Film Series: Women & Asian Cultures
Silk Screen is a Pittsburgh non-profit organization that celebrates Asian arts and culture through films, music, and dance. Since 2006, Silk Screen has been showcasing films, filmmakers, and actors with origins in Asia through its annual Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival.
The Academy partnered with Silk Screen to present three films that focus on women in Asian cultures. Each film was followed by a moderated discussion.
Saturday, January 8
On January 8, more than 100 guests visited Sewickley Academy for the screening of Bhutto, the first of three films being shown during the Silk Screen film series throughout the month of January.
A recent Sundance world premiere, Bhutto tells the epic story of one of the most fascinating characters of our time — Benazir Bhutto, the first woman in history to lead a Muslim nation. A favored daughter of the family often called the “Kennedys of Pakistan,” Benazir was elected Prime Minister after her father was overthrown and executed by his own military. Her two terms in power saw extreme acts of courage and controversy as she tried to clean up Pakistan’s corrupt political culture while quelling the fires of radical Islam that threaten to engulf the region. A fascinating array of archival footage and interviews with family members and leading experts brings life to this tale of Shakespearean dimension in the country the Economist calls "the World's most dangerous place."
A thought-provoking discussion led by Saman Haqqi, mother of two Academy alumna (Alina '07 and Zoha '10), and Harish Saluja, executive director of Silk Screen, took place after the film, delving into issues about Benazir Bhutto specifically and the current conditions in Pakistan today. A reception of authentic Middle Eastern cuisine followed the film and discussion, making for the perfect Saturday afternoon event.
Thank you to Silk Screen, Saman Haqqi, and everyone who supported the event for making the first film of the series such a successful, educational, and enjoyable event for our community.
North Korea: A Day in the Life and In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee
Sunday, January 30
As a double feature on January 30, the Academy screened the remaining two Silk Screen films, North Korea: A Day in the Life at noon and In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee at 2 pm.
North Korea is a documentary that takes a look into the daily life of a North Korean family. Through the images of daily function and regimen in the film, the audience gained a captivating view of the process of social organization and indoctrination of North Korean citizens. After the film, Laura Lee, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, facilitated a discussion with the audience. Laura is an international student from Seoul, South Korea, and is the current president of Pitt's chapter of Liberty in North Korea (LINK). (LINK is a non-profit that raises awareness on the human rights crisis in North Korea and helps refugees escape and resettle.)
In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee is a film by acclaimed filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem as she returns to her native Korea to find her "double." When Deann was adopted in 1966 by an American family, her identity was switched and this film follows her through her search to find the answer. Mary Graber from Family Resources with International Assistance Group, an adoption agency that specializes in placements from Russia, and Seung-hwan Shin, a doctoral candidate in English/Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, conducted the discussion together.
After the two films, a reception of authentic Asian food, with contributions from Sewickley Academy's Asian Cultures Club, took place in the lobby of Rea Auditorium.
Thank you to Silk Screen, Laura Lee, Mary Graber, Seung-hwan Shin, and the Asian Awareness Club for making the Academy's double feature Sunday an afternoon filled with great films and engaging discussion.