Reveel Film and Series Recommendation Lists

15 Pacific Islander and Asian Indie Films To Watch

As we enter May, we also find ourselves embracing the diverse stories from the diverse Pacific Islander and Asian indie films. Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month isn’t just a period marked on calendars; it’s a heartfelt celebration of cultures, histories, and narratives. In the spirit of the month, we’ve curated 15 Pacific Islander and Asian indie films that not only pay homage to these cultures but also entertain and inspire.

15. Awesome Asian Bad Guys

First on our list of Pacific Islander and Asian indie films is Awesome Asian Bad Guys. Trolling the clichéd villains of ’80s & ’90s action films, this film serves an irreverent tribute to these unsung B-movie villains. It chronicles the life of a ragtag team of washed-up Asian actors, erstwhile villains of pop culture, on a daring mission to take down LA’s most notorious mob boss.

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Two on the Edge movie poster

14. Two on the Edge

A powerful exploration of resilience, segments of time, and haunting memories, this emotionally charged indie film tells the story of Otose, an 18-year-old who must confront her past while striving for independence. As she ages out of her orphanage, her mother, Yoko, resurfaces along with the shadows of a shared past, forcing Otose to face her long-repressed traumas. This intimate portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship offers a moving testament to the human resilient spirit.

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13. A Soul Frame

Worth a thousand words. “A Soul Frame” delves into the profound and deeply rooted emotions of individuals approaching their journey’s end. It offers a unique perspective as a photographer strives to capture the very essence of their beings into a single, hauntingly beautiful portrait.

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12. Smile or Hug

After being dumped on her 30th birthday, Trish Santos works through her loneliness with help from her online art students, her two best friends, and a box of homemade self-help tapes given to her by the mysterious “mind painter” Doc Garcia.

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11. Ghost Squad

Ghost Squad is a chilling journey into the supernatural, where the spirits of wronged girls rise to exact revenge on their killers. Straddling the veil between the living and the dead, a living girl chooses to assist her ghostly compatriots in their quest for revenge and, ultimately, peace.

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10. Calling

Calling is a deeply touching and personal film that explores the essence of human semantics and the often painful nostalgia of reminiscing. The protagonist, a man in his twilight years, finds himself lost in a sea of memories as people close to him begin to leave, each in their unique ways.

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Taciturn Tango

9. Taciturn Tango

Another film created by Hon Hoang, this movie is a delightful microcosm of life portrayed in the simple meeting of two strangers. The film’s subtlety is its strength as it balances a delicate narrative within an inopportune period of life.

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8. Yes, And…

We follow the journey of a neurotic Asian American actor whose dreams of stardom are quickly starting to fade. But when he happens across his dream girl —there’s, of course, a twist— his mundane life turns upside down. Making matters hilariously complicated, the unanticipated return of his newly-divorced best friend and his aging parents into his cramped, one-bedroom apartment sets the scene for a heartwarming saga of comedic confusion.

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7. Rickshaw Girl

Set against the hustle and bustle of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Rickshaw Girl tells a story of resilience and vigour anchored in cultural beauty. The film follows the journey of a courageous teenage girl who cloaks herself as a boy to navigate the demanding world of being a rickshaw driver so she can aid her struggling family.

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6. A Fork in the Road

This movie presents a refreshing take on modern family dynamics. Lisa, the adopted daughter of two loving gay parents, is coming for dinner. However, this is no ordinary gathering. She’s bringing with her a shocking piece of news that will alter the course of their lives forever. A gripping tale of love, acceptance, and change.

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5. Almighty Zeus

The ring often reflects the ring of life itself, and for a young Asian-American boxer, that becomes a brutal reality in Almighty Zeus. Our protagonist uses his fists of thunder to knock out an aggressor on behalf of an old Asian man, attaining viral fame. This catapults him into the demanding gaze of the Middleweight champion, who challenges him to a boxing match like no other.

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4. Beloved (2022)

The tale of a young couple grappling with the stark reality of marriage when the colors of romance fade, ‘Beloved’ is much more than a conventional love story. It paints a vivid picture of impeccable performances, deeply human conflicts, and nuanced storytelling, touching on not only the highs of love, but the lows as well.

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3. Race 1

The movie throws a spotlight on the LIONS racing team’s struggle, as they lose their main driver to unforeseen circumstances at the onset of the season. Left with no option, they resort to a remarkable solution: a champion of the virtual gaming world. Expect the unexpected as the team embarks on an all-stakes journey to keep their dwindling sponsorship alive.

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2. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

A story exploring the grit and hustle of life in Manila, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” follows Sancho, a Spanish go-getter, who lands in the Philippines in search for a job promised by his friend, Alonso. But Sancho soon learns that finding a job is the least of his worries, as Alonso has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

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1. Upside Brown

Last on our list of asian indie films is a movie about what happens when two families who carry different world views live under the same roof. At the core of the story, we have the conservative, yet warm-hearted Indian patriarch, Amol Tyagi, who hosts his college buddy Akash Malhotra and family before they embark on a cross-country move. Expect cultural clashes, a healthy critical examination of traditional values, and of course, humor.

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