JACL Philadelphia Sponsors Programs at PAAFF ’16

November 23, 2016 • Community, Entertainment, News

By Rob Buscher, Member, JACL Philadelphia Board of Directors

The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF), the largest Asian American and Pacific Islander film festival on the East Coast, is being sponsored in part by JACL Philadelphia.

Rob Buscher (center) at the “I Bear Witness” exhibit with (from left) exhibit curator Atif Sheikh, Asian Arts Initiative Executive Director Gayle Isa, artist Saba Taj, artist Hasan Elahi and artist Sham E-Ali Nayeem.

Rob Buscher (center) at the “I Bear Witness” exhibit with (from left) exhibit curator Atif Sheikh, Asian Arts Initiative Executive Director Gayle Isa, artist Saba Taj, artist Hasan Elahi and artist Sham E-Ali Nayeem.

Featuring more than 70 films and the “I Bear Witness” art gallery exhibit, the festival will include intimate discussions with filmmakers, catering by celebrity chefs, musical performances, live theater performances by local AAPI artists and a two-day academic conference.

Programs that JACL Philadelphia is sponsoring are specific to U.S.-Japan relations and the Japanese American experience.

‘Forgive – Don’t Forget’

“Forgive — Don’t Forget” is a thoughtful reflection on the intergenerational legacy of war and how current generations can be involved in ongoing reconciliations from past conflicts.

‘Good Luck Soup’

After years of rejecting his Japanese heritage, filmmaker Matthew Hashiguchi sets out on a sometimes humorous, yet insightful journey to discover what it means to be Japanese American, and how that identity changes over time.

The film offers a thoughtful reflection on multiracial identity, mixed-race families and the legacy of intergenerational trauma.

Perhaps most exciting is the art gallery exhibit titled “I Bear Witness,” funded in part by the JACL Legacy Fund and curated by Atif Sheikh of Twelve Gates Arts in dialogue with Hashiguchi’s “Good Luck Soup.”

JACL Philadelphia worked with PAAFF and filmmaker Hashiguchi to develop a special exhibition featuring a curated selection of the stories collected on the interactive online database component of “Good Luck Soup” in a traditional gallery setting.

Large-format photo prints are matched with interactive iPad displays to examine four distinct chapters in the Japanese American experience represented through the stories of camp survivors and their descendants. Additional works by seven contemporary Muslim American artists (Amina Ahmed, Josh Begley, Ambreen Butt, Hasan Elahi, Sham-E-Ali Nayeem, Saba Taj and Patricia Wakida) are being shown alongside Hashiguchi’s exhibit, drawing parallels between the war hysteria and racial prejudice that led to the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans and the current anti-Muslim bigotry facing American Muslims today.

The exhibit will be on display at Asian Arts Initiative until Jan. 13, 2017.

 Information about the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival can be found on its website at http://paaff.org.

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