CHICAGO, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- A packed audience enjoyed the preview of a Chinese film as a teaser to kick off Season Nine of the Asian film festival in Chicago Wednesday evening.
Asian Pop-Up Cinema, organizer of the film festival, presented Chinese dark comedy "Dying to Survive" at a theater in downtown Chicago.
"The word 'Nine' rhymes with 'forever' in Chinese," Sophia Wong Boccio, founder and executive director of Asian Pop-Up Cinema, told Xinhua in an interview. "So the 9th season is a special one and it also means that the film festival will continue well into the future."
This will also be the "biggest Chinese film screening season" at Asian Pop-Up Cinema, with five films from the Chinese mainland, three from Hong Kong SAR and one from Taiwan to be screened, Boccio said.
"We have never featured so many Chinese films in one season before," she added.
Besides the featured preview "Dying to Survive" shown on Wednesday evening, other films from China include "Crossing the Border" by Huo Meng, "The Enigma of the Arrival" by Song Wen, "Wushu Orphan" by Huang Huang and "Shadow" by Zhang Yimou.
"Films have been thoughtfully curated to represent authentic voices of Asia," said Boccio. "And a majority of which will be Chicago premieres."
The genres of the films in this season include musicals, courtroom thrillers, family dramas and comedies.
"Dying to Survive" is based on a true story. Cheng Yong is under a contract to help a sick man get illegally imported medicine for leukemia, and soon finds himself in a gang of unlikely smugglers that strive to help thousands of patients get access to the much-needed medicine at reasonable prices, until the licensed importer goes to the police.
Directed by Wen Muye in his feature film debut and starring Xu Zheng, the film won "Best Actor," "Best New Director" and "Best Original Screenplay" at the 2018 Golden Horse Awards.
"I find the film very entertaining. It feels like a documentary, very well done," said audience member 73-year-old Luis Zunina.
Veteran of the Asian film festival Andy Salk said, "It's a treat to meet with Asian filmmakers and ask them questions directly at discussion sessions."
"Our goal is to help our audiences learn to accept different cultures and be inspired by the stories told by filmmakers from Asia," said Boccio.
Seventeen films from China, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines will be shown at the festival, and 15 special guests of actors and filmmakers will meet with the audiences.
Asian Pop-Up Cinema's season nine will run from Sept. 10 to Oct. 10.