The San Diego Asian Film Festival is unlike any other Asian Film Festivals.  It is one of the largest exhibitions of Asian and Asian American cinema in North America and definitely an eye opener into the lives of people in the various Asian countries. Brian Hu, artistic director of Pacific Arts, said in a phone interview with StackStreet that what sets SDAFF apart is it allows filmmakers a platform to showcase their work as well as the ability to reach out and interact with their audience. Brian has a wide range of taste in films and there’s bound to be something that you’ll like at the festival.

You’re probably familiar with several rags to riches stories depicting the American Dream – a new immigrant travel across oceans to America, works hard and eventually achieves success. However, in reality, most people never achieve the American dream. “My Life in China“, a documentary by Boston Native Kenneth Eng that retraces his father’s grueling journey to America in search of a better life is a powerful film that swept me off my feet. Making films isn’t as easy as it sounds and audiences often neglect the process in which a film is made. As Kenneth says, “If I touch someone’s heart with my work, I’ve done my job as an artist.”. Despite having an unsuccessful start with Kickstarter, Kenneth was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship to begin “My Life In China”. In an interview with StackStreet, Kenneth mentioned that his film “My Life in China” took 5 years to make. Initially, he had plans to fit in other immigrant stories but due to unforeseen circumstances, he decided to focus on his father’s story.

Other notable films at the film festival are “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness”, a behind the scenes documentary of legendary animator Hayao Miyazki, “From What Is Before”, a film that follows a remote town in the Philippines during 1970s under Marcos dictators and “Fresh Off The Boat”, a new American sitcom by ABC about an immigrant family pursuing the American Dream.

The 15th San Diego Asian Film Festival will be showcasing over 140 films from 21 countries from November 6-15, 2014. Get your tickets now! If you’re looking for stereotypical portrayals of Asians in films, then stick to your trashy films. This festival is not for you.