( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Celebration of Asian American Culture and Film
ENSPIRE Contributor: Emmanuel Perilla
The city of brotherly love spreads from culture to culture as it celebrates the Asian American film festival. The Asian American Film Festival started in October of 2008 and is celebrating its tenth anniversary from November 9-19.
The festival is run by the nonprofit group Philadelphia Asian American Film and Filmmakers. The purpose of this festival is to expose the people of Philadelphia to films by and about Asian-Americans. Some of the main highlights of the festival are featured on the website. The festival features screenings of documentaries and feature films, panels, and parties all centered around celebrating the contributions of Asian-Americans to the film industry. Recently, Rob Buscher, one of the directors of the film festival, was interviewed by NBC on the 10th anniversary of the festival’s inception. He stated, “You don’t have to be Asian to come to the Asian American Film Festival. These stories are American stories, the characters just happen to be Asian.”
Rob Buscher discussed the movie “The Soul of the Tiger,” a film about a French-Chinese man whose younger brother suddenly dies from a tragic accident. The man returns to Paris to try and investigate the cause of his brother’s death and while he is there, he struggles with both sides of his heritage. Rob Buscher states, “What’s so fascinating is it really shows this underrepresented community within France that is very similar to the Asian American experience. Rob Buscher also talked about the inspiration behind the creation of the festival. He stated, “When you think about the issue of representation in Hollywood and broadcast television, unfortunately, there haven’t been a lot of representations of Asian Americans. He talked about how historically the representations of Asian Americans have been stereotyped and often they have been portrayed in a negative light.
Since he’s a biracial Japanese-American himself, Buscher discussed how he grew up in a community in Connecticut with really no other Japanese-Americans. The only way he could learn about his culture was through film and television. There weren’t really any Japanese-Americans on television at the time, so the film festival became an opportunity for people to really see the diversity of the Asian experience. The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival is not limited to the Asian immigrant experience but it also portrays stories of Asian-Americans who are a fourth and fifth generation. Culture endures and evolves as generations continue so it’s important to keep that message of inspiration available to others. This is an opportunity for anyone who wants to connect with culture, cinema, and stories of experience. So if you’re a lover of great films, The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival is a great chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself.