This year’s Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (@paaff)– now in its 8th year — will once again highlight the work of Asian and Asian American filmmakers over a jam-packed week and a half of events. It will include 23 feature-length and 30 short films, including 5 East Coast premieres and 14 Philadelphia premieres.
The festival runs from November 12 to November 22, and opens with “Seoul Searching“:
Set against the backdrop of 1980s Seoul Korea and inspired by a summer exchange program that Writer/Director Benson Lee attended in the summer of ‘86, this John Hughes-esque Teen Comedy tells a universal coming-of-age story chock full of pop culture tropes, teen hijinks, and first love.
Director Benson Lee expected in attendance for post-film Q&A, followed by the PAAFF’15 Opening Night Reception featuring 80s dance music and costume contest FREE to all ticket and badge holders.
Negative, oftentimes racist, portrayals of Asian Americans have persisted in Western media for over a century. When we are not entirely absent from media representation, we appear mostly in exaggerated and stereotyped form: rodent-like subhumans; alien threats; hypersexualized objects of desire; buffoonish clowns; socially maladjusted nerds; martial artists; criminal gangsters. Too often, these performances are coupled with the absence of even an Asian American face: instead, non-Asian actors adopt these and other stereotypes to enact Asian-ess through yellowface.
A new website — Kulture — now seeks to act as a watchdog for Asian American representation in popular media by inviting crowd-sourced submission of stereotypical depictions for inclusion in their database.