SDAFF Award Winners

The San Diego Asian Film Festival is a competitive film festival aiming to celebrate achievements in Asian American cinema. An independent jury of filmmakers, curators, critics, academics, and other professionals is chosen to view films and select winners in the following categories: narrative feature, documentary feature, narrative short, documentary short, and animated short. Additionally, the jury selects a Grand Jury winner and optional Special Jury mentions.

SDAFF programmers also select the recipient of the George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award, named after the co-founder of the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival and the former Program Director of the San Diego Asian Film Festival. An advocate for all things independent, George passed away from cancer on October 14, 2008. The award in his memory is given to a first-time feature filmmaker who embodies his spirit.

Other awards at the festival include the Digital Pioneer Award, Best International Short, the Lifetime Achievement Award, and an Audience Award, which is open to all new feature films in the festival.

2017 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: My Enemy My Brother, directed by Ann Shin
Narrative Feature: Wexford Plaza, directed by Joyce Wong
Documentary Feature: Out of State, directed by Ciara Lacy
Narrative Short: Float, directed by Tristan Seniuk & Voleak Sip
Documentary Short: Mother’s Day, directed by Elizabeth Lo & R.J. Lozada
Animated Short: Crushed in Space, directed by Janice Chun
International Short: Afternoon Clouds, directed by Payal Kapadia
Special Jury Mention: Santa Claus, directed by Jeff Man
Digital Pioneer Award: Phil Yu
George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award: Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, director of They
Audience Award: Island Soldier, directed by Nathan Fitch

2016 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: The Lockpicker, directed by Randall Okita
Narrative Feature: Chee and T, directed by Tanuj Chopra
Documentary Feature: Bad Rap, directed by Salima Koroma
Narrative Short: Death in a Day, directed by Lin Wang
Documentary Short: Bruce Takes Dragon Town, directed by Emily Chao
Animated Short: Hold Me (Ca Caw Ca Caw), directed by Renee Zhan
Special Jury Mention: Random Acts of Legacy, directed by Ali Kazimi
George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award: Andrew Ahn, director of Spa Night
Lifetime Achievement Award: Wayne Wang
Audience Award: Daze of Justice, directed by Michael Siv

2015 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Distance Between, directed by R.J. Lozada
Narrative Feature: Crush the Skull, directed by Viet Nguyen
Documentary Feature: Operation Popcorn, directed by David Grabias
Narrative Short: Drama, directed by Tian Guan
Documentary Short: From Tonga, directed by Huay-Bing Law
Animated Short: Cuz He’s Black, directed by Ji Sub Jeong
Special Jury Mention: Reunification, directed by Alvin Tsang
George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award: Takeshi Fukunaga, director of Out of My Hand
Lifetime Achievement Award: Tyrus Wong
Audience Award: Tyrus, directed by Pamela Tom
Digital Pioneer Award: BuzzFeed Motion Pictures

2014 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Appropriate Behavior, directed by Desiree Akhavan
Narrative Feature: Man from Reno, directed by Dave Boyle
Documentary Feature: My Life in China, directed by Kenneth Eng
Narrative Short: Hypebeasts, directed by Jessica dela Merced
Documentary Short: Transformers: the Premake, directed by Kevin B. Lee
Animated Short: Behind My Behind, directed by David Chai
Special Jury Mention: Kumu Hina, directed by Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson
George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award: Vera Brunner-Sung, director of Bella Vista
Audience Award: Limited Partnership, directed by Thomas Miller
Digital Pioneer Award: Anna Akana

2013 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Karaoke Girl, directed by Visra Vichit-Vadakan
Narrative Feature: Sake-Bomb, directed by Junya Sakino
Documentary Feature: Your Day is My Night, directed by Lynne Sachs
Narrative Short: The Perils of Growing Up Flat-Chested, directed by Yulin Kuang
Documentary Short: Draft Day, directed by Josh Kim
Animated Short: The Present, directed by Joe Hsieh
Special Jury Mention: Documented, directed by Jose Antonio Vargas and Ann Lupo
Social Justice Award: When I Walk, directed by Jason DaSilva
George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award: Leslie Tai
Audience Award: American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, directed by Grace Lee

2012 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Johnny Loves Dolores, directed by Clarissa de los Reyes
Narrative Feature: Graceland, directed by Ron Morales
Documentary Feature: Seeking Asian Female, directed by Debbie Lum
Narrative Short: Monday Monday, directed by Eric K. Yue
Animated Short: 38-39°C, directed by Kangmin Kim
Special Jury Mention: The World Before Her, directed by Nisha Pahuja
George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award: Ernie Park, director of Late Summer
Lifetime Achievement Award: Chung Chang-wha
Audience Award: Eden, directed by Megan Griffiths

2011 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Surrogate Valentine, directed by Dave Boyle
Narrative Feature: In the Family, directed by Patrick Wang
Documentary Feature: Tales of the Waria, directed by Kathy Huang
Narrative Short: Andy, directed by Andrew Ahn
Documentary Short: Making Noise in Silence, directed by Mina T. Son
Animated Short: Enrique Wrecks the World, directed by David Chai
Special Jury Mention: The LuLu Session, directed by S. Casper Wong
George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award: Patrick Wang, director of In the Family
Lifetime Achievement Award: Nancy Kwan
Audience Award: The Power of Two, directed by Marc Smolowitz

2010 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: The House of Suh, directed by Iris Shim
Narrative Feature: Littlerock, directed by Mike Ott
Documentary Feature: Finding Face, directed by Skye Fitzgerald and Patti Duncan
Narrative Short: Works of Art, directed by Andrew Pang
Documentary Short: Top Spin, directed by Sara Newens and Mina T. Son
Animated Short: The Wonder Hospital, directed by Beomsik Shimbe Shim
George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award: Nadine Truong
Influential Asian American Artist Award: Daniel Dae Kim
Audience Award: One Voice, directed by Lisette Flannery

2009 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Children of Invention, directed by Tze Chun
Narrative Feature: Children of Invention, directed by Tze Chun
Documentary Feature: Whatever It Takes, directed by Christopher Wong
Narrative Short: A Green Mountain In a Drawer, directed by Hwa-Jun Lee
Documentary Short: Rough Cut, directed by Firouzeh Khosrovani
Animated Short: Kudan, directed by Taku Kimura
Special Jury Mention: A Song For Ourselves, directed by Tadashi Nakamura
George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award: Mark Tran, director of All About Dad
Audience Award: White on Rice, directed by David Boyle

2008 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Dirty Hands: the Art & Crimes of David Choe, directed by Harry Kim
Narrative Feature: Santa Mesa, directed by Ron Morales
Documentary Feature: Shame, directed by Mohammed Naqvi
Narrative Short: Lady, directed by Wendy Cheng
Animated Short: Meat Days, directed by Joe Hsieh
Special Jury Mention: Damn the Past!, directed by Julie Kang
Lifetime Achievement Award: Soon-Tek Oh

2007 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Cats of Mirikitani, directed by Linda Hattendorf
Narrative Feature: Owl and the Sparrow, directed by Stephane Gauger
Documentary Feature: Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula, directed by Lisette Flanary
Narrative Short: Monsoon, directed by Shyam Balse
Documentary Short: Mookey’s Story, directed by Carolyn Goossen & Daffodil Altan
Animated Short: City Paradise, directed by Gaelle Denis
Music video: Champion by Native Guns, directed by Patricio Ginelsa
Lifetime Achievement Award: George Takei

2006 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Journey From the Fall, directed by Ham Tran
Narrative Feature: Eve & the Firehorse, directed by Julia Kwan
Documentary Feature: Last Atomic Bomb, directed by Robert Richter
Narrative Short: Hiro, directed by Matthew Swanson
Animated Short: Mirage, directed by Youngwoon Jang
Experimental: Latent Sorrow, directed by Shon Kim
Music Video: Steal the Blueprints, directed by Chris Deaner
Special Jury Mention: Colma: The Musical, directed by Richard Wong
Lifetime Achievement Award: Kieu Chin

2005 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Seibutsu: (Still Life), directed by Joe Turner Lin
Narrative Feature: The Motel, directed by Michael Kang
Documentary Feature: And Thereafter, directed by Hosup Lee
Narrative Short: Summer of the Serpent, directed by Kimi Takesue
Documentary Short: Daastar: Defending Sikh Identity, directed by Kevin Lee
Animated Short: Public Bath, directed by Tak Hoon Kim
Experimental: 5 x 90: The Wake, directed by Samuel Kiehoon Lee
Music Video: Psychokinetics: The Vault, directed by Gene Celso
Visionary Award: Saving Face, directed by Alice Wu
Lifetime Achievement: Joan Chen

2004 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, directed by Ann Marie Fleming
Narrative Feature: First Morning, directed by Victor Vu
Documentary Feature: The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, directed by Ann Marie Fleming
Narrative Short: Sangam, directed by Prashant Bhargava
Documentary Short: Yellow Brotherhood, directed by Tadashi Nakamura
Animated Short: Birthday Boy, directed by Sejong Park
Experimental: Balikbayan, directed by Larilyn Sanchez & Riza Manalo
Music Video: Skyflakes: Bad Thoughts, directed by Dino Ignacio

2003 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Refugee, directed by Spencer Nakasako
Narrative Feature: Book of Rules, directed by Sung H. Kim
Documentary Feature: Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story, directed by Jeri Osborne
Narrative Short: Anniversary, directed by Ham Tran
Documentary Short: How to Make Kimchee, directed by Samuel Kiehoon Lee
Animated Short: Henry’s Garden, directed by Moon Seun
Experimental: Nothing But Love, directed by Wen-Yao Chuang

2002 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Sophie, directed by Helen Lee
Narrative Feature: Charlotte Sometimes, directed by Eric Byler
Documentary Feature: Journey for Lotus, directed by Eunhee Cha
Narrative Short: Barrier Device, directed by Grace Lee
Documentary Short: BLT Genesis, directed by Evan Leong
Animated Short: Vessel Wrestling, directed by Lisa Yu
Experimental: Still I Rise, directed by Umesh Shukla

2001 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Roads and Bridges, directed by Abraham Lim
Narrative Feature: Dog Food (Azucena), directed by Carlos Siguion-Reyna
Documentary Feature: Made in China, directed by Karin Lee
Narrative Short: Talk to Taka, directed by Richard Kim
Documentary Short: Bitter and Sweet, directed by Johanna Lee
Animated Short: Lint People, directed by Helder Sun
Experimental: Staccato Fugue, directed by Teo Carlo Pulgar

2000 Award Winners

Grand Jury Award: Karma Local, directed by Darshan Bhagat
Narrative Feature: The Debut, directed by Gene Cajayon
Documentary Feature: When You’re Smiling, directed by Janice Tanaka
Narrative Short: Mouse, directed by Greg Pak
Documentary Short: Shit, the Movie, directed by Julie Gaw
Experimental: By this Parting, directed by Mieko Ouchi