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Asian Pop-Up Cinema 2016 Season Three (September 17th thru December 4th)

September 12, 2016



The lineup for the 3rd Season of Asian Pop-Up Cinema, the Contemporary Asian Film Festival here in Chicago, has been announced and they are some of the films are some of the best from their respective countries. In fact, I listed one of them as my favorite film of 2016 (so far) back in June. Running from September 17 to December 4th, 2016, this season features 12 award-winning films and 9 Chicago premieres. There will be Q&A sessions with visiting directors following many of the screenings, moderated by “Cinema Slapdown” host, Ron Falzone. Below you will find the press release for the festival and a full schedule. 

Film has the power to bridge cultural divides. With that goal in mind, the third season of Asian Pop-Up Cinema showcases a wide range of movies designed to connect moviegoers and broaden understanding of Asian culture. Audiences will enjoy meticulously selected films rarely shown in American theaters and meet three Directors coming to Chicago with their films: South Korea’s Lee Ho-jae (“Sori: Voice from the Heart”), Japan’s Yuki Tanada (“Round Trip Heart”) and Hong Kong’s Steve Chan Chi-fat (“Weeds on Fire”).

From a heart-warming sci-fi drama to a Cannes Film Festival honored martial arts masterpiece, this season’s lineup includes films from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan and Tibet.

“Since our inauguration in the fall of 2015, Asian Pop-Up Cinema has presented two North American premieres, twelve Chicago premieres and a total of eighteen contemporary Asian titles. Films from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam and five prominent filmmakers were presented at the Season I & II.  We are pleased to expand the horizon by adding films from the Philippines, Indonesia and Tibet in Season III, ” says Festival Founder and Executive Director, Sophia Wong Boccio.

Twelve films will be shown in their original languages with English subtitles followed by Q & A sessions.  Ten ticketed screenings take place at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St., Chicago, or at the Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette.  Two non-ticketed screenings are to be presented at partnership venues in the loop.








directed by: Lee Ho-Jae
South Korea | 2016 | 117 min | DCP| Korean w/subtitles
starring: Lee Sung-min, Lee Hee-joon and Lee Honey.

With the help of an artificial intelligence robot, a grief-stricken father (veteran actor Lee Sung-min) sets out to find his missing daughter. Sori: Voice from the Heart is a surprise-filled “R2-D2 Drama” that won the 2016 Audience Choice Award at the Udine Far East Film Festival.  Director Lee Ho-jae will be in attendance to share his thoughts on the making of the movie that according to the director is a drama first before being a Sci-Fi!

Saturday, September 17, 1:30 PM at Wilmette Theatre (followed by an afternoon tea party at the lobby of the theatre). Suitable for all ages.




directed by:  Steve Chan Chi-fat
starring:  Liu Kai-chi, Lam Yiu-sing, Tony Wu and Hedwig Tam
Hong Kong | 2016 | 92 min | DCP | Cantonese w/subtitles

An energetic picture inspired by the true 1980’s story of the city’s first Chinese youth baseball team.  The film is also the first finished work to come out of the government-run First Feature Film Initiative created to nurture new generation of film-makers.  First time feature director Steve Chan Chi-fat will participate in a question and answer session after the screening.
Presented in association with Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in New York under the HONG KONG, WE REMEMBER special segment featuring Hong Kong made films that are noteworthy for their Hong Kong historical and cultural references.

Wednesday, September 21, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21. Suitable for all ages.






directed by: Ralston Jover
Philippines | 2015 | 92 min | DCP | Tagalog w/subtitles.
starring: Teri Malvar, Zaijan Jaranilla, Samuel Quintana ad Bon Lentejas

Unexpected events in their daily routine of crime and survival in the busy streets of Manila lead to dramatic changes for a gang of street kids.  Performed by the talented young cast with Teri Malvar (15-yr old) winning the Best Actress Award at the Moscow International Film Festival 2016, “the film lays bare the sad reality of an ill-ridden society but also offers some hope for the future”.  The Director also won the Russian Film Critics’ Jury for the Best Film award.

Sunday, September 25, 2:00 PM @ Wilmette Theatre






directed by: Benny Lau
Hong Kong | 2015 | 96 min | Blu-ray | Cantonese w/subtitles
starring: Wong Yau-nam, Karena Ng, Prudence Lau, Pai Piao, and Gigi Leung Wing-kei

“Wong Ka Yan” tells the story of an overgrown kid lives on the outlying island of Peng Chau in 1992. Chan Chun-yin falls in love with a movie ticket seller after getting trapped inside the cinema.  When he returns to find the girl has quit her job, he sets off on a quest to find her, despite the odds given her very common name.  Shot with washed-out color showing Ping Chau as this relaxing rural atmosphere, the film transmits a sense of old-timey charm and innocence that is universal.

A second feature presented under HONG KONG, WE REMEMBER segment courtesy of Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office, New York.  (Required RSVP 1 week before screening via

Friday, September 30, 7:30 PM @ Studio A of Joffrey Tower at 10 E Randolph Street






directed by:  Zhang Yang
China | 2015 | 115 min | DCP | Tibetan w/subtitles
starring:  non-professional village people

Shot over a period of a year with no script, critically acclaimed “Path of The Soul” follows 11 friends, neighbors and relatives on a soul-searching pilgrimage to Lhasa and the sacred Kang’s Mountain.  The film was rated 4th favorite by the audiences of 2016 Rotterdam International Film Festival audience – a film that upends the traditions of documentary that Asian Pop-Up Cinema is proud to showcase it on the big screen again.

Wednesday, October 5, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21






directed by:  Motohiro Katsuyuki
Japan | 2015 | 119 min | DCP | Japanese w/subtitles.
starring:  Momota Kanako, Tamai Shiori, Sasaki Ayaka, Ariyasu Momoka, Takagi Reni and Kuroki Haru

“When The Curtain Rises” focuses on the process of putting on a theatrical play by a high school drama club in a provincial town, following the growth of its actors both on stage and personally.  The five young leading actors, are members of the idol group Momoiro Clover Z, and their learning curve as actors overlaps with that of their characters in the film.  Only 24 at time of filming who plays the new coach, Kuroki Haru, has already amassed an impressive list of acting honors including the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear for Best Actress Award in 2014.

Sunday, October 9, 2:00 PM at Wilmette Theatre. Suitable for all ages.






directed by:  Eddie Cahyono
Indonesia | 2014 | 88 min | Blu-ray | B&W | Javanese/Indonesian w/subtitles.
starring:  Sekar Sari, Delia Nuswantoro and Chelsy Bettido

“Siti” tells the story of a beautiful young woman caring for her paralyzed husband, her son and her mother-in-law, by selling snacks at the beach for tourists and selling herself at an illegal karaoke bar in the evenings.  Her life is further complicated when a policeman falls in love with her.

(Thanks to DCASE of Chicago, this screening is FREE to the public.  Required RSVP 1 week before screening via email:

Wednesday, October 12, 7:00 PM @ Claudia Cassidy Theatre at Chicago Cultural Center






directed by:  Na Hong-jin
South Korea | 2016 | 156 min | Blu-ray | Korean w/subtitles
starring:  Hwang Jung-min, Kwak Do-won, Kim Hwan-hee, and Kunimura Jun

In this tense supernatural thriller, locals become suspicious after a foreigner mysteriously appears in a quiet rural village.  Suspicion turns to hysteria and investigators look to a shaman for clues after a series of brutal killing sprees. “The Wailing” smashed box office records when it debuted in South Korea and many audience members saw the film several times searching for new clues in this highly talked-about ending.

Sunday, October 30, 1:30 PM @ Wilmette Theatre






directed by:  Chen Jian-bin
China | 2014 | 105 min | DCP | Mandarin w/subtitles
starring:  Chen Jian-bin, Wang Xue-bing and Jin Shi-jia

Well-known Chinese actor, Chen Jian-bin makes his directorial debut in this film about a goat farmer finding the real family of a mentally handicapped young man who follows him home one day.  A Foolearned Chen Best Actor and Best New Director prizes at the 2014 Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan, but the real-life arrest of one of the supporting actors delayed the release, adding an ironic twist to the movie’s message about morality.

Wednesday, November 9, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21






directed by:  Satoko Yokohama
Japan | 2016 | 123 min | DCP | Japanese w/subtitles
starring:  Ken Yasuda, Kumiko Aso, Shohei Uno, Hirohumi Arai

“The Actor” follows a “bits parts” actor, played by Ken Yasuda, best known for TEAM NACS (a group of 5 actors) and many voice performances as in award-winning animation Spirited Away, who finally gets a break with a big role by an internationally known director – a basic plot that may sound familiar yet with the inspired performances and the romantic subplot, director Yokohama’s take is anything but conventional.

Sunday, November 13, 2:00 PM @ Wilmette Theatre




directed by:  Hou Hsiao-hsien
Taiwan | 2015 | 104 min | Blu-ray | Mandarin w/subtitles
starring:  Shu Qi, Chang Chen, Zhou Yun and Tsumabuki Satoshi

Back with his first film in 8 years, Hou Hsiao-hsien wows the film world with an awe-inspiring take on the traditional martial arts film.  In 2015, “The Assassin” garnered top awards at all major film festivals in Asia, and won the prestigious Best Director Award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.  Asian Pop-Up Cinema is proud to present “The Assassin” on the anniversary of its debut North American release.

Wednesday, November 30, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21






directed by:  Yuki Tanada, who will be in attendance for Intro and Q & A.
Japan | 2015 | 97 min | DCP | Japanese w/subtitles
starring:  Oshima Yuko and Okura Koji

This romantic comedy follows a woman who sells food and drinks on a train push cart ends up touring a mountain resort with a failed movie producer who tried to steal from her cart.  Aside from The Actor, Round Trip Heart is the second Japanese film made by a female filmmaker presented in this season.

Sunday, December 4, 4:00 PM @ Wilmette Theatre followed by Closing Night Reception.




TICKETS for the individual screenings and post-film Q & A sessions are $7 to $25 each with special discounts for students, seniors and group of 10 + available.  Tickets are on sale now. Tickets are available at the door one hour prior to the actual screening at the specific venue.  All programs are subject to change.  All tickets sales are final, non-exchangeable and non-refundable.  More info:


Asian Pop-Up Cinema, a semi-annual Asian Film Festival, is the brain child of Sophia Wong Boccio, founder of SOPHIA’S CHOICE, a one-year old Chicago-based 501 C (3) not-for-profit with the mission of cultivating interest in Asian culture through film; connecting individuals in the film industry for professional and educational exchanges; and promoting Chicago as a premiere destination for Asian filmmakers.  More info:


The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York is the office of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Regional Government tasked to promote business and cultural links between Hong Kong and the 31 eastern states of the U.S.A.  As the world’s freest economy, Hong Kong is a leading international business and financial center, as well as a regional transportation and logistics hub.  It is the gateway to China and remains a choice location for international companies to oversee and manage their regional operations.  Based in New York, the Office comprises an InvestHK team that provides free consultancy services to American businesses interested in establishing a presence in Hong Kong.  Follow them on Facebook: “Hong Kong Meets America.”  More info:






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