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AAIFF Announces Winners of 2009 Film Festival

Posted July 27th, 2009 by Peter · 1 Comment

The results are in! Here are the winners of the 32nd annual Asian American International Film Festival!


NEW YORK (26, 2009) – Asian CineVision (ACV) announced the award winners of the Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) tonight at Chelsea’s Clearview Cinemas in New York. Executive Producer Liliana Chen bestowed the honors to five filmmakers as part of the Festival’s closing ceremonies.

First announced was Iemi Hernandez-Kim, director of the short film Ayi’s Story and winner of the One to Watch award, an audience voted award that recognizes talent in filmmakers under the age of 21. Ayi’s Story follows the journey of a teenaged girl from Brooklyn to numerous destinations in China, capturing her experiences in documentary and video-journal style.

Kim Snyder, director of the short film Crossing Midnight, won the award for Excellence in Short Filmmaking. Her documentary on the efforts of health workers to treat Burmese refugees deals with the issue of human rights through the lens of medicine.


Also putting a spotlight on the plight of persecuted minorities is director Ngawang Choephel, who won the award for Best Emerging Director in Documentary Feature. His film, Tibet in Song, explores the traditional folk music of Tibet, China’s impact on this tradition, and Choephel’s own political imprisonment during his attempt to capture his subject on film.

Chinese Director Nian Liu won the award for Best Emerging Director in Narrative Feature. Her film, Li Tong, used the fictional story of a schoolgirl losing her bus pass as a means of exploring and exposing the many cultural, socioeconomic and personal facets of contemporary Beijing.

Director Christopher Wong won the Audience Choice Award, which was based on votes cast by the audience during the Festival’s various screenings. His documentary feature, Whatever It Takes, follows the progress of the Bronx Center of Science and Mathematics in its first year of operation, focusing especially on the relationship between principal Edward Tom and student Sharifea Baskerville.

“It’s an honor in itself to be able to present these awards,” remarked Chen after the ceremony. “Despite the economic downturn, we decided early on that we would not forsake the spirit of community that is the anchor of AAIFF, and in fact that spirit has been our greatest strength. We’re grateful for the diversity of filmmaking talent has been brought together and proud of the event that has taken place here in New York.”

The full list of awards follows:

Audience Choice: Whatever It Takes, dir. Christopher Wong (USA)

Best Emerging Director in Documentary Feature: Tibet in Song, dir. Ngawang Choephel (USA)

Best Emerging Director in Documentary Feature: Li Tong, dir. Nian Liu (China)

Excellence in Short Filmmaking: Crossing Midnight, dir. Kim Snyder (USA)

One to Watch: Ayi’s Story, dir. Iemi Hernandez-Kim (USA)

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