The East Winds Film Festival is back after a hiatus of a couple of years (the last one was in 2014). Words about the films was released before the event but I’m a bit late in covering it. It started on May 15th and ends on May 21st and the programme consists of some of the latest award winning titles from the Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea and other nations and regions. The only one I have seen all the way through is Tam Cam: The Untold Story which I reviewed for V-Cinema.
Anyway, here’s a press release from the organisers:
Coventry and Birmingham to Celebrate East Asian cinema at the East Winds Film Festival
19 FILMS. 11 EUROPEAN PREMIERES. 6 UK PREMIERES. 2 SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS. 7 COUNTRIES. 2 SPECIAL GUESTS. 2 VENUES. 2 MAJOR LOCATIONS.
The East Winds Film Festival returns with the best East Asia has to offer, introducing the UK to an eclectic mix of popular cinema from the region, from star-studded action smash hits, intriguing cyber thrillers and chilling found footage horrors, to slapstick comedies and endearing romantic films.
This year’s programme features productions from Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea, and will see a return of the East Winds Chills strand, highlighting a collection of horrors that are sure to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.
Festival Director Spencer Murphy commented: “After a break of a couple of years, we knew how important it was to come back bigger and better than before. For our fifth edition, we really wanted to expand our scope, not just in terms of the films, but in terms of the festival’s reach in the West Midlands. We are really delighted that we will be showcasing such a broad range of films and genres from across East Asia”.
“Whilst we have our usual mix of horror, comedies and action, a real highlight for me this year is the inclusion of Jerome Tarog’s outstanding ‘Bliss’ – a film which for me encapsulates what we try to achieve with our programming at the festival, a film that takes genre tropes and conventions, and pushes the boundaries of audience expectations. I’m also delighted we are showcasing the visual skills of Pedring Lopez with “Darkroom”, another venture for us into Philippines genre cinema”, he continued.
Special guests will be walking the red carpet and screenings will be held at the state of the art 3D cinema Square One at Coventry University’s The Hub, as well as The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen in Birmingham’s iconic Custard Factory.
The Opening Gala and Reception will officially kick off the 2017 festival with the UK Premiere of Alan Mak and Anthony Pun’s action-packed Chinese blockbuster ‘Extraordinary Mission‘, which follows an undercover police officer infiltrating a drug cartel only to be hit with a blast from the past.
Before this, audiences can warm up with Derek Yee’s martial arts extravaganza ‘Sword Master’, playing for the first time in the UK in spectacular 3D to tell the story of a powerful swordsman haunted by the destructive impact of his deadly talents.
The second day starts with the UK Premiere of the highly anticipated action fantasy film ‘Tam Cam: The Untold Story’ from Vietnam. Part of the East Winds Chills strand, the European Premiere of psychosexual Filipino thriller ‘Bliss’ will play in the evening, following the endless nightmare of a crippled actress trapped in a house filled with bizarre phenomena.
The first late night screening of the festival will see a special presentation of one of the most celebrated genre films to emerge from the Philippines in recent memory, Pedring Lopez’s ‘The Entity: Nilalang’.
Purporting to be the first film in the world to feature the controversial cyber currency, Ham Tram’s Ocean’s Eleven Vietnam style action thriller ‘Bitcoin Heist’ kicks things off on Wednesday; less a film and more of a calling card for the potential of contemporary Vietnamese cinema.
East Winds Chills takes over afterwards with the European Premieres of Thai horrors ‘Grace’ and ‘School Tales’, which will be introduced by rising star Latkamon Pinrojkirati and followed by exclusive audience Q&As where attendees can gain a behind the scenes look at the world of acting in Thailand.
Lightening things up the following day is Thai romantic comedy ‘A Gift’, playing for the first time in Europe and bringing to life three different love stories linked together through music by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
In the evening, another star will shine on the red carpet; Parkpoom Wongpoom arrives at the festival to introduce drama ‘Kitarajanipon’ as one of the four directors creating four beautiful short films who interpret four songs from His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej’s royal songbook. The European Premiere of the production will be followed by an audience Q&A, giving attendees the opportunity to gain an insight into filmmaking.
Heo Seo Hyeong will then take audiences in a different direction with the outrageously violent thriller ‘Collision’, in which characters are hacked at an alarming rate; a real treat for fans of South Korean revenge cinema.
Friday sees the last screenings in Coventry, starting with Thai romantic comedy ‘One Day’. From previous East Winds special guest Banjong Pisanthanakun, the film tells the story of a man whose wish to be with his dream girl comes true after she suffers temporary memory loss.
Featuring a stellar performance by former action star Kara Hui, The European Premiere of Hong Kong suspense thriller ‘The Mysterious Family’ follows in the evening, a dark and twisted film inspired by a series of true grisly events which took place in Fujian, China.
In East Winds spirit, the Closing Gala ends the 2017 edition on a wonderfully humorous note with the European Premiere of Taiwanese comedy ‘The Village of No Return’. Starring award-winning actress Shu Qi, the film shows a village that is turned upside down after a mysterious Taoist priest brings a magical device that can erase one’s memory.
The festival moves to The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen for the weekend, playing host to 3 horrors as part of East Winds Chills on Saturday. A special presentation of the classic and extremely popular Thai film ‘Phobia 2’ featuring 5 horror stories from 5 different directors sees Parkpoom Wongpoom in attendance once again to chat with Birmingham audiences.
In the evening, the Found Footage Horror Double Bill brings the European Premieres of ‘Darkroom’ from the Philippines, where terrible events unfold as a group of teenagers visit an abandoned house while ghost hunting, and Thai film ‘The Lost Case’, based on the popular show ‘Ghost Doctor TV’.
The final day of the festival sees Pedring Lopez’s horror ‘Binhi The Seed’ arrive in Birmingham as part of East Winds Chills. With more than a touch of ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, Lopez takes his creepy premise in some surprising directions, turning the film into a stylish entry in the Asian horror cycle.
Another fine example of South Korean cinema, Kim Yong-woon’s feature debut ‘Malice’ will delight fans of the under-appreciated Bridget Fonda vehicle ‘Single White Female’ as the final screening at The Mockingbird Cinema on Sunday.
As the only major film festival of East Asian cinema outside of London and the first of its kind in the Midlands, East Winds aims to promote and celebrate East Asian cinema and culture of one of the most exciting and influential industries in the world.
“We’re incredibly proud to have the most European Premieres the festival has ever boasted, with some incredibly strong films from across all genres. We are sure our audience will find something in the programme to excited them!”, said Festival Director Spencer Murphy.
For the full programme and to book tickets, please visit http://www.eastwindsfilmfest.com.
I’m currently in Japan and I had meant to cover this festival and the Chinese Visual Festival but in between travelling from Hiroshima to Osaka and back to Tokyo and starting a temporary teaching job I ran out of time. Apologies to the organisers and any readers who were interested in finding out more. There’s still time to watch films At East Winds since it ends on the 21st of May!
Visit the website to find out more.