London’s annual East Asian film festival returns for fourth year


The London East Asia Film Festival (LEAFF), the capital’s most celebrated champion of East Asian cinema and culture, opens its fourth year on the 24th October at Odeon Leicester Square with the European premiere of EXIT, the latest disaster action comedy from Korean director Lee Sang-geun, and runs until 3rd November.

This year’s programme includes the cinematic offerings of 11 countries – China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia and focuses on crisis, chaos and survival. Through the lens and unique perspectives of East Asian filmmakers, LEAFF offers compelling insight into not only the future of those in East Asia but in London, with vital and thought-provoking dialogues being opened up around subjects such as youth, human interaction, development, cultural and social issues.

LEAFF will screen at 4 international premieres, 17 european premieres and 22 UK premieres, which will take place at selected venues, including Odeon Leicester Square, Odeon Covent Garden, Bertha Dochouse, London’s Cinema Museum and Deptford Cinema.

The festival runs ten strands, carefully curated and programmed by Festival Director Hyejung Jeon with Festival Advisor Roger Garcia (Hainan International Film Festival) and a team of programmers, including young film curators in partnership with the National Film and Television School (MA programme headed by Sandra Hebron).

  • LEAFF Official Selection
  • Actor Focus: Aaron Kwok
  • Competition
  • Stories of Women
  • K-CINEMA 100
  • Special Spotlight: North Korea
  • Film & Art
  • Documentary
  • Horror Special
  • Samurai Season

Official Selection

The LEAFF official selection presents some of the best East Asian films of the year – from box office hits to critically acclaimed features, LEAFF celebrates the return of highly influential filmmakers. These include Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s latest feature, To the Ends of the Earth, Fruit Chan’s powerful depiction of sexuality and desires in Three Husbands, as well as Wong Kar-wai’s latest production, Europe Raiders directed by Jingle Ma.

Straight from wowing audiences at International Film Festivals in Cannes, Venice, and Locarno, LEAFF will screen the year’s most anticipated films, including Midi Z’s Nina Wu; Dian Yinan’s The Wild Goose Lake; Pema Tseden’s latest feature, Balloon; Yosep Anggi Noen’s The Science of Fictions, as well as Thailand’s most intense thriller The Pool of the Year by Ping Lumphapleng.

Actor Focus: Aaron Kwok

This year, LEAFF celebrates the works of Aaron Kwok, the acclaimed Hong Kong actor, who has starred in more than 60 films since his debut in 1984. He has been awarded in previous years at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards as well as Hong Kong Film Awards.

Kwok has had box office hits not only in Korea but across Asia, most recently with Project Gutenberg by Felix Chong that was screened at last year’s LEAFF. Actor Focus is a strand dedicated to Aaron Kwok screening films between 2006 and 2019. From Port of Call, a crime thriller, to After this Our Exile, a family drama, four films will be screened showing the range of the actor’s performance.


LEAFF’s competition seeks out East Asia’s most talented emerging directors, with a stellar jury: Mike Goodridge, Director of Macau International Film Festival, Programmer Anke Leweke of Berlin International Film Festival, Programmer Shelly Kraicer of Vancouver International Film Festival. The best filmmaker will be awarded for the best film in Competition and a cash prize of £2,000 in contribution to their next project.

This year sees a diverse range of films from China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong by directors all of whom have made three features or less. It includes the suspense-filled Summer of Changsha (dir. Zu Feng), and the surprising and mysterious G Affairs (dir. Lee Cheuk Pan). Another Child (dir. Kim Yoon-seok) and Ms Purple (dir. Justin Chon) are films by actor-turned directors and have gained great praise in Korea.

All about ING (dir. Huang Zi), which won the jury prize at Xining First Film Festival, will be screened as a UK premiere with the Still Human (dir. Oliver Chan) that has gained great attention in the festival circuit. The directors of Deep Evil (dir. Mark Lu), Money (dir. Park Noori) and Wet Season (dir. Anthony Chen) will attend the screenings of their films to meet with a UK audience.