SEASON Eleven – 2016
At the 11th Annual Film Festival, September 16 - 25, Silk Screen showcased 31 of the newest and most acclaimed feature-length films and 7 short films, some of which highlighted local filmmakers. The film represented Silk Screen expanded its reach to 7 venues including Regent Square Theater, Frick Fine Arts, CMU McConomy Auditorium, Carnegie Museum of Art Theater, Cranberry Cinemas, Waterworks Cinemas, and Melwood Screening Room.
The Silk Screen Launch Party took place on Wednesday, August 31 at the Wigle Whiskey Barrel house in the Northside. Following the Launch Party, Silk Screen hosted its Red Carpet Gala on Thursday, September 15th at the Omni William Penn Hotel. More than 300 guests attended the Gala, including Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Sally Wiggin, who emceed the event. Guests Sampled ethnic foods, previewed trailers from upcoming festival features, and enjoyed a unique ethnic fashion show and captivating performances from local groups like Steel Dragon, Pinga Ga Pori, and Purple Bamboo.
season ten - 2015
The summer of 2015 welcomed the 10th annual Silk Screen Film Festival. It was the first year the film festival was held in the summer months, and as such came with a number of challenged, the least anticipated of which was the sunshine after weeks and weeks of rain! The challenges were noted and overcome however, and the 2015 festival went on as scheduled from July 10-19 at Regent Square Theater, Melwood Screening Room and Melwood Classroom in Pittsburgh. It presented 30 Feature films and 8 short films from all over Asia and the Middle East.
The festivities kicked off with the Red Carpet Gala, held this year on the July 9 at the A.J. Palumbo Hall of Science and Technology, part of Carlow University. Sally Wiggin again emceed and notable guests included Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Councilman Daniel Gilman and Carlow University Provost Dr. Deanna D'Emillio. Guests sampled exotic food from various regions of Asia while enjoying lively dances from talented performers. These performances were arranged by Gala Committee Performance Chair Jennifer Marino and proved to be the highlight of the evening!
Silk Screen's Asian jazz ensemble, Silk Sound kicked off the night, providing a beautiful soundtrack to the champagne hour that began the night. The next group to perform was the Steel Dragon Lion Dance Team, who gave a lively tradition Chinese lion dance. Following them was a Middle Eastern dance, a Turkish Romani dance, Indian classical dance, Khaleeji dance, and a Rajasthani dance. The performances were the best we've ever had and met with great enthusiasm from the audience.
Season nine - 2014
The spring of 2014 in Pittsburgh welcomed the 9th annual Silk Screen Film Festival, at 5 locations. The 2014 festival was held April 25- May 4, and featured 25 full -length films from all over Asia and the Middle East, as well as two shorts. The film festival shares Asian culture with Pittsburgh and regional residents with its diverse line-up. Films included a strong Indian presence, Japanese samurai epics, enlightening documentaries, and the horror thrillers South Korea has become known for in the film world. Also represented were Taiwan, the Philippines, Iran, Sri Lanka, China, and a host of other nations. There were 47 showings at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, and the Carnegie Museums and the addition of the newest location at Waterworks Cinemas. Sponsor Huntington Bank, hosted a private corporate screening at the Andy Warhol Museum, featuring the fusion jazz music group “Silk Sounds” which was very well attended.
The 2014 event kicked off with the Opening Night Gala, held at Rivers Club in Oxford Center. Emceed by Sally Wiggin and attended by many notable guests including Mayor Bill Peduto, the event featured the best in Asian cultural performances from local professional dancers as well as notable dance schools. Once again the event boasted an exquisite array of Asian fare, music, and beautiful ethnic dress. New this year was a late-night dance party with D.J. Pandemic Pete, which helped draw a new, younger audience.
The Film Programming Committee, lead by Aseem Chhabra a notable critic who flew in from the New York Indian Film Festival, lead several Question & Answer sessions during the festival. New additions to the committee included: Charles Exley, professor of Japanese film and literature, and Jeffrey Heinzel a PhD. in film candidate, both from the University of Pittsburgh. Q&A sessions are a value-added experience common to film festivals, that brought new perspective to the audience.
Season eight - 2013
During the festival, Silk Screen featured 62 screenings of feature-length films and 4 screenings of short films from Asia and Asian American filmmakers. The festival featured award-winning entries from Cannes Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and Sundance Film Festival. The 4th Annual Closing Events included a Closing Film & Reception at Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room. The event was a spirited end to the festival.
For the first time in the festival’s history, the Opening Film was separated from the evening of the Opening Night Gala giving attendees two days of vibrant and colorful events to look forward to. The Opening Film was Midnight’s Children, an allegory about British Partition in India and India’s journey to independence, based on Salman Rushdie’s novel of the same name and directed by Deepa Mehta. The Opening Night Gala was attended by over 500 guests in traditional and ethnic dress at the Rivers Club. Many claim this year’s gala was the most vibrant and diverse event in town. Various ethnic foods from restaurants around Pittsburgh such Thai Cuisine, Taj Mahal, and Sushi Kim were served as guests watched performances by the Yanlai Dance School, the Steel Dragon Lion Dance group, the Pitt Nrityamala Dancers and other ethnic performance groups. This year, guests had the opportunity to take pleasure in VIP Reception which featured trailers from this year’s film line-up, a sneak-peek at the silent auction items, and a special performance by “Silk Sound” the Silk Screen Asian-American Jazz Fusion Music Project. Sally Wiggin, News Anchor for WTAE-TV, kept the evening’s speakers and performers moving along as the Gala’s emcee, and Global Beats DJ, Carla Leininger, commenced the event with music ranging from Brazilian pop to Indian Bhangra.
There were 33 films with 63 screenings over 9 days. This year featured Question and Answer sessions with The Coiner Bearer Executive Director, J.D. Beales, Chittagong Director, Bedrapata Pain, and The Perils of Growing Up Flat-Chested Director/Writer Yulin Kuang. Visitors came to Pittsburgh from New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey Ohio, Texas, France and Indonesia. Visiting filmmakers/industry professionals included The Coin Bearer’s Executive Director, J.D. Beales.
The opportunity to meet these visitors from diverse backgrounds in cinema, increases the potential for on-going filmmaking, scouting, recruitment of staff and development of relationships with Pittsburgh’s growing film and entertainment market. Students who attend have the chance to meet and talk with dynamic artists that have unique views on international filmmaking. All visitors enjoyed their experience in Pittsburgh and look forward to returning for a bigger and better 2013 Silk Screen Festival. Opportunities like this will grow and increase as Silk Screen year –round programming continues.
SEASON SEVEN – 2012
Silk Screen presents a variety of events for all ages with the goal of educating communities about Asia, the arts, and its culture. The 7th year of Silk Screen Asian Arts Organization’s programs have been quite successful. The 7th Annual Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival (May 11-20, 2012):
During the festival, Silk Screen featured 48 screenings of films from Asia or by Asian American filmmakers. The festival featured award-winning entries from festivals around the world, at 3 locations in Pittsburgh.
The Opening Night film was The Lady, the biopic of Myanmar activist Aung San Suu Kyi, from the award winning director, Luc Besson. The screening was followed by the colorful Opening Night Gala, attended by over 500 guests in traditional and ethnic dress at the Rivers Club. Many claim this year’s gala was the most vibrant and diverse event in town. Various ethnic foods from restaurants around Pittsburgh such Thai Cuisine, Taj Mahal, and Sushi Kim were served as guests watched performances by the Yanlai Dance School, the Steel Dragon Lion Dance group, the Pitt Nrityamala Dancers and other ethnic performance groups. This year, guests could enjoy a Screening Room which featured trailers and movie posters from this year’s film line-up. Sally Wiggin, News Anchor for WTAE-TV, kept the evening’s speakers and performers moving along as the Gala’s emcee, and Global Beats DJ, Carla Leininger, commenced the event with music ranging from Brazilian pop to Indian Bhangra.
There were 25 films with 48 screenings over 10 days. For the first time there was a Question & Answer session with filmmakers from Indonesia.
The 2nd Annual Closing Events included a Finale Film Sunny and a Reception at Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room. The event was a spirited end to the festival.
SEASON SIX – 2011
During the 6th Annual Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival, Silk Screen featured 48 screening of films from Asia or by Asian American Films at 4 locations in Pittsburgh. Nine of these had scheduled Q&A sessions for audience members with visiting filmmakers. The festival featured award winning entries from: New York Asian Film Festival, San Francisco Asian Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival and many other world renowned film events. The new addition of a Closing Night Film Event, took place at The Andy Warhol Museum. This is a renewed relationship with the museum, with hopes of continued programming in many areas.
The Opening Night Film was I Am from the award winning director, Onir. The screening was followed by the colorful Opening Night Gala, attended by over 500 guests in traditional and ethnic dress at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Many claim this year’s gala was the most vibrant and diverse event in town.
SEASON FIVE – 2010
The 5th Annual Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival was held May 7-16, 2010. It featured 36 screening of films from Asia or by Asian American Films. Three of these had scheduled Q&A sessions for audience members with visiting filmmakers including: Joseph Mathew Varghese – director, Samrat Chakrabarti – actor, Gerry Balasta – director, Manu Narayan – actor, Ami Sheth – actress. The festival featured award winning entries from: New York Asian Film Festival, San Francisco Asian Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival Hawaii International Film Festival and many other world renowned film events.
The Opening Night Film Cooking with Stella from the Canadian brother sister team of Dilip and Deepa Mehta was followed by the colorful Opening Night Gala, attended by over 500 guests in traditional and ethnic dress at the Omni William Penn Hotel. The average attendance per screening increased this year, despite a decrease in programming from previous years. Visitors came to Pittsburgh from all over the country.
Season Four – 2009
Despite the economic downturn of early 2009, Silk Screen maintained its momentum. As recommended by foundations and other sponsors the 2009 programming roster was reduced to fit within the means available. The film festival showed only 40 screenings and invited only 8 filmmakers for the festival. Due to the quality of films presented, the average attendance per screening increased.
Silk Screen continued to provide year round Asian arts & cultural programming. Events were often presented in collaboration with other Pittsburgh arts organizations such as: Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, Toonseum, University of Pittsburgh's Confucius Institute, Winchester Thurston School, University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center, Net-IP, Indian Nationality Room and others.
Season Three – 2008
The 2008 Silk Screen Asian Film Festival was an even larger success. Film attendance increased nearly 50% from 2000 to almost 3000. Youth attendees (ages 12-26) substantially increased from previous years. The 25 films shown from May 9-18, 2008, included award winning selections from: Toronto International, San Francisco International, Asia Pacific, Cannes, Berlin International, Sundance, Los Angeles and San Francisco Asian-American Film Festivals. A new addition to the festival, was the screening of the Anime Film 5 Centimeters Per Second by highly popular Makoto Shinkai. Silk Screen also introduced the RAGS Audience Choice Award presented to Richie Mehta for Amal. Q&A sessions with filmmakers during the 2008 festival had great support. Filmmakers came to Pittsburgh from India, California, New York City and Canada for both the opening and closing weekends. Silk Screen Festival hopes this opportunity will increase the potential for on-going filmmaking, sight scouting, recruitment of staff and development of relationships with Pittsburgh’s growing film industry.
Season Two – 2007
The second annual Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival presented multiple showings of 20 films at 5 venues from May 11-20, 2007, and added a new element with three Asian music concerts: Suphala – a female tabla artist, Masayo Ishigure – one of the world’s most accomplished koto players, and the Chinese ensemble – Melody of Dragon. Once again the festival was very successful in achieving its goals, with great press coverage, a diverse and enthusiastic audience, and recognition from Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, the Indian Consul General, and the Japanese Ambassador to the United States.
In July of 2007, Silk Screen received the “Work of Arts” award from the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. This award was in recognition for the partnership with Wall to Wall Studios, a professional organization committed to aiding non-profits in branding success. Wall to Wall Studios was instrumental in creating the Silk Screen logo, brand, website and marketing materials.
Season One – 2006
In May 2006, Silk Screen held its first annual Asian American Film Festival. This was the first event of its kind in the Pittsburgh region. The Festival opened with a Opening Night Gala, where over 350 guests enjoyed performances and food from across Asia. The eight-day Festival showcased 22 films, drawing an audience of over 2,000 people. Ten actors and directors came to Pittsburgh to present their films and engage with the public in various events during the Festival. National press coverage was achieved in The Wall Street Journal.