7th annual Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) will run from November 1 – 11, 2021

By Oliver Carnay

Chloe Zhao’s “Eternals” opens the filmfest and South Korea’s official submission to Oscars “Escape from Mogadishu” will serve as the Closing Night film .. for festival line-up, please go to https://asianworldfilmfest.org/2021-festival-line-up

The seventh annual Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) will take place in downtown Culver City/West LA from November 1 to 11, 2021, it was announced today.

The AWFF will host an opening night gala ceremony and closing night gala awards ceremony with films to be screened on both occasions.

In addition to the usual Oscar® submissions from Asia for Best International Feature Film and screening the very best of recent and classic Asian films, the festival will open its “Window to the African Continent” with a selection of films from Africa. The Festival will also be presenting African Regal Day, an event showcasing the diverse and rich culture and creativity of Africa, including dance, music, food, fashion and art.

A number of new programs and initiatives are also planned, including Vietnam Film Days, in collaboration with CBN 14.5 News, Tina He’s Los Angeles Asian Arts Show and the Asia Society’s Singapore Film Day. 

Festival Executive Director Georges N. Chamchoum said, “Seven years strong, and Number 7 has always been my lucky number, so in many ways I am hoping that this 7th Edition will be the lucky strike for AWFF which will continue for many years to come. My biggest thrill is the return to the sanctuary of the cinemas and the glitter of the silver screen – to be able to experience, once again, that wonderful feeling of security and comfort. Let adventure, romance, suspense, discovery, and magic take flight! Welcome back to Cinema! Welcome back to AWFF!”

Newly designed Snow Leopard trophies, created by master sculptor Sir Daniel Winn, will be presented for Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress, along with special Jury, Audience and Distinction Awards. Honorees for Lifetime Achievement, Outstanding Cinematic Achievement, Rising Star, Courage to Dream and Humanitarian Awards will be announced shortly.

This year AWFF is announcing, in association with the Bruce Lee Foundation, a new martial arts award, the Bruce Lee Award, in honor of the legendary actor. The award will be presented each year to an individual (eg. actor, stunt person, fight choreographer), who has demonstrated excellence within the martial arts industry.

In addition to screenings, awards and special events, a series of expert panels will take place, including, for the first time, a panel examining the role of musical composers in film and a panel in collaboration with the 42nd American Film Market (AFM).

For the third year running, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will be presenting a $5,000 Scholarship Award to a new short filmmaker. This year, to mark the Festival’s inclusion of the best of African films, the shortlisted selection of films will be chosen from, not only the Asian Continent, but also the African Continent.

With the Arclight Cinema, Culver City being temporarily closed, all Festival screenings and the Opening Night Gala Ceremony will be held at the Landmark Cinema, W. Pico Blvd, West Los Angeles. Shuttle buses will run between the Culver Hotel and Landmark Cinema throughout the day and evening. The Closing Night Gala Awards Ceremony and Film will be held at the Saban Theatre on Wilshire Blvd, whilst the iconic Culver Hotel will continue to be the base for the Filmmakers Lounge, VIP Room, Press Office and many receptions and special events.

The Festival’s Presenting Partners this year include Dr. Michael Dao and Dr. Linh Bui, (DAO MEDICAL GROUP, Orange County), One Heart Movement (Raghu Kilambi and Krista Kleiner) and Winn Slavin Fine Arts in Beverly Hills. One of the Feature Films screened during the Festival will also receive a special $10,000 prize, donated by Dr. Michael Dao and Dr. Linh Bui.

Georges N. Chamchoum noted that after many months of separation and distancing from loved ones during the pandemic, the festival’s theme this year is Unity.

“We believe this should be at the very heart and core of being, enabling everyone to achieve their full potential through love, tolerance, support, creativity and passion,” he said.

Sponsors and Partners of the Festival include Aitysh Film, Snow Leopard Trust, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Asia Society, Asia Group Plus Holdings, Dutcher Crossing Winery, CBN 14.5, Variety, AKIpress, Art Confidential Magazine, Korean Cultural Centre, LA, SPRK Music, Prodocbus, Saprklight, Moredii, Novartizan, Asiania, AiKhun Entertainment, Fifth Atrium, DeJong Film, Beirut Film Society, Jackson’s Market, L’Amai, Emporium Thai, Kitchen 51, Iron Teapot, and Gaby’s Mediterranean LA.

The Asian World Film Festival (AWFF), founded by Kyrgyz public figure Sadyk Sher-Niyaz, brings the very best of a broad selection of Asian World cinema to Los Angeles to draw greater recognition to the region’s wealth of filmmakers and strengthen ties between the Asian and Hollywood film industries. Uniting through cross-cultural collaboration, the Festival champions films from over 50 countries across Asia, spanning from Turkey to Japan and from Russia to India and South-East Asia. The Festival is unique in that it predominantly screens Oscar and Golden Globe submissions for Best International Feature Film and Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language respectively. All films that participate in the Festival will have a unique chance to be guided through the challenging awards season and showcased to members of the Motion Picture Academy, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and all Guilds for enhanced exposure, media attention and awards consideration. AWFF is a non-profit organization under Aitysh USA.