Asian Pop-Up Cinema Announces Fall Film Festival Lineup September 20th Through November 15th



Attending are Directors from Taiwan, Thailand and a New York Film Critic

Chicago, IL (August 21, 2017) Chicago’s premiere Asian film festival, Asian Pop-Up Cinema, announce that Season V will begin September 20th through November 15th, 2017 – with the majority of films screened at AMC River East 21 and others presented at various community partner’s locations.

Season V introduces 11 new feature films that entered prestigious 2017 film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival, Udine Far East Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival, have been intentionally selected for Chicago audiences to get a chance to see them. To watch the festival sneak peek, go to

Festival highlights include seven Midwest premieres: The Gangster’s Daughter, a Taiwanese drama about rebellious teen reunited with her gangster father, causing him to question his life of crime; Youth, a Feng Xiao-gang film, which is getting its world premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival is about a performing art troupe who each face their own trials and tribulations after escaping a family scandal; My Dad and Mr. Ito, the Japanese comedy about a young woman and her much older boyfriend live together comfortably in a modest apartment until her father moves in; Split, a Korean drama with one of the most exciting bowling themes – the rise of lowlifes at a bowling alley; Teiichi-Battle Of Supreme High, the live-action version of the manga inspired comedy about blue-blooded teens battling for the student council presidency; Motherland, a documentary of the planet’s busiest maternity hospital that is located in one of its poorest countries: the Philippines; and Bad Genius, a thriller from Thailand about lazy rich kids who coerce a genius high school student into cheating college entrance exams.

First-time visiting Directors attending Season V’s festival are Taiwan’s, Chen Mei-Juin from “The Gangster’s Daughter”, and Thailand’s Nattawut ‘Baz’ Poonpiriya for “Bad Genius.” New York Film Critic Simon Abrams of will be a guest speaker for “Our Time Will Come,” a drama about ordinary people under occupation who fight for freedom and independence in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation.

Presented this season for Chicago audiences include two additional community/educational screenings, Motherland and I am a Monk and two extended runs at the Wilmette Theatre, Our Time Will Come and the return of Survival Family.

“We have reached a mini-milestone for a fast-growing boutique film festival in a short time, and couldn’t be prouder of the ongoing support in bridging the differences between the East and West cultures, and fostering the general public’s appreciation of Asian cultures through film gems!” says, Founder & Executive Director, Sophia Wong Boccio.

Asian Pop-Up Cinema Season V is September 20th-November 15th at the AMC River East 21, tickets are $13.00 for regular screenings and $15.00 for films with directors and other special guests in attendance.  There is also a Special 2-3-4 Passes ($10 per film) discount for grouped screenings: 2 Japanese Films, 3 Women Directors’ Films, 4 Chinese Films. Tickets are on sale now at: Seniors discounts are available for adults 65+ and students with valid IDs will enjoy free admissions.

All screenings at AMC River Easts 21 include a Q&A moderated by, Ron Falzone, Associate Professor in Cinema and Television Arts of Columbia College Chicago.

Extended runs at the Wilmette Theatre: As a new initiative, two films (see * below) are selected to enjoy extended one week run at the Wilmette Theatre to accommodate the audiences in the Northern suburbs. For show times and ticket information, visit:

ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA Season V Schedule:

Opening Night Film

Wednesday, September 20th at 7:00 pm

AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street

Director Chen Mei-Juin is attending for intro and Q&A
Starring: Ally Chiu and Jack Kao
Film Source: Wild Dog Productions
Taiwan | 2017 | 104 Minutes | In Mandarin, Taiwanese w/ English subs | Genre: Drama

Synopsis: A rebellious teen moves in with her estranged small-time gangster father causing both of them to question their lives together as father and daughter. Winner of “Best Feature Film” at the 2017 New York Asian Film Festival, The Gangster’s Daughter is a “noir and gangster film tropes blended into a bittersweet yet gritty coming of age drama that is at once thrilling, dark and moving.” – 16th NYAFF.

“A rare gem, that flips the script – putting the gangland conflict in service of a close family dynamic, rather than having things the other way around.” –

Wednesday, September 27th, 7:00 PM

AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street

Director: Derek Hui
Starring: Zhou Dong-yu, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Sun Lizhou, Lin Chi-ling
Film Source: We Distribution Ltd., Hong Kong & Well Go USA Entertainment
Hong Kong/China | 2017 | 105 Minutes | In Mandarin w/ English subs | Genre: Rom-Com

Synopsis: This Is Not What I Expected from first-time director Derek Hui, is a delicious romantic comedy starring Takeshi Kaneshiro as an uptight executive who demands perfection from every hotel he visits, and Dong-yu Zhou as the ragged sous chef. The hilarious clash of personalities sets into motion the perfect meal.

“the film has its charms, mostly found in the culinary offerings so gorgeously shot they qualify as food porn”, Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

“A romantic comedy that’s more haute cuisine than romance may seem counterintuitive, but THIS IS NOT WHAT I EXPECTED reaches its happy ending in a gratifyingly roundabout way. Bright, sparkly and light-hearted, it’s the equivalent of cinematic comfort food.” Daniel Eagan, Film Journal

“From the sizzling griddle that opens the story to a hallucinogenic trip triggered by blowfish toxin, this engagingly goofy romantic comedy speaks the international language of food.” Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post

Friday, September 29th, 2017
AMC River East 2, 322 E. Illinois Street


Director: Feng Xiao-gang
Starring: Huang Xuan, Miao Miao, Zhong Chuxi, Yang Caiyu
Film Source: China Lion Film
China | 2017 | Mandarin w/ English subtitles| Genre: Historical Drama

Synopsis: Performing art troupe members each face their own trials and tribulations in Chengdu; from escaping a family scandal to dealing with unrequited love, each experiences rejection that shapes their lives in this coming-of-age tale selected to have its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.  Directed by Chinese helming legend Feng Xiao-gang.

Wednesday, October 4th, 7:00 PM

AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street

Director: Yuki Tanada
Starring: Juri Ueno, Lily Franky, Tatsuya Fuji
Film Source: Phantom Films Co. Ltd
Japan | 2016 | 119 Minutes | In Japanese w/ English subs | Genre: Drama/Comedy

Synopsis: “I am going to live with you and cover my expenses!” Thrown out of his son’s home, an aging father moves in unannounced with his daughter, Aya, and her 20-year older boyfriend, Mr. Ito. Suddenly, life becomes a crazy threesome!

“Both funny and searing, the film addresses issues of family and the plight of Japan’s aging, unwanted generation.”—Rob Schwartz, Metropolis.

“(Director) Tanada has a comic gift that sets her apart from many of her filmmaking contemporaries, male or female.” – Mark Schilling, The Japan Times.

Wednesday, October 11th, 7:00 PM

AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street

Guest speaker: Simon Abrams, film critic at
Directed by: Ann Hui
Starring: Zhou Xun, Eddie Peng Yu-yan, Deanie Ip, Wallace Huo Chien-hwa, Tony Leung
Original Music Score: Joe Hisaishi
Film Source: China Lion Film Distribution
Hong Kong | 2017 | 130 Minutes | In Cantonese/Mandarin/Japanese w/ English subs | Genre: Drama

Synopsis: Our Time Will Come portrays a chapter in the history of Hong Kong’s wartime era that has never been told in film. Tracing the story of the famous Dong-jiang guerilla unit, the film vividly brings 1940s Hong Kong back to life as a result of intricate and detailed research by director Ann Hui and her production team. Every historical detail was studied to accurately recreate the world occupied by real-life heroes Fang Lan, played by Zhou Xun and Blackie Lau, by Eddie Peng.

“…Our Time Will Come serves as a classic Casablanca-style wartime drama…”
– Fionnuala Halligan, Screen International

“…a beautifully mounted and emotionally engaging piece.”
– Clarence Tsui, The Hollywood Reporter

“By highlighting the value of artists and intellectuals, and the importance of protecting them, she imbues the authentic historical episode with timely universal relevance.”
– Maggie Lee, Variety

Wednesday, November 1st, 7:00 PM

AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street

Directed by: Choi Kook-hee
Starring:  Yoo Ji-tae, Lee Jung-hyun, Lee David, Chung Sung-wha
Film Source: Opus Pictures
S. Korea | 2016 | 121 Minutes | In Korean w/English subs | Comedy-cum-sports-thriller

Synopsis: In this directorial debut, Cheoi-Jong (Yoo Ji-tae) was once a legendary professional bowler, but a devastating accident ends his promising career. Now, he feebly bowls in underground matches organized by Hee-jin (Lee Jung-Hyun), an owner of a bowling alley deep in debt. Despite high stakes bets fortune alludes them until they spot an autistic-savant named Young-Hoon (David Lee) whose bizarre zen-like methods of bowling make him the most indomitable adversary the game has ever seen.

“Nearly every frame in Split has a vibrant, gorgeously saturated palette, and the production registers at a typically high Korean standard, “– The Hollywood Reporter

Wednesday, November 8th, 7:00 PM

AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street

Director: Akira Nagai
Starring: Masaki Suda, Shuhei Nomura, Ryoma Takeuchi, Shotaro Mamiya, Jun Shison.
Film Source: Pony Canyon
Japan | 2017 | 118 Minutes | In Japanese w/ English subs | Genre: Manga-Inspired Comedy

Synopsis: “Teiichi dreams of one day being the prime minister and rule his own country, but first he has to get through high school. An absurdist satire of Japan’s elitist pathways to the seats of power, Akira Nagai’s adaptation of Usamaru Furuya’s manga finds Showa-era blue-blooded teens battling for the student council presidency. Sabotage, bribery, ritual suicide, fisticuffs and more than a few unspoken crushes charge the boys’ all out warfare, revealing the failures of hierarchical power systems and toxic masculinity. This achingly relevant, hilarious tale comes to a head when a working-class pro-democracy challenger questions the plutocrats’ factional wrangle and Teiichi is forced to recall the pure passion that drove him to his totalitarian bloodthirst.” – Japan Cuts 2017.

Closing Night Film

Wednesday, November 15, 7:00 PM

AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street

Director: Nattawut ‘Baz’ Poonpiriya
Starring: Chanon ‘Non’ Santinatornkul, Teeradon ‘James’ Supapunpinyo
Chutimon ‘Aokbab’ Chuengcharoensukying, Eisaya ‘Oom’ Hosuwan
Film Source: GDH 559 Co. Ltd
Thailand | 2017 | 130 Minutes |In Thai w/ English subs | Genre: Drama/Thriller

Synopsis: Welcome to an exam-cheating business run by Lynn (Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying), a straight-A student who gets the idea for her business after helping Grace (Eisaya Hosuwan) and Pat, (Teeradon Supapunpinyo). Grace is a prominent school activist who can’t get the grades she needs. Pat is a filthy-rich boy who believes money can buy anything. Lynn’s business skyrockets and the money starts to flood in as scores of students offer her cold hard cash in exchange for exam answers.

One day, Lynn is offered the opportunity to make millions of Baht. It is Pat and Grace who devise a plan for her to take the STIC test, an international standardized test for students wanting to enroll in the world’s leading universities. The test is scheduled to take place on the same date and same time at locations all over the world.

This heist-cum-thriller of Nattawut’s second feature broke all box office records in major cities of Asia this past summer, making more money than DUNKIRK on half the screens. For her excellent performance, ‘Lynn’ played by Chutimon “Aokbab” Chuengcharoensukying received the New York Asian Film Festival Screen International Rising Star Award.


Two exceptional films are having their extended runs exclusively at the Wilmette Theatre (1122 Central Ave) as part of the Season V program.
For box office info and show times:

Friday, September 22nd – September 28th:

*Winner of Asian Pop-Up Cinema Season IV Audience Choice Award*
Director: Shinobu Yaguchi
Starring: Fumiyo Kohinata, Eri Fukatsu, Yuki Izumisawa, Wakana Aoi
Film Source: Pony Canyon International
Japan | 2017 | 117 Minutes | In Japanese w/ English Subtitles | Genre: Comedy

Synopsis: A worldwide blackout occurs, and everything comes to a standstill. When dad decides to escape from Tokyo with his wife and two tech-obsessed teenagers in search of electricity, hilarious chaos ensures and some surprising tactics to survive are revealed.

“The film’s family is well cast, but Fumiyo Kohinata and Eri Fukatsu are the stand-outs. Kohinata’s dad begins as an easy-to-hate egotist, reveals himself to be a pathetic loser and finally morphs into a decent human being – all without violating his character’s core.” – Mark Schilling, the Japan Times

“…a family drama with thinly veiled morals and plentiful fish-out-of-water humor to boot.” – The Hollywood Reporter

Friday, October 13th – October 19th:

Directed by: Ann Hui
Starring: Zhou Xun, Eddie Peng Yu-yan, Deanie Ip, Wallace Huo Chien-hwa, Tony Leung; Original Music Score: Joe Hisaishi
Hong Kong | 2017 | 130 Minutes | In Cantonese/Mandarin/Japanese w/ English subs | Genre: Drama

Synopsis: Youths and resistance groups fight for freedom and independence in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation.

“Ann Hui’s low-key treatment of Hong Kong’s underreported Leftist history boasts compelling performances.” – Variety

Free and Open to the Public, suggested donations: $5
RSVP is required.

Friday, October 13th, 2017 at 10:15 am

Directed by: Ramona S. Diaz
Philippines | 2017 | 90 Minutes | Filipino w/English subtitles | Genre: Documentary
This event is a collaboration with POV, PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series ( and Young Women’s Leadership Charter School.
Venue: 2641 S. Calumet Ave, Chicago 60616

Screened at Sundance 2017, Motherland comes from the same Director as “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey”, about a Filipino performer plucked from obscurity to become the lead singer for rock band Journey, profiled a rising pop star. The women of Motherland emerge as an entirely different class of heroines, demonstrating Diaz’s insight and compassion in documenting their experiences without judgment or condescension and allowing them to convey their own individual perspectives.”
– The Hollywood Reporter

Synopsis: Motherland is an absorbingly intimate, vérité look at the busiest maternity hospitality on the planet, in one of the world’s most populous countries: the Philippines. Women share their stories with other mothers, doctors and social workers. In a hospital that is literally bursting with life, we witness the miracle and wonder of the human condition. Winner, 2017 Sundance World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Commanding Vision. The film will be aired on PBS October 16th.

Sunday, October 29th, 2017 at 1:00 PM

“Winner of Asian Pop-Up Cinema Season II Audience Choice Award”
Midwest Buddhist Temple, 435 W Menomonee St., Chicago
Directed by: Yukinori Makabe
Starring: Atsushi Ito, Mizuki Yamamoto and Junpei Mizobata
Japan | 2015 | 99 Minutes | Japanese w/English subs | Genre: Drama/comedy

Synopsis: When Susumu inherits the mantle of abbot at a Buddhist temple after his grandfather dies, he has a hard time living up to his community’s expectations.

Post-screening discussion: “Engaged Buddhism” led by Rev. Ron Miyamura
(Light refreshments starting at noon onward courtesy of the Temple)

Asian Pop-Up Cinema, a semi-annual Asian Film Festival, is the brainchild of Sophia Wong Boccio, founder of SOPHIA’S CHOICE, Chicago-based 501 C (3) not-for-profit incorporated in the fall of 2015 with the multi-pronged mission of cultivating an interest in and understanding of Asian cultures via a diverse offering of Asian films; connecting the Asian film industry with local Chicago film professionals, educators and students; and promoting Chicago as a destination for international visitors.
More info:

We acknowledge with thanks the following sponsors and cultural partners for Season V (in alphabetical order): ADG Group; AMC Independent; Astyx, Inc.; BMO Harris Bank; Cai Restaurant; China Lion Film; Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago; Eva Airways; Hing Kee Restaurant; Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in NY; Japanese Culture Center of Chicago; International Women Associates; Joffrey Ballet; Masuda Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd; POV, PBS’ Award Winning nonfiction film series; Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival; Walter J. Newton & Co; The Whitehall Hotel – Festival Host Hotel; Women In Film in Chicago; the Wilmette Theater and Young Women’s Leadership Charter School.

# # #