From Beauty Queen to Bunny Man: Our picks for the 2018 Vancouver Asian Film Festival

Not sure what to watch at #VAFF? Here’s what we’re excited about at the November festival in Vancouver.

Following the success of Asian representation in film this year, you might find yourself asking, “What now?” Well, there’s more!

Taking place from November 1 to 4, the 22nd Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) is featuring the theme of “INFUSIAN”, which highlights the complexity and uniqueness of the Canadian multicultural landscape. This year’s lineup — where 50% of the directors are female — will feature 35 films, 13 film programs, 4 parties, and 2 industry panels. All the screenings will be shown at the Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas.  

Want to attend this year, but don’t know where to start? We have some suggestions for you. Check out our picks for this year’s VAFF below and don’t forget to grab some popcorn, and a friend or two.


Photo: Eyes On Canada

When an interview with Marie Claire titled her “The Badass Beauty Queen”, they weren’t kidding. This documentary — produced by award-winning director Theresa Kowall-Shipp — features the story of Anastasia Lin; a Chinese-Canadian actress and 2015 Miss World contestant who strived to use her platform for more than just for herself. The film brings to light the many issues that oppress freedom and human rights in China and why we as North American Asian Millennials should care.  

SCREENING: Saturday, November 3 – 3:00 p.m.
LENGTH: 65 minutes


Photo: YouTube

This unconventional film stars Emmy-nominated actress Michelle Ang as a hip, young women whose life falls apart due to substance abuse, but the trajectory of her life changes when she makes an unlikely friend. The film explores identity and purpose; all the while dipping its toes into lives of Asians that identify with minority groups such as the LGBTQ+ community and those with mental disabilities. It paints a vivid picture of what living in a stigmatized society means.

SCREENING: Sunday, November 4 – 7:30 p.m.
LENGTH: 84 minutes 


Photo: VAFF

Directed by power couple Mayumi Yoshida and Nach Dudsdeemaytha, this short film is about the encounter of two heart-broken strangers in Japan and their friendship, which becomes a lifeline in the chaos.

In a Cold Tea Collective interview with Dudsdeemaytha, the co-director talks about how personal the storyline is to Yoshida and himself, and how the protagonists of the film reflect their personal experience: “We shot in Japan, but we made it very clear that our main character is Canadian. We wrote it from our viewpoints of what it’s like to grow up in Canada, what it’s like to have a relationship in Japan, what the culture of love is like there, and those are all thematics that are explored in our film.”  

SCREENING: Sunday, November 4 – 3:00 p.m.
LENGTH: 19 minutes


Photo: Ulam The Movie

Think you’re a real foodie? “ULAM: Main Dish” is a documentary that follows Filipino-American filmmaker, Alexander Cuerdo, as he explores the rise of Filipino cuisine in America. In his journey across the country, he discovers that the culinary arts movement is so much more than just cultural iconic dishes and traditional culinary techniques; it represents the acceptance and acknowledgement of Filipino culture. 

VAFF perks alert: Following the screening, don’t miss out on the afterparty at Bao Down in Olympic Village to join in the celebration of Filipino culture! 

SCREENING: Saturday, November 3 – 7:00 p.m.
LENGTH: 80 minutes


Photo: VAFF

As part of VAFF’s Canadian Short series, this award-winning short film is directed by Athena Han — a showcasing of the festival’s commitment to highlighting our talented Asian-Canadian filmmakers. A shoutout to Han was given by VAFF’s festival director, Lynne Lee: “It’s a beautiful film featuring a group of Taiwanese Canadians, discussing the concept of new immigrants and local Canadians and identity; how things unfold and turn a little bit weird when someone dressed as a bunny enters the restaurant.”  

SCREENING: Sunday, November 4 – 3:00 p.m.
LENGTH: 8 minutes

For more information about the Vancouver Asian Film Festival, including screen times and tickets, head to vaff.orgCONTEST: To win a pair of tickets to attend VAFF, visit our Facebook and Instagram page to learn how you can enter.

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People chatting at the Making It documentary screening.

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