Alumni co-direct SAAFF for second year, highlighting Asian Americans in film

SAAFF2Alumni Vanessa Au (Ph.D., 2012) and Kevin Bang (B.A., 2005) both noticed a shortage of Asian American faces and stories being told in mainstream media and in films shown at independent film festivals in Seattle. When the Northwest Asian American Film Festival (NWAAFF) dismantled in 2007 after running for five years, the gap needed to be filled again.

“We wanted to bridge that gap and create a space to feature Asian American filmmakers, actors, and stories,” Au said.

As told by the International Examiner, Bang attended NWAAFF multiple times as an undergrad and missed having a weekend dedicated to Asian American films and filmmakers when it stopped running. Au and Bang decided to bring back the event, renaming it the Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF). Planning got underway in April 2012.

Now in its second year, SAAFF has outgrown its previous location, a small theater inside the Wing Luke Museum, and moved to the Ark Lodge Cinemas in Columbia City, where they will have access to two theaters and a reception room for festival attendees. The four-day event will present 28 films of varying lengths and genres on topics from “mail-order” brides, marriage equality and local union organizing to NBA sensation Jeremy Lin, b-boys and gang life.

Au says she is particularly excited about screening films with local Seattle ties and hosting the opening night party at Columbia City Theater down the street, following the screening of Linsanity. The party will feature live performances from poets, musicians, and vocalists who were contestants in the 2013 Kollaboration Seattle talent showcase.

The UW Department of Communication is sponsoring the event and Associate Professor LeiLani Nishime is very involved, helping Au and Bang with grant writing, promotion, and audience surveys. She will also be on the discussion panel for the film, “Seeking Asian Female.”

The festival is February 6 through 9 at Ark Lodge Cinemas (see a short video here). For the complete schedule and more info, visit