Reframe: The (In)Hospitable World Online Symposium

  • October 23, 2020 | 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM | Friday
  • Oldham Theatre


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Hosts/Moderators: Dr Kiu-wai Chu, Dr Soh Kai Ruo

This online symposium centres on the Reframe series – “The (In)hospitable World”, based on both the selected films and texts that address ecological, environmental, and public health issues represented in cinema of Asia. The three panels will cover:

  1. The theorizing of Asian cinema in the (in)hospitable world;
  2. Making films in times of environmental and health crises; 
  3. New forms of film distribution, exhibition and spectatorship in (post-)catastrophic time.

With this new geological epoch, which we call the Anthropocene, and the current pandemic outbreak, our Earth is reaching a new level of inhospitality. 

So how are film production, distribution, exhibition and film studies, affected by both the environmental crises and pandemic situation? How are filmmakers, festival curators, spectators and researchers, adapting to these changes? Can we still explore new possibilities, maintain optimism, and find hope, in a (post-)catastrophic world?

Please download the full programme/schedule including speakers’ abstracts & bios here.

*The symposium will be streamed free online on the Asian Film Archive’s Youtube and Facebook pages on 23 October. We encourage all participants to register their interest via Peatix  to receive the latest updates on speakers, paper abstracts and final programme

Symposium Schedule & Programme

9:50am – 10am (SGT/UTC+8)
Kiu-wai Chu and Soh Kai Ruo

Session One: Theorizing Asian Cinema in the (In)hospitable World
10am – 11:45am (SGT/UTC+8)

In a world defined by intensifying ecological inhospitality, and a pandemic that unleashes mimetic rivalry and scapegoating mechanisms, how is Asian cinema offering us a glimpse of hope in a (post-)catastrophic world full of possibilities?

In this panel, Jennifer Fay explores how Tsai Ming Liang’s films guide us out of the post-apocalyptic despair, showing us an alternative, viral hospitality through human intimacy. While Chia-ju Chang discusses how cinema functions as a “technology of compassion” that brings possible redemption to the ethnic scapegoating.

Panel Speakers:

  • Jennifer Fay (Professor of Cinema & Media Arts and English, Vanderbilt University)
    “Viral Hospitality: Sheltering in the Anthropocene”
  • Chia-ju Chang (Professor, Brooklyn College, The City University of New York)
    “Mimetic Rivalry and Scapegoating of Women in Time of Pandemic: Cinematic Representation and Redemption”


  • Kiu-wai Chu (Assistant Professor in Environmental Humanities and Chinese, Nanyang Technological University); 
  • Soh Kai Ruo

Session Two: Conversation with Filmmakers: Making Films in a Time of Crises
2pm – 3:30pm (SGT/UTC+8)

A conversation between film scholars and filmmakers, join us discuss stories of inhospitality in selected films shown in this series. Listen and ask questions about the filmmakers’ experiences of producing and making films in this new world of growing inhospitality, and glimpses of hopes for a better future. 

Panel Speakers:

  • Prateek Vats, director of Eeb Allay Ooo!
  • Alex Curran-Cardarelli, producer of Mekong 2030 / Festival manager of Luang Prabang Festival 
  • Anysay Keola, director of Mekong 2030 The Che Brother
  • Lungyin Lim, director of Ohong Village


  • Graiwoot Chulphongsathorn (Chulalongkorn University);
  • Soh Kai Ruo

Session 3: Distribution, Exhibition and Spectatorship of Asian Films in Pandemic Time  
4pm – 5:30pm (SGT/UTC+8)

How has film production, distribution, exhibition and spectatorship been affected by the inhospitable conditions of our present world, especially when made worse by the global environmental crises and more recently the coronavirus pandemic? Join world-leading film scholars and the Director of Udine Far East Film Festival as they discuss how local film scenes in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and elsewhere are responding to changes respectively. Can online film experience replace cinemas, festivals and conventional modes of spectatorships? 

Panel speakers:

  • Gina Marchetti (Professor, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
    “Hong Kong on Borrowed Time in a Pandemic
  • Ma Ran (Associate Professor, Nagoya University, Japan)
    Save the Cinema? In (Post-)Pandemic Japan – an Incomplete Observation”

Guest Speaker:

  • Sabrina Baracetti (Director, Udine Far East Film Festival, Italy)
    “Sharing on Udine Far East Film Festival 2020”


  • Sangjoon Lee (Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University);
  • Kiu-wai Chu (Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University)

5:30pm – 5:35pm (SGT/UTC+8)
Kiu-wai Chu and Soh Kai Ruo

Schedule is subject to change. Register interest in the Peatix form to receive all the latest updates including speakers’ bios and abstracts.