Menene Gras Balaguer

Director for Culture and Exhibitions
and director of the Asian Film Festival. Barcelona

From the 28th of October to the 8th of November

In Cinemes Girona, CaixaForum Barcelona, Filmoteca de Catalunya i FILMIN

The new edition of the Asian Film Festival Barcelona | AFFBCN will have an extensive programme of cinema, meetings, conferences and seminars with the intention of contributing to the knowledge of cinematographies which are not usually present in the commercial circuits. As with the preceding editions, we will include around 100 feature films proceeding from a vast territorial extension that goes from Central Asia to South-East Asia and from there to the Asia – Pacific region. Through which we can explore productions of more than twenty-five countries, from Iran and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and the Asia – Pacific with Australia and New Zealand. Understanding that every landscape is culturally mediated, diversity is a challenge for the spectators, who are offered the tools are offered to discover what cinema from each of these aforementioned countries provides us. The more than a hundred films that will be presented this year, have been produced between 2018 and 2020 and will be distributed over the following sections: Official, Official Panorama, Discoveries, NETPAC and Special, all of which fall under competition. It is about the auteur films, where drama predominates as the quintessential genre that characterises this festival.

This year we celebrate the 8th edition reaching worlds far apart from ours, through the images that help us discover cultures in which we look and try to identify ourselves with others or with ourselves. The festival covers a large spread under the concept of a global Asia, and therefore the geography plays a leading role. It is obvious that it is not only a matter of mapping cultural identities but of seeing how, using a relational methodology, the borders that separate some territories from others can be crossed. On understanding that the political, human and social geography that overlap amongst themselves, the cinema can offer us a journey of discovery. The landscape, like the territory, is anchored in physical, national and personal identities. Any transformation of the landscape has an impact on the identity territory and the human groups that occupy it. This indicates that the subject receives the feeling of the place, understood as a mark in the semantic-spacial that turns towards him. The logic of the place has therefore in this festival a centrality in which the individual and the community are inserted.

Without referring to the interest of the most established cinematographies like those coming from countries having a huge industry and a strong market as in the case of Iran, India, China, Japan and Korea, the festival seeks to target independent and experimental cinema of other countries, whose growth in this sphere must also be taken into account for its increasingly solid contributions. In this sense, it can be seen that the majority of the ASEAN countries each year put more weight on the programme. In this edition, we will present the film project  “Mekong 2030”, proving the interest that the Mekong continues to arouse in the places that it crosses and its significance. In its journey of 4880kms, the river passes through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, and has lived through all the conflicts that historically have taken place in the region since the second half of the 20th Century. The axis of the river serves as the backbone of the film production recently made in this part of the world and in the neighbouring countries.

This year the festival adapts to the exceptional situation of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) health crisis. The contents of the programme of the festival will be presented in an online and on-site, namely, Cinemes Girona (Barcelona) will continue to be the principal venue of the Festival, along with CaixaForum and Filmoteca de Catalunya, wherein a retrospective of the Japanese director Kinuyo Tanaka will be held thanks to the Japan Foundation. Moreover, we will expand the festival incorporating a part of the program on-line, on the FILMIN Platform, where, in the month of July 2020 we inaugurated the Channel CASA ASIA.

Hashtag: #AFFBCN