The entire festival program is out!

The films have been selected for the Helsinki Cine Asia program fresh from some of Asia’s most prominent film festivals, and many of the films have also been seen in the main sections of international festivals.

The festival aims to provide an overview of the most interesting new releases of East and Southeast Asian cinema, which have gained great popularity in recent years, as well as an insight into the current Asian film culture. 

Pema Tseden’s last film, the newest from Ogigami Naoko – and much more!

On Thursday, March 14th, at Cinema Orion, the opening film will be Wei Shujun’s intense and atmospheric neo-noir thriller Only the River Flows, which competed in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes in 2023.

Additionally, the program features films from the Chinese cultural sphere, including The Movie Emperor starring Hong Kong legend Andy Lau. The program also includes the last film Snow Leopard by the Tibetan director Pema Tseden (1969-2023).

Among the Korean films, audiences will experience everything from unique girl power in Hail to Hell, to workplace challenges in Work to Do. The Japanese selection includes, among others, the black comedy Ripples which is the latest work from Ogigami Naoko, and Okiku and the World, chosen by Japanese critics as the best film of 2023.

Both the Thai film Solids by the Seashore and the Japanese film Egoist have an LGBT+ theme. The program also includes the visually stunning Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell from Vietnam, which has garnered attention from critics.

In addition to film screenings, the program includes free discussion events held at Kinopalatsi, addressing topics such as Japanese hospitality omotenashi with journalist and author Heikki Valkama

The entire program can be explored here! Ticket sales for the festival begin on the website on Thursday, February 29th, 2024. Tickets for festival screenings cost 12 euros each, and a five-ticket package is available for 48 euros. Admission to the discussion events is free. 

If you want Helsinki Cine Aasia festival to continue also in the future, remember to take part and come to the screenings 😊😘

We are ready! Helsinki Cine Aasia 2016 kicks off

Long-awaited Helsinki Cine Aasia 2016 is finally here! Later today, the screening of the Johnnie To’s dazzling musical Office will kick off a feast of contemporary East and Southeast Asian cinema. Office will be screened at Kinopalatsi on Thursday 3.3. at 6pm.

Japanese films have always been a big hit at Helsinki Cine Aasia, and the advance ticket sales give reason to believe that they will remain popular with the festival-goers this year too. There are not less than six films from Japan in this year’s programme – all different but all guaranteed to provide an unforgettable cinematic experience!

As a special treat, the festival has invited to Helsinki Remton Zuasola from the Philippines. The director with true trademark style of long shots and theater-like settings will attend the screening of his latest film SWAP, an autobiographical kidnapping drama, on Saturday 5 March at 5pm at Andorra.

The four-day festival continues until Sunday 6.3. It’s not yet too late to get your tickets!

See you at the movies!

The director of SWAP Remton Zuasola to visit Helsinki Cine Aasia

This year’s guest of honour at Helsinki Cine Aasia is Remton Zuasola from the Philippines. The director of the autobiographical kidnapping drama SWAP will attend the screening of his film at the festival on Saturday 5 March. 

Remton Zuasola was kidnapped when he was less than two year’s old. The director’s fourth feature length film SWAP (2015) deals with the aftermath of the event that the director barely remembers himself in a dreamlike and at times, even surrealistic manner. One of the main themes of the film is inequality between people.

Zuasola began his storytelling career in the theatre, and shot his first film with just one take. The influences of the times spent in the world of theatre are clearly present in the technique as the events unfold in front of the audiences without any cuts. SWAP is also shot with just one take in carefully designed and crafted settings.

SWAP will be screened on Saturday 5 March at 5pm at Andorra. Remton Zuasola will attend the screening to tell about his film and answer questions from the audience. Tickets to the screening are now on sale but hurry up, places are limited.

Helsinki Cine Aasia online ticket sale starts soon!

Helsinki Cine Aasia 2016 online ticket sale starts on Thursday 25 February and continues throughout the festival.  

Single tickets (8€) can be purchased from each film’s introductory page. Vouchers (35€, 5 tickets) can be bought under Info tab.

Vouchers are not personal so you can use them to purchase as many tickets to the same screenings as you want. However, the voucher cannot be used to purchase tickets to a sold-out screening. Please also note that the voucher cannot be used to purchase tickets to screenings at Kinopalatsi.

During the festival, tickets can also be bought at screening locations one hour before the first screening. The ticket sales at screening venues close at the beginning of the last screening of the day. 

In addition, tickets to screenings at Kinopalatsi can be bought at Finnkino locations and their website.

Hurry up – places are limited!

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: The festival team’s picks

This year’s festival programme includes plenty of contemporary Korean films and female energy. On the bill there are not less than four films from South Korea and films by female directors from both Southeast Asia and Japan. The full programme can be viewed here. And as a special treat, here’s what some of our team think everyone should see:

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Sonia, graphic designer, Shoot Me in the Heart (Fri 4 March, 7pm @ Andorra):

“A couple of years ago I saw another warm-hearted comedy set in a mental institute from Korea (I’m a Cyborg but That’s Ok), which I really liked a lot. So my expectations are high for this one, too.”


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Tuomas, volunteer, Three Stories of Love (Sun 6 March, 3pm @ Andorra):

“I am interested in Three Stories of Love because the director’s earlier piece All Around Us stuck in my mind for its delicate and insightful way of dealing with some really heavy stuff.”


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Leena, producer, Ecotherapy Getaway Holiday (Sat 5 March, 5pm & Sun 6 March, 6.15pm@ Dubrovnik):

“As a huge fan of Okita’s situational comedy I felt like shouting out ‘hip-hooray’ when I heard the subject matter of this year’s film: Group tours! Hiking! In Japan you only have to take an hour’s train trip out of Tokoy to witness all this IRL, but now you don’t have to go even that far.”


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Eija, programming director, Right Now, Wrong Then (Sun 6 March, 8.30pm @ Andorra):

“Man meets woman. Man meets woman again. Déjà vu. A film director a little bit full of himself meets a girl and let’s go.”


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FÆK, the main act at Helsinki Cine Aasia’s  J-rock & Asia Pop Galore! club, Haemoo (Fri 4 March at 9pm @ Andorra):

Haemoo caught our eye because it deals with such topical issues. We are looking forward to seeing how Shim Sung-bo manages his debut as a director.”


Helsinki Cine Aasia 2016 programme: plenty of contemporary Korean films and female energy

Finland’s only Asian film festival Helsinki Cine Aasia proudly presensts the best of contemporary East and Southeast Asian films between 3-6 March, including films rarely shown elsewhere in Finland. The opening film of this year’s festival,  Johnnie To’s musical Office is kinetic, dazzling and thrilling – in other words exactly what you would expect from the master of Hong Kong action films. 

This year’s programme at Helsinki Cine Aasia includes more South Korean films than before. Shim Sung-bo’s directoral debute Haemoo is timely in a sombre way. Based on true events, it tells the story of illegal migrants who meet their fate on the way from China to Korea. The lighter and brighter side of contemporary Korean film scene is represented in Mun Je-yong’s Shoot Me in the Heart, a song of praise to youth, friendship and slight craziness. Hong Sang-soon’s drama Right Now, Wrong Then tells the same story twice using slightly different camera angles and dialogue, and thereby casts the entire a-man-meets-a-woman story in to a different light.

Asian female directors are also prominently featured in this year’s programme.  Korean July Jung’s first full-lenght film A Girl at My Door deals with domestic violence and patriarchy. Strong female leads hold the story together. The Actor, a take on a love story by one of the best contemporary Japanese female directors Satoko Yokohama turns out a dark comedy whereas Pimpaka Towira’s road movie The Island Funeral leads the audience on a journey to the magical other world that co-exists alongside the political turmoil of today’s Thailand.

Remton Zuasola from the Philippines has challenged the conventional camera work since his directoral debut and his one-shot feature film SWAP is guaranteed to hold the audience in its grip. For his fictional debut How to Win at Checkers (Every Time)Josh Kim draws from his earlier documentary on Thai transgender scene; questions about identity are also in focus in Pema Tseden’s artistic and ironic, black-and-white Tharlo. 

Japanese films have been the box office hits at the festival year on year. This year the programme includes not less than six films from Japan. Ryosuke Hashiguchi’s Three Stories of Love has been voted the best film of the year in Japan. Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s ghost story for the adults Journey to the Shore and cult director Shunji Iwai’s first animation, the delicate The Case of Hana and Alice, are likely to go down a treat among fans of Japanese genre-films. Shuichi Okita, festival’s favourite, returns this year with a comedy Ecotherapy Getaway HolidayTHE COCKPIT documents the birth of a rap song.

Possibly the most famous of the sixth generation of Chinese film-makers Jia Zhangke is the subject matter in another documentary seen at the festival, Walter Salles’s Jia Zhangke, A Guy from Fenyang. Jia Zhangke’s latest film, Mountains May Depart, will also be shown.

To read more about the programme, click through here.

Are you interested in volunteering at a film festival? Join the Helsinki Cine Aasia crew!

We are again recruiting volunteers to help with organising Helsinki Cine Aasia. Tasks range from customer services to helping with distribution of the festival poster and catalogue. Volunteers are needed already now and during the festival itself between 3-6 March 2016. If you are interested please contact us at Please mark your email with “Volunteers” in the subject line. We look forward to hearing from you.

Welcome aboard our fantastic festival team!

Office by Johnnie To is the opening film of Helsinki Cine Aasia 2016

This dazzling, highly stylized musical from Hong Kong will not leave anyone cold.

It is the year 2008 and Lehman Brothers has just gone into administration. This is followed by a global financial crisis, the effects of which are also felt in Asia – exactly at the moment when mainland Chinese financial company Jones & Sunn is getting ready for its initial public offering.

Our guide to the dreams and aspirations behind the scenes of authoritarian capitalism is Lee Xiang who is still on probation, portrayed by Wang Ziyi. The true star of the film however, is Sylvia Chang who plays the CEO of Jones & Sunn Winnie Chang. Sylvia Chang is also responsible for the screenplay which is based on her successful stage play Design for Living. The veteran star of Hong Kong action films Yun-fat Chow is also brilliant in his role as the lover of Winnie Chang and the Chairman of Jones & Sunn, whose wife is left comatose in a hospital. The close-to-perfection production design is the work of William Chang who is perhaps best know for his collaborations with another Hong Kong auteur, Wong Kar-Wai.

Office (2015, Hong Kong), which has been selected by the New York Times as “one of the best-directed movies that you can see right now”, will be shown at Kinopalatsi on Thursday 3 March.

Over four days until Sunday 6 March, Helsinki Cine Aasia will showcase the best of contemporary East and Southeast Asian Cinema. Also on the bill – a director guest and a festival club night at Dubrovnik.

More information coming soon. To be the first to hear the festival news, follow us on Facebook!