their careers, all three actors exhibit the mix of focus and dedication that only first-class actors possess. They all bring to their films a center of gravity and that most rare of qualities: screen presence. It made sense for us to give all three of them the Rising Star Asia Award (though regrettably, remotely) for roles that leave us to wonder if any actors have delved with more modesty and honesty into the tremors and intermittences of the human heart.”

The DANIEL A. CRAFT AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ACTION CINEMA will be given to Yoon Jae-Keun, director of the head-spinning Spiritwalker, in which an amnesiac with the crackerjack skills of a highly trained intelligence operative switches bodies every 12 hours. Told with incredible visual panache and dazzling stunt work, the rousing film marks Yoon’s emergence as a brilliant talent in the action-film space. The World Premiere of a brand new cut of Spiritwalker will be screened at NYAFF.

“Spiritwalker is an extraordinary blend of action and drama,” says NYAFF Executive Director Jamier, “where action is not only seamlessly integrated in the storytelling, but where the action itself reinvents its own grammar within the language of the sci-fi thriller (and in the genre itself, Spiritwalker’s premise is already deeply original and innovative). While the film offers a check-list of the set pieces expected from contemporary action films, from fierce Jason Bourne-like brawls and gun fights to breathtaking car chases, it’s also, ultimately, far more than just the sum of its parts.”

Yoon Jae-Keun’s Spiritwalker © 2020 ABO Entertainment Co., Ltd., B.A. ENTERTAINMENT, SARAM ENTERTAINMENT

As previously announced, NYAFF is launching a new ASIAN AMERICAN FOCUS section this year, with the goal of uplifting and empowering our Asian American communities by showcasing their diverse voices. As anti-Asian hate and violence became amplified by the pandemic and the 2020 presidential election, we realized it was imperative to highlight Asian American narratives now more than ever.

All three of NYAFF’s Asian American features are set in the diverse landscapes of New York. A Shot Through the Wall, written and directed by Aimee Long and starring Kenny Leu, brings a poignant new perspective to the conversation on racial injustice. The film looks at how a Chinese-American police officer’s life is unraveled after he mistakenly shoots an innocent Black man in Brooklyn, and builds to an unexpected conclusion. NYAFF will also celebrate racial connections and ethnic traditions in the intercultural comedy Americanish, set in Queens, and highlight the darker histories of Manhattan’s Chinatown in the crime thriller Snakehead.

In addition to that new initiative, we are launching the EMERGING VOICES NARRATIVE SHORTS SHOWCASE, creating a space for young filmmakers to showcase their work. The majority of these filmmakers are graduates or current students at local New York-area universities. Their compelling shorts tell stories from around the world and are grouped in two selections: IRL (In Real Life) and Missed Connections.

The shorts showcase will be available on our online Eventive platform. The shorts 1056 Metres and Invited In will be screening both online, with 1056 Metres also screening in person preceding the feature film Babi, and Invited In also screening in person preceding the feature film Ten Months.
As a bonus, the animated short Kite by SVA student YuanYuan Lu will be screening in the SVA theater preceding the feature City of Lost Things.

Full Line Up at:  New York Asian Film Festival

Virtual platform:
Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) Virtual Cinema

In-person venues:
Film at Lincoln Center (FLC), August 6 – 8, 2021
Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street

SVA Theatre: August 9 – 22, 2021
333 West 23rd Street

Tickets for the 20th New York Asian Film Festival go on sale Friday, July 23 at noon.
Virtual tickets & passes:
$12 each for general public, $9.60 for FLC members (discounted ticket) for all virtual titles.
$150 discounted FLC All-Access Pass for all virtual titles.

In-person tickets & passes:
In-person single tickets (for both FLC and SVA):
$15 each for general public, $12 for students / seniors (62+) /persons with disabilities; $10 for FLC members (discounted tickets).
In-person Passes:
$60 for 6 films at FLC only (six-film FLC All-Access Pass).
$250 for an in-person pass for screenings at the SVA Theatre (29 films).

For additional information, please visit Film at Lincoln Center at filmlinc.org, New York Asian Film Festival at nyaff.org, and follow us on social media @filmlinc and @nyaff.

Now in its 20th year, the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) is North America’s leading festival of popular Asian cinema, which The Village Voice has called “the best film festival in New York,” and The New York Times has called “one of the city’s most valuable events.” Launched in 2002, 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, it has been produced in collaboration with Film at Lincoln Center.
For more information, visit: New York Asian Film Festival


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