With another week before we announce our full festival lineup, Reel Asian is excited to offer you a glimpse of what’s to come. In addition to Reel Asian opening and closing our 22nd festival with two powerhouse films, we will be introducing our first keynote event.
Opening Night Gala: DEAR EX 誰先愛上他的, Nov 8 (Canadian Premiere) Directors: Mag Hsu, Chih-Yen Hsu
Adolescent Song Chengxi (Joseph Huang) loses his father Song Zhengyuan (Spark Chen) to cancer, but instead of having time to mourn, Chengxi finds himself caught in a feud between his widowed mother Liu Sanlian (Hsieh Ying-xuan) and his father’s gay lover Jay (Roy Chiu). As Liu fights Jay for Song’s insurance money, Chengxi gradually learns that what holds both Liu and Jay back is not the money, but the weight of the loving memories they each have with his father. Conservative groups continue to voice opposition in advance of same-sex marriage becoming legal in Taiwan in May of 2019, serving as a timely reminder of the social and human impact that results from the lack of acceptance for LGBTQ rights.
Dear Ex was recently nominated for eight Golden Horse Awards, honouring the best in Chinese-language cinema, including Best Feature Film, Best Leading Actor (Roy Chiu), Best Leading Actress (Hsieh Ying-Xuan), Best New Performer (Joseph Huang), and Best New Director (Mag Hsu, Chih-Yen Hsu). Co-director Mag Hsu, and star Roy Chiu are expected to be in attendance for a Q&A.
Keynote Event: HARI KONDABOLU (November 10)
This year, Reel Asian is launching our first festival keynote speaker with American comedian, writer, and podcaster, Hari Kondabolu. The evening is a celebration of Asians in the film industry where Kondabolu will reflect on his personal experiences and speak to the ongoing need for diverse Asian representations in the media. He has been described by The New York Times as “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today.” In 2017, he released his critically acclaimed documentary The Problem with Apu on truTV and in 2018, Netflix released his special Warn Your Relatives, and he was named one of Variety’s Top 10 Comics To Watch. Most recently, Kondabolu was named GQ India’s Comedian of the Year.
Closing Night Gala: WISH YOU WERE HERE 在乎你, Nov 16 (North American Premiere) Director: Kenneth Bi
On the eve of her latest fashion showcase in Beijing, successful entrepreneur Yuan Yuan (Faye Yu) is approached by Keiko (Ayane Kinoshita), a mysterious young Japanese woman. An admirer of Yuan Yuan’s career, Keiko has learned Mandarin and fashion design for a chance to speak with her idol. As Yuan Yuan takes Keiko under her wing, long suppressed memories begin to surface of her time in Hokkaido and the husband she’d left behind. Yuan Yuan finally builds up the courage to visit the small town she left behind more than 20 years ago in order to confront her past decisions and face her deepest fears in this journey of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Wish You Were Here marks Kenneth Bi’s return to Reel Asian, having previously opened the festival with his feature, The Drummer, in 2008. Director Kenneth Bi is expected to be in attendance for a Q&A.
The full festival programme will be announced on October 11, 2018.