Italy's Far East Film Festival to Open with Korean Disaster Movie 'Ashfall'

'Ashfall' Baekdusan Still - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of the Far East Film Festival

The closing chapter of Wilson Yip's 'Ip Man' series, Johnnie To's 'Chasing Dream' and Andrew Lau's 'The Captain' also feature in the lineup of this year's online-only edition of the event.

Korean blockbuster Ashfall will open this year's online-only Far East Film Festival (FEFF) with Wilson Yip's Ip Man 4, Johnnie To’s musical and martial arts mash-up Chasing Dream and Andrew Lau's action movie The Captain among the big titles in the lineup. 

In total, 46 films from eight countries feature in the lineup for the 22nd edition of FEFF, which ordinarily takes place in the picturesque northern Italian city of Udine but is moving online due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Despite the move to streaming for this year's edition, organizers say that there will still be four world premieres, 12 international premieres, 10 European premieres and 17 Italian premieres. 

Directed by Lee Hae-jun, Ashfall is a disaster epic that tells the story of a team of South Korean soldiers and scientists, as well as one North Korean double agent, racing against the clock to stop a volcano from erupting and destroying much of the Korean peninsula. 

FEFF will screen the closing chapter of Yip's globally popular Ip Man series, with perennial festival favorites To and Lau, both Hong Kong-based directors, bringing their latest films. To's Chasing Dream has familiar fight scenes mixed with genre-bending musical elements. Lau, the co-director of the iconic Infernal Affairs trilogy, will screen The Captain, a cinematic telling of the real-life drama of Sichuan Airlines Flight 8633, when the plane's crew had to make an emergency landing after the windshield failed. 

Other highlights of the lineup include Obayashi Nobuhiko's Labyrinth of Cinema, Liao Ming-Yi's iPhone-shot iWeirDo and a four-film focus on Japanese actor Watanabe Hirobumi including the world premiere of the comedy I Am Really Good

Coming-of-age drama Better Days, from Hong Kong director Derek Tsang (son of FEFF lifetime achievement award winner Eric Tsang), is set to close the festival. 

The influential specialty event that brings popular and art house Asian cinema to Europe, was originally slated to run April 24-May 2, but in February, as Italy became a COVID-19 hotspot, FEFF's organizers postponed the event to June 26-July 4 and then pushed the event online, with plans to screen movies via the streaming services  

All of FEFF's events, including the Mulberry Awards, Audience Awards, Focus Asia market, FEFF In Progress postproduction section, panels, workshops and the popular FEFF Campus for young journalists around the world will be conducted online this year.