Oscar Noms, Premieres Headline Asian Pop-Up Cinema

With one of its most diverse lineups, Asian Pop-Up Cinema: Season 12 continues with a drive-in film festival, April 15 – May 2 at The Drive-In at Lincoln Yards, operated by local landmark cinema, Davis Theater.

This season highlights the best of Asian filmmaking, with a lineup of features from Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Mongolia. In addition to many international and U.S. premieres, the festival will screen five official selections submitted for 2021 Academy Awards consideration.

Oscar-nominated MINARI will have a special screening on April 29 and May 1 at the Drive -In. Lee Isaac Chung’s acclaimed film, nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Score, tells the story of a Korean family pursuing the American dream on an Arkansas farm. Sponsored by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chicago, the screening will be free to the public with RSVP.

Nominated for Best International Feature Film, BETTER DAYS is Hong Kong actor and director Derek Kwok-Cheung Tsang’s thriller following a bullied high schooler as she prepares for her college entrance exam. Known for his critically acclaimed debut Soul Mate (2017), Tsang’s latest drama is an insightful take on oppressive societal pressures facing teenagers today. 

Other Oscar submissions include South Korea’s political drama THE MAN STANDING NEXT fromWoo Min-ho, Malaysia’s horror film ROH from first-time director Emir Ezwan and Japan’s TRUE MOTHERS, a touching story of adoption from international festival favorite Naomi Kawase. All four titles will be streaming via the festival’s screening partner Smart Cinema USA

Programming is selected by Festival Director and Founder Sophia Wong Boccio. “My mission for Asian Pop-Up Cinema has always been to bridge eastern and western culture and expose the general public to stories told by Asian filmmakers,” she said. “Given today’s social and political climate, I’m prouder than ever to be providing the city with an outlet that reinforces the commonalities we all share through a familiar art form like film.”

The drive-in opens with a screening of Centerpiece Film ONE SECOND CHAMPION, following a boxer who is gifted with the ability to see one second into the future. A solo directorial debut from Chiu Sin-hang, this underdog story shows how far a single father would go to gain his son’s respect. Determination is also the central theme in Lik Ho’s I STILL REMEMBER, an inspiring story of a widower teacher and his former student who find solace in the sport of running. Sponsored by HKETO NY, other Hong Kong selections include Closing Night’s READY O/R KNOT, a quirky romantic comedy from first-time director Anselm Chan. When a longtime couple has opposite views on marriage, an outright battle-of-the-sexes ensues with the help of their scheming friends.

While varying in setting and scope, the selected features have a common thread of our shared humanity. Nontraditional family love is explored in the U.S. premiere of DEAR TENANT, from director Cheng Yu-chieh, whose native Taiwan was the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage. The perception of time is examined in Chen Yu-hsun’s award-winning MY MISSING VALENTINE, a romantic comedy following a woman who inadvertently skips a day of her own life. 

Sponsored by Choose Chicago, Japanese selection showcases complicated parental dynamics with Shuichi Okita’s ONE SUMMER STORY following a high school girl’s search for her biological father.  

South Korean selections include the North American premiere of first-time director Bae Jong-dae’s intense drama BLACK LIGHT, U.S. premiere of Lee Don-ku’s quirky crime thriller FANFARE and the Midwest premiere of Yoon Dan-bi’s slice-of-life debut feature, MOVING ON. RSVP required. Free admissions courtesy of the Korea Foundation.

Pre-recorded “Filmmakers’ Talks” will be included in the majority of feature presentations with questionnaires provided by virtual moderators Mark Schilling for Japan, Kevin Ma for Hong Kong, Darcy Paquet for South Korea and Pat McDonald for Taiwan. 


The Drive-In at Lincoln Yards is located at 1684 N. Throop Street. Films will be shown at sunset on Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun nights and will be shown once only.

Thursday, April 15:


One Second Champion (Chiu Sin-Hang, 2020)– Hong Kong

Friday, April 16:

Dear Tenant (Cheng Yu-chieh, 2020)– Taiwan

Saturday, April 17:

I Still Remember (Lik Ho, 2021)– Hong Kong

Sunday, April 18: 

One Summer Story (Shuichi Okita, 2020)– Japan

Thursday, April 22: 

Black Light (Bae Jong-dae, 2020)– South Korea, Free and open to the public

Friday, April 23:

Moving On ( Dan-bi Yoon, 2019)– South Korea, Free and open to the public

Saturday, April 24:

My Missing Valentine (Chen Yu-hsun)– Taiwan

Thursday, April 29:

Minari (Lee Isaac Chung, 2020) – USA, Free and open to the public

Friday, April 30:

Fanfare (Lee Don-ku, 2019)– South Korea, Free and open to the public

Saturday, May 1

Minari (Lee Isaac Chung, 2020) – USA, Free and open to the public

Sunday, May 2


Ready O/R Knot (Anselm Chan, 2021) – Hong Kong

Tickets are $15 per vehicle @ drive-in.  Sold via https://www.tickettailor.com/events/asianpopupcinema or clicked through each film page’s “Buy Tickets” button. All ticket sales are final, non-refundable and non-exchangeable. All programs are subject to change. For the latest news and up-to-date screening information, subscribe at asianpopupcinema.org/subscribe

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