Still from Only the Moon Stands Still

'Only the Moon Stands Still' by Alumnus Johnson Cheng '20 Wins Audience Award at AFI Fest

BY Felix van Kann, December 27, 2021

Only the Moon Stands Still, a short film written and directed by alumnus Johnson Cheng '20, recently won the Audience Award for Best Short Film at AFI Fest, which ran from November 10 to November 14, 2021. 


Only The Moon Stands Still follows three generations of Chinese women who say goodbye to their family ballroom dance studio.


In addition, Cheng’s film was named a Programmer's Pick by Eric J Moore, Manager of Programming Operations. Moore writes: “Writer/director Johnson Cheng returns to AFI with yet another incredibly moving film about the complexities of intergenerational families: a slice-of-life tale of three generations of Chinese women confronting the realities of having to shut down their family’s ballroom dance studio and bid farewell to a life that has defined them for so long. I love how the film tells a story of how time marches forward, whether you are ready or not, and how it’s how you choose to face it that really determines who you are.” Cheng’s previous film, Lonely Blue Night, already won the Audience Award at the AFI Fest a year prior in 2020. 


Johnson Cheng is an award-winning Chinese American writer/director hailing from the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County. His films have screened at over 100 international film festivals, including Tribeca, TIFF Kids, Reykjavík (Golden Egg Selection), Nashville, Florida, Cinequest, Uppsala, Giffoni, Short Shorts Tokyo, and Palm Springs (Best Student Film Award). Cheng is a recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Award (Cary Grant Film Award) and the AT&T InspirASIAN Student Film Award. He is an alumnus of the New York Film Festival Artist Academy, Telluride Film Festival Student Symposium, Reykjavík Transatlantic Talent Lab, Short to Feature Lab and the Visual Communications’ Armed With a Camera Fellowship. Cheng is also a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild.


AFI Fest is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe to captivated audiences in Los Angeles. With a diverse and innovative slate of programming, the eight-day film festival presents screenings, panels and conversations, featuring both master filmmakers and new voices. Each year, AFI Fest showcases more than 125 films in several exciting sections which include Galas, Special Screenings, New Auteurs, Documentary, World Cinema, Cinema’s Legacy and Shorts. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI Fest as a qualifying festival for both Short Films categories of the annual Academy Awards®.