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8-18 2018

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It is my pleasure to join with the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF) to welcome everyone gathered here for the 11th annual festival.

As Mayor of Philadelphia, it is a pleasure to welcome the patrons and guests of the 11th Annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF).

Pennsylvania thrives on its vibrant cultural heritage. The commonwealth’s diverse ethnic and social communities can connect through the shared experiences and cross-cultural understanding of the universal language of film. Since its inception in 2008, the PAAFF has remained dedicated to showcasing and nurturing creative Asian American filmmakers, directors, actors and storylines. This year’s PAAFF event provides an opportunity for Pennsylvanians to celebrate the richness and diversity of Asian American cultures. I extend my sincere gratitude to the organization and its supporters, and I am certain that that this festival will continue to grow and reach a diverse audience while inspiring many for years to come. As Governor, and on behalf of all citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I am pleased to welcome everyone gathered to support the 2018 and 11th annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. Please accept my best wishes for an enjoyable event and continued success.

We appreciate all that PAAFF does to contribute to the vibrancy of our City’s diversity and to educate our fellow residents about the tremendous heritage and traditions of our Asian-American residents. Since its beginning, PAAFF has presented dozens of culturally relevant films written, produced, and directed about Asian Americans, to broad and diverse audiences through its Main Festival Program each November and year-round screening series. We are very proud to host this wonderful event every year. During the numerous film screenings and related events, audiences are welcome to participate in post-film discussions with filmmakers and actors, and take part in special live events, featured receptions, and celebratory parties. This year’s program also includes a major focus on the music of Asian Americans with screenings of music-oriented films. On behalf of the City of Philadelphia, I commend PAAFF Festival Director Rob Buscher and the dedicated PAAFF staff for presenting the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival for the education, enlightenment, and entertainment of Philadelphia’s regional audiences, and for exposing everyone to unique points of views from the Asian cultural perspective. Congratulations on another year of this insightful and enjoyable festival.

2018 PAAFF 3


Staff Credits / 6

PAAFF Conference / 26-27 & 40-41

PAAFF’18 Sponsors / 7

Filipino Food Sunday @ Reading Terminal Market /42

Welcome Letter From The Festival Director / 8-9

Centerpiece Documentary: Ulam: Main Dish / 47

Special Showcases / 10-11

Keep Me Posted / 48

Festival Schedule / 12–13

Community Series at Fleisher Art Memorial / 49-57

Festival Venue Map / 14–15

Closing Weekend / 58-78

Opening Weekend / 17–47


Opening Night: In The Life of Music / 17 Governor’s Commission Town Hall / 18 Musical Showcase: Traditional & Hip Hop / 24 Centerpiece Narrative: Fiction & Other Realities /38 Musical Showcase: Folk & Indie / 39

2018 PAAFF 4

Film Juries / 80 American Peril exhibit / 84-86 Thank Yous / 88-89

PAAFF’18 STAFF ROB BUSCHER Festival Director, Programmer

KHANHMY VUONG Festival Staff, Social Media

CHETANA JOIS Festival Staff, Events

BRAD BALDIA Corporate Relations & Community Affairs Director

JACQUI SADASHIGE Festival Staff, Marketing & Communications

GEORGE RODRIGUEZ Festival Staff, Events


DARIAN EHYA Festival Staff, Marketing & Communications

SUAN TAN Volunteer Director REEMA KANZARIA Guest Services Director

2018 PAAFF 6

CAT SHAW Festival Staff,

JACQUI ANDERSON Festival Staff ANEEL SALEEM Festival Staff XINYI YANG Festival Staff

Marketing & Communications

QUYNH-MAI NGUYEN Marketing Director

BETHANY DEPOY Marketing & Communications

ERIC HUNG Festival Staff, Grantwriter, Conference Chair

DEBBIE LEE Marketing & Communications

SUNNY HUANG Assistant Programmer

LULA JONES Webmaster, Marketing & Communications


SELENA YIP Festival Staff, Community Outreach

KYLIE TSAI Festival Staff MAESTRO FILMWORKS Festival Trailer, Recap Video BALLARD SPAHR LLP Legal Counsel ADAM NECELIS Certified Public Accountant ARZHANG ZAFAR Festival Staff

FILM PROGRAMMING COMMITTEE Jacqui Anderson Brad Baldia Rob Buscher Sunny Huang Eric Hung Reema Kanzaria Kate Pourshariati Wing So Suan Tan Selena Yip Arzhang Zafar MUSIC OF ASIAN AMERICA CONFERENCE COMMITTEE Lei Bryant Rob Buscher Anaar Desai-Stephens Eric Hung Fariha Khan Michelle Myers Jacqui Sadashige PROGRAM LAYOUT Quynh-Mai Nguyen Rob Buscher COVER ARTWORK Darian Ehya

SPONSORS Presenting Sponsor

Prime Sponsors

Showcase Sponsors

Foundation Support

Partner Sponsors

Presenting Venues

Media Partners

Greater Phila Asian Studies Consortium

In-Kind Support

Community Partners

2018 PAAFF 7

LETTER FROM THE FESTIVAL DIRECTOR As PAAFF begins its second decade of programming I find myself reflecting on the incredible progress that has taken place in the last 11 years. Even at this time last year it was impossible to imagine a world in which an Asian American led film could take the #1 box office spot in a nationwide summer release. In the past months since Crazy Rich Asians hit theaters we have already seen more than a dozen AAPI led projects become green-lit by major Hollywood studios and TV networks. However, as much as we laude the achievements of our community working in the mainstream, it is equally important to remember this was only made possible by decades of advocacy, talent building, and pipelining of independent filmmakers by media organizations such as Visual Communications, Center for Asian America Media, and others. It is important we acknowledge these historic contributions, but also remember the work in the independent space is vital to the continued success of our peers working in Hollywood.

2018 PAAFF

It’s important to remember that there are still many within our diaspora who have never seen their stories represented on the big screen. To that point, PAAFF is excited to present an incredible Cambodian American narrative feature In the Life of Music, as our Opening Night film - the first time we’ve opened the festival with a Southeast Asian American story. Beyond the sheer excellence of this title and significance as a film from a marginalized group within our community, the film also centers music at its core. As you may have noticed, many of the programs in our opening weekend and throughout the festival revolve around the Music of Asian America. Despite 8

recent advances in film and television, AAPIs are almost completely absent from the popular music charts. We have incredible musicians who excel across all genres who are being overlooked by the recording industry. Music is an integral part of the Asian American experience, and thus important to advocate on behalf of our artists in this sector as well. By partnering with Music of Asian America Research Center to host a conference during opening weekend on this very subject, we are hoping to spark a national dialogue about the state of AAPIs in the music industry. I hope that in another decade, or less, we may also see faces that look like our own in the popular music charts. Highlights of the 2018 program are numerous, but here are my top picks. Be sure to check out the Musical Showcases on Friday 11/9 and Saturday 11/10 if you want to catch some of the most talented AAPI folks at the forefront of their respective genres. Sunday 11/11 visit us at Reading Terminal Market where we are celebrating Filipino Food Sunday and later at Lightbox Film Center for Centerpiece Documentary Ulam: Main Dish. I’m also thrilled to announce that one of my personal heroes, former US Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta will be in attendance at our Sunday 11/18 Closing Night presentation of his biopic documentary An American Story at Asian Arts Initiative. Lastly, be sure to visit the special exhibit of anti-Asian racial propaganda titled “American Peril: Imagining the Foreign Threat” at Twelve Gates Arts throughout the month of November. Although difficult content to look at, it is important we understand our past in order to advocate for a better future. Thank you to the many sponsors, community partners, volunteer staff, and countless others who have made this festival possible. Onwards and upwards. Rob Buscher Festival Director

THANK YOU TO OUR VOLUNTEERS! DID YOU KNOW THAT PAAFF IS ALMOST ENTIRELY VOLUNTEER RUN? Our devoted team of volunteer staff works countless hours on top of their day jobs to make each festival program a success. Thank you to all of our volunteers without whom this festival would not be possible!

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PAAFF and Music of Asian America Research Center will co-present a special three-day conference running parallel to film programming opening weekend Friday Nov 9 - Sunday Nov 11. All conference presentations, panels, and workshops are FREE and open to the public. Musical Showcases on Friday Nov 9 and Saturday Nov 10 are separately ticketed events.

PAAFF is presenting a special gallery exhibit on the history of anti-Asian racial propaganda in partnership with Twelve Gates Arts. See program guide for curator statement and information on special events taking place during the exhibit, which runs Nov 2-30 at: Twelve Gates Arts 106 N. 2nd St Tue: 11am-3pm Wed-Sat: 11am-5:30pm Sun-Mon: By Appointment

The city’s first all Asian American theater collective, Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists will be performing three original productions from their 2018 mini-residency program at PAAFF.

Funded in part by JACL Legacy Fund and

See program guide for descriptions and full schedule of events.

2018 PAAFF

See program guide for full listings of programs and events. To learn more about MAARC visit facebook. com/musicofasianamerica/ 10

PA Council on the Arts, Project Stream.

Mon Nov 12: Staged Reading of Keep Me Posted Tues Nov 13: Solo Performance of Voided Sat Nov 17: Interactive Experience The DJZ




Although numbering few in the Philadelphia region, Pacific Islanders are an important part of the AAPI social, political, and cultural coalition. Including Native Hawaiians, there are over 1.2 million Americans descended from current and former US territories spanning across the Pacific such as Guam, American Samoa, Palau, Federated Micronesia, Northern Mariana, and the Marshall Islands. Presented by our partners at Pacific Islanders in Communications for the fourth year in a row, this showcase consisting of five features and one shorts block demonstrate a wide variety of cultural diversity and onscreen perspectives through a distinctly Pacific lens.

Screening in the Experimental Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Shorts block, AFTEREARTH will also be shown in an immersive 3-channel projection installation on the second floor of Asian Arts Initiative on Saturday Nov 17. The film will be shown on loop throughout the day from 12:30-9pm. Synopsis: As rising sea levels threaten the loss of their motherland in Hawai’i, the Philippines, China, and North America, four women fight to preserve the volcano, ocean, land, and air for future generations. Director/Cinematographer/Editor Jess X. Snow will be in attendance with Co-Producer Adriel Luis and other members of the crew.





IN THE LIFE OF MUSIC 7­­–9pm Followed by Reception 9-11pm | LFC




9:30-11:30pm | LFC

10:15am-6pm | ARCH




11am–12pm | ICA

10:15am-4pm | ICA



12:15pm–1:05pm | ICA

12–2:30pm | RTM



1:15–2:45pm | ICA

2–4pm | ICA

1:45–5pm | 12G





5-6:30pm | LFC

3–5pm | ARCH




6:45–8:55pm | LFC


TRADITIONAL & HIP HOP 9:30-11:30pm | LFC



3–4:45pm | ICA

3:30-5:30pm | LFC


3–4:15pm | LFC

ANOTE’S ARK 4:30–6pm | LFC


ULAM: MAIN DISH 6:15–7:45pm Followed by Reception 8-9pm | LFC

5:45–7:20pm | LFC





7:35-9:10pm | LFC

7-9pm | IAT





6-7:40pm | AAI

6:05-7:15pm | AAI



7:55–9:20pm | AAI

7:30–9:05pm | AAI



9:35–11:15pm | AAI

9:15–11:30pm | AAI




11:30pm–12:30am | AAI




5–6:15pm | FAM

JIZOLIBIDO 6:30–7:45pm | FAM


6:30–8:30pm | 12G






4:30-5:45pm | AAI

11am–12:30pm | AAI


11am–12:30pm | AAI

IN SEARCH OF A NATION 12:50–2:45pm | AAI




5:15-6:45pm | AAI

12-5pm | AAI


RITOMA 3:15-4:20pm | AAI






FESTIVAL VENUES LFC (Lightbox Film Center) 3701 Chestnut Street, West Philly ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) 118 S 36th St, University City AAI (Asian Arts Initiative) 1219 Vine Street, Chinatown ARCH (University of Pennsylvania) Arch Building 3601 Locust Walk, Room 108

12G (Twelve Gates Arts) 106 N. 2nd Street RTM (Reading Terminal Market) 12th and Arch Streets, Center City IAT (InterAct Theatre) 302 S Hicks St, Center City

LFC (Lightbox Film Center) ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts)

ARCH (University of Pennsylvania)

FAM (Fleisher Art Memorial) 719 Catherine Street, South Philly

TICKET INFORMATION For all ticketed programs: $10 General Admission $8 Students & Seniors (Requires ID) All shorts programs FREE except 4 Pillars ALL ACCESS FESTIVAL BADGE $100 General Admission $80 Students & Seniors

2018 PAAFF

THREE WAYS TO ORDER TICKETS 1/ 2/ 215.387.5125 (IHP Screening Only) 3/ International House box office Tuesday–Saturday, 1–8pm 14


AAI (Asian Arts Initiative)

RTM (Reading Terminal Market) 12G (Twelve Gates Arts)

IAT (InterAct Theatre)

2018 PAAFF


FAM (Fleisher Art Memorial) 15

IN THE LIFE OF MUSIC 7-9:00pm | Lightbox Film Center

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Opening Night Film, Narrative Program

92 mins | Drama | Cambodia | Khmer, English Director: Caylee So and Sok Visal

Director Caylee So, Co-Producer praCh Ly, and other members of the Cast & Crew are expected in attendance for a post-film Q&A.


The Life of Music is a story told in three chapters. It tells the story of how one song, “Champa Battambang,” a song made famous by Sinn Sisamuth (the King of Khmer Music), plays a role in the lives of three different generations. It is a powerful intergenerational tale that explores love and war as it depicts the lives of people whose world is inevitably transformed by the emergence of the Khmer Rouge.

OPENING RECEPTION 9-11:00pm | Lightbox Film Center 2018 PAAFF 17

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Public Hearing



Please join Governor Tom Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs for their 3rd Annual Philadelphia Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Town Hall held in partnership with the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. This year’s Philadelphia AAPI Town Hall will focus on pathways to pardons and the role and function of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. Furthermore, provide a better understanding of what a pardon is and what the process entails to apply for one.

About the Commission: Governor Tom Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs (GACAPAA) was created by Executive Order 2015-10 and consists of volunteer members that have been appointed by Governor Wolf. GACAPAA is responsible for advising Governor Wolf on policies, procedures, and legislation that have an impact on the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities across Pennsylvania. The Commission also serves as a liaison to federal, state, and local agencies to ensure that programs, resources, and services are accessible and promoted to diverse AAPI communities; the Commission also serves as a resource for community groups and provides forums for developing strategies and programs that will expand and enhance the civic, social, educational, cultural, and economic status of AAPIs; the Commission is responsible for identifying programs, scholarships, mentoring programs, and resources for the benefit and advancement of AAPIs. The Commission advocates for policies and legislation it feels serves the best interest of AAPIs in the Commonwealth.

Moderated by Commission Executive Director Tiffany Chang Lawson

To learn more about the Commission please visit our website:

2018 PAAFF

RSVP online at 18

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Program Type (i.e. documentary, narrative) Special Presentation


ASIAN MUSICS, TRANSPLANTED Friday, Nov. 9 | 1:45–3:15pm | 12G Chair: Jennifer Jones Wilson (Westminster Choir College) The musical traditions of Asia survive, thrive and are transformed in the United States for a wide variety of reasons. This panel explores the journeys that Indonesian, South Indian and Chinese musics have taken when they entered the halls of academia, were employed as a part of youth identity formation, or became a site of memory and entertainment for seniors.

| Lightbox Film Center In7:00pm partnership with Music of Asian America Research Center and Panelists: 79mins | Dramedy University of Pennsylvania Asian Elizabeth Clendinning (Wake Forest University) Director:Studies NadineProgram, Truong | Writer: West LiangGamelan Chameleon: Cultural Representation and Academic Asian American Ensembles American we Cast: Brian Yang, EddiePAAFF Mui. Emily Chang, The Indonesian American community is small; however, Indonesian gamelan (percussion present the third annual Kara Crane, Rex Lee, Sara Sanderson, West orchestra) ensembles have gained an outsized presence within American academic music Conference. Liang programs in the past six decades since the first two academic gamelan ensembles were This year’s three-day conference founded at the University of California-Los Angeles. Based on nearly a decade of research within explores the Music of Asian American gamelan communities, this paper examines how gamelan communities have approached America through a series of paper Three friends reunite for a long LA night in this the task of representation. presentations and interactive bittersweet dramedy. Their faltering nightclub workshops that will run parallel reunion soon becomes an all-nighter filled with Rachel Schuck (University of Miami) to festival film programming, revelations, recriminations and regrets. Carnatic Music Transplanted to America: Innovations of Youth in “Sustaining Sampradaya” punctuated by two live musical As Carnatic music’s education system shifts and develops, performance practices and live showcases on Friday and Saturday Opening Night Reception 9:30–11PM venues reflect the impact of this music’s migration to the U.S. In this paper, drawing on ethnographic nights during Opening Weekend. Bringing together filmmakers, academics, and other creatives - the PAAFF Conference presentations include many of the leading scholars on these subjects and top performing artists in their field. All conference programs are FREE and open to the public, RSVP advised due to limited seating capacity. Check guide listing for location information since the conference will be traveling between venues.

observations of the 2018 Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival and interviews with organizers and participants, I demonstrate that the performance spaces and community accessibility provided through the festival’s education program reveal the globalization of this tradition and contribute to the re-formation of South Asian identity in American education and music performance contexts. Lydia Huang (Temple University) Songs of China(town): Music, Memory, and Identity This paper examines the musical practices of Chinese seniors (age 60 and over) in weekly singing classes in Chinatown, Philadelphia. These seniors are a special group within the Chinese diasporic community, as many have lived under Mao’s regime and through the reform era. In turn, they have experienced periods where music was used as an educational tool, as a political weapon, and as products for consumption. Given their varied experiences with music, what does music making look like for them in Philadelphia?


Friday, Nov. 9 | 3:25–4:25pm | 12G

Friday, Nov. 9 | 4:30–5pm | 12G

Chair: Ricky Punzalan (University of Maryland) From the annexation of Hawaii, Guam and the Philippines to the Asian theater in World War II and subsequent Japanese occupation, and from the Korean War to the Vietnam war and the illegal, covert bombings of Cambodia and Laos, U.S. military policy has—since the late 19th century—changed the fates of Asians along the Pacific Rim, and led many to immigrate to North America. This panel explores how U.S. militarism has affected the creation, dissemination and reception of the music of Asian America.

Rob Buscher (Exhibit Curator and PAAFF Festival Director) “American Peril: Imagining the Foreign Threat” displays more than 40 original prints of anti-Asian propaganda in the United States from the 1870s to the present day. It is in four sections: (1) Chinese Exclusion and Propaganda Supporting the Annexation of the Philippines, (2) Anti- Japanese Propaganda during WWII, (3) Japan Bashing in the 1970s and 1980s, and (4) Anti-Muslim and Post-9/11 Islamophobia.

Elaine Kathryn Andres (UC Irvine) Typical Finesse: Bruno Mars and the Training of Race in U.S. Empire No stranger to charges of cultural appropriation, Filipino Puerto Rican American pop star, Bruno Mars is a key subject in debates on blackness and the mainstream. This paper examines Mars’ racialized reception to ask how the Asian American performing body mediates perceptions of race, place, and the political in U.S. popular music. Specifically, I examine Mars’ training and labor as an Elvis impersonator to trace the contours of the militourism entertainment complex in the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Hawaii and to situate his framing as an unthreatening and apolitical multicultural figure in U.S. popular music within deflected processes of U.S. militarism and the tourism industry’s coeval logics of imperial amnesia.

This exhibit and the associated programming aim to educate the public about the complex history of Anti-Asian racism in the US and encourage audiences to think critically about contemporary political rhetoric. By placing prints from close to a 150-year span together, we hope to show both continuities and changes in U.S. racial politics. The audience will recognize how the exclusion logic, which was first applied to people of Chinese descent, came to be employed for people of Japanese descent in the early-mid 20th century and people of Middle Eastern origins in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. They will also realize how malleable the concept of an “inassimilable alien” is, as they will see the term applied to everything from “coolies” to “model minorities” and from Buddhists to Muslims.

F R E E E V E N T S : CO N F E R E N C E

Panelists: Christine Bacareza Balance (Cornell University): We are Here Because You Were There: U.S. Militarism & the Musics of Asian America While social and cultural histories of the early Asian American movement account for its simultaneously domestic and transnational concerns—the wars in Southeast Asia as well as the civil rights struggles fought “at home”—what has not yet been addressed in a direct or sustained manner is how “Asian American music” has been constituted by over 100 years of militarized relations between the U.S. and its Asian counterparts. My paper addresses the role of U.S. militarism by listening in on primary musical examples and surveying secondary sources that evidence how U.S. war, occupation, and military bases in the Asia/Pacific are the conditions of possibility for what we can call “Asian American music.”

F R I DAY 1 1 . 0 9


2018 PAAFF 21

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Narrative Program

MOVING PARTS 5-6:30pm | Lightbox Film Center 77 mins | Drama | Trinidad and Tobago | English Director: Emilie Upczak


After the death of her father, Zhenzhen leaves China to be with her brother, who works construction on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Although she gets a job at a restaurant, she is forced into a compromising position when the smuggler demands more cash. Her brother promises to pay her debt, but he is unsuccessful in getting an advance from his employer, leaving Zhenzhen desperate. She asks her boss for the money. He agrees but makes Zhenzhen promise she will work it off. Help comes unexpectedly from Evelyn, who runs an art gallery in the neighborhood. But the contrast between the dark rooms above the restaurant and the blindingly white gallery calls everyone’s innocence into question.

SURVIVING BOKATOR 6:45-8:55pm | Lightbox Film Center

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Documentary Program

91 mins | Documentary | Cambodia | Central Khmer, English Director: Mark Bochsler

Surviving Bokator is a heartfelt story about reclaiming cultural identity and building bridges between generations. Filmed over five years, the film is told through the struggle of an elder genocide survivor to resurrect the ancient Cambodian martial art of Bokator and preserve it in the nation’s youth. Through their journey, the film reaches the very core of the generational fracture happening in Cambodian communities around the world today—a fracture between genocide survivors determined to revive and maintain traditional ways and Cambodia’s youth looking to forge ahead.


What started as a genocide survivor’s dream to revive an ancient sport becomes an inspiring mission to heal a nation.

Filmmakers are expected in attendance for a post-film Q&A. 2018 PAAFF 23

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Live Performance

MUSICAL SHOWCASE: TRADITIONAL & HIP HOP 9:30-11:30pm | Lightbox Film Center In this showcase we will be exploring the connections between traditional and contemporary, showing how the lineage of musical practice within multiple generations of diasporic communities has helped create innovative approaches to the wholly American genre of hip hop.

L I V E P E R FO R M A N C E 2018 PAAFF 24

As we struggle to define what Asian American music is, what better way of understanding the rich variety of sounds and styles than juxtoposing these seemingly different, yet interrelated musical genres.

SWARTHMORE CHINESE MUSIC ENSEMBLE Co-directed by Guowei Wang and Lei Ouyang Bryant, the Chinese Music Ensemble performs traditional and contemporary music from different regions of China and the Chinese Diaspora. Students perform on traditional Chinese instruments including the guzheng (zither), erhu (bowed fiddle), pipa (plucked lute), yangqin (hammered dulcimer), dizi (flute), and percussion.

SETI X Otherwise known as Mandeep Sethi, SETI X is a Los Angeles based emcee building bridges between California and India. A veteran of rocking the microphone and raising consciousness, SETI X is a versatile artist whose global reach has only strenthened over time. Most recently he opened up for Prophets of Rage, and when he isn’t on stage SETI X works as a teaching artist in LA County Juvenile Detention system.

PRACH LY praCh Ly is a critically acclaimed artist whose music not only entertains, but also educates. Outside of his music, praCh serves as the Co-Founder and Director of Cambodia Town Film Festival in Long Beach California. A published author and lecturer at many institutions, praCh recently made his debut as a feature film producer with PAAFF opening night film In the Life of Music. This is praCh’s second time at PAAFF, having performed in the 2016 Hip Hop Showcase.

Jefferson is honored to be a sponsor of the

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival for its continued dedication to Asian American representation in media.

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Program Type (i.e. documentary, narrative) WHAT IS ASIAN AMERICAN MUSIC?

SOMEONE USED KNOW Chair:I Brian SengdalaTO (Rutgers University) Saturday, Nov. 10 | 10:15–12:15pm | ARCH

What is “Asian American music”? Some argue that it is not only a useful political and heuristic device, but also a beneficial term for building a community of artists. Others, however, have posited that we should not use this term because there is no distinctive musical style in music made by Asian Americans. This panel explores how Asian American musicians participating in different genres use style to contend with stereotypes and the North American racial landscape.

7:00pm | Lightbox Film Center

Dan Wang (University of Pittsburgh) | Dramedy What79mins is an Asian American style? Superorganism in the Assimilated Public What do we desire when we desire the existence of an Asian American music? What would be achieved by identifying a musical style as Asian Director: Nadine Truong | Writer: West Liang American? Style, I argue, can allow members of a minority to recognize one another and thereby form communities (i.e. punk style, queer style), but at Cast: Brian Yang, Eddie Mui. Emily Chang, the cost of a public language that can be commodified, appropriated, and used to limit that very group’s expressive options. This paper engages with the Kara Crane, Rex Lee, Sara Sanderson, West indie band Superorganism, and in particular its lead singer Orono Noguchi.


Peng Liu (University of Texas, Austin) From Learn Chinese to Chinese New Year: A Journey of Voicing Authenticity in MC Jin’s Rap Music Three friends reunite for a long LA night in this The obstacles that Asian Americans’ racial identity incurs become ever manifest when they aim to survive in rap music, a genre that has dominantly been bittersweet dramedy. Their faltering nightclub perceived as a cultural signifier of blackness. The first Asian American rapper with a legitimate chance to find mainstream success did not appear until reunion soon becomes an all-nighter filled with the early 2000s when Chinese American MC Jin gained his fame out of BET’s 106 and Park freestyle battle competition. Jin’s increasing popularity makes revelations, recriminations and regrets. his “inauthentic” race ever apparent. Drawing on scholarships in Asian American studies (Ancheta 2006; Fong 2008) and rap music studies (Wang 2007), this paper aims to discuss the issue by offering a close reading of two rap tracks by Jin—“Learn Chinese” (2004) and “Chinese New Year” (2014). Opening Night Reception 9:30–11PM Toru Momii (Columbia University) Performing While Asian: Yuja Wang, Sarah Chang, and Asian (American) Embodiment in Western Art Music My paper considers how performance analysis can illuminate the ways in which Asian and Asian American performers of Western art music have operated within and responded to racialized narratives of difference. I first explore how Asian and Asian American performers are faced with a conflicting narrative of inclusion and exclusion in American society. I then argue that these narratives have challenged Asian and Asian American performers to renegotiate their identities vis-à-vis the hegemony of whiteness in Western art music. Joseph Small (Swarthmore College) Looking Back: Spall Fragments: Taiko Drumming-Dance Action-Adventure for the 21st Century! For the past fifty years, taiko drumming has served as a popular vehicle for Asian Americans to express self-identity and empowerment, embody ancestral memory, and combat stereotyping. Spall Fragments, my original, evening-length stage production, mixes taiko, dance, and serio-comic theatre, as a critical response to the explosion of problematic issues surrounding Asian American taiko practice. Supported by media samples of the performances, through critical discussion of Spall Fragments’ creative processes, I will outline the intricate landscape of contemporary Asian American taiko before concluding on how a new wave of taiko practitioners navigate these persistent issues.

Type (i.e. documentary, narrative) WORKSHOP: Program SINING KAPULUAN

Saturday, Nov. 10 | 1:45–2:30pm | ARCH

Saturday, Nov. 10 | 5–5:45pm | ICA

Storytelling History & Identity through Art Chair: Michelle Myers (Yellow Rage) No-No Boy is a multimedia concert performed by Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama, doctoral students at Brown University. The NoNo Boy workshop will focus on a close examination of the power of storytelling through recovery and curation of archival imagery, specifically about questions of immigration, identity, incarceration, migration, and refugees across Asian America.

How can Non-Western music and dance be preserved and practiced in a way that honors social-politico-historical contexts and cultural identity? Should we avoid transactional learning experiences when music and dance is traditionally part of the lifestyle, not a performance? When can “cultural art” 7:00pm | Lightbox Film Center enter the Western realms of “high art”? Does the meaning of traditional music and dance change when practiced by diaspora and outsiders? 79mins | Dramedy

SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW Chair: Micaela Bottari

NadineaTruong | Writer: educational West Liang arts These are all questions Director: Sining Kapuluan, Brooklyn-based Brian Yang, Eddie Mui. Emily Chang,inspired group, focuses on whenCast: learning and performing music and dance Kara Crane, Rex Lee, in Sara Sanderson, by traditional Filipino culture. The Philippines particular has a West complicated Liang history of colonialism, war, and political unrest. Yet, her culture is rich with beauty. In a country consisting of over 7,000 islands, there are areas with music and dance practices that have survived the many changes and continue Three friends reunite for long LAand night in thisdiaspora to be practiced today. A growing community of a Filipinos Filipino bittersweet dramedy. Their faltering nightclub want to keep these traditions alive—including Sining Kapuluan. reunion soon becomes an all-nighter filled with recriminations and regrets.Filipino and Sining Kapuluan traces revelations, their roots to 2nd and 3rd generation

Together, we will think about our identities and histories as sources for storytelling inspiration, exploring the meaning of these two words, “identity” and “history,” and have a conversation about potential work which might come from these personal and historical archives.

Filipino American artists in the San Francisco Bay Area who have learned Night Reception 9:30–11PM directly from masters inOpening Maguindanao and Cotabato. The group’s repertoire incorporates kulintang, dabakan, gandingan, malong, pangalay, and much more. Sining Kapuluan will share their distinct learning process, and talk about their individual journeys in the arts and identity exploration.

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F R E E E V E N T S : CO N F E R E N C E

Saporiti and Aoyama, as researchers and artists, will discuss with participants the ways in which they utilize archival visuals to create an added visual dimension to their storytelling and music. The duo will break down their process of combining songwriting, scholarship, and film editing to create their work, inviting participants to think about how the intersection of historical research and personal identity exploration might serve their own art making processes.

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Documentary Program

DRAWN TOGETHER: COMICS, DIVERSITY, AND STEREOTYPES 11am-12pm | Institute of Contemporary Art 40 mins | Documentary | USA | English Director: Harleen Singh


Drawn Together: Comics, Diversity and Stereotypes follows the journey of three talented artists as they use comics and cartoons to challenge racial, religious, and gender stereotypes and inspire others to breakthrough socially and self-imposed limitations. Keith is an African-American syndicated comic writer who tackles police brutality and racial injustice with satire. Vish is a Sikh-American who proudly wears his turban and beard with the Captain America uniform to challenge our idea of what a superhero should look like. Eileen is a white woman who confronts gender bias and traditional norms of femininity with strong female characters.

2018 PAAFF

Drawn Together film taps into the public’s endless appetite for superhero stories to refocus common comic themes of justice and doing good for the community in order to open a deeper and more inclusive social dialogue about identity, respect, and representation. By channeling questions about how we view ourselves and others through a creative medium, the viewer is able to confront prejudice and stereotype in a low-risk way. Film subject Vishavjit Singh expected in attendance. 28

FUTBOLISTAS 4 LIFE 12:15-1:05pm | Institute of Contemporary Art 40 mins | Documentary | USA | English

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Documentary Program

Director: Jun Stinson

Futbolistas 4 Life sheds light on the overwhelming stress experienced by immigrant youth living in communities with high rates of poverty and violence, communities increasingly in the crosshairs of federal immigration policies. The film captivates viewers with its compelling characters, cinematic footage, carefully crafted animations, and beautiful score by Grammy Award winner Adrian Quesada. Associate Producer Jess Ramirez expected in attendance.

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Futbolistas 4 Life is about Oakland teens from Latinx immigrant families and the healing power of soccer. The film takes you into the lives of two high schoolers: one is a college hopeful and DACA applicant navigating the reality of his immigration status, and the other is an American citizen afraid that her undocumented parents may be deported. These youth take solace in the game of soccer, which lets them put their worries on the sidelines, if only for a moment.


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MUSICAL SHORTS 1:15-2:45pm Institute of Contemporary Art | 75 mins


What do a street dancer, violin virtuoso, keeper of sacred tradition, and femme-forward hip hop artist-activist all have in common? Their love of music. This mixed block of two narrative and two doc shorts explores a few of the many different relationships that people have with music, and the impact it has on our lives. Filmmakers expected in attendance for post-film Q&A.



DANCING SHOES Director: Benedict Chiu | 10 mins | USA

DANCING THE DIVINE Director: Madhusmita Bora | 12 mins | India

A young street dancer’s life is changed forever when his mom gives him a magical pair of shoes.

This short documentary captures the essence and spirit of Sattriya - a five-hundred-yearold living dance tradition from the Vaishnav monasteries and the story of Assamese monks that live on the river island of Majuli. NOTHING ON US: PINAYS RISING Director: Evelyn Obamos | 25 mins | USA

BESIEGED Director: Mengchen Niu | 28 mins | USA Two Chinese immigrant half-brothers audition for the same prestigious film role. In a vicious effort to win the role, the elder brother stealthily sabotages the younger throughout their audition process. Besieged vividly depicts the darkness of jealousy threaded within sibling rivalry.

This behind-the-scenes documentary records Pinay Rapper Ruby Ibarra as she makes her directorial debut for the music video of “US”. Working through logistical nightmares and corralling a crowdsourced all-Pinay cast of 200, the film shows how she executed an ambitious vision to create a compelling multi-dimensional narrative about resistance, solidarity, and female empowerment.

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HAVANA DIVAS 3-4:45pm | Institute of Contemporary Art

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Documentary Program

90 mins | Documentary | Hong Kong | Chinese Director: S. Louisa Wei

Film will be introduced by Nancy Yunhwa Rao of Rutgers University.

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Caridad Amaran and Georgina Wong learned the art of Cantonese opera in 1930s Havana. Caridad’s mentor was her foster father, Julian Fong, who immigrated to Cuba in the 1920s after his family forbade him from performing opera. Georgina’s father was a famous tailor in Chinatown, who encouraged her to learn Kungfu and lion dance. Although each was an only child, they formed a sisterhood on stage. Throughout the 1940s, Caridad toured cities with Chinese communities all over Cuba as one of the lead actresses of the opera troupe. Georgina quit opera to attend college, but her study was interrupted by Castro’s 1959 revolution and her required military service. Eventually, she went on to become a diplomat. After retirement and well into their sixties, the two “sisters” are trying to perform Cantonese opera again. Will they find a stage? Will they find an audience?



SHORTS PROGRAM Program Type (i.e. documentary, narrative)




University of Pennsylvania | 78 mins



This mixed program of doc and THE CRYSTAL CITY wife and infant son. As tensions rise through narrative explores 7:00pmshorts | Lightbox Film the Center 7:00pm | Fleisher Art Memorial Director: Kenya Gillespie | 13 mins | USA various microaggressions and racially charged similarities and differences between encounters, he makes a tragic decision that 79mins | Dramedy 79mins | Dramedy anti-Japanese sentiment that led to Combining present-day and archival footage, changes his identity forever. the community’s mass incarceration this short doc explores the physical remains Director: Nadine Truong | Writer: West Liang Director: Nadine Truong | Writer: West Liang during and Islamophobic Cast: WWII Brian Yang, Eddie Mui. Emily Chang, of the Crystal City Incarceration Camp and theCast: Brian Yang, Eddie Mui. Emily Chang, THREE BOYS IN MANZANAR bigotry in the Rex post-9/11 and Sanderson, Trump memories of its Japanese American survivors.Kara Crane, Rex Lee, Sara Sanderson, West Kara Crane, Lee, Sara West Director: Preeti Deb | 7 mins | USA Era. The block of six shorts is evenly Liang Liang split between Japanese American FIVE O’CLOCK SHADOW This short doc tells the story of three Japanese and Muslim/Sikh/South Asian Director: Sangeeta Agrawal | 7 mins | USA American men from an iconic photo taken at stories an evocative Incarceration Camp in their boyhood, Three for friends reunite forprogram a long LA night in this Three Manzanar friends reunite for a long LA night in this An Indian American mother experiences racial meant to provoke conversation reuniting 70-years later. bittersweet dramedy. Their faltering nightclub bittersweet dramedy. Their faltering nightclub abuse, causing her worst fears to rise to the about these startling parallels reunion soon becomes an all-nighter filled with reunion soon becomes an all-nighter filled with revelations,expected recriminations and regrets. Filmmakers in attendance for post-film Q&A. Opening Night Reception 9:30–11PM

MOVING WALLS Director: Sharon Yamato | 25 mins | USA What happened to the scores of barracks used to house 120,000 Japanese Americans during WWII? At one camp built on government land in a remote area in Wyoming, they were sold for a dollar apiece to GI homesteaders settling the West after the war. This short doc delves into the intersection of mass incarceration and homesteading farmers as one group’s American nightmare became part of the American dream for another.

surface. For the first time ever, she asks the question – do we really belong here?

SURVIVING SURVEILLANCE revelations, recriminations and regrets. Director: Sarah Khan | 9 mins | USA Opening Night Reception 9:30–11PM PAGG Since 9/11 Muslim Americans have been mapped, Director: Nardeep Khurmi | 17 mins | USA surveilled, and entrapped by the NYPD. This short doc provides insight into the struggles In the aftermath of a hate crime, a Sikh American of one family impacted by these questionable man grapples with his fears and anxieties as he policing practices. attempts to celebrate the 4th of July with his



CALL HER GANDA 3:30-5:30 pm | Lightbox Film Center

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Documentary Program

93 mins | Documentary | Philippines | English, Tagalog Director: PJ Raval

A modern David and Goliath story, Call Her Ganda fuses personal tragedy, human rights activism, and the little-known history and complex aftermath of U.S. imperial rule in the Philippines, forging a visually daring and profoundly human, geopolitical investigative exposé.


When Jennifer Laude, a Filipina trans woman, is brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine, three women intimately invested in the case—an activist attorney (Virgie Suarez), a transgender journalist (Meredith Talusan) and Jennifer’s mother (Julita “Nanay” Laude)-—galvanize a political uprising, pursuing justice and taking on hardened histories of U.S. imperialism.

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Narrative Program


5:45-7:20pm | Lightbox Film Center 84 mins | Drama | USA | English Director: Alex Chu


Dede has become a mess but wants to be responsible; Laura has become sheltered but wants to be more independent. Their relationship gives them a second chance to be the person each hoped to be. Anna has become bitter and wants to feel young again; Peter is very lonely and wants companionship. Falling in love offers a second chance to be the person each longed to be for years. Collectively, all four are given a second chance at forming the family unit they never had before. When a queer photojournalist recovering from addiction and her mother move next door to an autistic young woman and her father, the lines of friendship and family dissolve as each finds the courage to overcome old patterns and self-destructive behaviors. Director Alex Chu expected in attendance.

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FICTION AND OTHER REALITIES 7:35-9:10pm | Lightbox Film Center 85 mins | Drama | South Korea, USA | Korean, English Director: Bobby Choy and Steve Lee


Fiction and Other Realities is the story of Bobby Choy, a 20-something Korean American residing in New York City who feels like a stranger in the country in which he was born. After his father’s death, he starts writing sad songs but does not perform them very often. Mostly, he sings softly in his bathtub. Because of the thin walls of his apartment, his friend Billy—lead singer of the band Paper Kings—hears him and offers him a job as a roadie for the band’s upcoming tour, which includes a stop in Seoul. At first Bobby is hesitant, as he would be away from the only society he truly knows. But after mulling over the pros and cons, he decides to seize the opportunity to learn about his parents’ homeland. There he meets Ina, a young graduate student who performs for fun.

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Bobby Choy is expected in attendance for a post-film Q&A and will be performing during the Musical Showcase to follow.


MUSICAL SHOWCASE: FOLK & INDIE 9:30-11:30pm | Lightbox Film Center

BIG PHONY Bobby Choy aka Big Phony is a singer/songwriter born and raised in NYC who now resides in Seoul, by way of Los Angeles. His honest lyrics, gentle voice, and seemingly effortless guitar stylings has landed him on stages ranging from SXSW and Webster Hall to intimate bar shows in Korea. Bobby’s music has been featured in a number of films and tv shows, most recently in his own debut directorial feature Fiction & Other Realities screening at PAAFF’18, in which he also stars.

SINING KAPULUAN Sining Kapualan is an educational cultural arts group based in Brooklyn NY Through teaching and learning indigenous rituals, practices, music, and dance, they strive to connect the Filipino American community to the different indigenous and minority groups in the Philippines. This performance will feature popular dances and music from around the Philippines.


NO-NO BOY Comprised of two PhD students from Brown University Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama, No-No Boy will perform a multimedia concert that brings the stories of Asian America to life through folk music. Saporiti, inspired by his own family’s history living through the Vietnam War and Aoyama, whose family was incarcerated at Heart Mountain Relocation Center during WWII, aim to shine light on experiences that have remained largely hidden in the American consciousness through their nearly sixty song repertoire.

The lineup includes Americana story songs to Filipino folk traditions, and an American-born Korean making music in return diaspora. Each of these acts deal with questions of authenticity, ancestral memory, and preserving the legacies of those who came before.

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Live Performance

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Program Type (i.e. documentary, narrative) MILITARISM, MASCULINITY, AND THE MUSIC OF ASIAN AMERICA

SOMEONE USED TO KNOW Chair:I Mandi Magnuson-Hung (Wells Fargo History Museum) Sunday, Nov. 11 | 10:15–11:45am | ICA

One of the most enduring stereotypes in North America is the emasculated Asian male. Created in the late 19th century, this belief arose partly because early Chinese immigrants often had queues and wore silk gowns, and partly because they were forced to take jobs doing what many White Americans considered “women’s work.” As several recent polls and Steve Harvey’s putdown of Asian men demonstrate, this stereotype is still alive and well today. This panel explores how Asian American musicians and the World War II Museum in New Orleans have dealt with issues of Asian masculinity.

7:00pm | Lightbox Film Center

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Alan Parkes (New York University) | Dramedy Asian79mins American Hardcore: Defying Inveterate Conservatism in Subculture The economic and social conditions of the 1980s offer insight into the era’s youth cultures. The ways in which these conditions affected race and how this Director: Nadine Truong | Writer: West Liang was mirrored among youth unveils the influence of prevailing conservative principles on youth cultures, particularly within hardcore punk and its largely Cast: Brian Yang, Eddie Mui. Emily Chang, white membership, in which purported opposition to larger social structures alternatively turned to subcultural conservative representation. Limited Kara Crane, Rex Lee, Sara Sanderson, West Asian American participation in hardcore stems from this representation. Employing oral histories from Asian American hardcore members, this paper Liang emphasizes their participation in the music scene, how they defied the racial makeup of the subculture, and consequently its adherence to conservatism. Dan Blim (Denison University) Three friends reunite for a long LA night in this Music for the Pacific Theater: Scoring Asian Identities at the WWII Museum bittersweet dramedy. Their faltering nightclub In this paper, I consider how three spaces in the World War II Museum in New Orleans continually recast visitors’ understanding of the Japanese and reunion soon becomes an all-nighter filled with Japanese Americans - drawing on exhibition theory, fieldwork at the museum, and interviews with the museum and audio installation staff. Comparing revelations, recriminations and regrets. these three spaces together illuminates both the broader challenges museums face when tackling legacies of race and violence and how sound specifically works to meet those challenges. Opening Night Reception 9:30–11PM Donna Kwon (University of Kentucky) Empathetic Asian American Queer Masculinity, Juxtaposed Narratives, and Double Consciousness in the Music of St. Lenox In this paper, I focus on singer-songwriter Andrew Choi, who goes by the moniker St. Lenox. Through video analysis, I hone in on his prominent use of juxtaposed extra-lyrical narrative and horizontal split-screen video production. I posit that these techniques reinforce a sense of “double consciousness” (Du Bois) often experienced by many “hyphenated” Americans. By drawing on performance observations and interviews, I will examine Choi’s doubleness (or other potential hyphenations) in light of his immigrant experiences and queer identity.

Program Type (i.e. documentary, narrative) WORKSHOP: WORD TO YOUR MOTHERLAND

Sunday, Nov. 11 | 11:45am–12:30pm | ICA

Sunday, Nov. 11 | 1:15–2pm | ICA

Presented by Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis Chair: Lei Ouyang Bryant (Swarthmore College) Join composer Byron Au Yong and writer Aaron Jafferis as they teach material from Activist Songbook, a collection of 53 songs and raps to counteract hate.

Created as part of (ex)CHANGE: History Place Presence, a project of Asian Arts Initiative, Original support for (ex)CHANGE: History Place Presence was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia. Additional support from Montalvo Arts Center Lucas Artists Residency Program and Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.

Join Los Angeles born, South Asian American Sikh Recording Artist SETI X for this workshop exploring Hip-Hop Culture and its relationship with South 7:00pm | Lightbox Film Center Asian American youth and their development of self-identity.

79mins | Dramedy As a co-founder of India’s First All Hip-Hop Collective, SETI X has travelled Nadine Truong | Writer: West the world representing Director: South Asian American Hip-Hop for the lastLiang 10 years. Brian Yang, Emily Chang, Participants will be ableCast: to hear music andEddie watchMui. videos of the development Kara Crane, Rex Lee, Sara Sanderson, West of this scene from the early 80’s onwards.


In this workshop we will explore the trajectory of artists who have pioneered this space, as well as the current musical landscapes of South Asian American Three friends reunite for a long LA night in this artists reclaiming their culture and expressing themselves through Hip-Hop bittersweet dramedy. Their faltering nightclub Music. We will explore influences that have crossed over from the “Asian reunion becomes all-nighter with Underground” Movement in thesoon UK, as well as an explore ideas filled of cultural revelations, recriminations pollination across the world from the US to India. and regrets. Opening Night Reception 9:30–11PM

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Chair: Annar Desai-Stephens (Eastman School of Music)

F R E E E V E N T S : CO N F E R E N C E

Material for Activist Songbook is based on interviews of Asian American, immigrant, and refugee organizers. The project continues in multiple cities with interviews, workshops, and performances through the next U.S. Presidential Election on November 3, 2020. Join us for this interactive workshop using story-sharing, songs, and raps to regain hope and activate change.

SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW A Hip-Hop Exploration of South Asian American Identity with Seti X

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Documentary Program


12-1pm | Reading Terminal Market 44 mins | Documentary | Philippines, Indonesia | Indonesian, Tagalog Director: Aditya Thayi



Who says prison food needs to be boring? In this series, Filipino-American Chef Johneric Concordia heads to some of Asia’s most notorious prisons to see what’s cooking behind bars. He meets inmates running the prison kitchens and discovers a hotbed of human ingenuity with food. After exploring the inner workings of the prison and its kitchen, Johneric cooks a meal for the inmates from the limited resources available to him in an attempt to bring a different flavor to prison food. But will he succeed in liberating the taste buds of hardened criminals?

CHEF DEMO 1:15-2:15pm | Reading Terminal Market

2018 PAAFF

Several market vendors will be adding limited quantities of Filipino dishes to their menus for one-day-only as part of our Filipino Food Sunday event. Vendors confirmed to date include Sang Kee (Seafood Palabok) and Flying Monkey Bakery (Ube Cupcakes) 42


FORBIDDEN CITY, USA 2-4pm | Institute of Contemporary Art 56 mins | Documentary | USA | English

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Documentary Program

Director: Arthur Dong


Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong’s documentary Forbidden City, USA takes you inside the glamorous world of Chinatown nightclubs in World War II San Francisco. You will meet the “Chinese Fred Astaire,” the “Chinese Sophie Tucker,” and the “Chinese Sally Rand.” Eighty years before the all-Asian cast of Crazy Rich Asians made box office headlines, the world famous Forbidden City nightclub was shocking America with its “all-Chinese” American floorshows. Digitally re-mastered by UCLA Film & TV Archive from original film negatives, Forbidden City, USA unearths the stories of ground-breaking Asian American entertainers from a bygone era, telling the true-life stories that inspired both the musical Flower Drum Song and Lisa See’s novel China Dolls. Film will be introduced by Music of Asian America Research Center Eric Hung.

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SHORTS PROGRAM Program Type (i.e. documentary, narrative)






Lightbox Center Film | 48 Center mins 7:00pmFilm | Lightbox FRENCHIES This block| of four Sci-Fi genre 79mins Dramedy Director: Kuan-Fu Lin | 13 mins | USA narrative shorts explores a variety Nadine Truong | Writer: West Liang ofDirector: not-so-distant futures dictated After strange new neighbors move into his Brian Yang, Eddie Mui. Emily Chang,building, fear of the unknown makes a man byCast: technology and varying degrees Crane, Rex Lee, Sara Sanderson, West ofKara dystopia. start to suspect the worst of them. Liang


ANDLIFE Director: Jean Goto | 11 mins | USA Set in the near future when climate change has taken its irreversible toll on Earth, a dying man and his partner contemplate their past.

Filmmakers expected in attendance for post-film Q&A

Three friends reunite for a long LA night in this bittersweet dramedy. Their faltering nightclub reunion soon becomes an all-nighter filled with THE LIE GAME revelations, recriminations and regrets. Director: Jyothi Kalyan Sura | 14 mins | USA Opening Night Reception 9:30–11PM

After losing her boyfriend to depression, a computer scientist creates and anti-depression AI application and looks for funding to complete it. Following a string of failed interviews, she enters her final interview which turns into a bizarre challenge of lie detection.

SHABU Director: Kiersten Villanueva | 10 mins | USA Several years after America has placed a “killall” order on anyone suspected of dealing in the drug trade, a photojournalist discovers the corrupt nature of the world she lives in.

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Pacific Islanders in Communications works for cross-cultural understanding, giving a voice to our unheard communities through support and development of Pacific Islander Storytelling through media.

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Documentary Program


4:30-6:00pm | Lightbox Film Center 77 mins | Documentary | Kiribati | English Director: Matthieu Rytz

The low-lying Pacific nation of Kiribati faces a daunting challenge: imminent annihilation from sea-level rise. As Anote Tong, Kiribati’s President, races to find a way to protect his nation’s people and maintain their dignity, many iKiribati are seeking safe harbor overseas. Set against the backdrop of international climate negotiations and the fight to recognize climate displacement as an urgent human rights issue, Anote’s personal struggle to save his nation is intertwined with the extraordinary fate of Sermary, a young mother of six, who decides to migrate her family to New Zealand. At stake are the survival of Sermary’s family, the iKiribati people, and 4,000 years of iKiribati culture— yet the story also serves as a cautionary tale for low-lying populations everywhere.

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ULAM: MAIN DISH 6:15-7:45pm | Lightbox Film Center 79 mins | Documentary | USA | English

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Director: Alexandra Cuerdo

Ulam: Main Dish stages this new culinary movement as not only a remarkable achievement for American restaurateurs but also as a validation of Filipino culture. The film confronts issues inherent in representing both Filipino and American identity as well as challenges from both the Filipino community and the world at large. Ultimately, Ulam is a celebration—and confirmation—that Filipino food and Filipinos are here to stay. Director Alexandra Cuerdo expected in attendance for a post film Q&A followed by a catered reception featuring Filipino food.

CENTERPIECE RECEPTION 8-9:00pm | Lightbox Film Center

2018 PAAFF



In this delicious new documentary, FilipinoAmerican filmmaker Alexandra Cuerdo follows the rise of Filipino food via the award-winning chefs who are crossing over to the center of the American table.


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Live Performance

KEEP ME POSTED 7-9pm | InterAct Theater 90 mins | Live Performance Writer & Director: Stephanie Kyung-Sun Walters

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Celeste Moon is new to internet fame. Followed on social media and IRL, this hyper-trendy instapoet is no stranger to looking over her shoulder. But after a series of mysteriously specific packages falls into her hands, she is forced to face her stalker. Will he ghost her or haunt her? Keep Me Posted by Stephanie Kyung-Sun Walters examines the presence of technology in our society and the struggles of online dating. BIO: Stephanie Kyung-Sun Walters is an emerging playwright in Philadelphia and founding member of the Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists. She’s a second-year member of The Foundry and studies with PlayPenn. Stephanie’s work gives new life to Korean mothers, evil dictators, lost lovers, bright children, dying Chinatowns, dating apps, and punk rock goddesses. Her most recent play, Are You My Father or the dream ballet of north korea, received a workshop and reading with PlayPenn and HBMG Foundation’s National Writers Retreat as well as a residency with Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists/Asian Arts Initiative. Additional plays have been produced and developed with Dragon’s Eye Theatre, Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival, Asian Arts Initiative, Revamp Collective, and Philadelphia’s Future is Female Festival. Stephanie is also a proud member of Actor’s Equity Associate, a Barrymore Nominated actress, and a teaching artist. She is graduate of Bucknell University, the London Dramatic Academy, and CAP21. Stephanie’s whimsical, comedic, curious, and AZN plays can be found on NPX.


GETTING LAO’D: THE RISE OF MODERN LAO MUSIC & FILMS 5-6:15 pm | Fleisher Art Memorial 40 mins | Documentary | Lao People’s Democratic Republic | English, Lao

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Documentary Program

Director: Steve Arounsack

Many neighboring countries in Southeast Asia have seen their music and film industries remain vibrant. Media in Laos, however, remains shrouded in mystery due to its landlocked geography and restrictive political environment. This documentary provides an extremely rare look at a new generation that tipped the cultural fulcrum. It is a story about a small country with a big heart.

Director Rita Phetmixay expected in attendance

2018 PAAFF

SCREENS WITH Phetmixay Means Fighter 12 mins | USA Director: Rita Phetmixay Lao American refugee Phoutone Phetmixay shares his experiences as an anti-communist rebel in Laos in this short documentary. Through trials and tribulations, Phoutone is able to survive a series of challenging encounters before escaping to the United States to start a new life.


After 25 years of silence, the private Lao music and film industries are reawakening. Filmed over 10 years, Getting Lao’d follows a new generation of young pioneers as they reimagine Lao media in a communist country. The film features many of the country’s most prominent musicians and filmmakers, and is perhaps the most comprehensive examination of the media landscape in Laos.


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Documentary Program

JIZOLIBIDO 6:30-7:45pm | Fleisher Art Memorial 61 mins | Documentary | Japan | Japanese Director: Yoshiaki Kasatani


Atelier Yamanami is a care facility for the disabled located in Koka, Shiga Prefecture in Japan. Currently, 88 users are registered as artists, all of whom possess a unique way of expressing themselves through various media and whose works are highly valued abroad. This documentary explores these artists’ “relationship between their mental states and their art.” SCREENS WITH Morgan 6 mins | USA Director: Eiko Fan, Aidan Un Morgan has very limited mobility. He can swing his feet a little, and he moves his middle finger to paint large paintings. He cannot speak but his eyes can direct the computer to tell what he wants to say a little. His paintings speak of his unique ability and intention to express himself. Director Eiko Fan expected in attendance with film subject Morgan.

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VOIDED 8:10-9:45pm | Lightbox Film Center 80 mins | Live Performance

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Live Performance

Writer, Director & Performer: Pratima Agrawal


What is it like to be an unconventional Indian woman trying to exist in a marginalizing world? Voided is a solo performance inspired by Pratima’s own experiences and the true story of Kalpana Chawla (the first Indian female astronaut in space and one of the crew members who died in the 2003 Columbia accident). It iss the exploration of culture, status quo, and representation that dares to color outside the lines.

BIO: Pratima is a local performing artist, teaching artist, and administrator. While she considers herself to be from Austin, TX, she moved to Philadelphia four years ago by way of Bethlehem, PA for the city’s vibrant theatre and arts scene and is inspired by the progressive community voices within and outside of the arts. She finds purpose in working on projects that challenge her as an artist and push the boundaries of art and humanity. She also volunteers for the Philadelphia Ready for 100 clean energy campaign and is a Sixers fan. She would like to thank all her collaborators for their artistry and continued support. CO-PRESENTED BY

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Special Presentation


WORCESTER FOOTAGE & US IMPERIALISM IN THE PHILIPPINES 6:30–7pm | 12G Kate Pourshariati (Penn Museum Archive) Kate is the film archivist, media cataloger, and cultural film series programmer for the Penn Museum.

Wednesday, Nov. 14 | 6:30–8:30pm | 12G

As one of the special events during the American Peril exhibit, PAAFF returns to Twelve Gates Arts for an evening of American propaganda.

F R E E E V E N T S : CO N F E R E N C E

Our definition of Propaganda is content that: 1) promotes one-sided or biased information, 2) reinforces ideology central to systems of control (political, religious, class/ race hierarchy), and 3) reduces complex concepts into simple dichotomies. Highly problematic by today’s standards, both Hollywood and independent filmmakers have utilized their craft to shape the opinions of the American public during times of war and during the occupation of conquered territories.

This program will consist of a brief introduction to US Imperialism in the Philippines, followed by a guided viewing of an independently made 1913 propaganda film that argued Filipinos were not fit for self governance. The film was produced at a time when the debate within the US Congress surrounding the Philippines status as a US Territory began to favor granting their independence. Native Life in the Philippines (1913) was a collaboration between Dean Conant Worcester, Interior Minister of the Philippines who served as director/producer and camera operator Charles Martin. Worcester is highly controversial for his views of native peoples and for the racial agenda that he promoted in support of his own personal gain as a land-owner in the Philippines under colonial rule. The film was made near the end of Worcester’s career and was produced as a work of propaganda in support of keeping the Philippines under US territorial administration. Shortly after the film’s completion, Worcester left office and embarked on a lucrative lecture tour in the US. The following year Martin became the first director of the photography lab for National Geographic magazine. Photos below are glass plate positives (circa 1912) taken by Charles Martin during the film’s production.

2018 PAAFF

Films will be introduced by and contextualized for their historical signficance. The content is offensive in its portrayal of Asian subjects, but important for understanding the causes of anti-Asian sentiment in previous generations. BONTOC PEOPLE WITH STAGED ARTIFICIAL ELEMENTS



7–8:30pm | 12G Rob Buscher (University of Pennsylvania) Beginning with Thomas Edison’s 1898 documentary news reel footage of the Wreck of the Battleship Maine and subsequent coverage of the Spanish-American War, film has played an important role in the way that Americans understand and consume conflict. As the technology used to produce motion pictures improved and Hollywood became increasingly intertwined with the military industrial complex, economic and cultural conditions of wartime America both necessitated and encouraged through capital gain the integration of anti-Japanese propaganda in major studio films spanning the war years 1942-1945.

News Reels and US War Pictures: The News Parade: Bombing of Pearl Harbor (1941) Why We Fight: Prelude to War (1942) Know Your Enemy: Japan (1945) Popular Films: Little Tokyo, USA (1942) Across the Pacific (1942) Victory Through Air Power (1943) Air Force (1943) Thirty Seconds over Tokyo (1944) Purple Heart (1944)

2018 PAAFF

Cartoons: Ducktators (1942) Tokio Jokio (1943) You’re a Sap, Mr. Jap (1943)

F R E E E V E N T S : CO N F E R E N C E

This program will provide a brief history of the Hollywood Studio system’s emergence as the hegemonic gatekeeper of American popular media, followed by a guided viewing of anti-Japanese WWII propaganda films. Content is derived from a variety of sources, but this lecture focuses primarily on entertainment based Hollywood films (fictional narratives), documentary news reels and soldier training films produced by the US Military sponsored War Pictures, and cartoons. Selected clips include:

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Program Type (i.e. documentary, narrative)



5-6:15pm Fleisher Art Memorial | 61 mins This program of seven shorts each deal with a major transition, literal or figurative, and each challenge conventional storytelling in their execution.

NAAN & BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE Director: Urvashi Pathania | 6 mins | USA

Filmmakers expected in attendance for post-film Q&A.

WATER IN THE CUP A story about love, loss, and those ephemeral Director: Nadine Truong | Writer: West Liang Director: Ikuo Kato | 6 mins | Japan Cast: Brian Yang, Eddie Mui. Emily Chang, salad days.



MONSTER ME Director: Yeon Jin Lee | 13 mins | USA An ancient monster emerges from the “Old Faithful” geyser at Yellowstone, attacking an artist in residency there, and wreaking havoc in Jackson Hole.

7:00pm | Fleisher LightboxArt Film Memorial Center

doing all they can to promote testing and care.

79mins | Dramedy

Kara Crane, Rexbeing Lee, Sara West But if A human is likeSanderson, water in a bottle. Liang the bottle breaks, where does the water go?

HEAVEN IS MY COUNTRY Influenced by years of color shaming, a dark- Three friends reunite for a long LA night in this Director: Tristan Hsu | 27 mins | Japan skinned Indian American woman uses lighteningbittersweet dramedy. Their faltering nightclub creams and other methods to whiten her skin. reunion A soon high becomes school freshman named Jinwith moves an all-nighter filled into arecriminations new town, where gets reacquainted revelations, and regrets. #JUSTB KENSON’S STORY with his older cousins. They help him adjust, Director: Kenson Alik | 3 mins | USA butNight as the year progresses, Opening Reception 9:30–11PMJin encounters A Marshall Islander named Kenson is diagnosed with Hepatitis B and moves to Hawaii in search of treatment. Now, Kenson and his wife educate the Pacific Islander community in Hawaii about the disease, challenging myths about it and

voices, specters, and other happenings. As he tries to find a sense of self amidst the unsettling histories of this Asian American community, something from his past is haunting him as well.


UNFAIR & LOVELY Director: Anita Kalathara | 4 mins | USA


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METAMORPHOSIS Director: Sophia You | 3 mins | USA 2018 PAAFF

Strangers pass each other every day on the ferries leaving and entering San Francisco - some find romance, others remain unseen. Sea of Fog explores the distance between the dreams we’re sold about love and its daily reality.




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Documentary Program

LIVING IN THE STORY 6:30-7:35pm | Fleisher Art Memorial 52 mins | Documentary | USA | English Director: Lynn Estomin


Living in the Story documents thirty-five years of art making by the distinguished photographic artist Patrick Ryoichi Nagatani, one of the most brilliant photographic artists of our era. In the late 1970s, he pioneered the Contemporary Constructed Photographic Movement in Los Angeles, developing a new visual vocabulary by constructing tableau photographs from sets, sculptures, models, and paintings. The film portrays an artist deeply concerned and well informed about world events who uses imagery, storytelling, and narrative fiction to raise awareness about modern anxieties with an emphasis on the threat of nuclear weapons technology. Nagatani has also explored healing techniques and states of consciousness in which the material world is transcended. Despite the serious content of his subject matter, his innovative images are compelling and entertaining. An engaging raconteur and teacher, Nagatani talks in the film about his projects, his unorthodox photographic techniques, and his subtle weaving together of fiction and fact. Scott Nagatani’s hauntingly beautiful music score provides the film’s soundtrack. Director Lynn Estomin expected in attendance.


AUGUST AT AKIKO’S 7:45-9:15pm | Fleisher Art Memorial

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Narrative Program

75 mins | Drama | Hawaii | English Director: Christopher Makoto Yogi

2018 PAAFF



August at Akiko’s is a mystical film that lives in the seams between dream, reality, and memory with a time-signature all its own. Armed with just his suitcase and a sax, cosmopolitan musician Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches, Last Lizard) returns home to the Big Island of Hawai‘i after being away for nearly a decade. Amidst possessed sax solos and brooding strolls, Alex stumbles upon a Buddhist bed & breakfast run by a woman named Akiko (Akiko Masuda). Hungtai’s wild sax and Akiko’s Buddhist bells form the base for a rich soundtrack surrounding the unexpected new friendship and wrapping around the audience like a sonic web.


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SHORTS PROGRAM Program Type (i.e. documentary, narrative)




Asian Arts Initiative | 62 mins



In today’s society, technology increasingly live 7:00pm | impacts Lightboxhow Filmwe Center SOAP & SHADOWS our lives from simple things like Director: Donna Mae Foronda | 8 mins | USA 79mins | Dramedy ordering food and taxis to finding ourDirector: dating partners. Perhaps It’s early in San Francisco when Bethany and Nadine Truong | Writer: West Liang those most impacted by the Craig wake up from a strange sound, but instead Cast: Brian Yang, Eddie Mui. Emily Chang, omnipresence digital of getting annoyed, they imagine playful scenes Kara Crane,of Rex Lee, technology Sara Sanderson, West areLiang the post-millennial youth. This using the sound. Bethany is enamored by the block of four narrative and one doc moment, thinking Craig may be “the one.” short explore a variety of comingof-age situations impacted by Three friends reunite for a long LA night in this technology. bittersweet dramedy. Their faltering nightclub


HALO-HALO Director: Bernard Badion | 9 mins | Hong Kong A food video blogger has trouble meeting his deadline, pining for the person he saw on the subway that morning. Can a missed connection post solve his problem?

reunion soon becomes an all-nighter filled with Filmmakers expected in attendance recriminations and regrets. forrevelations, post-film Q&A. Opening Night Reception 9:30–11PM

CLIQUE BAIT Director: Anna Mikami | 15 mins | Home Kong

LIONS IN WAITING Director: Jason Karman | 17 mins | Canada

Set in the international school community of Hong Kong, a high school girl spreads a video sexualizing her childhood friend and classmate.

The newest member of a minor league hockey team experiences hazing by his new teammates as he struggles to fit in both on and off the ice.


2018 PAAFF

SHARE Director: Barna Szász, Ellie Wen | 13 mins | USA An 18-year-old Instagram influencer attempts to reconcile his identity online with his identity in real life.. 58




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Documentary Program

6-7:40pm | Asian Arts Initiative 90 mins | Documentary | Tonga | German & English Director: Susann Wentzlaff & Jörg Junge


Being Bruno Banani tells the unique story of the first and only Tongan luger who managed to qualify in an amazingly short amount of time for the Sochi 2014: XXII Olympic Winter Games. Through his name, he also acted as the first “living brand,” using a completely new and disputed way to get around the strict IOC’s advertising regulations.

2018 PAAFF



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Narrative Program


7:55–9:20pm | Asian Arts Initiative 75 mins | Drama, Comedy, Romance | USA | Spanish Director: Jean Lee


Pecado Original is an absurdist Spanish language rom com about Eva, a sexually frustrated housewife, her uptight husband, and a freewheeling artist who form an unlikely love triangle with unpredictable results. From “accidentally” purchasing an erotic painting, to fellating her uptight husband for the very first time, the story is largely told through Eva’s perspective as she confronts society’s rules on female propriety with the greatest irreverence. Writer/Director Jean Lee expected in attendance.

2018 PAAFF



Powering partnerships. Arts and culture organizations have a $1 billion economic impact in Greater Philadelphia. And PECO is proud to be a part of it. In fact, we invest more than $1 million each year, helping people of all ages and backgrounds experience local visual and performing arts. PECO is proud to support the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival.

Š PECO Energy Company, 2018

70-18-902383_PECO_Powers_Asian_Film_8x5_4C_r1.indd 1

9/18/18 2:55 PM

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Narrative Program

LOST IN APOCALYPSE 9:35–11:15pm | Asian Arts Initiative 90 mins | Drama, Horror, Action, Thriller | China | Chinese Director: Sky Wang

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Mystery unfolds as a group of individuals are confronted by undead forces outside of an abandoned factory but then go about their business as usual the next day. An unexplained virus suddenly breaks out and turns people into blood-lusting beings, leaving the characters stranded in the penthouse suite of a hotel. As time passes, the group decides to make a run for survival. Through struggle, betrayal, and loss, the remaining individuals desperately make it out of the hotel alive and arrive at the factory where we first met them. But this is only a temporary haven, as they are tested once again by new circumstances. Who amongst them will survive?

Program Type (i.e. documentary, narrative)



11:30pm–12:30am Asian Arts Initiative | 46 mins

A serial dater-turned-killer, ghost children, and spiritually possessed painting are just a few of the topics in this year’s five-film Horror Genre Shorts program. Not for the faint of heart.


HEARTSEEKER Director: Brett Kodama | 20 mins | USA


PAINTED SKIN Director: Hanrui Wang | 4 mins | China

7:00pm | Lightbox Film Center 79mins | Dramedy

After making a connection on a popular dating A young artist huddles down in an old, app, a single woman with a passion for cooking Director: abandoned for| Writer: the night. To pass the Nadinetemple Truong West Liang brings her date home for dinner. Chances are he Cast:time heYang, paintsEddie a beautiful woman, which is Brian Mui. Emily Chang, won’t like what’s on the menu. Kara surprisingly Crane, Rex lifelike. Lee, Sara Sanderson, West


Three friends reunite for a long LA night in this bittersweet dramedy. Their faltering nightclub HANA reunion soon becomes an all-nighter filled with Director: Mai Nakanishiand | 13 mins | Japan, South revelations, recriminations regrets. SANZU NO KAWA: Korea THE RIVER OF THREE CROSSINGS Opening Night Reception 9:30–11PM A college student named Sujin starts her job Director: Cyrus Yoshi Tabar | 7 mins | USA as a part-time babysitter for a single working After a shooting at school takes his sister’s life, mother who needs someone to look after her a young Japanese American boy is trapped 4-year-old daughter Hana. Sujin is hired on the between his memories, grief, and the new reality spot, but soon after she is left alone with Hana, he faces at home. strange things start to happen.


Filmmakers expected in attendance for post-film Q&A.


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WHAT’S THAT IN THE GROUND? Director: Wally Chung | 2 mins | USA

2018 PAAFF

When you want one thing, sometimes you get the complete opposite or something worse.




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SHORTS PROGRAM Program Type (i.e. documentary, narrative)



11am-12:30pm 7:00pm | Lightbox Film Center PRAISE SONG FOR OCEANIA Asian Arts Initiative | 72 mins Director: Justyn Ah Chong | 5 mins | Hawai’i 79mins | Dramedy Told through visual poetry and Praise Song for Oceania is a short film-poem Director: Nadine Truong | Writer: West Liang narrative, and infused with stunning Cast: Yang, Eddie Mui. Emily Chang,about the ecology, history, politics, and color andBrian sound, these shorts cultures of the Ocean. The poem was written Kara Crane, Rex Lee, Sara Sanderson, West recognize the trials and triumphs of by award-winning Chamorro author Craig Liang family, explore the environmental Santos Perez, and the video was created by traumas inflicted upon Oceania, Hawaiian filmmaker Justyn Ah Chong. and share the pride and resilience Three communities friends reunitethroughout for a long LA night in this of these LET THE MOUNTAIN SPEAK (HAWAI’IAN) bittersweet dramedy. Their faltering nightclub history to the present. Director: Vilsoni Hereniko | 5 mins | Hawai’i reunion soon becomes an all-nighter filled with

Werevelations, would like recriminations to express ourand regrets. deepest gratitude to the following organizations for Reception their assistance Opening Night 9:30–11PM with curating this program: the ‘Ohina Short Film Showcase, Pacific Islanders in Communications, and the Wairoa Mãori Film Festival. Director/Cinematographer/Editor Jes X. Snow will be in attendance with Co-Producer Adriel Luis and other members of the crew.

A visual poem that pays tribute to Maunakea, a mountain on the island of Hawai’i, and makes an artistic intervention in the controversy surrounding Maunakea. TAMA Director: Jared Flitcroft and Jack O’Donnell | 9 mins | New Zealand


Ever seen the haka in silence? Tama is about a young indigenous Deaf boy who tries to perform the traditional Mãori war dance, the Haka, silently, and is the result of a unique collaboration between Deaf and hearing filmmakers. KALEWA Director: Mitchel Viernes | 17 mins | Hawai’i In the future, a Hawaiian astronaut makes the next great leap for his planet, his family, and himself. Tonight is his last chance. I MATAI Director: Kyle Perron and Nico Serneo | 10 mins | Guam A fallen warrior is honored by his family in an experimental take of the Ancient Chamoru Death Ceremony told through the prayers of a man grieving over the death of his brother.

2018 PAAFF 64



AFTEREARTH IMMERSIVE THREE-PANEL INSTALLATION 12:30-9pm (Screens cyclically) Asian Arts Initiative | Studio G ANOINTED

ANOINTED Director: Dan Lin | 6 mins | Marshall Islands

RISE: FROM ONE ISLAND TO ANOTHER Director: Dan Lin | 6 mins | Marshall Islands and Greenland Two indigenous poets—one from the Marshall Islands and another from Greenland—meet at the source of our rising seas to share a moment of solidarity.

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center brings history, art, and culture to you through innovative, community-centered museum experiences and digital initiatives throughout the U.S. and beyond, as a museum without walls. Recognizing the exciting potential in emerging technology and media, PAAFF and Smithsonian APAC are partnering to present an exceptional experimental short in a special exhibit that offers a glimpse into the future of storytelling As rising sea levels threaten the loss of their motherland in Hawai’i, the Philippines, China, and North America,


AFTEREARTH is an immersive threechannel documentary created by a mostly queer, genderqueer, and transgender cast and crew of Asian/ Pacific Islander elders and youth.

Filmmaker Jess X. Snow and producers Adriel Luis and Kit Yan are expected in attendance for post-film Q&As throughout the day.

2018 PAAFF


four women fight to preserve the volcano, ocean, land, and air for future generations. In a deeply immersive artistic experience, they channel their mothers and ancestors in song, dance, and poetry, and take a bold and ultimate stand against the corruption of the elements and natural resources by humankind.


A poet from the Marshall Islands explores the legacy of U.S. nuclear bomb testing in her country through the stories of people who are still living with the effects of radioactive fallout and displacement.

Director: Jess X. Snow | 13 mins | USA, Hawai’i

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Special Documentary Experience


Ree Morton: The Plant That Heals May Also Poison

Cauleen Smith:  Give  It or  Leave  It

SEP 14–DEC 23, 2018

Don’t worry, I’ll only read you the good parts, 1975. Oil on celastic, 54 × 26 inches. Photo: Joerg Lohse. © Estate of Ree Morton. Courtesy Alexander and Bonin, New York.

Sojourner (production still), 2018. Color and sound (in progress). Courtesy the artist, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, and Kate Werble Gallery, New York.

118 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 Free. For All.


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Documentary Program

12:45-3pm | Asian Arts Initiative 120 mins | Documentary | Philippines | English

Revolution Selfie expands the horizons of documentary storytelling while broadening our understanding about the lesser-known fronts in the global “War on Terror.� Filmmaker Steven De Castro paints a portrait of the 48-year-old Maoist guerilla army in the Philippine hinterlands. But rather than simply presenting interviews and images in a traditional journalistic manner, this film weaves fantasy elements and web-based camera techniques into the documentary form to disrupt our matrix of widely held beliefs that underpin the discussion of terrorism, poverty, and the motivations of the warriors who fight in a peasant revolution.


Director: Steven de Castro

Director Steven de Castro expected in attendance for post-film Q&A.

2018 PAAFF 67

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Live Performance

THE DJZ 12-5pm | Asian Arts Initiative Lead Artists: Aizhanneya Carter and Claris Park

Welcome to the Department of Judgement Zoning. We invite you to navigate the bizarrely familiar world of The Department of Judgement Zoning where identity rules and bureaucracy is not as mundane as it seems‌ Efficiency is valued at the DJZ, so please make sure to have your documents ready before you meet a member of our highly trained team of Judges. We are happy to serve you! The DJZ is an interactive theatre piece exploring identity, solidarity, and collective liberation. The DJZ was developed through the Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists/Asian Arts Initiative 2018 Mini Residency Project and the Naked Angels/The New School Issue’s Project Lab 2017. Claris Park is a Philadelphia based actor and theater maker and is thrilled to be remounting the DJZ along with her co-creator, Aizhaneya Carter, director Cat Ramirez, and numerous other wonderful collaborators! Recent credits include Monster in the Hall (Inis Nua), Close Your Legs, Honey (Philadelphia Fringe, 2018), A New Kind of Whole (Director, Philadelphia Fringe, 2018), and Much Ado About Nothing (Delaware Shakespeare). Upcoming credits include Bob, A Life In Five Acts (Azuka Theatre) and Among the Dead (Theatre Exile). They are a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.


3:15-4:20pm | Asian Arts Initiative 57 mins | Documentary | Tibet | Tibetan

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Documentary Program

Director: Ruby Yang

2018 PAAFF

On any given day, you will find nomads herding their yaks and sheep and monks reciting their mantras. You will also find them playing one of their favorite sports—basketball. Next to traditional horseback riding, basketball has become a way for young men to work off their aggression and channel their energy. And when a proper coach arrives from the United States, slam-dunk becomes their new mantra. A new tournament has been announced, the first in their region. Can they put together a team that’s good enough to take part? Might they even be able to win?


Things are changing on the Tibetan Plateau. With diminishing grasslands, falling livestock prices, smaller families, and a rise in the number of children going to school, the nomads are finding it increasingly hard to continue their traditional way of life. Many are leaving the grasslands, struggling at this time of transition to keep their culture alive while also embracing the modern world.


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Program Type (i.e. documentary, narrative) SHORTS PROGRAM




4:35–5:50pm Asian Arts Initiative | 64Film minsCenter 7:00pm | Lightbox Curators: Sara Zia Ebrahimi & 79mins | Dramedy Lila Yomtoob

A RELUCTANT BRIDE Director: Shideh Faramand | 6 mins | Australia

A single Persian woman, still unmarried at 28, Director: Nadine Truong | Writer: West Liang must endure disapproval and meddling from Having hyphenated identity is Emily Chang, Cast:aBrian Yang, Eddie Mui. married friends and relatives at her younger more than just being between Kara Crane, Rex Lee, Sara Sanderson, West sister’s engagement party. worlds and fixed identities. It Liang includes the active process of AMERICA 1979 forging a new cultural space—a Director: Lila Yomtoob | 14 mins | USA cultural is often the Threeremix. friendsItreunite for a long LA night in this work of the first generation bittersweet dramedy. Theirafter faltering nightclub It’s 1979, and the Iran Hostage Crisis is in full a significant migration toan begin reunion soon becomes all-nighter filled with force. When an Iranian American girl is teased at establishing the cultural products revelations, recriminations and regrets. school for her ethnicity, her family must come to and institutions to capture that terms with how world politics is affecting their remix. This program of short films Opening Night Reception 9:30–11PM lives. is part of that work; an attempt to amplify the voices of diasporic EDDEAA Iranian filmmakers. Director: Abjeez | 2 mins | Sweden

Filmmakers expected in attendance for post-film Q&A.

pop duo Abjeez about the downside of some traditional Iranian values, juxtaposing traditional imagery with modern sounds and words. ICE SKATES Director: Sara Zia Ebrahimi and Lindsey Martin | 6 mins | USA Based on a true story, the film tells a story from the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1980 from the perspective of Haleh, an eight year old who just wants to enjoy her ice skates. MAGIC SHOES Director: Sahand Nikoukar |10 minutes | USA Nine-year-old Iranian immigrant Kamron can’t seem to fit into the culture of early 90s Los Angeles, forcing him to wonder, is it the shoes?

Music video from Swedish Iranian female

2018 PAAFF




LEITIS IN WAITING 6:05-7:15pm | Asian Arts Initiative 70 mins | Documentary | Tonga | English

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Documentary Program

Director: Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson, and Kumu Hina Wong-Kalu

The film follows Joey, a devout Catholic of noble descent, as she organizes an exuberant beauty pageant presided over by a princess, provides shelter and training for a young contestant rejected by her family, and spars with American-financed evangelicals threatening to resurrect colonialera laws that criminalize the Leitis’ lives. With unexpected humor and extraordinary access to the Kingdom’s royals and religious leaders, Joey’s emotional journey reveals what it means to be different in a society ruled by tradition, and what it takes to be accepted without forsaking culture and tradition. Leitis in Waiting is an inside story, created by a Polynesian transgender woman who once competed and won the crown in Joey’s beauty pageant.

2018 PAAFF



Leitis in Waiting is the story of Joey Mataele and the Tonga Leitis, an intrepid group of native transgender women fighting a rising tide of religious fundamentalism and intolerance in their South Pacific Kingdom.


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Documentary Program

YASSA DARUMAN 7:30-9:05pm | Asian Arts Initiative 91 mins | Documentary | Japan | Japanese Director: Kenichi Omori


As part of the celebrations to commemorate the 450th anniversary of Mihara Castle’s construction, the youth from the Yassa Daruman neighborhood have undertaken a glorious project: to spread the popularity of Yassa Daruman, Mihara City’s official mascot, around the country. Inspired by this example of youthful exuberance, the ordinary citizens of Mihara City join the struggle, and a wonderful adventure commences.

FLOWER DRUM SONG 9:15-11:30pm | Asian Arts Initiative

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Narrative Program

133 min | Musical, Comedy, Romance | USA | English Director: Henry Koster

In this adaptation of the 1958 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical, Chinese immigrant Mei Li (Miyoshi Umeki) is betrothed to nightclub boss Sammy Fong (Jack Soo), but he wants to marry showgirl Linda Low (Nancy Kwan). To get out of the arrangement, Sammy pawns her off to wealthy Master Wang (Benson Fong) as a fiancÊe for his son, Wang Ta (Victor Sen Yung). Mei Li falls in love with Wang, but he wants to pursue Linda, who takes advantage of his affections to test Sammy’s love.

2018 PAAFF 73

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SHORTS PROGRAM Program Type (i.e. documentary, narrative)





7:00pm | Lightbox Film Center

Asian Arts Initiative | 81 mins



79mins | Dramedy Director: Elisa Oh | 12 mins | USA This program of six narrative shorts Director: Nadine | Writer: West Liang explores a variety ofTruong perspectives Ana fears that coming out to her Filipino Brian Yang, Eddie on Cast: queer-ness, coming out,Mui. and Emily Chang, Catholic mother would break her heart. But Kara Crane, Rex Lee, Sara Sanderson, West embracing one’s identity both when her mother needs help cleaning a hoarder Liang and amongst the Asian overseas house, Ana enlists her secret girlfriend for immigrant generation in the US. the job. Filmmakers expected attendance Three friends reuniteinfor a long LA night in this forbittersweet post-film Q&A. dramedy. Their faltering nightclub reunion soon becomes an all-nighter filled with revelations, recriminations and regrets. STRAIGHTEN OUT Director: Yung-Chieh Chang | 14 mins | Taiwan Opening Night Reception 9:30–11PM Sheng wakes up in a clinic with no memory of how he got there. When he discovers the truth, he faces a difficult choice: following his family’s religious beliefs or embrace his true identity.

RANI Director: Hammad Rizvi | 14 mins | Pakistan A Pakistani transgender woman sets out to take care of an abandoned child. HUDSON Director: Shae Xu | 10 mins | USA A young divorcee mother tries to find the right moment to tell her teenage son that the woman she lives with is actually her girlfriend. UNINVITED Director: Seung Yeob Lee | 20 mins | South Korea When a closeted gay man’s mother comes for a sudden visit, he quickly hides evidence of his live-in boyfriend.


HOÀI (ONGOING/MEMORY) Director: Quyen Nguyen Le | 11 mins | USA 2018 PAAFF 74

A young Vietnamese American queer woman and her father cohabitate after her recent breakup, exploring themes of heartbreak from romantic relationships, to families, to nations.




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Documentary Program

12:45-2:45pm | Asian Arts Initiative 105 mins | Documentary | Bhutan, India, Nepal | Nepali Director: Prakash Angdembe

Desh Khojdai Janda’s film documents the more than 120,000 forgotten Nepali-speaking Bhutanese citizens from Bhutan who spent two decades in refugee camps (some of whom are still living there) in Jhapa and Morang, Nepal. Their years of repatriation struggle to their homeland continues with the character Karbari Kaka. Producer Pralhad Gurung is expected in attendance for a post film Q&A.

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Documentary Program

ORIGIN STORY 3-5pm | I Asian Arts Initiative 106 mins | Documentary | Laos | English, Lao Director: Kulap Vilaysack

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In her directorial debut, actor/writer/podcaster Kulap Vilaysack explores her tangled family tree to find out who she is. When Vilaysack was 14, she took her father’s side in an argument and her mother replied, “Why are you defending him? He’s not your real dad.” Twenty years later, she’s finally ready to learn what that means. Origin Story is a feature-length, international quest with stops in Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Laos for Vilaysack to meet the biological father she never knew. On the road unforeseen revelations strike both hilarious or heartbreaking—but rarely in between. Origin Story is a deeply personal but universally relevant tale of immigration, conflict, identity, and personal responsibility. Interviewees in the film include extended family, husband Scott Aukerman, and close friends, like Sarah Silverman, Casey Wilson, June Diane Raphael, and Howard Kremer.


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Documentary Program

5:15-6:45pm | Asian Arts Initiative 81 mins | Documentary | USA | English Director: Stephen Tringali

After the news cameras had been turned off and the lights dimmed, Isaac was left with the horrific images he had seen and the memory of those he was unable to save. Corridor Four is a feature-length documentary that illustrates Isaac’s story in the first-ever look at how the Pentagon handled mental health care in the aftermath of 9/11. Officer Ho’opi’i is expected in attendance for a post film Q&A.

2018 PAAFF



The image of the American hero is challenged in this heartfelt portrait of 9/11 Pentagon firstresponder Isaac Ho’opi’i. A nationally recognized K9 Unit Officer, Isaac Ho’opi’i was responsible for saving numerous people from the Pentagon during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Countless articles were written about his heroism following 9/11, and he even ran the Olympic Torch on its way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.


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Closing Night Documentary

AN AMERICAN STORY: NORMAN MINETA & HIS LEGACY 7-8:15pm | Asian Arts Initiative 60 mins | Documentary | USA | English Director: Dianne Fukami


A son of immigrants forced into a U.S. World War II concentration camp as a child, Norman Mineta became the first Asian American mayor of a major city (San Jose, California); enjoyed a distinguished 20-year career in Congress; was the first Asian American Cabinet member; served under two U.S. Presidents, a Democrat and Republican. Mineta never forgot his roots or the shame and humiliation he and his family felt during WWII and led the way for an apology from the U.S. government and redress for Japanese Americans. On September 11, 2001, his leadership as U.S. Secretary of Transportation would ensure that what happened to Japanese Americans during WWII did not happen to any other group based on ethnicity or religion. Secretary Mineta is expected in attendance for a post-film Q&A with director Dianne Fukami.

2018 PAAFF

CLOSING RECEPTION 8:30-11:00pm | Asian Arts Initiative






SUSAN JIN DAVIS Senior VP of Product and Operational Compliance, Finance at Comcast Cable and a big supporter of Asian American film.

ALLEN CHOU President of Sales and Acquisitions at Passion River Films, a NYC based company that distributes documentaries and arthouse films for the US home video and international sales market since 1998.

TETSUKI IJICHI Independent film producer from Japan and President of Tidepoint Pictures, which specializes in releasing Asian films across genres—from horror to documentary—in North America and internationally. Tetsuki picked up and sold Dukhtar (PAAFF’16) and Big in Bollywood (PAAFF’13) for Japan.

MELANIE FORCHETTI Casting Director at Mike Lemon Casting, Melanie began her career at Lightstone Productions producing music videos then started her own production company and produced feature films including Prey for Rock ‘n Roll, ‘Til Proven Innocent, and Screw Cupid, as well as documentaries, and promotionals. AMIRA SMITH Director of Marketing and Multicultural Affairs for the Greater Philadelphia Film Office (, actress, and overall film enthusiast. 2018 PAAFF 80

PHILIP LAM Independent film producer (Undoing, Santa Mesa) based in the New York City metropolitan area. JOE KIM PAAFF founder and Festival Director for five years, Joe started PAAFF in 2008 with a great team and the intention to highlight distinctive stories by and about Asian Americans. He is currently developing various projects.

MAORI HOLMES Originally from Los Angeles, Maori Holmes is a producer, curator, and the Founding Artistic Director of the BlackStar Film Festival ( Maori received her MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University and has screened her own film work internationally. MARÁNGELI MEJÍA RABELL Puerto Rico-born Director of PHL Latino Film Festival, Marángeli is also Director of CED at the Village of Arts and Humanities. She also curates/produces arts & culture programs and special events as a cofounder of AfroTaino Productions.

Sushi - Cra Beer Bar - Live Music - Open Mic - Sushi Catering - Sushi Class

Madame Saito invites everyone to make reservations for the DVD Release Party of her short documentary titled “Philadelphia Queen of Sushi, Madame Saito” which includes a special set course dinner for only $50.00 November 7-10 and 14-17, 2018. Film Screens 7-8pm followed by dinner 8-9pm and music Must book in advance. 122-124 Lombard St, Phila PA 19147 | 215-922-2515 / 215-815-8266

Menu: Beef Negimayaki, Chicken Katsu, Karaage, Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Sushi Station, and Green Tea Ice Cream Please RSVP via Email to

A Long Separation Photo exhibit of people divided from family in North Korea since the Korean War 오랜 이별: 이산가족 by Laura Elizabeth Pohl #alongseparation

On view at Paley Library

2441 Aspen Street Philadelphia, PA 19130 Tel: (215) 765 - 5326 Mon- Fri 7AM - 7PM Saturday 8AM - 5PM Dry Cleaning Laundry Service Alterations & Repairs and more...

January 4 – March 1

A Conversation with Artist Laura Elizabeth Pohl

Choi Chil-song, 81, photo courtesy Laura Elizabeth Pohl

February 7

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AMERICAN PERIL: IMAGINING THE FOREIGN THREAT Curator Statement by Rob Buscher However, given the current state of our society in which xenophobic and racist bigotry have reemerged within the realm of mainstream political discourse, it has become clear to me that this is not enough. If we are to successfully overcome these challenges and build a better America, we must first understand the history of racism in this country and how it continues to be perpetuated in order to ultimately disrupt these racialized propaganda narratives.

Growing up in a small town on the edge of rural/ suburban Connecticut in the 1990s, my mixed race Japanese American family experienced a surprising amount of racism. I wondered why even fifty years after the end of WWII that there would be such intense hatred towards Japan and its American born descendants. Over time I came to realize that much of the racism we experienced was directly related to WWII era anti-Japanese propaganda, which had been perpetuated through news media and other facets of popular culture in the four decades between the war and my birth.

2018 PAAFF

For the past ten years I have used my position as a festival programmer and curator to provide a platform for filmmakers, musicians, theater artists, writers, chefs, and other creatives whose collective works challenge negative stereotypes through their positive and authentic portrayals of historically marginalized communities. 84

Over the past year and a half, my wife Cathy Matos and I have been collecting original printed propaganda and other artifacts spanning from the 1870s to today, which as a collection demonstrate the continuity of hatred and racialized violence towards a variety of Asian ethnic communities.

Bigotry-laden advertising that was omnipresent in the decade leading up to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 have direct echoes to the racialized caricatures portraying Japanese during WWII. Similarly, biased news coverage that dehumanized Filipinos and Hawaiians in the 1890s to justify their colonial subjugation by the USA functioned as a proving-ground for concepts that were later perfected against the Japanese. Perhaps most directly related to my own experiences growing up are the slew of antiJapanese propaganda produced in the 1970s-90s that scapegoat Japan for causing the decline of the American manufacturing industry. Dredging up old war wounds, many of the artifacts from

happening to an extent. Former Temple University Professor Dr. Xiaoxing Xi was arrested in May 2015 on suspicions of being a Chinese spy, one of many who have suffered for crime of ancestry. April 2017 Dr. David Dao was beaten and dragged off an overbooked flight after United Airlines staff told him his seat was needed for another passenger. It is no stretch to say that biased news coverage on US-China relations had an effect on both of their cases. Decades from now when historians look back at this period it is likely that our media will be seen as engaging in “China Bashing” similar to the “Japan Bashing” of the 1980s-90s. There are several extremely violent images from the WWII era that may trigger some viewers, so please explore with caution. The objects in this collection are presented with notes describing their historical context, but minimal commentary, in an effort to allow visitors to interpret the artifacts in their own terms. In an era of fake news and alternative facts, a primary source artifact is perhaps the only text that no one can argue with. this latter period make direct reference to antiJapanese slogans and other concepts rooted in WWII propaganda. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, anti-Muslim propaganda with similar slogans to “Remember Pearl Harbor” began cropping up throughout public discourse. As a Japanese American, I feel a strong connection to the Arab and Muslim American communities given the many parallels between our own community after Pearl Harbor.

As US foreign policy pivots back once again from the Middle East to Asia with rising economic tensions between US and China, it is not unreasonable to think that this same level of scapegoating might soon occur with the Chinese immigrant community. Realistically, this is already

American Peril: Imagining the Foreign Threat was funded in part by the Japanese American Citizens League and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Project Stream. Nov 2-30, 2018 at Twelve Gates Arts (106 N. 2nd St) Exhibit Hours Tue: 11am-3pm Wed-Sat: 11am-5:30pm Sun-Mon: By Appointment

2018 PAAFF

However, it was only through the curation of this exhibit that I realized Islamophobia is perhaps the main reason why Japanese are no longer viewed with the same level of contempt experienced

during my childhood, as focus shifted from economic competition to more tangible threats abroad in these past two decades. Exhibit cocurator Jamal J. Elias has provided selections from his extensive collection of anti-Muslim artifacts that show many parallels to not only the WWII era anti-Japanese propaganda, but also other historic artifacts in the collection, which spans nearly 150 years across.



The mission of Twelve Gates Arts is to showcase international, multidisciplinary arts compelled by the sensibilities of a diasporic identity. At 12G, we seek to create and promote projects in our community that cross geographic and cultural boundaries. In our bimonthly art exhibitions, we curate shows that offer thought-provoking frameworks through which new ways of thinking and producing social change can be achieved.

2018 PAAFF

Art is usually associated with freedom and subversion. Its power has often been instrumental towards change and revolutions, and it has been used as a medium to reach the masses and raise awareness. At the same time, art has also been appropriated for the purpose of propaganda, used as a form of persuasion to influence the emotions and opinions of a target audience for ideological or political purposes. Although some art historians have resisted the idea of propaganda as art, the power propaganda holds on people’s psyche is undeniable, and that power hold is achieved through the basic human response to art. Wars have been won in people’s minds through the arts.


In 2017, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Japanese Internment executive order, JACL, Rob Buscher, and Twelve Gates Arts came together with the art exhibit “I Bear Witness” – a curated show of works from mainly Muslim American artists responding to the wave of anti-Muslim bias being promoted by the current government administration in the backdrop of historical antiJapanese racism following WWII.

As a back story to the 2017 exhibit, from November 2 through November 30, Twelve Gates Arts will present “American Peril: Imagining the Foreign Threat”, a selection of anti-Asian and antiMuslim propaganda art in America from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Ranging from stamps, playing cards and Halloween masks to promotional posters, advertising images and popular books, the exhibit will bring together a section featuring Chinese Exclusion Era and postWWII anti-Japanese art, curated by Rob Buscher, and Islamophobic and anti-Arab objects, curated by Jamal J. Elias. Propaganda art preaching hate against a perceived foreign threat has always contributed to the creation of an imagined enemy, nurturing a culture of contempt and intolerance. The target may change, but the practice continues to this day.

THANK YOU! Tiffany Chang Lawson

Jesse Pires

Andrea Agnew

Robert E. Cargni

Susan Jin Davis

Patrick DiGiacomo

Johnnie Giles

Allen Chou

Shawn Samuel

Philip Lam

Shubham Garg

Melanie Forchetti

Sharmila Ravi

Tetsuki Ijichi

Kristina Chang

Marangeli Mejia Rabell

Rina Hayashi

Joe Kim

Marife Domingo

Maori Holmes

Master Chef Joseph Poon

Scott CHOPS Jung

Anne Ishii

Kris Mendoza

Julia Shaw

Michelle Myers

Melody Wong

Fariha Khan

Yohsuke Araki

Anaar Desai-Stephens

Lightbox Film Center

Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs

Jae Shim

Lei Ouyang Bryant

Asian Arts Initiative

Mayor Jim Kenney

Catherine Lee

Jennifer Jones

InterAct Theatre

Governor Tom Wolf

Liz Thompson

Elizabeth Clendinning

Fleisher Art Memorial

Councilman David Oh

Hiro Nishikawa

Rachel Schuck

Reading Terminal Market

Councilwoman Helen Gym

Dr. Aida Rivera

Lydia Huang

Tokio HeadHouse Izakaya

Sharon Pinkenson

Rommel Rivera

Ricky Punzalan

XFinity Cinema Asian America

Joan Bressler

Andy Toy

Christine Bacareza Balance

Cambodian Association of GP

Nicole Shiner

Dr. Walter Tsou

Elaine Kathryn Andres


Amira Smith

Kim Andrews

Brian Sengdala

Laos in the House

Loraine Ballard Morrill

Aaron Dilliplane

Dan Wang

Japan America Society of GP

Denise Nakano

Sarah Christy

Peng Liu

JACL Philadelphia Chapter

Nina Ahmad

Jim Fraatz

Toru Momii

Comcast NBC10 Telemundo 62 Comcast Spectacor

Organization of Chinese Americans GP

Japanese American Citizens League

NaFFAA Philadelphia

Pacific Islanders in Communications


PA Dept of Drug & Alcohol Programs

Indonesia Diaspora Network


Pan Asian Assoc. of Greater Phila.


Asian Am. Chamber of Commerce

Jefferson Hospital


GP Asian Studies Consortium

Asian Americans United

Hepatitis B Foundation

NAAAP Philadelphia

Philadelphia Cultural Fund


Greater Philadelphia Film Office

Governor’s Advisory Commission on APA Affairs

Music of Asian American Research Center

2018 PAAFF 88

1Love Movement

Modero Dance Company

Joseph Small

Tom Kehoe, Jr.

Philadelphia Suns

Joseph Ferro

Nancy Yunhwa Rao

Tony Jones

Madame Saito

David Inoue

Byron Au Yong

Kathleen Greene

Aiden Le

Janice Faden

Mandi Magnuson-Hung

Catzie Vilayphonh

Han Chiang

Jane Katsuyama

Alan Parkes

Harry Leong

Kiki Aranita and Chris Vacca

Dana Payne

Dan Blim

Phil Yu

Romeo Balan

Heather Doughty

Donna Kwon

Anderson Le

Naroen Chhin

Karl Blischke

Julian Saporiti

Stephen Gong

Sarun Chan

PA AAPI Arts Collective

Erin Aoyama

Masashi Niwano

Lanica Angpak

Harrisburg State Capitol Museum

Bobby Choy

Francis Cullado

Hariprasad Kowtha

National APA Womens Forum

praCh Ly

David Magdael

Natasha Cohen

Mandeep Sethi

Abe Ferrer

Ann Adachi-Tasch

Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists

Sining Kapuluan

Center for Asian American Media

Rieko Watanabe

PECO Asian American Resource Group

Swarthmore Chinese Music Ensemble

Visual Communications

Anuj Gupta


Blackstar Film Festival

Liz Grimaldi

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

PHL Latino Film Festival

Vita Litvack Cathy Matos

US Attorney Office APA Heritage Month Planning Committee

James Duggan

Mustard Seed South Asian Film Festival

Gretjen Clausing

Reelblack Presents

Jazz Gray-Sadler

qFlix Philadelphia

Trevor Sadler


Kris Mendoza

Scribe Video Center

John Chin

The Barnes Foundation

Grace Rustia

Institute of Contemporary Art

Richard Perelman, Esq.

Penn Museum

Christopher Jones, Esq.

Twelve Gates Arts

Alison Scott

University of Pennsylvania Asian American Studies Program

Michael Dennis Thom Cardwell

Atif Sheikh Aisha Khan

US Sec Exchange Commission APA Heritage Committee GPASC Undergraduate Studies Conference Committee

Mir Masud-Elias

Tidepoint Pictures

Rick Shiomi

Maestro Filmworks

Cat Ramirez

CBL Wine Co.

Leanne Ferrer

Yards Brewing Co.

Cheryl Hirasa


Remi Taum

Victory Brewing Company

Chari Cohen

Hokkaido Brewing

2018 PAAFF

Jamal J. Elias


Philly’s only source of Central American street food bites & Churro sundaes


2104 Chestnut St • Philadelphia, PA

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L i g h t b ox F i L m C e n t e r . o r g | 3 7 0 1 C h e s t n u t s t r e e t | p h i L A d e L p h i A

Here’s to the Asian American filmmakers who make extraordinary storytelling look impossibly easy. Making films that capture our imagination isn’t easy. It only looks that way because talented Asian American filmmakers from PAAFF strive to do so. Just like Xfinity X1 makes discovering more Asian American entertainment impossibly easy. You can find all your entertainment, from award winning films to everyday shows, by just saying “Asian American” into your X1 Voice Remote. It ’s that easy. Learn more at

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PAAFF'18 Program Guide  

Full details for the 10th anniversary festival program taking place November 8-18, 2018

PAAFF'18 Program Guide  

Full details for the 10th anniversary festival program taking place November 8-18, 2018