10 Film & TV Projects Bringing Asian-American Stories To SXSW

The SXSW Film & TV Festival works throughout the year to find storytellers, characters, and perspectives providing a glimpse into their culture outside the identity often forced upon them.

From terrifying folklore to relatable sisterly antics, the 10 SXSW selections below are bringing the Asian American and South Asian experience into focus.


Director: Baatar Batsukh
Screenwriters: Baatar Batsukh, Byambasuren Ganbat
Principal Cast: Erkhembayar Ganbat, Selenge Chadraabal, Yalalt Namsrai, Oyundary Jamsranjav, Sukhee Ariunbyamba, Bayarsanaa Batchuluun, Badamtsetseg Batmunkh

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American Born Chinese

Jin Wang starts his sophomore year, hoping to make the soccer team and "level up" his social status, all while impressing his crush. But his plans are derailed when he's assigned a new student "shadow" from China named Wei-Chen Sun. At home, Jin’s parents Simon and Christine argue over Simon’s job. Meanwhile, Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, searches for his magical Iron Staff, which has been stolen.

Showrunner: Kelvin Yu
Principal Cast: Ben Wang, Michelle Yeoh, Yeo Yann Yann, Chin Han, Jim Liu, Ke Huy Quan, Sydney Taylor, Daniel Wu

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Beef follows the aftermath of a road rage incident between two strangers. Danny Cho, a failing contractor with a chip on his shoulder, goes head-to-head with Amy Lau, a self-made entrepreneur with a picturesque life. The increasing stakes of their feud unravel their lives and relationships in this darkly comedic and deeply moving series. In partnership with A24, the series will debut on Netflix this Spring.

Showrunner: Lee Sung Jin
Principal Cast:Steven Yeun, Ali Wong, Maria Bello, Joseph Lee, Young Mazino, David Choe, Patti Yasutake, Ashley Park, Justin H. Min, Mia Serafino, Remy Holt

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The Big Door Prize

Based on M.O. Walsh’s novel of the same name, The Big Door Prize tells the story of a small town that is forever changed when a mysterious machine appears in the general store, promising to reveal each resident’s true life potential.

Director: David West Read
Screenwriter: David West Read, Sarah Walker, Craig Rowin
Principal Cast: Chris O’Dowd, Gabrielle Dennis, Ally Maki, Damon Gupton, Josh Segarra, Crystal Fox, Sammy Fourlas, Djouliet Amara

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Ek Jagah Apni

Laila and Roshni, two transwomen, are looking for a house after they are evicted from the place they rented. Their search for a home is also their ongoing search for a place in this society that wants to keep them away in a section that can not be the center. They have a friend in Sharukh, but many of their other interactions don’t turn out as expected. Laila is torn between being true to herself and preserving links with her biological family. Roshni treads a fine line between concealing her identity and living the life that she wants, but it is not without its dangers. The film was part of NFDC Film Bazaar's, Work in Progress Lab 2021, and showcased in Goes to Cannes, Marche du Film 2022.

Director: Ektara Collective
Screenwriters: Rinchin, Maheen Mirza
Principal Cast: Manisha Soni, Muskan, Akash Jamra

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Bi is a Vietnamese country girl who survives a brutal childhood and escapes to the city of Saigon. Bi is recruited by the mysterious Mrs. Lin, and followed Lin to an apartment where she lives with two new friends: the fierce Thanh and the playful Hong. Lin trains them to take down a Saigon crime lord, Hai, who traffics drugs and young women. Lin coaches Bi in the arts of killing and sensuality. She then willingly applies the skills she has learned to pursue Lin’s dangerous mission…

Director: Veronica Ngo (Ngo Thanh Van)
Screenwriters: Veronica Ngo (Ngo Thanh Van), Aaron Toronto, Uyen Nguyen Nha Ly, Thach Ngoc Nguyen, Nhan Truong Nguyen
Principal Cast: Dong Anh Quynh, Toc Tien, Rima Thanh Vy, Thuan Nguyen, Song Luan, Gi A Nguyen, Phan Thanh Hien

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It Lives Inside

Sam, an Indian-American teen, lives in an idyllic suburb with her conservative mother and her assimilated father. Sam’s cultural insecurities grow due to her estranged friend, Tamira, who mysteriously carries around an empty mason jar all the time. In a moment of anger, Sam breaks Tamira’s jar and unleashes an ancient Indian demonic force that kidnaps Tamira. Sam searches for Tamira, following the trail of a young man who performed a deadly ritual, until the demonic entity starts targeting her, murdering her boyfriend and shattering her reality with terrifying visions. Sam must band together with her parents and a sympathetic teacher to save Tamira and put an end to the terror of the demon.

Director: Bishal Dutta
Screenwriters: Bishal Dutta, Ashish Mehta
Principal Cast: Megan Suri, Neeru Bajwa, Mohana Krishnan, Betty Gabriel, Vik Sahay

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Joy Ride

Joy Ride is a hilarious and unapologetically explicit story of identity and self-discovery that centers on four unlikely friends who embark on a once-in-a-lifetime international adventure. When Audrey’s (Ashley Park) business trip to Asia goes sideways, she enlists the aid of Lolo (Sherry Cola), her irreverent, childhood best friend who also happens to be a hot mess; Kat (Oscar® nominee Stephanie Hsu), her college friend turned Chinese soap star; and Deadeye (Sabrina Wu), Lolo’s eccentric cousin. Their no-holds-barred, epic experience becomes a journey of bonding, friendship, belonging, and wild debauchery that reveals the universal truth of what it means to know and love who you are.

Director: Adele Lim
Screenwriter: Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao
Principal Cast: Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Stephanie Hsu, Sabrina Wu

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Polite Society

A merry mash up of sisterly affection, parental disappointment and bold action, Polite Society follows martial artist-in-training Ria Khan who believes she must save her older sister Lena from her impending marriage. After enlisting the help of her friends, Ria attempts to pull off the most ambitious of all wedding heists in the name of independence and sisterhood.

Director/Screenwriter: Nida Manzoor
Principal Cast: Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya, Nimra Bucha, Akshay Khanna, Seraphina Beh, Ella Bruccoleri

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Raging Grace

A bold coming-of-rage story. Joy is an undocumented Filipina immigrant who is struggling to do the best she can for her daughter when she secures the perfect job; taking care of an extremely wealthy but terminal old man. The new position pays well and guarantees a roof over their heads but very soon, Joy and her daughter Grace start to realize everything is not as it seems. Something is festering beneath the surface, threatening all they have worked for. Deeply personal, Raging Grace is a nightmarish fever dream from an exciting new voice.

Director/Screenwriter: Paris Zarcilla
Principal Cast :Max Eigenman, Leanne Best, David Hayman

Learn More


Discover more ways Asian culture was highlighted at SXSW 2023 in the Creating South Asian Content for a Global Audience, Bridging Asia and the West sessions, and the Tiger Den SXSW Day Party featuring 19 of the most exciting emerging artists from across Asia and the Asian diaspora.

Watch On Demand Content

For the full nine days of 2023 SXSW event premieres, exclusive interviews and Red Carpet photos, check out the 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Rewind.

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Teaser Images: SXSW 2023 It Lives Inside; Polite Society

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