SXSW 2012 Has a Nice Handful of Asian Movies

This year, SXSW (a.k.a. South by Southwest) film festival has a very hearty helping of Asian-ness — and I’LL BE THERE! YAY!

Sure, the music and interactive portions of the popular festival are big draws, but when it comes to the film festival, I am totally all over it.

This year they will be featuring big time movies like the Jonah Hill/Channing Tatum comedy romp 21 Jump Street and Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods — but the selection of Asian-centric films are in abundance. From Indonesian forest-based thrillers to Olivia Munn trying to get preggers, here’s a list of them in no particular order.

The Babymakers (World Premiere): Olivia Munn and Paul Schneider star as a couple who can’t get pregnant so they rob a sperm back — but things go awry and hilarity ensues. Director: Jay Chandrasekhar, Screenwriters: Peter Gaulke, Gerry Swallow. Cast: Paul Schneider, Olivia Munn, Kevin Heffernan, Wood Harris, Nat Faxon.

Seeking Asian Female (World Premiere): This is just your standard documentary of a man with “yellow fever” and his attempt to make a marriage work with a Chinese woman half his age that he meets online. Director: Debbie Lum. Check out the film’s website.

Modus Anomali (World Premiere): The Indonesian-based thriller about a man who loses his family during a vacation and his bloody quest to save them. Director/Screenwriter: Joko Anwar. Cast: Rio Dewanto, Hannah Al Rashid, Izziati Amara Isman, Aridh Tritama, Surya Saputra, Marsha Timothy, Sadha Triyudha, Jose Gamo. Watch the trailer here.

Eden (World Premiere): Jamie Chung stars alongside Beau Bridges in this film about a Korean-American girl who is forced into human trafficking. Sounds fun, right?! Director: Megan Griffiths, Screenwriters: Richard B. Phillips, Megan Griffiths, Story by: Richard B. Phillips & Chong Kim. Cast: Jamie Chung, Matt O’Leary, Beau Bridges, Jeanine Monterroza, Scott Mechlowicz

The Taiwan Oyster (World Premiere): Two Americans travel through Taiwanese countryside to bury a fellow countryman. It doesn’t exactly sound happy, but it sounds good, right? Director: Mark Jarrett. Screenwriters: Mark Jarrett, Jordan Heimer, Mitchell Jarrett. Cast: Billy Harvey, Jeff Palmiotti, Leonora Lim.

The Raid: This movie has been making it’s festival rounds and if you don’t know about it already, you should be ashamed of yourself. Director/Screenwriter: Gareth Huw Evans. Cast: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno. Click here to read more at the director’s blog.

Girl Model (U.S. Premiere): A documentary about a group of young Russian girls who join a modeling agency to seek work in Japan, but get introduced into another side of the fashion industry. I wonder if we can expect a lot of smizing. Directors: A. Sabin, David Redmon. Check out the website.

Wildness: This documentary directed by Wu Tsang paints a “magical-realist portrait” of the Silver Platter, a historic Latin/LGBT bar in Los Angeles. Check out the trailer here.

Daylight Savings (World Premiere): Musician Goh Nakamura has a breakup and then goes on the road with his irresponsible cousin to pursue a promising rebound with fellow musician Yea-Ming Chen. YAY! A road trip movie! Director: Dave Boyle. Screenwriters: Dave Boyle, Michael Lerman, Joel Clark, Goh Nakamura. Cast: Goh Nakamura, Michael Aki, Yea-Ming Chen, Lynn Chen, Ayako Fujitani.

Bijuka (North American Premiere): The Indian movie (which translates into “Scarecrow), is inspired by true events and tells the story about a woman escaping an abusive arranged marriage. When I Googled the title, one of the results read, “Bijuka – Bollywood’s Longest Rape Scene”. Perhanps it’s the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo of India. Director: Ashtar Sayed. Screenwriter: Dr. Mahendra Purohit.

Last Call at the Oasis: Jessica Yu’s documentary about the global water crisis. The title alone makes me thirsty. Read more about it here.

John Dies At The End: The movie about a street drug called “soy sauce” — so that’s cool. And it is based on the book by David Wong — a pseudonym used by Jason Pargin. Director & Screenwriter: Don Coscarelli. Cast: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman. Watch the trailer here.

Read the entire SXSW 2012 film lineup by clicking here.

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About Dino-Ray

Dino-Ray Ramos is a movie hobbit, social media swaggerist, pop culture junkie, smart-mouthed Asian American warrior, and a well-rounded inhaler of all things entertainment. After uprooting from Texas, he migrated to San Francisco where he shares his irreverent take on high and low brow aspects of culture. In addition to feeding he writes for, Hyphen Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle. You can also boost his self-esteem by following his musings on Twitter
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