Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival

PAAFF 2021
  NOV. 4-NOV. 14

2021 Recap Video

Director’s Statement

Welcome to the 14th Annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival! 

This time last year, we made the tough decision to adapt our entire festival to be online only. And although our community didn’t get the chance to meet physically, we were able to come together on our computer screens and connect in ways that we’d never done before. Our online format gave audiences much-needed control of film screenings in a way that felt like a relief at a time when our lives were being turned upside-down. Families could watch animated films together during their afternoon snack time, insomniacs could binge a horror shorts program to the light of a full moon, university students could pause their new favorite Vietnamese queer film just in time to log onto virtual class. We saw our community and festival audiences grow—reaching across the world from Philadelphia to California to Hong Kong. The positive response to the increased accessibility of our festival was overwhelming and heartwarming—so much so that we decided on a hybrid model for our 2021 festival.

As we approach our 2nd pandemic anniversary, more than half of the world’s population remains unvaccinated while America is seemingly going back to normal. We have endured so much unexpected change in such little time, that it seems only fitting that our festival theme this year is “Pause/Unpause.”

With this theme, we are reminded that as we press “play” on returning to normal, we should also be taking time to pause, recuperate, and reflect. We encourage you, in your moments of pause, to open the door to self-care and take the time you need to cultivate empathy for yourself and others.

Whether this is your first year or your 14th year, thank you for joining us in our celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander film and storytelling. We are honored to present a highly anticipated slate of films and events that truly reflect the passion and resilience our community has built throughout our histories and throughout this pandemic. Now hit that play button!

With love and gratitude,

Selena Yip
Festival Director


We always believe that amazing work should be awarded and praised. These were the best of the best from our 2021 festival.

Film Still from Waikiki

Best Narrative Feature

Director: Christopher Kahunahana

Film still from Wuhan Wuhan

Best Documentary Feature

Director: Yung Chan

Film still from Georgia

Best Narrative Short

Director: Jayil Pak

Film still from In Loving Memory

Best Documentary Short

Director: Vicky Lee

Film Still from Americanish


Director: Iman Zawahry

Film still from Wuhan Wuhan

Audience Choice: Documentary Feature

Director: Yung Chan

Film Still from Cane Fire

Vijay Mohan Social Change Award

Director: Anthony Banua-Simon





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