Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival

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The Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival was a 10 day film festival founded in 2006 by filmmaker and artist Harish Saluja and held every year during in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to show mostly recent films and music by artists with Asian ethnic origins, such as from Japan, China, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey, the Philippines, and The middle east. It also included films whose topical matter is about Asians or Asian Americans.

Year-round programming included a Classic Asian Film Series. In Partnership with Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Silk Screen presented a classic Asian film each month, which was screened each Sunday of the month at Regent Square (Pittsburgh)Theater. New programming included an interview series, "Behind the Silk Screen", through which Silk Screen interviewed board members, artists, and community members about how they shape both Silk Screen and the culture around it. Silk Screen also held a children's event to celebrate the Chinese New Year[1].

The festival showed feature length films and short films. The formats accepted were DCP, DVD, and Blu-ray discs.

Shortly after the completion of its 13th annual festival in 2018, Silk Screen shut down, amid allegations of sexual harassment against Saluja.[2]


In 2005 Harish Saluja founded Silk Screen Asian Arts & Culture Organization which celebrates diversity & multiculturalism. Silk Screen brings together the region’s diverse ethnic communities. Through the media of film, music, dance, and theater, these communities are able to learn and experience each other’s cultures and come to recognize our shared human experience. The main event of Silk Screen is a 10-day Asian-American Film Festival.[3] Each year, Silk Screen brings 20 + feature-length current Asian Films to Pittsburgh. Films range from drama to comedy to human interest to animation. Audience appeal is from 8 years to senior citizens. Internationally acclaimed filmmakers are invited to attend screenings and for Question and Answer sessions with the audiences. Silk Screen is the only organization in Western Pennsylvania to provide programming of this type.

2014 Film Festival[edit]

The 9th annual Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival began Friday, April 25, with a gala party, and ran for 10 days. The festival showcased 25 feature films and two short films during 47 screening events taking place at Regent Square Theater, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, The Andy Warhol Museum and Waterworks Cinemas. Films and filmmakers from the 2014 hail from India, Japan, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Iran and more.

2015 Film Festival[edit]

The 2015 Festival took place July 10–19, 2015.[4] It was the most successful to date, boasting record attendance numbers. Theeb, a collaborative effort from the UAE, Jordan and Qatar, opened the festival. The Centerpiece Presentation was Dukhtar, an affecting drama about a mother's love, which pulled in record single-screening audience record for the festival. Closing out the Festival was the crowd-pleasing Miss India America, directed by Ravi Kapoor, who flew in from Los Angeles to speak with the audience following the film.[5]

2016 Film Festival[edit]

The 2016 festival began on September 16th, and concluded 10 days later on the 25th. The festival showcased a total of 31 of the newest and most acclaimed feature-length, as well as 7 short films. This year, the festival expanded to reach a total of 7 different venues including Frick Fine Arts, CMU McConomy Auditorium, Carnegie Museum of Art, and Cranberry Cinemas. The festival opened with the Kurdish film El Clasico, which was awarded Best Fiction Feature at the Dubai International Film Festival. Nawara, an Egyptian film set against the backdrop of the 2011 Revolution, highlighted this year's Centerpiece Presentation on Thursday, September 22nd at Regent Square Theater. The festival concluded on Sunday, September 25 at Melwood Screening Room in Oakland. The Closing Night Film was the Indian film, Parched, which took home the Grand Jury Prize at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and the Impact Award at the Stockholm Film Festival. During the festival, the film Psycho Raman made its US premier just months after making its world premier at Cannes.

2017 Film Festival[edit]

The 2017 festival took place September 15-24. The festival showcased a total of 32 feature-length films, as well as 10 short films. The films screened at 6 venues including Carnegie Museum of Art, Cranberry Cinemas, Frick Fine Arts, Harris Theater, Melwood Screening Room, and Waterworks Cinema. 14 countries were represented this year, from cultural powerhouses India and Japan to nations with smaller film industries, like Nepal and Malaysia[6]. The Festival opened with the Indian Film, A Death in the Gunj, which is the feature debut for award-winning actress, Konkona Sen Sharma, as both writer and director of this Indian dramatic thriller. The Closing Night Film was the Indian film, Hotel Salvation, which took home India's National Film Award - Special Jury Award/Special Mention (Feature Film) in 2017. Of the 2017 Gala, held on September 17, founder Harish Saluja said, “This is by far our best gala yet"[7]. The 2017 Silk Screen Gala was also named “Best Event on the Rise” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. [8]

2018 Film Festival[edit]

The 2018 festival was held between September 21st and September 30th, and the 2018 Gala was held on September 21st.

Silk Sound[edit]

Silk Screen's reach extends to the music industry as well. The non-profit produced an Asian fusion jazz ensemble called Silk Sound in 2014. The band's distinct sound combines traditional Asian classical music with modern American jazz to create gorgeous, unique harmonies. The group's debut album, Sun Gate, was released in January 2015.[9] Among other live performances, Silk Sound was the featured musical act at Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's inauguration celebration.[10]



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  2. ^ Deitch, Charlie. "Days after film fest, Pittsburgh’s Silk Screen shuts down amid sexual harassment allegations", Pittsburgh Current, October 4, 2018.
  3. ^ Van Natten, Jessica. "Meet Silk Screen".
  4. ^ Comcast Creative. "Silk Screen Asian Arts Film Festival".
  5. ^ Vancheri, Barbara. "Silk Screen Film Festival movies cover a lot of territory, in miles and subject matter". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Announcing Silk Sound". Archived from the original on 2015-12-08.
  10. ^ Van Natten, Jessica. "Silk Sound at Peduto Celebration".

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