The Asian Film Festival of Dallas kicks off Thursday night for a week of 35 movie screenings. The festival celebrates its tenth year with more filmmakers than ever coming into town. The event is run entirely by volunteers who have seen their share of ups and downs.
For the next week, film enthusiasts will pour into Magnolia Theatre to watch Asian films shot around the world in English and Asian languages.
"We've really pulled together to make this the best festival ever. I really believe that it will be," said Alicia Chang, executive director. "I'm very excited and very proud to have reached this point."
The 10th annual festival promises to be an eclectic mix of movies, from "Shaolin," a martial arts drama featuring Jackie Chan, to the hip-hop dance film "Saigon Electric." Some films tackle controversial topics, like homosexuality in India in "I Am."
"We're exposing people to countries and industries that are much bigger than the Hollywood or the U.S. Industries. And there's so much more out there when you start watching these films," said Eric Hanes, the festival's creative director.
The first year the festival drew about 1,000 people. Last year more than 3,000 filled the seats in the theater. And this year, organizers are hoping to set another attendance record. But it has been no easy feat.
"Just worrying about the budget and worrying about sponsorship and worrying about if we're going to have enough money to pull this off," said Mye Hoang, festival co-founder.
Hoang started the festival when she was a manager at Magnolia Theatre and "programmed the films that I wanted to see myself. Little did I know that so many people in this city shared that same passion that I had," she said.
Festival organizers hope the passion that has carried them through this 10-year journey will continue at least 10 more.
For a list of films showing through July 15-21, visit the festival website.