Silk Screen Film Festival via PCTV

Harish Saluja speaks at TEDxYouth@Shadyside

Harish Saluja speaks at TEDxYouth@Shadyside

This past December, Silk Screen Executive Director Harish Saluja was a featured speaker at TEDxYouth in Shadyside.  He spoke about how he began his professional life with a degree in engineering and wound up the founder of a film festival.

Harish mentions that he first realized his love for art after watching a film that greatly moved him. The film left him hoping that he could one day tell stories that would move people in a similar way. And so, The Journey was created. Harish’s independent film received critical praise and appeared in showcases around the world.

The film helped to spark the idea of providing Asian cultures with more representation in the Pittsburgh area.  This led to Harish founding Silk Screen as well as the Asian fusion jazz band, Silk Sound. Over the past 10 years, Silk Screen has grown exponentially and Silk Sound has gone on to produce an album that was recently nominated as one of the ten best jazz albums in America.

Click here to check out Harish’s full speech!

TEDx Talks are independently organized TED events in which the focus is placed on bringing the community together to spark deep and important conversations. To learn more about TEDx and TEDxYouth@Shadyside, visit their site at

MAY we interest you in a little news?

MAY we interest you in a little news?

Silk Screen New Hires!

alisaWe are so excited to introduce the newest member of the Silk Screen family, Alisa Jacobson, our new programming and development associate.  Alisa will be replacing Sarah, who will be leaving in the fall for graduate school.

Alisa is a painter, photographer and musician.  She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pennsylvania State University.  Originally from Pittsburgh, Alisa has had the opportunity through studying abroad to travel across Europe, but she has always managed to come back to her beautiful hometown!  Along with rocking out in a band and live painting at many events, Alisa is excited to become a part of the Silk Screen family where she can work with others who are also passionate about art, music and film.

In addition to Alisa, we have a crop of awesome new interns for this Festival cycle!  Gabriella and Nora are our social media extraordinaires; Katie is our community outreach guru and Alex is currently communicating with every film person on the planet to bring you the very best movies for the festival!

L-R: Alex, Katie, Nora, Gabriella

L-R: Alex, Katie, Nora, Gabriella


Tickets Going on Sale Soon!

Wigle_Whiskey_logoJust another reminder that tickets for BOTH the August 31 Launch Party and the September 15 Red Carpet Gala will be going on sale June 1.  The Gala will be at the William Penn and filled with amazing food and performances so you won’t want to miss that!  The Launch Party will be at the super cool Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse on the North Side and guests will be lucky enough to be able to purchase Gala tickets at an amazing discounted price!

CLICK for:  Launch Party Tickets / Gala Tickets


Silk Screen Recommends…


Books: This month we’re changing up our routine a bit. Rather than a film, a book and a piece of music, we are giving you two books and a film. Two very special friends of Silk Screen have recently published books and we wanted to showcase both!


Shashi Kapoor: The Householder, the Star by Aseem Chhabra

shashi kapoorChhabra, Silk Screen’s lead festival programmer and one of India’s leading journalists, has released this biography on the enigmatic stage and screen actor Shashi Kapoor. The Times of India calls the book “delightful,” and Gulf News says that the book painst “an unrivalled picture of the man and the actor through insights and anecdotes from family members, co-stars and colleagues.” Kapoor, a member of the Bollywood dynasty Kapoor family, is an award-winning actor, producer and director, best known to American audiences for his roles opposite Pierce Brosnan in 1988’s The Deceivers and Ted Danson in 1996’s Gulliver’s Travels. Of Chhabra’s book, Gulf News says, “For those who already know about Kapoor, this will be an illuminating read. For those who don’t, it will be necessary.”

Available for purchase from Amazon


The Immigrant Wife by Madhu Bazaz Wanguimmigrant wife

Excerpt from a review by Gisela Dixon of Readers’ Favorite: The Immigrant Wife: Her Spiritual Journey is a story revolving around the chief protagonist, Shanti Zamzai, a girl who dares to follow her heart and her dreams…As she immigrates to America and starts raising her family in a different, freer culture, she slowly comes to the realization that she is still not free and is conforming to the ideas of what society expects from a woman. This is her story of finding her wings, so to speak, and takes us through the highs and lows across different cultures and continents.”

Available for purchase from Amazon


A Passage to India

Directed by David Lean

passageBased on the novel written in 1924 by E.M. Forster and loosely on the play by Santha Rama Rau (1960), this drama was the final film of Lean’s career and received eleven Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture, Director and Actress for Judy Davis as Adela Quested. Set in the 1920s during the Indian Independence Movement, the film focuses on the changing dynamic between native locals in India and British colonials. When an excursion to explore caves ends in a rape accusation, tensions rise between the British Empire and the movement towards Indian independence. The New York Times called the film “intimate, funny and moving,” and noted that it was Director Lean’s finest work since Bridge on the River Kwai.

Available to rent or own from Amazon


Travel Spotlight: Flyboarding in Cambodia

Image via

Image via

Everyone dreams of flying. Don’t pretend you haven’t thought about how cool it would be to soar over the world with your own pair of wings! You can actually make that dream a reality! (Sort of) At Sihanoukville’s Otres Beach in Cambodia, you can try your hand at the sport of Flyboarding, a futuristic endeavor that looks equal parts intimidating and thrilling.

The Flyboard looks similar to a jetpack, but it propels itself into the air from the water underneath your feet. The rider stands on the board attached to a hose connected to a watercraft and takes flight when the jets create enough pressure to shoot you nearly fifty feet in the air!

For more info on this insane adventure, click here!

April Showers and Splendid News

April Showers and Splendid News

Check out what’s happening with Silk Screen!


Event Updates

2016 festival logoWe’re kicking into advanced planning mode here at Silk Screen and we want to share with you scoop on upcoming events! Tickets for both of the following events will be available in June, so keep your eye on our social media as we get closer.  It’s relatively far in advance, but we’re excited and couldn’t wait!

First up is our 2nd Annual Festival Launch Party, which will be held on Wednesday, August 31 Wigle_Whiskey_logofrom 5-7pm at the Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse. The tickets are $25, and food is included in the ticket price! Like last year, there will be raffles and we will show trailers from the festival films to get you properly excited! If you are familiar with Wigle, then you know that this event is sure to be a blast!

The Red Carpet Gala this year will be Thursday, September 15 at the Omni William Penn. Entertainment bookings are currently underway, but we can confirm that Sally Wiggin of WTAE will once again be our emcee extraordinaire. We will be offering a special discounted Gala ticket price at the launch party, so make sure you’re in attendance at the launch party to take advantage of such awesomeness.


Film Submission Deadline—Extended!

For all you aspiring filmmakers, there is still time to submit your work for our 2016 Festival. We have decided to extend the submission deadline until May 1. If you are interested, follow the click the link below to review submission details and instructions. If you have any questions, direct them to Alex at Best of luck!



Silk Screen Recommends…

Kano_posterMovie – Kano, directed by Umin Boya

In the year 1931, Taiwan is still a colony under Japanese rule. An underdog baseball team from southern Taiwan defeats the northern champions and gains the opportunity to represent the colony in the empire’s tournament. The film captures the struggles that the team faces with its ethnically diverse players as they work tirelessly to prove themselves in the elite league. Based on true events, this underrated film from writer/producer Wei Te Sheng is a wonderful film to watch with the family, guaranteed to entertain and inspire.

The film is available for rent or purchase from Amazon.


Book – The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma by Gurcharan Das

diff goodIn this 2010 book, Gurcharan Das explores what it means to be good and the methods involved therein using the teachings of the 2,000 year old Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata. The poem under review here is an exploration of Dharma – essentially the art of doing the right thing – and Das applies the ancient perspectives on moral and ethical dilemmas to many modern, well-known individuals. The book was a bestseller all over the world upon its release six years ago, but is perhaps especially topical today considering the current political climate gripping our nation.

Available for purchase from Amazon.


Music – Todi, Ahir Lalit, Panchamkauns by Z. M. Dagar

zmdagar1Peaceful and relaxing pieces played by the rudra vina, an instrument that dates back to before the sitar. Dagar plays in the style called Drupad, which is a traditional, classic style that is native to Northern Indian music. There are no vocals here, just beautiful melodies and rhythms guaranteed to turn any bad day around.

Available for purchase from Amazon.


Travel Spotlight: Songkran – Thailand

One of the most anticipated and exciting events in Thailand and an absolute must for any fun-loving adventurer in Songkran, the Thai New Year. As the celebration has recently finished, we wanted to give you the rundown so you can start planning your Thai vacation as soon as possible!

“Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit word samkranti, which literally means “astrological passage.” The actual holiday falls on April 13 every year but the celebration typically lasts an extra two to four days as locals and travellers alike take to the streets for MASSIVE-SCALE WATER FIGHTS! It’s exactly as fun as it sounds. Many streets are closed to traffic leaving swaths of big cities for guerilla water-warfare. Be careful on the streets that are open though because there’s an excellent chance that you and your motorbike will be doused from a huge bucket of water on the truck in front of you!

The origin of the water wildness stems from an iconic ritual called “water pouring,” whereby people pour water over Bhudda statues to represent purification and washing away of sins and bad luck. There is a wholesome part to the holiday as well. The day usually begins with merit-making, the practice of visiting temples and offering food to Buddhist monks. After that, it’s nearly impossible to stay dry.

Songkran is celebrated all over Thailand, but it is universally acknowledged that Chiang Mai, one of Thailand’s most exciting and culturally rich cities, is by far the best celebration.  Click here to read some accounts of the wild time that is Songkran or here to hear a
more measured take on the holiday.


Featured image courtesy of

March into Spring (Hopefully) with Silk Screen!!

March into Spring (Hopefully) with Silk Screen!!

Image-1 (3)

Chinese New Year at Children’s Museum

Another year, another memorable Chinese New Year celebration at the Children’s Museum! February rang in the Year of the Monkey, and to mark the occasion, Silk Screen teamed up with the wonderful staff of the Children’s Museum for an afternoon of lively performances and art. The Steel Dragon Lion Dance Team performed an amazing Lion Dance, complete with a parade through the museum. Each year, the team seems to get better! Long time Silk Screen friend and collaborator Mimi Jong and her Chinese ensemble Purple Bamboo performed an entrancing set followed by an interactive discussion with the children. Along with Mimi on the Erhu, Ai-Lin Chen on the Guzheng and Kai Liu on the Chinese flute rounded out the trio. Finally, a talented calligrapher and brush painter was on hand to teach the kids about the ancient art and techniques! All around a lovely afternoon at the museum!


Harish Gives TedxYouth TalkP1110767

On December 5, Silk Screen Executive Director Harish Saluja spoke at TEDxYouth in Shadyside about how he began his professional life with a degree in engineering and wound the founder of Silk Screen. Harish first realized his love for art after watching a film that greatly moved him, and left him hoping that he could one day tell stories that would move people in a similar way.

Learn about the journey to Silk Screen by viewing Harish’s full speech here.


a misty memoryYanlai Performance

On March 5 the Yanlai Dance Academy will be performing “A Misty Memory” at Carson Middle School Auditorium to celebrate its 12th anniversary inception. This performance is a perfect showcase for the art of traditional Chinese dance. Because of China’s size, there is a great deal of diversity in the many traditional ethnic dances. Throughout the performance, you will also see the ethnic clothing from different Chinese regions.

For more information on the event, as well as ticket prices, visit


Festival of Nationsfestival of nations

The Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center will present 8th Annual Festival of Nations on Saturday, March 19 from 11AM to 4PM. Admission is free to the public and will be held at the Weirton Millsop Community Center at 3420 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia.

The first Festival of Nations was held in 2009 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of town of Weirton. Dances and music from various nationalities will be accompanied by ethnic foods and displays representing different countries and organizations. The Festival hopes to promote “Unity in Diversity” amongst the many different ethnic groups that call this area and this country home.

If you would like to help support the Festival, there are several different ways to donate and sponsor. For participation and questions, please contact Juginder Luthra, Chairman of the Festival committee at


Silk Screen Recommends:

when breathe becomes airBook: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

“The secret is to know that the deck is stacked, that you will lose, that your hands or judgment will slip, and yet still struggle to win…You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.”

When Indian-American neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with lung cancer at 36, he was forced to make an uneasy transition from doctor to patient. In his memoir, Kalanithi does not aim to inspire or force readers to want to live better, rather he pragmatically explores the philosophical implications of his impending death: When should he stop working? Should he have a child? “It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring” (Washington Post). Kalanithi died before he was able to finish, so even the end of the memoir mirrors his cut-short life. His wife Lucy pieced together an ending and added a poignant epilogue to Paul’s story. Entertainment Weekly summed it up, saying “It’s only fault is that the book, like his life, ends much too early.
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks


Film: Poetry (2010) directed by Lee Chang-Dong, Koreapoetry


Poetry follows Mija, who lives with her morose teenage grandson and cares for an elderly man to make ends meet. After she is diagnosed with Alzheimers, Mija enrolls in a poetry class while simultaneously her life cecomes tragically connected with a young girl who committed suicide after having been raped. Variety prasied the film, saying, “What’s notable here is the lack of sentimentality…At no point does Poetry devolve into a terminal illness melodrama or a tale of intergenerational bonding.” Poetry won the Best Sceenplay at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and lead actress Yoon Jeong-hee won acting awards at both the Asia Pacific Awards and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards.

Available for purchase or streaming from Amazon.



Music: Always (2007) by Big Bang

alwaysSay what you will about K-pop, but love or hate it, there’s no denying that it is everywhere in modern Asian culture. Big Bang, a hip hop boy band from Korea, is one of the most popular K-pop bands around. Just last year, the Hollywood Reporter called them “the biggest boy band in the world.” Often referred to as the “Kings of K-pop,” Big Bang made its biggest bang in 2007 with the release of Always. The new album saw them experiment with electronic dance music and take tight creative control of their recordings. The single “Lies” from the album topped Korean music charts for a record-smashing seven consecutive weeks.

Available from Amazon.


Travel Spotlight: Horseback riding in Mongolia    

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

Mongolia, while not famous for landmarks, architecture or any significant historical “sights,” is rich in culture, stunning scenery and wildlife. One of the best and most unique ways to see and experience the beautiful country is on horseback. You can immerse yourself in centuries-old nomadic traditions while experiencing the rural lifestyle of the Mongolian people.

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy


During a 14-day trek, you’ll trace the path of Genghis Kahn, pass through nomadic encampments and face the awe-inspiring beauty of Mongolia’s landscape.   Be careful when planning your trip though! While summers in Mongolia are pleasant, winters can be brutally freezing and much of the year, the steppe can reach 86 degrees Fahrenheit during day and then dip below freezing at night!

Visit  or Wild Frontiers to see available treks and plan one of the coolest vacations you’ll ever take!