The First Asian World Film Festival AWFF


The festival was created by “Heavenly Nomadic” producer Sadyk Sher-Niyaz  to bring a broad selection of Asian world cinema to Los Angeles, drawing greater recognition to the region’s filmmakers and strengthening ties between the Asian and Hollywood film industries.

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz is the Chairman of the Union of Filmmakers of Kyrgyzstan, the founder of the Aitysh Public Fund, and one of the founders of the Ak Ilbers Film Awards. In 2011 he founded the International Film Festival ‘Kyrgyzstan – Land of Short Films’,  held every December in the capital of Bishkek. His directorial debut film ‘Kurmanjan Datka Queen of the Mountains’, was Kyrgyzstan’s 2015  official Oscar submission.

The festival, which takes place October 26 – November 2, 2015, features select foreign language films from the 50 eligible countries in the Asian World region, including films that have been officially submitted as their country’s Oscar and Golden Globe considerations. Films will screen at ArcLight Cinemas in downtown Culver City and the luxury iPic Theaters in Westwood.

AWFF will open with a red carpet awards gala on Monday, October 26, recognizing celebrities and well-known foreign talent and filmmakers who have been major contributors throughout the Asian World film community, followed by seven days of films at ArcLight Cinemas in downtown Culver City and the luxury iPic Theaters in Westwood.

Throughout the week there will also be expert panels on subjects like film financing, distribution,  PR, marketing and awards campaigns, editing for a global audience and more to be announced. AWFF will close with a cocktail party, closing night film and festival awards presentation featuring top prizes for Best Film, Jury Selection and Audience awards.

This years jury members are Jury President Mario Kassar, Igor Kokarev, Bobby Moresco, Yoko Narahashi, Ruby Yang, Phillip Rhee.

FIX include TheWrap’s Awards Special Screening Series and full page ads in the Foreign Film and OscarWrap issues.

“We want our festival to be the voice of the voiceless cinema that comes from the far corners of the World like Yakutia, Buryatia, Tuva, most of Central Asia & the Middle East and so many others,”  Executive Director Georges Chamchoum said in statement.

Georges Chamchoum, Emmy and multiple award-winning Lebanese Director, Producer, Film Festival Organizer, was born in Niger, West Africa. Director and Producer of over 35 international features, his award-winning films have been featured at various international film festivals. Chamchoum was the Executive and Program Director of the Monaco Charity Film Festival, and served as Executive Board Member on various Film Festivals.

“On average, 23 countries from the eligible 50 countries submit for awards consideration and the Asian World Film Festival provides a much-needed platform,” festival artistic director Ken Hanada said. “We are delighted to present the work of passionate, often unknown, filmmakers and are proud to help expand the reach and influence of their vision.”

South Korea’s “The Shameless” will officially open the event on October 26th. “The Shameless”, which made its world premiere at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, received a nomination in the Un Certain Regard Award category, and will screen following the Opening Night Red Carpet Awards Gala on Monday, October 26 at the ArcLight Cinemas in Culver City.

Written and directed by Oh Seung-uk, “The Shameless” follows homicide detective Jung, who in order to capture a mob enforcer, befriends his girlfriend, Hye-kyung, only to fall in love with her, and stars Jeon Do-yeon, Kim Nam-gil, Park Sung-woong. At the Shanghai International Film Festival, the film won the Golden Goblet Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement and was also nominated for Best Film.

Cannes Best Director Winner Hsiao-Hsien Hou’s “The Assassin” (Taiwan’s official Oscar submission) closed the festivalm on November 2nd. As an official selection in the main competition section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, The Assassin premiered to critical acclaim, winning in the Best Director category and also received a Palme d’Or nomination.

Directed by Hsiao-Hsien Hou, The Assassin is set in ninth century China where a 10-year-old general’s daughter, Nie Yinniang, is abducted by a nun who transforms her into an exceptional assassin. Years later, she is sent back to the land of her birth with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised. Nie Yinniang must now choose between the man she loves or the sacred way of the righteous assassins. The film garnered several nominations at the Golden Horse Film Festival, including Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Film.

AWFF’s Centerpiece film is  Shoojit Sircar’s  “Piku” playing on October 29 at 9:00.
Piku is a quirky comedy about the relationship between a father and his daughter, living in a cosmopolitan city, dealing with each other’s conflicting ideologies while being fully aware that they are each other’s only emotional support. Deepika Padukone plays Piku effortlessly and Amitabh Bachchan, who plays Baba, does what he does best. The movie had a strong opening in the box office and got very good reviews from critics.

Oscar-submitted Cambodian film “The Last Reel,” Iraq’s award-winning “Memories on Stone” and Turkey’s Jury Prize winner from the 2014 Venice Film Festival “Sivas” lead the competition entries in the first Asian World Film Festival (AWFF), the festival announced Tuesday.

Other films in competition include “12 Citizens” (China), “Moira” (Georgia), “Court” (India), “100 Yen Love” (Japan), “Talakjung vs Tulke” (Nepal), “The Wanted 18” (Palestine) and “How to Win at Checkers” (Thailand).

Special Screenings: “Let Pan “(Red Cotton Silk Flowers” from Myanmar. Hong Kong inspirational documentary “My Voice, My Life and “Thief Of The Mind (Mongolia)

Out Of Competition Film:
“Utopia” (Afghanistan) (Drama/War, directed by Hassan Nazer):
“Jalal’s Stor” (Bangladesh) (Drama, directed by Abu Shahed Emon); 
“The Last Reel” (Cambodia) (Drama, directed by Kulikar Sotho);  
“12 Citizens” (China, non Oscar®-submitted): (Drama, directed by XU Ang);
“Moira” (Georgia) (Social drama, directed by Levan Tutberidze);
“Court” (India) (Drama, directed by Chaitanya Tamhane):
“Memories on Stone” (Iraq) (Drama, directed by Shawkat Amin Korki);
“100 Yen Love” (Japan) (Romance, directed by Masaharu Take);
“Heavenly Nomadic” (Kyrgyzstan): (Drama, directed by Mirlan Abdykalykov);
“Void” (Lebanon) (Drama/Family/Post War, directed by Naji Bechara, Jad Beiruty, Zeina Makki, Tarek Korkomaz, Christelle Ighniades, Maria Abdel Karim and Salim Haber);
“Talakjung vs Tulke” (Nepal) (Genre: Drama/Thriller/War, directed by Nischal Basnet); 
“The Wanted 18” (Palestine): (Documentary/Animation, directed by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan) (Thailand) (Directed by Josh Kim):  
“Sivas”(Turkey) (Drama, directed by Kaan Müjdeci); “Jackpot” (Vietnam): (Comedy/Drama, directed by Dustin Nguyen);
“Unsolved Love” (Yakutia, Sakha Republic, non Oscar®-submitted) (Directed by Mikhail Lukachevskyi).

The U.S. film premieres include “Utopia” (Afghanistan), “Jalal’s Story” (Bangladesh), “Moira” (Georgia), “Heavenly Nomadic” (Kyrgyzstan), “Void” (Lebanon) and “Jackpot” (Vietnam). The screening for “Unsolved Love” (Yakutia, Sakha Republic) will mark its North American premiere.

CRITICS NOTE: Don’t miss Palestinian directors Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan thoughtful semi-animated Doc “The Wanted 18”-the story of 18 dairy cows declared a threat to the security of the state of Israel:  India’s Oscar submission Chaitanya Tamhane’s sly social satire “Court” (Winner of top prizes at the Venice and Mumbai film festivals), :Jordan’s beautiful entry Naji Abu Nowar’s “Theeb”- a Boys Own Adventure, and special screening “Thief Of the Mind”. Janchivdorjiin Sengedorj’s drama about an investigative journalist swept the 2012 Mongolian Academy Awards.

Tues Oct 27-11am – 12:30pm
Film Financing & Distribution

Wed Oct 28 -11am – 12:30pm
Cross Cultural Collaborations EXPERT PANEL

Thur Oct 29 – 11am – 12:30pm
PR, Marketing & Awards Campaigns EXPERT PANEL

All panels at Filmmaker Lounge
The Culver Hotel  9400 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
(Open to all Festival Pass Holders, Media and Special Invited Guests)

The Asian World Film Festival highlights foreign language films that have been officially submitted to the Academy as their country’s Oscar® hopeful and those submitted as a Golden Globe hopeful to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). The films will screen at the ArcLight Cinema in downtown Culver City and at the luxury iPic Theater in Westwood.  The Festival will begin with a Red Carpet Awards Gala on Monday, October 26th at the Culver Hotel followed by the Opening Night Film at the ArcLight Cinema. Throughout the week there will also be Expert Panels on subjects like Film Financing, Distribution, PR, Marketing and Awards Campaigns, Editing for a global audience and more TBA.  The Festival will also host many sponsored networking events, cocktail parties and Late Night Social Hours.

For more information or to buy Festival passes and tickets please go to

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About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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