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Asian American film festival hopes to break stereotypes

Celebrating Asian American talent and breaking Hollywood typecasting stereotypes are the primary goals of "Silkscreens," the first Boston Asian American Independent Film Festival, which will be presented at MIT Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24-25. More than a thousand attendees are expected during the course of the festival, which is free of charge and open to the public.

The core committee for "Silkscreens" is made up of 30 college students from MIT, Harvard, Wellesley and Emerson College, who devoted countless hours this past summer to make their vision a reality. The two-day event will showcase the talents and celebrate the works of Asian American actors, directors, producers and filmmakers.

"Despite the growing popularity and awareness of celebrities like actress Lucy Liu and director Ang Lee, Asian Americans are highly underrepresented in the mainstream American media, films and popular culture," said Jennifer Fang, an MIT senior in biology who is directing the festival. "Many actors are limited by Hollywood typecasting and are relegated to martial arts and second-tier roles," she said. "The mission of 'Silkscreens' is to break these stereotypes and demonstrate the diversity and versatility of Asian American talent in arts and entertainment."

Greg Pak, writer and director of the 2003 film "Robot Stories," will deliver the keynote address at the opening ceremonies Friday evening at 8 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium. "Robot Stories" has played in more than 50 festivals, won more than 30 awards, and is now playing nationwide. Pak wrote the screenplay for "Rio Chino" and the feature film "MVP," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

The opening ceremonies will feature performances by recording artists of Fifth Street Productions: Robin Lang, Sophia Moon and MIT alumnus Chris Vu (a.k.a Vudoo Soul). Vu, who graduated from MIT in the Class of 2004, was a semifinalist last year in TV's "American Idol 2."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 22, 2004 (download PDF).

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