CinemAsia Film Festival attracts a wide, young audience

maart 2006 -

After the success of the CinemAsia Film Festival among the Asian youth in 2004, a sequel had to come. From 39 March through 8 April the second edition will be held in Amsterdam followed by a tour of six cities in the Netherlands.

Still Chocolate Rap

Still from Chocolate Rap , one of the films to be shown during CinemAsia 2006

It is not easy to characterize the CinemAsia Film Festival in a few words, according to Petra van Dongen. As festival coordinator she works closely with director Doris Ng and two programmers. "The program is highly diverse and we want to appeal to a wide target group. We are focusing on both the art house public in the Netherlands and Asian youth." The festival wants to move beyond clichés about the Asian culture and contribute to Asian Pride.

The first edition of the CinemAsia Film Festival in 2004 attracted 2000 visitors in four days, and the national tour of five selected films attracted another 500. "We received many enthusiastic reactions, especially from young Asians. They spontaneously started to organize meetings to go with our films during the festival." An exceptional result, because according to Van Dongen Dutch youth with Asian roots are primarily active in their own closed circuit and very difficult to reach. They would be much more likely to go to a large cinema than to a film theatre. But young Asians from all over the Netherlands came to Amsterdam. "Because of the festival's setup, I think," says Van Dongen. "Unlike Rotterdam, our program is broad and also includes mainstream films."

For the festival's second edition, the programming has been expanded to include elements for the youth. More than forty young people with Asian roots submitted plans to the FilmLab. The best three were filmed and will be shown during the festival. "These young film makers are happy to have the opportunity to do something creative: at home there is virtually nothing to stimulate that."

Students can discuss the rise of Asian horror films. For children, three sub-titled films will be shown in CinemAsia Junior! "This idea came into being in cooperation with the Cinekid organization," Van Dongen explains. "Primarily Dutch children visit this large children's festival, even the Chinese films. CinemAsia Junior! is a try-out to see if we can reach Asian children as well."

CinemAsia Film Festival is supported by the Amsterdam Art Fund, District Amsterdam Oud-Zuid, the Netherlands Film Fund, the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund, Mama Cash, VSB Fund, DOEN Foundation, NCDO, the Prince Claus Fund and the foundation Fonds de Trut.