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

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Now in its 21st edition, the festival features a variety of independent films, from sci-fi thrillers to comedies.

“Dallas has a lot of film festivals, but this is the one that everyone always looks forward to,” said festival spokesman John Wildman.

In addition to the show, festival-goers will also take part in a plethora of activities, including red carpets, Q&As with filmmakers, and Bollywood-inspired live music.

The festival’s new executive director Thomas Schubert and lead programmer Paul Theiss, along with a group of guest programmers, hope to bring innovative live events to festival audiences.

“They took the idea that they needed to put on a show seriously, and they needed to make it worth it for everyone,” Wildman said.

Festival highlights include Tom Huang’s “Dealing with Dad,” a comedy drama about three grown-up siblings living their lives with an overbearing father who is going through depression. The film received a positive response on the national film festival circuit.

The film’s screenwriter and director Huang said the Dallas Asian Film Festival brought a taste of filmmakers from Asia and the United States

“It’s almost like a way to travel around the world, where you can see different tastes of different cultures in a fun way,” Huang said.

Other holiday highlights:
Thursday night’s opener, Xing Wenxiong’s “It’s so cool to kill without blinking” is an action comedy about an actor who finds himself caught in a dangerous gangster conspiracy. Showtimes: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. at the Texas Theater.

“7 days” is a romantic comedy about an Indian-American couple who are forced to shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, when their parents’ pre-arranged first date turns into a never-ending experience. The screening will also include live Bollywood-style performances. Showtimes: Sunday, 6:00 p.m. at Angelika Film Center.

“Erzulie” is a mermaid thriller about four women who summon mermaids to solve their problems, but end up with dire results. Three “real” mermaids will also be at the screening, Wildman said, including one star, Laila Anastasia Scott. filter: Sunday, 10:00 p.m. at the Angelica Film Center.

In total, 16 feature films and 11 short films will be screened at the Texas Theater and Angelica Film Center. The festival runs from Thursday night to Sunday. Schedules and tickets are on the festival’s website.

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