Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival 2012

From the evening of November 7th until the 17th – with a little break in between – Philadelphia’s International House (3701 Chestnut Street) and the Asian Arts Initiative (1219 Vine Street) will be hosting a rich intercultural cinematic spread. The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival is back for its 5th year, presenting a strong and varied selection of contemporary films. The aim is simple, to highlight and elevate the creative output of a significant demographic (particularly PA, with over 90,000 Asian Americans), and to provide that diverse community with a platform to share its distinctive experiences and perspectives. These films are by and/or about Asian Americans, so the standard is not to exclude, but to be wide open to anyone willing to explore the subject of Asian American identity through narrative or documentary frameworks.

I am personally looking forward to this festival that is taking place right on the heels of the Philadelphia Film Festival, which was distinctly spare on the Asian / Asian American perspective this year (which is forgivable as they have historically been very pro-Asian cinema. Danger After Dark would have been virtually non-existent without Japan and South Korea).

This promises to be a unique cultural and artistic program, and is a boon to Philadelphia that wears its diversity on its sleeve. Though diverse, this city is all too quartered off in terms of its ethic populations, so one hopes that a festival like this, propelled by the emotive power of cinema, will generate the opportunity for discussion, communication, and shared understanding!


This Fall, the 5th Annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF) presented by HBO proudly celebrates its fifth anniversary in bringing quality Asian American cinema to the greater Philadelphia Area. PAAFF’12 will kick-off with a free Launch Night event on Friday, October 26st, at 7pm at the Prince Music Theater Black Box (1412 Chestnut Street). The Festival will proceed on November 7 – 17th at two venues: the Ibrahim Theater at the International House (3701 Chestnut Street) and the Asian Arts Initiative (1219 Vine Street).

PAAFF’12 opens with “SHANGHAI CALLING,” a romantic comedy about modern-day American immigrants in an unfamiliar land. The Opening Night Film stars Daniel Henney (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings), and features legendary Hollywood actor Bill Paxton (Big Love), showing Thursday, November 8th.

WHITE FROG” is a universal story of the power of family, friendship, and love starring Booboo Stewart (Twilight Saga), Joan Chen (The Last Emperor), BD Wong (Law & Order: SVU) and Harry Shum, Jr (Glee). The Centerpiece Film will screen on Saturday, November 10th. The Closing Night Film, “PEARLS OF THE FAR EAST,” is a dramatic film starring  Kieu Chinh (Joy Luck Club) and Truong Ngoc Anh (The White Silk Dress) will screen on Friday, November 16th.

The 5th Annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF) is sponsored primarily by HBO and Comcast and is the first event of its kind in Philadelphia – a film festival celebrating and elevating the Asian American experience. In five years, PAAFF is proud to have screened over 100 films (Documentaries, Narrative Features and Shorts), bringing culturally relevant programming to a broad audience while providing sponsors with a meaningful platform to engage the community.

PAAFF’12 will showcase 8 narrative feature films, 4 documentaries, and 2 short film programs, along with free receptions, parties, and special events, including an appearance by Daniel Ho, 6-time Grammy winning Hawaiian musical artist, and a panel, “Asian Americans in Hollywood,” moderated by Richard Lui (MSNBC), and featuring B.D. Wong (Law & Order: SVU).

Official site.

Author: Aaron Mannino

Aaron Mannino is a Philadelphia area artist, film enthusiast, and some other things. He has made contributions on film analysis to the publication Korean Quarterly. Visit his blog or his website for writings and art-ings.


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