The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival is back and tells us there is no way for Asian American filmmakers to tell stories. – The Philadelphia investigator | Episode Movies

The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival returns in its 15th year and expands its mission to understand and amplify the experiences of Asian and Pacific Islanders. Central to this exploration is understanding the complexities of Asian-American identities. The motto of this year’s festival is of course “crossroads”.

For Managing Director Selena Yip, who started out as a volunteer at the festival, experiencing the films is enriched by the festival’s distinctive identity and community engagement.

When the creative team met to review this year’s submissions, they set out to find common ground between the filmmakers’ and creative team’s feelings at this current socio-political moment.

“I’m an American from Hong Kong and I’m gender biased,” Yip said. “I’m chronically ill and I’m an organizer, leader, cat parent, partner, artist, community reader” and with it an appreciation for the many identities of the team and creators who submitted their films. Films are coming from all over the world this year, including Aotearoa (New Zealand), Philippines, Korea and Philadelphia.

“We are more than just Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Yes, there are large parts of us that are influenced by these identities. But there are so many other aspects to what it looks like to be part of this community,” Yip said. The team’s commitment to intersectionality is evident in the choice of the opening film, the documentary Blind Eye Artist.

directed by Ashwin Chaudhary, Blind Eye Artist tells the story of Justin Wadlington, a Philadelphia artist who was 5 years old when an accident blinded him in one eye. After years of focusing on survival and living in shelters and group homes, Justin is rediscovering his childhood appreciation for art and working to inspire children like him. However, Blind Eye Artist has no Asian protagonists.

“In my first year at PAAFF, we celebrated the milestone of having our first Southeast Asian premiere film,” said Yip. “And this year we tried to go beyond that.”

PAAFF’s opening and closing films are not Asian-American stories. “We have a black artist story and we have an immigrant story,” Yip said. “Although we are not on screen, these are universal stories. We can still identify with them, we can learn new things about people and we can consume great art.”

the graduation film, ricochet, directed by Jeff Adachi and Chihiro Wimbush, is a documentary about two public defenders working to uncover the truth about a woman shot and killed by undocumented immigrant Donald J. Trump in 2015. The film explores ways to find connections that go beyond the singular tags of “Asian American” and “Pacific Islander.” The program invites us to explore the many different identities, experiences, and lives of Asian Americans and to witness the amazing things that emerge from these intersections.

Other festival must-watches include that of temple professor Rea Tajiri Wisdom gone wild, a reflection on ageing, mortality and transformation. Focusing on Tajiri’s mother, Rose Tajiri Noda, the film moves between past and present, parenthood and parenthood, the unreliability of memory and the desire to reinvent one’s life when memories fail us.

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Kristal Sotomayors Extension of the sanctuary follows the extraordinary transformation of an immigrant worker, Linda Hernandez, who longs for her mother’s presence as she begins her new marriage and new life. Check out the document in a rough demo.

For fans of feature films, there’s Matasila Freshwater’s by Aotearoan-based director Matasila Teine Sã, the old ones It contains five folklore horror stories featuring ancient Polynesian goddesses being called into the modern world.

aporia by Lee Ju-hyoung tells the story of a man caught in the midst of cultural, religious, ethnic and national conflicts. After fleeing Syria with his family, Haleem struggles in a foreign country with a fake passport and works illegal jobs in hopes of being reunited with his family.

Thematic short film programs such as be human As you do so, try to highlight experiences related to mental illness, addiction, and vulnerability Family Dynamics/Healing Connections examines how family relationships can uplift or harm us. Together we rise showcases LGBTQIA stories and the strength of their community. For those still experiencing Halloween withdrawal symptoms, there is Midnight Madnesswhich dives into the bizarre and unusual.

There will also be panels titled Asian Americans & Political Representation and Asian Futurisms, which will offer a discussion of the oddness of the times, the otherness of Asian ways of being, history’s impact on the present moment, and how these ideas are presented, and complicated in one Variety of Asian Futurisms.

The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival runs November 3-13 in-person and online. Information on venues, schedule and tickets can be found at:

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