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Asian Film Festival of Dallas showcases vibrant features, mermaids and Bollywood at local theaters

"Dealing with Dad" is about three siblings in a dysfunctional family navigating life with their overbearing father's bout with depression.
Asian Film Festival of Dallas
"Dealing with Dad" is about three siblings in a dysfunctional family navigating life with their overbearing father's bout with depression.

After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Asian Film Festival of Dallas is back to showcase an eclectic mix of films by Asian American filmmakers and from countries across Asia.

Now in it’s 21st edition, the festival features a variety of independent films that range from sci-fi thriller to comedy drama.

“There are many film festivals in Dallas but this has been one that everyone has oftentimes looked forward to,” said John Wildman, the festival’s spokesperson.

Along with the programming, festival-goers will be treated to colorful events that include a red carpet, Q&A’s with filmmakers and a live Bollywood-style musical performance.

The festival’s new executive director Thomas Schubert and lead programmer Paul Theiss, along with a team of guest programmers hope to bring innovative in-person events for festival-goers to enjoy.

“They take seriously the idea that they need to put on a show and they need to make it worth everyone's while,” Wildman said.

Festival highlights include Tom Huang’s “Dealing with Dad” – a comedy-drama about three adult siblings navigating life with an overbearing father who’s going through a bout of depression. The film has gotten a positive response on the national festival circuit.

Huang, the film’s writer and director, said the Asian Film Festival of Dallas brings flavor from filmmakers from both Asia and the U.S.

“It's almost like a way of traveling around the world where you get to see get different tastes of different cultures in an entertaining way,” Huang said.

Other festival highlights:
Thursday night's opener, Wenxiong Xing’s Too Cool to Kill,” is an action comedy about an actor who finds himself in a dangerous mob conspiracy. Screening: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. at Texas Theatre.

7 Daysis a relationship comedy-drama about an Indian American couple whose pre-arranged first date by their parents becomes a never-ending experience as they’re forced to shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The screening will also include a live Bollywood-style performance. Screening: Sunday, 6:00 p.m. at Angelika Film Center.

Erzulie is a mermaid thriller about four women who summon a mermaid to deal with their problems but end up with frightening results. Wildman said the screening will also be attended by three “real” mermaids including one of the stars, Leila Annastasia Scott. Screening: Sunday, 10:00 p.m. at Angelika Film Center.

In total, 16 feature films and 11 short films will be shown at both the Texas Theatre and the Angelika Film Center. The festival runs Thursday night through Sunday. Scheduling and tickets are on the festival's website.

Got a tip? Email Pablo Arauz Peña at

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Pablo Arauz Peña is the breaking news reporter for KERA News.