Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020 Programme Announcement

Earlier this month, the organisers of the Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) 2020 announced the full line-up for the festival which takes place from March 6-15. This is the best event to see a cross-section of Asian cinema and nearly all of the films will have English subs – the only exceptions we know so far are “Birthday”, ” House of Hummingbird”, and “Malmoe The Secret Mission”.

Despite the issues surrounding Coronavirus, the festival is still going ahead but one section, the co-hosted event “Come to Life! vol.2 Gutai and Nakanoshima”, has been cancelled due to the decision of the co-host organiser. This means six films have been removed which brings the number of selected films screened from a record 64 to 58 in total. This number includes 12 World Premieres, 12 International Premieres, and 3 Asian Premieres with films submitted from countries and regions such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Poland, South Korea, Japan, and South East Asia.

Continuing on from previous editions of the festival, OAFF remains a beacon of progressive programming as 25 female directors find their works selected with over half the films in the Competition section directed by women. The festival programme features characters from across the world contesting with issues such as war, crime, bullying, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration and unionising in the workplace. OAFF continues to give a platform to filmmakers who face challenging issues, whether the films reckon with historical injustice or paint a brighter future through showing diverse characters navigating their way in our tumultuous world.

Please check the full line-up of OAFF 2020 which can be found here. Tickets for the films screening at the fest are already on sale.

● The opening and closing films have bee previously mentioned here but, to summarise, OAFF 2020 will open with the Japan Premiere of the historical drama, The Garden of Evening Mists, directed by Tom Shu-yu LIN and featuring an international cast. The closing work is the World Premiere of Kamata Prelude, an anthology film produced by and starring MATSUBAYASHI Urara and directed by four of the brightest talents from a new generation of filmmakers, NAKAGAWA Ryutaro, AKIYAMA Mayu, YASUKAWA Yuka and WATANABE Hirobumi.

World Premiere Films
OAFF will give the first ever theatrical screenings to 12 titles, including Kamata Prelude (Japan), a four-part film done with the distinct styles of the directors, Your Name Engraved Herein (Taiwan), a romantic drama that is emblematic of the changing fate of LGBTQ+ people in Taiwan, and On the Edge of Their Seats (Japan), a coming-of-age drama centred on baseball from veteran director JOJO Hideo.

International Premiere Films
There are 12 international premieres picked from across Asia at OAFF 2020 with award-winners such as Write about Love which mixes music and romance. It won seven awards at the 45th Metro Manilla Film Festival including the Jury Special Award. Other titles include Apart, a sweeping romantic drama produced by Herman YAU that takes place in the middle of the Hong Kong democracy protests.

Asia Premiere Films
Anshul CHAUHAN returns to Osaka following Bad Poetry Tokyo (screened at OAFF2018) with his latest film Kontora (Japan). The winner of the Grand Prix at the 23rd Black Nights Film Festival, it is a unique family drama that is shot in monochrome and features strong performances. It will be screened alongside, Mariko BOBRIK’s The Taste of Pho, an international co-production involving Germany and Poland that depicts the life of a Vietnamese chef struggling to fit in while living in Poland. Famous cinematographer and actor KISHI Kentaro screens his short Hammock (Japan) about a young girl coming to terms with changes to her family following her father’s death.

●In addition to the permanent Competition and Indie Forum sections, a new “Spotlight” section has been established this year. With the careful consideration of programming director TERUOKA Sozo, OAFF will shine a light on movies that may not have become popular yet but feature talents and movements in cinema that audiences and creatives will want to pay particular attention to in the future.

● There are other special events that will feature the films of “Now” from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. To mark the 101st anniversary of the birth of Korean cinema, OAFF will show a selection of works that tell the stories of important moments in the social history of Korea. These films are:
“Birthday”, “Children Gone to Poland”, “House of Hummingbird”, and “Malmoe The Secret Mission”

●Returning Directors
While there are no special events to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the festival, 14 directors who have had films screened at OAFF in the past are returning. So far the names include:
Tom Shu-yu LIN, YASUKAWA Yuka, Derek TSANG, Nawapol THAMRONGRATTANARIT, Anshul CHAUHAN, YANG Lina, KIM Tai-sik, FUJIMOTO Akio, MISAWA Takuya, IMAOKA Shinji, MIYAZAKI Daisuke, LEE Cheuk Pan, Amos WHY, Khyentse NORBU

Here is a run-down of the films at the festival with links to each of the English-language pages:


The Garden of Evening Mists (Tom Lin, 2019, Malaysia)


Kamata Prelude (Ryutaro Nakagawa, Mayu Akiyama, Yuka Yasukawa, Hirobumi Watanabe, 2020, Japan)


Apart (Chitman Chan, 2020, Hong Kong),

The Girl with the Gun (Rae Red, 2019, Philippines)

Better Days (Derek Tsang, 2019, Hong Kong and China)

Happy Old Year (Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, 2019, Thailand)

Heavy Craving (Hsieh Pei-ju, 2019, Taiwan)

Kontora (Anshul Chauhan, 2019, Japan)

Lucky Chan-sil (Kim Cho-hee, 2019, South Korea)

My Prince Edward (Wong Yee-lam, 2019, Hong Kong)

The Odds (Megha Ramaswamy, 2019, India)

Spring Tide (Yang Lina, 2019, China)

The Taste of Pho (Mariko Bobrik, 2019, Germany and Poland)

Way Back Home (Park Sun-joo, 2019, South Korea)

Wisdom Tooth (Liang Ming, 2019, China)

Write about Love (Crisanto Aquino, 2019, Philippines)

Your Name Engraved Herein (Liu Kuang-hui, 2020, Taiwan)


Alikis (Emetjen Memet, 2019, China)

Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache (Khyentse Norbu, 2019, Nepal and Mexico)

Mariam (Sharipa Urazbayeva, 2019, Kazakhstan and Germany)

Roam Rome Mein (Tannishtha Chatterjee, 2019, India and Italy)

New Action! Southeast Asia

Bee, My Friend (Cheng Thim Kian, 2020, Malaysia)

California Dreaming (Meas Sreylin, 2019, Cambodia)

Hit & Run (Ody C. Harahap, 2019, Indonesia)

LSS (Last Song Syndrome) (Jade Castro, 2019, Philippines)

Metamorphosis (Jose Enrique Tiglao, 2019, Philippines)

Miss Andy (Teddy Chin, 2020, Malaysia and Taiwan)

Sunday (Kris Ong, 2019, Singapore)

Sunshine Family (Kim Tai-sik, 2019, Philippines and South Korea)

Indie Forum

Bleached Bones Avenue (Akio Fujimoto, 2020, Japan)

For Rei (Yukari Sakamoto, 2019, Japan)

Good-bye (Aya Miyazaki, 2020, Japan)

Hammock (Kentaro Kishi, 2018, Japan)

The Modern Lovers (Atsuro Shimoyashiro, 2019, Japan)

The Murderer of Oiso (Takuya Misawa, 2019, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea)

On the Edge of Their Seats (Hideo Jojo, 2020, Japan)

reikoiruka (Shinji Imaoka, 2019, Japan)

VIDEOPHOBIA (Daisuke Miyazaki, 2019, Japan)

Woman of the Photographs (Takeshi Kushida, 2020, Japan)

Special Screenings

Made in Bangladesh (Rubaiyat Hossain, 2019, France, Bangladesh, Denmark and Portugal)

Yan (Keisuke Imamura, 2019, Japan)

Our Lights and Shadows: Celebrating 101 Years of Korean Cinema

Birthday (Lee Jong-un, 2019, South Korea)

Children Gone to Poland (Choo Sang-mi, 2019, South Korea)

House of Hummingbird (Bora Kim, 2018, South Korea)

Malmoe The Secret Mission (Eom Yu-na, 2019, South Korea)

Taiwan: Movies on the Move 2020

A Cockerel’s Tale (Hsieh Pei-ju, 2019, Taiwan)

The Gangs, The Oscars, and the Walking Dead (Kao Pin-chuan, 2019, Taiwan)

Nobody (Lin Chun-hua, 2020, Taiwan)

RPG (Shih Chun-han, 2019, Taiwan)

Temple of Devilbuster (Wang I-fan, 2020, Taiwan)

Heavy Craving (Hsieh Pei-ju, 2019, Taiwan)

Your Name Engraved Herein (Liu Kuang-hui, 2020, Taiwan)

Miss Andy (Teddy Chin, 2020, Malaysia and Taiwan)

Special Focus on Hong Kong 2020

Fagara (Heiward Mak, 2019, China and Hong Kong)

The Fallen (Lee Cheuk Pan, 2019, Hong Kong)

Four Times Four (Amos Why and Nora Lam, 2019, Hong Kong)

Apart (Chitman Chan, 2020, Hong Kong)

Better Days (Derek Tsang, 2019, Hong Kong and China)

My Prince Edward (Wong Yee-lam, 2019, Hong Kong)

Housen Cultural Foundation: Support for film study and production

Bring Light to the Kobe (Misa Takai, 2019, Japan)

Daffodils (Takuma Osugi, 2020, Japan)

Naked Uncle (Nobukazu Aoki, 2020, Japan)

setsuko (Pilone Zon, 2020, Japan)

stay (Naoya Fujita, 2020, Japan)

This article was originally posted on V-Cinema on February 17th. Stay tuned for my coverage of the festival over the next few months which will be split between here and V-Cinema.

7 thoughts on “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020 Programme Announcement

  1. I cannot go, I have to work, but I would have liked to see the latest movie of Imaoka Shinji at Cine Libre – and I like this theatre too. A great place for indie movies.

    Great article Jason. Great work as always.

    1. Thanks a lot! Maybe you can go next year.

      The Korean films are particularly strong as are Kontora and VIDEOPHOBIA and Made in Bangladesh, Expect an article of recommendations to come out soon!

      1. Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope to get last week’s trailer post out on Wednesday, yesterday’s trailer post on Friday and Saturday will be back to normal (although I’ll be in Japan! >_<)

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