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Asian Pop-Up Cinema Audiences Select "Takano Tofu" and "We Are Family" Favorites of 18th Season

Films About Family Tied For Audience Choice Awards

Chicago, Illinois (April 24, 2024) The Asian Pop-Up Cinema film festival today announced its 18th season Audience Choice Awards resulted in a tie, with TAKANO TOFU and WE ARE FAMILY being selected as the favorite films of this year’s Festival. 

In director Mitsuhiro Mihara’s heartwarming drama, TAKANO TOFU, Tatsuo Takano, played by Tatsuya Fuji, is a dedicated artisan whose exceptional tofu is highly regarded in his hometown and beyond. Although his life is steeped in tradition and resistance to change, including his daughter Haru’s (Kumiko Aso) innovative ideas, like cheese-flavored tofu, the film intertwines personal and medical challenges, and evokes deep emotions through a narrative of familial love, aging, and resilience, while also reflecting on the lasting impacts of trauma.  

WE ARE FAMILY, by director Benny Lau, follows the entrepreneurial venture of Jia-cong (Carlos Chan), a cynical founder of a “Rent-a-Family” business who views relationships as business transactions. His team includes Pei-yi (Catherine Chau), a disinterested drama coach, and Zhi-guang (Eric Tsang), a passionate but overzealous actor. The plot thickens as the company takes on the complex job of providing fake family members for a wedding, leading to unexpected personal revelations and a reevaluation of what it means to provide such a service. As they navigate through mishaps and confront their personal histories, the story culminates in a dramatic revelation at a wedding that fundamentally changes the lives and perceptions of the main characters. 

"The Audience Choice Awards for the 18th Season of Asian Pop-Up Cinema resulted in a tie between 'Takano Tofu' and 'We Are Family' -- both films that beautifully explore the complexities of family dynamics and personal connections," said Sophia Wong Boccio, Founder & Executive Director of Asian Pop-Up Cinema. "It is clear that these themes resonate deeply with our audiences, with 'Takano Tofu' delivering a poignant look at tradition and change through the lens of meticulous tofu-making, while 'We Are Family' captures the essence of unconventional relationships and the unexpected paths to familial love. Congratulations to the filmmakers and their teams for crafting these memorable cinematic experiences that have touched the hearts of our viewers and that inspire and connect us all." 

The 18th Asian Pop-Up Cinema festival ran March 20 through April 21, 2024 with a new selection of films each week from a different region, including Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, China, and Hong Kong. Films were available via streaming each week, and in-person screenings were held each weekend.

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Asian Pop-Up Cinema, an annual Asian Film Festival, is the brainchild of Sophia Wong Boccio, founder of Sophia’s Choice, a Chicago-based 501(c)3 not-for-profit incorporated in 2015 with the multi-pronged mission of cultivating an interest in and understanding of Asian cultures via a diverse offering of Asian films; connecting the Asian film industry with local Chicago film professionals, educators, and students; and promoting Chicago as a destination for international visitors.

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