Featured Image courtesy of SDAFF.

While many of the films in the San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) are for older audiences, the event brings a special showcase catered to kids called “Shorts for Shorties”.

SDAFF Artistic Director Brian Hu shared in his introduction how the program started by showing episodes from the 2007 show “Ni Hao, Kai-Lan”. He said he recently met the creator Karen Chau and offered her the opportunity to curate this year’s selection. Hu mentioned the stories may be “a bit dark” but each show how kids approach them.The following are those from and/or relating to Japan and South Korea.

“Dong Kae (My Little One)”

Steven Go’s animated film focuses on a grandfather caring for his grandson. It seems like a normal carefree day until the boy gets lost in the marketplace. The sea of stalls and people is terrifying to him but he needs to find his grandfather so he can go home.
The film shows the peacefulness of a home in the Korean countryside. It also features the market, an iconic hub of the culture. Go transforms it into an eerie place when the boy gets lost but shows that if you search hard enough, you will find what you need.

By visiting Go’s website, you’ll find out that “Dong Kae” was his thesis film. He put up the trailer for its early concept along with stills.


“Invincible Boy”
Director Julian Park brings the story of a boy named Vincent who dreams of being a superhero and does good deeds with his friend Barney. The two hang out at a local comic shop and create their own book. While things seem fine, they find out how cruel reality can be with practicality and logic stopping aspirations.
“Invincible Boy” is an excellent film for young viewers since it shows how there are things that will bring try to push out goals and positivity but like superheroes in comics, everyone has to find a way to keep the spirit alive. Those wanting to pursue artistic professions may understand Barney’s conflict and while everyone should strive to have Vincent’s good conscience.
For more on “Invincible Boy”, check out its website.

“Good Night”
Animator Makiko Nanke’s 2018 animated short “Good Night” shows how far a sibling rivalry will go. Using a simplified art style, a set of twins seem to fight to no end. Their joint dreams are proof as they transform their toys into weapons and fortresses. However, when a mysterious item invades their battleground, they must help each other to save the dream world.
Those with siblings or even someone they tend to bicker with on a regular basis may see themselves in the film.”Good Night” shows that there are some times that rivals will have to put their feud and differences away to solve a problem together. The short distinguishes the reality and fantasy worlds by having the real world scene drawn in black outlines and the dreams in solid color. The two choices though put together the full picture of the twins.

To check out more about Makiko and “Good NIght”, visit her website.

For more of our SDAFF shorts review, check out Part Two and Part Three.