The ASEAN Women's Circle will be presenting Washington, DC's first ever ASEAN Film Festival from September 5-14. Image: ASEAN Women's Circle.

Film Festivals Bring a Diverse Picture of Asia to Washington, DC


The ASEAN Women’s Circle (AWC) will be presenting its first ever ASEAN Film Festival in Washington, DC from September 5th to the 14th. The festival will highlight eight films from eight ASEAN countries—Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore—and will be screened at the festival’s sponsors’ venues, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), American University (AU), University of District of Columbia (UDC), and the Freer and Sackler Gallery. All films are free to attend, and ticketing information can be found online at the US-ASEAN Creative Project website. All eight films offer a unique cultural look into each country and promise to be a thought-provoking experience. Links to the trailers for all eight films can be found here.

In addition to the films, there will be two post-screening discussion sessions at the Freer and Sackler Gallery with the creators and writers of Jungle School and Monrak Transistor. The September 7th discussion will be attended by Gouri Mirpuri, president of AWC and co-writer of the Jungle School book, and Ro King, the book’s editor. The session on September 14th will feature a discussion with Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, director of Monrak Transistor.

Overlapping with the ASEAN festival, Washington DC’s Chinese Film Festival (DCCFF) kicks off its second biennial event. From September 4th through the 7th viewers will get a chance to experience 54 films from 8 different countries in a variety of film genres. What is more, in partnership with the Smithsonian Freer and Sackler Gallery, the Goethe Institute and Landmark’s E Street Cinema, DC citizens and visitors can enjoy 20 screenings of officially selected films. This year’s festival marks the addition of panel discussions in addition to the movie screenings, including big names from the China Hollywood Society.

Following hot on the heels of the Chinese film festival is the 3rd annual South Asian Film Festival (DCSAFF), which runs from September 12th to the 14th. Located just outside the capital in Gaithersburg, MD, the festival will highlight more than 15 films. There is hope that these films, along with the presence of renowned filmmakers Prakash Jha and Nandita Das will bring in the same numbers of viewers as the previous two festivals; each previous festival attracted more than 3,000 people over the three day event.

Andy Nguyen is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a graduate student at Georgetown University. Sarah Batiuk is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington.