Asian Pop-Up Cinema kicks off Season 16 with Hong Kong Superstar

asian pop-up

Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC) announced the full lineup of films included in Season 16 of its semi-annual Asian film festival.

This year’s Chicago-based festival will run between March 18 – April 16.

There will be a festival pre-launch special event with the premiere of the Hong Kong epic thriller WHERE THE WIND BLOWS attended by the multi-platform superstar Aaron Kwok on March 14.  

Following its broader mission to foster an appreciation for diverse Asian culture and common humanity, Season 16 presents 25 movies including six North American Premieres, three U.S. Premieres, and four Midwest Premieres showcasing notable works by filmmakers residing in China, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, U.S., and Vietnam.

On Tuesday March 14, one of Hong Kong’s biggest movie stars and Four Heavenly Kings Cantonpop star Aaron Kwok will attend the festival’s pre-launch special event and receive the Award for Excellent Achievement in Film acknowledging his superb performance in WHERE THE WIND BLOWS. The North American premiere of the film will follow immediately after the award ceremony to be held at 7:00 pm at AMC NEWCITY 14 in Lincoln Park.  Aaron Kwok’s versatility as a concert stage performer and silver screen actor has elevated his superstar status to an unrivaled level in Hong Kong and throughout Asia. South China Morning Post praised WHERE THE WIND BLOWS as “an artistically accomplished, genre-bending epic of the sort that is rarely attempted in Hong Kong Cinema.”  The 2015 film PORT OF CALL that won Aaron Kwok the BEST ACTOR award will be shown during this season with details to be announced.

Other awardees include awards-winning Japanese Actress Nahana, who will receive a Career Achievement Award for her multi-faceted role in SHE IS ME, I AM HER on March 18 at 5:30pm AMC Evanston 12.  Hong Kong actress Renci Yeung will receive the Bright Star Award for her role as a righteous attorney in A GUILTY CONSCIENCE on March 31 at 7:00pm at AMC NEWCITY 14.

Opening Season 16, A MAN, Kei Ishikawa’s multilayered, masterful drama about Japan’s ‘Lost Generation’ is currently nominated for 13 awards by Japan’s Academy Film Prize (U.S. Academy Award equivalent).  On February 24, A MAN just won Japan’s Blue Ribbon Award for Best Film. Notable Tokyo-based Japanese film critic Mark Schilling will host the opening weekend’s four Japanese film screenings. 

As of February 21, the Festival’s Centerpiece, A GUILTY CONSCIENCE officially becomes the first Hong Kong film to cross the HK$100 million mark at local box office. A courtroom drama with touches of sarcastic comedy is about a relatively straightforward child abuse case involving the death of a supermodel’s child which becomes a battleground of justice, power, and fame. Writer/director Jack Ng and lead actress, Renci Yeung are scheduled to attend the award ceremony and Q&A in person. 

The Season Finale film, LOST IN FOREST, is an action-gangster feature about two childhood friends that reconnect after one is released from prison. Now that the other is the new mob boss, the ex-convict meets him at a crossroad but whichever side he chooses, it becomes an eternal trap. Taiwanese writer/director Johnny Chiang and award-winning actor Lee Kang Sheng are scheduled to attend for this North American Premiere. 

Other Special Presentations include the North Premiere of MARRY MY DEAD BODY, Cheng Wei Hao’s supernatural comedy about the affections between a ghost and a human just released in Taiwan in February 2023; the U.S. Premiere of REMEMBER WHAT I FORGOTthe story of Lil’ Kim, Hong Kong’s most uninvited guest at movie industry productions and premieres; the Midwest premieres of AJOOMMA, a middle-aged Singaporean widow obsessed with Korean soap operas who travels to Seoul to come to terms with her life; and GAGA, a present day story about an indigenous Taiwanese family dealing with a land dispute, an unexpected pregnancy from a young family member, and a political campaign mounted with financial problems, while trying to maintaining “gaga” (the community’s ancient spiritual guidance commandments).

Since its inception, Asian Pop-Up Cinema has hosted an impressive lineup of film actors, directors, and producers here in Chicago. Directors attending the festival for their North American Premieres are Hong Kong’s Ka Sing Fung for LOST LOVE with a career-bending performance by Hong Kong singer/actress Sammi Cheng – (April 1, 2:30pm AMC NEWCITY 14); and Taiwan’s Johnny Chiang for LOST IN FOREST (14 April 16, 5:30pm AMC NEWCITY 14.)


Other guests include: 

Film critic and screen writer Mark Schilling, presenting his Midwest Premiere CONVENIENCE STORY a surrealist comedy that will keep you guessing  (March 19, 5:30pm AMC Evanston 12); Japanese Director Mayu Nakamura presenting SHE IS ME, I AM HER a feature film telling four short stories about  women living in post-COVID Tokyo (March 18, 5:30pm AMC Evanston 12); U.S./Japan Writer and Director Antonia Grace Glenn & Producer Evelyn Nakano Glenn (The Ito Sisters: An American Story) presenting their award-winning documentary about Japanese Americans who left the West Coast during World War II to escape living in the concentration camps BEFORE THEY TAKE US AWAY (March 19 ,2:30pm AMC Evanston 12).

Season 16 showcases films both in Chicago and Evanston, with screenings at AMC NEWCITY 14, Alliance Française de Chicago, and Illinois Institute of Technology and AMC Evanston 12.

The festival also offers films to audiences online in the United States and Canada via the Eventive streaming platform and through its new partnership with Streaming first between March 25-31 are four South Korean independent films PLEASE MAKE ME LOOK PRETTY, GOOD MORNING, A HOME FROM HOME and ROLLING.

Between April 3- 9, the festival will launch its new Movies You May Have Missed free streaming program.   Four titles were handpicked for this segment including Vietnam’s SONG LANG, the winner of 52 international film awards. Written and directed by Leon Le, a New York Broadway actor, dancer and singer, this LGBTQ romantic drama is about an unlikely bond between a folk opera singer working for a struggling theatre and the ruthless loan shark debt collector. Other films  are OLD TOWN GIRLS by Chinese Director Shen Yu, that Screen International says is “a mostly gripping film where no one ever knows where they truly stand, but everyone eagerly and stubbornly pretends otherwise”; from Director Werner Herzog, FAMILY ROMANCE LLC, where love is a business at Family Romance, a company that rents human stand-ins for any occasion; and the anime film THE CASE OF HANA AND ALICE a lovingly sensitive comedy to the woes of girlhood directed by Shunji Iwai.

“With so much streaming content in the market, the festival’s priority is to select films made by new and seasoned filmmakers which are elevating, sophisticated, and told with a distinctive voice.” Sophia Wong Boccio, Asian Pop-Up Cinema’s Founder & Executive Director believes that “audiences who come out to see our films in the cinema will come away with new insight on current societies in Asia; or enjoy a new, distinctive filmmaking craft.”

The festival’s presentations in theaters during the weekends will feature films by region: 

Japan (March 18-19; at AMC Evanston 12, and March 22 at Alliance Française de Chicago); South Korea (March 25-31, streaming on Eventive and at ITT March 25 at 2:30pm); Singapore & China, (March 25 at ITT); Hong Kong (March 31-April 1; at AMC NEWCITY 14), China, Vietnam, Japan & U.S. (April 3-9 “APUC Virtual”), and Taiwan (April 15-16, at AMC NEWCITY 14).

Asian Pop-up Cinema Ticketing

General admission ticket prices range between $0 – $20 depending on the show (with discounts for Seniors (62+).  Online tickets range between $0 to $3 (per view basis).   


Asian Pop-up Cinema Season 16 Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at

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