Fest a Go Go: San Fran, Dallas, NY, Toronto, San Diego

Festivals are breaking out all over the place.

sfaff05.jpgThe venerable yet sadly endangered San Francisco Asian concludes another marvelous festival this weekend. Screenings Friday (8/19) include ONE NIGHT IN MONGKOK and ARAHAN; Sunday features RICE RHAPSODY, THE BIG SWINDLE, and closer MUGHAL-E-AZRAM.

affd05.jpgDallas is where I was first exposed to the joy and heartbreak of festivals, and they are bigger and better than ever this year, kicking off tonight (8/18) with 20:30:40 and presenting a terrific program through August 26. Tomorrow (8/19) you could see DAYS OF BEING WILD, MEN SUDDENLY IN BLACK, and GOZU; Saturday features UNTOLD SCANDAL and KAMIKAZE GIRLS; Sunday highlights include GODZILLA: FINAL WARS and INFERNAL AFFAIRS I and II. (‘Scuse me while I drool.) Complete details at their fab web site.

tiff05.gifToronto is Catholic in their tastes, showing just about everything of interest that’s been recently completed. So just because a film is there is no guarantee of quality but, dang, they do have about everything of interest! The main web site address is here, but until the complete schedule is posted you need to go to their on-line Media Centre and click through the press releases. The festival starts in about three weeks; actual dates are September 8-17.

Much smaller and positioning itself as picking the cream of the crop, the New York Film Festival generally seems quite conservative and predictable. (Check out the number of films already set for distribution with New York City-based companies — it’s a dance, you see, and even Lincoln Center must shake its hips.) The biggest surprise for me was learning that THE PRESIDENT’S LAST BANG has secured US distribution with specialty shop Kino International, which means it might get out in a limited run before the end of the year. (No news on their web site yet, but these folks have been ahead of the curve on Korean cinema for several years.) Among the other Asian titles screening, SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE was picked up by Tartan USA, which has announced a February 3, 2006 release date (per Bloody-Disgusting.com, as noted at Twitch). The festival runs September 23-October 9.

sdaff05.jpgLast but certainly not least, the San Diego Asian Film Festival unveiled its line-up. A friend says it’s a superbly-run fest staffed by devoted volunteers, so it deserves your support. Not to mention the films, which include CRYING FIST and A WORLD WITHOUT THIEVES, as well as a huge mess of short films and music videos. Check it out from September 29-October 5.

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