Pacific Arts Movement's 7th annual Asian film festival runs until 27 April

Pacific Arts Movement’s 7th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase kicked of yesterday with Tearepa Kahi’s Poi E: The Story Of Our Song.

Last night marked the opening of Pacific Arts Movement’s (Pac Arts) week-long Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase in San Diego. Pac Arts is one of the largest media arts organisations in North America that focuses on Asian American and Asian international cinema. The organisation’s mission is to “inspire, entertain and support a more compassionate society”.

One of Pac Arts’ most renowned events is the annual San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF). The annual festival consists of two events: SDAFF in November and SDAFF Spring Showcase in April. According to Brian Hu, Artistic Director of the festival, “the Spring Showcase is our tends to be more joyous and accessible of our two festivals”.

“In November, there’s something for everybody,” Hu continued, “whereas the Spring Showcase is our gateway for people to get the taste of it.”

The 2017 Spring Showcase features 20 films from 10 countries including South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines and China. Hu, who is in charge of choosing the films for the Spring Showcase, said “these are films that can make you laugh, cry and even sing. We have a lot of documentaries this year. We want to be a platform for true and authentic stories.”

Kicking off the festival was Tearepa Kahi’s Poi E: The Story of Our Song – a film from New Zealand about the 1984 hit Maori song by Patea Māori Club that captivated the entire nation and became a cultural anthem. Introduced by an authentic live Haka dance, the film was presented at one of UltraStar’s luxurious screens, equipped with incredibly relaxing armchairs.

The 92 minute film documents New Zealand singer Dalvanius, AKA New Zealand’s Godfather of Soul, who infused Maori music with 80’s pop music to create a song of unparalleled success, which danced its way to the top of the charts. The film explores Dalvanius’ genius creativity, influence and cultural effect he had on the nation, bringing Maori music to the forefront of New Zealand’s music industry.

Poi E: The Story of Our Song was a fantastic documentary to open the SDAFF Spring Showcase, highlighting the importance of retaining, celebrating and showcasing culture, no matter where it comes from. It’s an important message that no doubt runs through the film festival and stems from the core of Pac Arts’ initiative for holding the festival.

 “I love the idea of people getting surprised by something they’ve never heard before,” said Hu. “None of the films we are showing were ‘trending’. They are independent films and are supposedly not films that belong to us but once you see these films, you’ll realise they’re all for us. Why not embrace that and let these films surprise us?

SDAFF Spring Showcase runs until 27 April. To get involved, visit or and SDAFF contact for more information.