Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival

PAAFF 2019
  NOV. 7-NOV. 17

2019 Festival Recap

PAAFF 2019’s festival program featured over 50 film screenings, speaker panels, live performances, and other special events. Continuing our commitment to accommodate low to moderate income individuals, PAAFF returned to Fleisher Art Memorial and Asian Arts Initiative to offer free film screenings that included a Southeast Asian film night and theater performances from Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists (PAPA) 2019 Residents. 

PAAFF hosted a 3-day academic conference at the University of Pennsylvania that tied the festival’s theme of “Passage of Time” to the past, present, and future of Asian American Studies and its impact. The conference consisted of paper presentations, expert panels, an interactive workshop from PAPA Resident Daniel Park, and related film programs. 

For the sixth consecutive year, PAAFF featured up-and-coming hip hop artists from our community in a showcase emceed by Scott Jung aka CHOPS and DJ Roli Rho. The energy was high and the featured artists MIYACHI, Aisha Fukushima, and NITEMRKT performed for an entirely sold-out venue.


We always believe that amazing work should be awarded and praised. These were the best of the best from our 2019 festival.

Best Narrative Feature

Cecilia Mejia holding her trophy for Best Narrative Feature with Michael Wingate-Jones and Rob Buscher at PAAFF 2019

“People still said no to us when we packaged it and then load and behold Sony said “We want to buy your film.”

—Cecilia Mejia, Lead Producer

Best Documentary Feature

Film Still from Geographies of Kinship

Best Narrative Short

Film Still from The Chef

Best Documentary Short

Film Still from Chinese Breakfast

Vijay Mohan Social Change Award

Jason Da Silva with his trophy for the Vijay Mohan Social Change Award at PAAFF 2019

“For my son, I don’t know if he’s ready to see the film yet, but I felt it was really important for him to be in it and see what a great experience filmmaking is.”

—Jason DaSilva, Director

Audience Choice: Narrative Feature

Jenna Lam and Leon Le talking at PAAFF 2019

“I didn’t make this film to convince people to love cải lương. I’m just a storyteller and I love it. But don’t dismiss it, you have to respect it or you’ll lose it forever!”

—Leon Le, Director

Audience Choice: Documentary Feature

Film Still from Seadrift

“Our approach at the time of starting this was to use it as a preservation story. Since 2016 it became more of a social justice film.”

—Colin Harrington, Cinematographer








THE memories

Festival photographs taken by Justin Chu, Heiu Tran, and Jamie See.