Asian International Film Festival Arizona opens with Filipino film ‘Dark is the Night’

TEMPE, AZ — The first Asian International Film Festival Arizona, or AIFFA, made its way to the blue carpet of the Pollack Theatre in Tempe with the theme, “Bridging the World Through Asian Cinemas.”

A total of 11 Asian films were shown during the three-day festival.

The only Philippine entry was a movie called “Dark is the Night”, which opened the festival with a gala night.

“Dark is the Night” is a thought-provoking film about a couple, played by Gina Alajar and Philip Salvador, who are affected by extrajudicial killings related to the war on drugs. Bembol Roco, who came all the way from the Philippines for the gala night, played the role of a corrupt police officer in the movie, directed by Adolfo Alex Jr.

The veteran actor was excited to be part of this historic event in Arizona.

AIFFA’s program director, Evelyn Vargas- Knaebel, who is also an actress, said cinema is a powerful way to bridge cultural gaps.

“I guess it’s the right place to really introduce the Asian cinema because most of the young people forget their culture and their heritage so we have to bring it back to them through cinema.”

“We are so honored to have the Asian International Film Festival right here in Tempe, Arizona. It really fits the culture of Tempe – we are very inclusive. We have a great international exchange program so this is really fitting,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchel.

Call for entries for the 2020 AIFFA festival is now open. For information, please check out their website at

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