AFA Anniversary—How Far We’ve Come

The Asian Film Archive (AFA) began its journey  in 2005. We wanted to do our part to protect and preserve Asia’s  rich cinematic heritage. Over the last 17 years, we have been home to over 2,566 Asian films, many of which are sole surviving copies. 

Spotlight on SG Cinema in 2015, screening of restored films at SG50 with special guest, Joo Lan Berry (extreme right) daughter of Yi Sui, director of Lion City (1960).

Apart from preserving films, part of our mission is to make the films in our collection available for viewing and research. To that end, we have embarked on restoring films that have deteriorated so much that without working on them, we would lose them forever. Our recent  restorations—Sri Lankan film Bambaru Avith (1978, dir. Dharmasena Pathiraja) was shown  at Cannes Classics in 2020 and is now on MUBI; They Call Her… Cleopatra Wong (1978, dir Bobby Suarez), featuring Singapore’s own action star Marrie Lee – graced the big screen once again before audiences at Oldham Theatre.  

Who needs the gym when you have film cans, 2018

To meet the need for a wider critical appreciation of Asian cinema, AFA rolled out a gamut of film related programmes – talks, exhibitions, tours, symposiums, workshops, book and video publications, multi-disciplinary shows—for anyone interested in Asian cinema. With the opening of Oldham Theatre in 2019, we  started our regular screening programmes under the banner “Explore Asian Cinema”. In the last two years of the pandemic, we have persevered to continue our screenings. From the classics to the contemporary, from the critically acclaimed to the independently made, we have shown all forms of Asian cinema for audiences to appreciate and engage with.  

Veteran actor Taiwanese film actor Shih Chun signing autographs as a guest for Reframe: Migratory Times, 2019

In 2022, we hope you will continue to support the work of the dedicated staff and volunteers of the AFA as they forge ahead to fulfill our mission to Save, Explore and Share the art of Asian cinema.

In conversation with South Korean filmmaker Kim Bora for her critically acclaimed debut feature, House of Hummingbird to sold out audiences, 2019

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