Curated by the Chao Center for Asian Studies, the Asian American Film Festival features seven films ranging from shorts to full features.

March 7
Manilatown is in the Heart
A one-man social service agency and poet, Al Robles is truly one of Asian America’s hidden gems. For three decades he has been roaming Chinatown/Manilatown’s single-room occupancy hotels, taking elderly veterans to their appointments and delivering lunch to shut-ins.

Carved in Silence
This is the dramatic story of Angel Island, the “Ellis Island of the West.” After the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), potential immigrants suffered detainment and vigorous interrogation for up to two years on this small island within sight of San Francisco. Features scenes recreated in the actual barracks and interviews with former detainees

March 9
Punjabi Cab
Sikhs in America have endured harassment and violence after being mistaken for terrorists. Several Sikh taxi drivers in the San Francisco Bay Area talk about this threat and why they don’t give up their faith. Their modest pride makes an ironic contrast to the gloomy scenes of night in San Francisco.

Two young Japanese Americans set out to find an obscure place called Manzanar in the California desert in 1969. This was one of ten sites where over 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated during World War II. This rediscovery then became a pilgrimage and the first public event in the U.S. that called attention to the reality of these camps.

Monkey Dance
Children of Cambodian refugees – three teens in Lowell, Massachusetts – inhabit a gritty blue-collar world shadowed by their parents’ nightmares of the Khmer Rouge. Traditional Cambodian dance links them to their parents’ culture, but fast cars, hip consumerism and new romance pull harder.

March 11
Treeless Mountain
Jin, a bright-eyed six-year-old, lives with her mother and little sister, Bin, in a cramped apartment in Seoul. When their mother decides to go look for their estranged father, Jin and Bin are forced to stay with their alcoholic Big Aunt for the summer.

March 12
The Mountain Thief
This is the first narrative feature film that was shot in the garbage-collecting town of Promised Land and Urban, Payatas in the Philippines, where the living conditions are possibly the most horrific in the world. It was also the first film that was made with a cast culled from the scavengers of a garbage-collecting town, from the graduates of the town’s only acting workshop. Director Gerry Balasta will speak after the screening.



Rice Cinema
6100 Main St.
Houston, TX 77005


Admission is free
All events are subject to change due to weather or other concerns. Please check with the venue or organization to ensure an event is taking place as scheduled.