Film Programme

Varied and vibrant snapshot of Asian culture through the lens, including our Film Festival

The Asia House Film Festival, generously supported by Prudential plc, returned for its eighth year in 2016 with a diverse programme of 19 films that included several European premieres and UK premieres. All of the films were shown in London for the first time.

The 2016 Festival, which took place from 22 February to 5 March, included 11 feature films, three documentaries and five short films coming out of countries including Japan, China, Kazakhstan, Myanmar and Afghanistan.

The Festival began on 22 February with the opening night gala at the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho. This was followed by a move to the historic Regent Street Cinema where screenings took place from 25 to 28 February.

Selected events occurred during the same week at Asia House. The 2016 Festival came to a close on the first weekend of March at The Cinema Museum in Kennington with a special one-day retrospective entitled ‘Singaporeana’. This featured British and American films shot in Singapore during the 1960s and 1970s.

“There were some enthralling, insightful and hugely entertaining titles emerging from places you’d least expect, and which we rarely get a chance to see onscreen,” said the Festival’s Artistic Director Jasper Sharp.

The theme for the 2016 Festival was ‘Breaking Boundaries’, with the programme selection exploring transnationalism and globalisation.

“Many of the films selected reflect ideas of how cultures, identities and experiences are increasingly transcending geographical boundaries and, though the Asian continent encompasses such a vast and varied range of peoples and nations, there are commonalities between these that will resonate with everyone,” Sharp explained.

The films selected represent a globalised world in which culture, politics and economies are transcending national boundaries. There were a number of international co-productions featured too, reflecting how the film industry has also globalised.

The Regent Street Cinema became the birthplace of cinema in the UK in 1896, when the Lumière brothers’ Cinématographe machine was demonstrated to the press there. The cinema closed to the public in 1980 and became a lecture theatre. Following a fundraising campaign the 119-year-old cinema re-opened its doors in May 2015, reinstating one of the most historic cinemas in Britain to its former grandeur.

The full 2016 Film Festival programme can be seen here.

Asia House had an ongoing programme of film screenings throughout 2015 including its Fortnight of Film in August when two critically acclaimed documentaries set in Asia were screened at Asia House. Kicking off the fortnight on Thursday 13 August was Mahout – The Great Elephant Walk (88mins), winner of the Best Film Award at the 2014 London Independent Film Festival. We also screened The Silk Road of Pop (53 mins) on 18 August, a portrait of the explosive pop music scene among the Uyghur community in China’s Xinjiang Province.

A number of pre  2016 Asia House Film Festival screenings also took place, including a screening of Taiwanese documentary Dive With You (2015) in December 2015 and American director Alex Azmi’s film To Climb a Gold Mountain (2015).

For press enquiries, please contact Lucy Tomlinson on or 0207 307 5451.

The Asia House Film Festival is a major cultural showcase for Asian cinema that receives wide support from industry bodies and cultural organisations in Britain and across Asia.

The only Festival of its kind in the UK, the annual Asia House Film Festival offers UK audiences the chance to experience all the beauty, variety and dynamism of Asian cinema. The festival screens dynamic and challenging cinema from all over the region – from Iran to Japan – in London cinemas and at selected regional vities throughout the countrFestival

Previous editions of the festival have premiered leading films including In the Absence of the Sun (Indonesia, 2014); The Last Reel (Cambodia, 2014), Passion (Mongolia, 2010), Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain (2013), the Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven (2013)Vietnam-born, Academy Award nominee Tran Anh Hung’s Norwegian Wood (2010), Indian director Mira Nair’s The Namesake (2006) and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012). The Festival has also previewed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s House of Flying Daggers (2004) and Wong Kar-Wai’s film, 2046 (2004). 

The 2015 Asia House Film Festival took place from 27 March to 31 March 2015. Two post-Festival screenings took place on Friday, 10 April and Sunday, 19 April 2015 with a special focus and retrospective on Mongolia on the Sunday. The 2015 theme was New Generations reflecting on new talents, new styles, new landscapes and new modes of film production from and about the Asia Pacific region, with films from Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesian, India, Japan and Uzbekistan. Festival venues were the Ham Yard Theatre in Soho for the Opening Gala Night screening, Rich Mix in Shoreditch, The Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury and The Cinema Museum in Kennington. The 2015 Festival featured three European premieres, eight UK premieres and three London premieres. Directors that attended included Lucky Kuswandi (In the Absence of the Sun);  Byamba Sakhya (Passion) and Kulikar Sotho (The Last Reel.)

The 2014 Asia House Film Festival took place from 26 February to 9 March 2014. Screenings took place at cinemas across London and there were also satellite screenings in Glasgow and Leeds. Directors that attended included Ravi Kumar (Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain), Lee Sang-il (Unforgiven), Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (36 and Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy), Shan Khan (Honour) and Tetsuichiro Tsuta (The Tale of Iya.) The Tale of Iya won the 2014 Asia House Film Festival Best Film Award.

Insightful Q&A sessions with directors, actors and producers have reinforced the Festival’s reputation for building audience’s understanding of Asian cinema. Other prrevious guests of the festival have included Gurinder Chadha, Chen Kaige, Mira Nair, Rinko Kikuchi, Zhang Yi Mou and Ken Loach.

Our programming focuses on showing UK premieres from established Asian directors as well as introducing fresh film-making talent from the whole of Asia to audiences for the first time.

Festival supported by

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Highlights from 2014

Read the full programme of our 2014 Festival.

Highlights from 2015

The 2015 festival took place from 27 March to 31 March 2015.

Book tickets

The Festival is now over. Tickets for other films will go on sale soon

Asia House Film Festival 2016

Read an overview of the themes and films at this year’s festival