Selena is a second-generation, Chinese American child of Hong Kong immigrants and was raised in the Philadelphia area with strong familial and community ties to Philadelphia’s Chinatown. After graduating from university in 2017, they moved back to Philadelphia with a desire to be more involved in their community. In 2018, they joined Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation to produce a short documentary called Staying Put: Stories of Chinatown’s Resistance as part of Scribe Video Center’s Precious Places project, which tells the story of Philadelphia Chinatown’s historic struggles with unequitable urban development and their advocacy towards a better future. Selena continues their advocacy for Chinatown as a PCDC Equity Champion and occasionally co-leads community tours of Chinatown. Selena joined PAAFF in 2018 and became the Festival Director in 2020. They hope to lead PAAFF to becoming a nourishing and creative space that fully represents the diversity of the Asian and Pacific Islander diaspora. In their free time, Selena practices Muay Thai and is learning how to crochet and use a sewing machine.
Arzhang Zafar is a Philadelphia-based community organizer who has been involved with PAAFF for two years and has recently taken on the role of program director. Originally from Oakland, CA, Arzhang graduated from NYU’s film school in 2016 and has spent most of the ensuing time writing and engaging in media-based activism in North Philly. As PAAFF’s program director he intends to do whatever possible to highlight films by and about underrepresented and vulnerable groups, and create programs which will engage with historically underserved communities in the city.
Kacia hails from the Chicago metropolitan area. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2020, completing a B.A. in English with minors in Asian American Studies and Cinema & Media Studies. In 2019, she joined PAAFF as part of the Programming Committee. In 2020, she served as Programming Coordinator and is now Programming Co-Director. Kacia is passionate about supporting underrepresented and marginalized communities and wants to advocate for diversity and inclusion in all spaces. She also volunteers for the How to College: First Gen podcast as an editor. Kacia aims to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
Screening Committee Members
Irene Chien (she/her), Chetana R. Narasimha Jois (she/her), George Rodriguez (he/him), Tyler Wan (he/him), Jixin Jia (he/him)
Marketing & Communications
Social Media Manager
Jacqui has a BA from Amherst College, an MA from Indiana University, and an MA and PhD from UPenn. Currently a Lecturer in Gender & Women’s Studies at Drexel and UPenn, her scholarly interests focus on intersection of race and gender in wildlife conservation. When she isn’t saving elephants, you can find her teaching fitness.
Social Media Manager, Graphic Designer
Darian is a Philly-based graphic designer who created PAAFF’s festival artwork for our 2018, 2019, and 2020 seasons and led PAAFF’s visual rebrand in 2020. Passionate for using the power of art and design for good, Darian’s work has supported the needs of other arts and culture organizations, including Mural Arts Philadelphia, Intercultural Journeys, For Freedoms, and Moore College of Art & Design.
Akshika Jain (she/her), Theresa Ramirez (she/her), Sarina Chow (she/her)
Fundraising & Development
Conference Chair, Grantwriter
Eric is a musicologist who has studied Asian American music and film since the early 2000s. He is an Associate Professor at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and is co-founder of the Music of Asian America Research Center. He has served as PAAFF grant writer since 2015.
Events Committee, Guest Services
Bio coming soon…
Éireann Mannino is a multimedia artist, holding a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art in Printmaking. From 2011 to the present they have worked closely with the historic Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park. Shofuso awarded Éireann Mannino their first ever Artist In Residence in 2012, and again in 2018. Mannino began their participation with PAAFF as a long-time film reviewer for the Philadelphia-based film website Cinema76 in 2015, then became a volunteer. As volunteer co-director, Mannino helps to open a wide field of opportunity to prospective volunteers, and to educate and empower them to participate in the festival in numerous functional roles. Mannino hopes to grow with PAAFF and to help PAAFF grow as a way to call attention to the significance, vibrance, diversity, and excellence of the Asian diaspora communities of Philadelphia.
Vivian Nhan was born and raised in Philadelphia. She graduated from University of Pittsburgh in 2018, majoring in Natural Science: Pre-PA and minoring in Korean. During her time in university, she actively served in the fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and volunteered at UPMC children’s hospital. In 2019, she became one of the volunteer coordinators for the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival and was responsible for recruiting and organizing volunteers. Currently, she is working as a medical scribe for a cardiology clinic.