Boston Asian American Film Festival kicks off season with preview party

Boston Asian American Film Festival director Susan Chinsen announced featured films for this year’s festival on Oct. 5 at the Pao Arts Center. (Image courtesy of Shira Laucharoen.)

The Boston Asian American Film Festival highlighted featured films at a preview party at the Pao Arts Center on Oct. 5. Guests watched trailers for movies which will be celebrated at the ninth annual festival, held Oct. 19 to 22. The festival aims to empower the Asian American community and inspire a dialog through film. It will screen more than 30 films, directed by filmmakers from a range of Asian backgrounds.

“Film is a place where you can come, understand a particular point of view, and have a conversation beginning at that point,” festival director Susan Chinsen said.

The theme for this year’s festival will be liberty and justice, a concept that was chosen after the 2016 U.S. presidential election to resonate with the current, fraught political climate. Films were selected to commemorate the historic 135th anniversary of the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the 75th anniversary of the incarceration of Japanese Americans in 1942.

“Given all the things that are happening around us, every day in the news that we’re hearing, that human connection, knowing that we’re human and that we’re sharing experiences, I think that is important,” Chinsen said.

Party goers viewed clips of the festival’s highlighted movies, including opening night film “The Jade Pendant,” centerpiece documentary “Resistance at Tule Lake” and closing night work “Gook.” “The Jade Pendant” tells the tragic love story of a girl escaping from an arranged marriage to America during the lynching of Chinese immigrants in 1871, while “Resistance at Tule Lake” creates a narrative about the Japanese protest of incarceration during World War II. “Gook” portrays the tale of two Korean American brothers during the Rodney King riots. The festival will also feature forum “Beyond Orientalism,” which navigates the ideas of misrepresentation on stage and diversity in the performing arts.

“The fact that Asians living in America, that we’re not one dimensional, that there are a lot of different experiences that encompass the Asian American experience – that’s probably the biggest message,” Chinsen said, “that we’re not monolithic.”

Movie enthusiasts mingled at the Pao Arts Center prior to the preview screenings. (Image courtesy of Shira Laucharoen.)

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