New Asian Currents


New Asian Currents Special Invitation Film | CHINA

New Asian Currents Special Screenings | CHINA

Philip Cheah
Takashi Toshiko

I am thinking about a friend of mine. A few days before my return from the Philippines, where I had stayed for a long period of time, my friend suddenly passed away after suffering a heart attack. More than three months have passed since then. No one knows when the last moment of a person’s life will come until it has already arrived. His death made me painfully aware of this fact, but I also realized that there is no parting without an encounter.

Every life has a limit and death arrives without fail. This ordinary thought occupied my mind during the selection process. As long as it captures a human life, a film will surely reflect death as well. The opposite is also true. The individuals that appear on screen will all perish one day, as will the filmmakers and their audiences. However, even if a human being ceases to exist, a film will remain—and it must. That is why the act of leaving behind a mark of our existence becomes a life’s work, and the work of film production itself.

During no other year did I feel more personally saved by each and every entry to the New Asian Currents than this one. Of course, the selection process is never a solitary one—the selection committee deliberates and decides on the final lineup. Yet during the screening process, the film, and I exist alone within a space of encounter. These films saved me from my feelings of loss as I reflected on chance (or inevitable) encounters between people, the memories we share, and how we find and eventually part from a work.

A longtime friend of Roxlee, who has come to Yamagata numerous times following his first appearance at the festival back in 1989, my friend was a filmmaker, actor, and painter who left behind a large body of work. I asked Roxlee to design a t-shirt for New Asian Currents this year in hopes that the two of them would participate in the festival. I know that my friend, as well as all the films screened at New Asian Currents in the past, will be watching over our festival from far beyond the sky—like the stars. As I mourn his passing, I cannot help but also reflect on how we encounter and part from people as well as their work, and the memories that they leave behind.

My sincerest gratitude goes to the translators, interpreters, subtitling and projection staff, the many volunteers, as well as the filmmakers who submitted their films to YIDFF, who have all made this film festival possible. Finally, as we embark upon this short week in which there will be many encounters and partings among our audience and guests, let’s toast to our shared time together!

Wakai Makiko
Program Coordinator