F I L M  S E C T I O N

Colorado Dragon Boat Film Festival

Two of Colorado’s leading nonprofits, Denver Film & Dragon 5280, have partnered to showcase the best in contemporary Asian and Asian American cinema.

Film Selections

Ascension

In-person • usa • Dir. Jessica Kingdon

Ascension examines the contemporary "Chinese Dream" through staggering observations of labor, consumerism and wealth. In cinematically exploring the aspiration that drives today's People's Republic of China, this impressionistic portrait plunges into universal paradoxes of economic progress.

Come Back Anytime

In-person & VIRTUAL • japan • Dir. John Daschbach

Self-taught ramen master Masamoto Ueda and his wife Kazuko have run their Tokyo ramen shop, Bizentei for more than 40 years. Acknowledging that nothing lasts forever, a special community of friends resolves to make the best of what time remains — to truly appreciate this special place and this uniquely delicious and soul-nourishing food.

Dark Red Forest

In-person • china • Dir. Jin Huaqing

A work of visual awe and matter-of-fact spiritual inquiry, Dark Red Forest details the annual retreat of thousands of Tibetan nuns to small wooden houses on the vast Tibetan Plateau. With extraordinary intimacy, the camera nestles in with the women of the Yarchen Monastery devoted to their faith.

Drive My Car

In-person • japan • Dir. Ryūsuke Hamaguchi

Yusuke Kafuku, a stage actor and director is happily married to Oto, a screenwriter. However, Oto suddenly dies after leaving behind a secret. Two years later, Kafuku meets a reticent woman. As they spend time together, Kafuku confronts the mystery of his wife that quietly haunts him.

In Front of Your Face

In-person • south korea • Dir. Hong Sangsoo

She manages her daily life with a sense of mindfulness while keeping a grave secret to herself, and she decides to meet with a younger director who asked her to join his project, and after they meet there is sudden rainfall and thunder.

Karmalink

In-person & VIRTUAL • cambodia, usa • Dir. Jake Wachtel

In near-future Phnom Penh, a teenage boy teams up with a street-smart girl from his neighborhood to untangle the mystery of his past-life dreams. What begins as a hunt for a Buddhist treasure soon leads to greater discoveries that will either end in digital enlightenment or a total loss of identity.

Streetwise

In-person • china • Dir. Na Jiazuo

Dongzi, a small-town youth, becomes debt-collector Xi Jun’s henchman in an attempt to pay off his sick father’s hospital bills. A cold and estranged parent-child relationship, an unsettling life on the streets, and an ambiguous relationship with a young woman; in Dongzi’s shoes, this is what it is like to be twenty-one.

The Forbidden Reel

In-person • Canada • Dir. Ariel Nasr

Driven to create amidst war and chaos, Afghan filmmakers gave birth to an extraordinary national cinema. Driven to destroy, Taliban extremists set out to torch that legacy. Marvelling in the beauty and fragile power of movies, Afghan-Canadian director Ariel Nasr crafts a thrilling and utterly original story of modern Afghanistan.

Try Harder!

In-person & VIRTUAL • usa • Dir. Debbie Lum

At Lowell High School, the top public high school in San Francisco, the seniors are stressed out. As they prepare for the emotionally draining college application process, students are keenly aware of the intense competition for the few open spots in their dream colleges. With humor and heart, director Debbie Lum takes us to the reality of the American college application process and the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity as experienced by high school seniors living through it.

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