April 23, 2008
Hollywood hasn’t always been so kind in its portrayals of minorities.
While African Americans were blazing trails during the Civil Rights Movement, black characters continued to serve their white hosts as gentle drivers, cooks and entertainers.
Thankfully as more and more African Americans have joined the ranks of directors, producers and writers in Hollywood, a full spectrum of stories and characters have emerged that many in the African American community can relate to.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Asian Americans in film.
Name some famous Asian-American actors. No, Jackie Chan and Jet Li don’t count. (They’re Asian actors). Then you can start to realize how the Asian American portrayal in films is far behind the times. (According to the 2000 Census there are over 11 million Asians in America.) Hollywood is a business and kung fu films sell. Asian American stories don’t, at least not yet. That hasn’t stopped a new generation of Asian American filmmakers and actors unsatisfied with the status quo.
The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF) will promote many of the top films directed, produced and/or starring Asian Americans in several of the premier venues in the city.
Joining the ranks of more than a dozen Asian American Film Festivals nationwide, PAAFF will entertain a new audience in the 5th largest city in the country. Some of the largest (San Francisco Asian-American Film Festival, New York Asian American Film Festival) have operated for over 25 years.
PAAFF will be a place to network with filmmakers and actors, learn about moviemaking through Q & A’s and workshops, and explore relevant topics pertaining to Asian Americans in film through panel discussions.