Pittsburgh's Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival returns for its sixth year. Beginning Fri., May 6, and running for 10 days, the festival will present 23 films, mostly recent features from the Far East and Southeast Asia, as well as the United States and Iran, representing the diversity of Asian and Asian-American experiences.
The event kicks off Friday with a screening of Indian drama I Am, to be followed by a gala at the Omni William Penn, featuring Asian cuisine, special guests and musical and theatrical performances.
Films screen at the Harris (809 Liberty Ave., Downtown); the Regent Square (1035 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square); the Melwood Screening Room (477 Melwood Ave., North Oakland); and the Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky St., North Side).
Tickets for regular screenings are $9 ($5 for students). For more information and to purchase tickets online, see www.silkscreenfestival.org. Below are reviews for some of the first week's films.
THE TIGER FACTORY. A Malaysian teen-age girl named Ping, who hopes to move to Japan, works three jobs: cleaning at a pig farm and restaurant, as well as being impregnated to provide children for her aunt's illegal baby ring. Ping is already living in the margin, and it doesn't take much to make her fate even more miserable. (Plus, we know what Ping doesn't -- that her dream of working abroad may not improve her life much.) Woo Ming Jin's docu-drama shines a light on just one of millions of exploited workers, as well as the tough choices they face for any improvement. In Malay, Cantonese and Mandarin, with subtitles. 1 p.m. Sat., May 7, and 2:30 p.m. Fri., May 13. Regent Square
THREE VEILS. Rolla Selbak's melodrama looks at the intertwined lives of three young American women of Middle Eastern descent living in Southern California. One is engaged to marry a brutish man; another is deeply religious -- and secretly gay; and the third masks her unhappiness with hard partying. It's more low-key than soapy, and despite its Lifetime vibe, the film quietly asserts that Muslim women have a right to self-determination, and a satisfying balance of family, faith and personal happiness. 5 p.m. Sat., May 7; 9:30 p.m. Tue., May 10; and 7 p.m. Fri., May 13. Regent Square
SF STORIES. A series of non-linear vignettes illustrate the bumpy course of a relationship between two Asian-Americans in this indie dramedy from Raul Jacoson, a Pittsburgh native. Set in San Francisco, Wendy, prone to being stalked, ponders dating Michael, who has an admitted Asian fetish (and met Wendy while stalking her). A little sweet, a little awkward, a little dull -- just like dating. 4:30 p.m. Sun., May 8; 6:30 p.m. Wed., May 11; and 6:30 p.m. Sat., May 14. Regent Square
THE LIGHT THIEF. Shot in the gorgeous but impoverished former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Aktan Abdykalykov's dramedy follows a few eventful days in the life of "Mr. Light," the village's enterprising and well-liked electrician. But to an interloping and ambitious politician, light, however necessary, is no public right, and the path to modernity imposes a harsh sentence on Mr. Light. A bittersweet fable on keeping humanity a-flicker in the face of power. In Kyrgyz, with subtitles. 7:30 p.m. Sun., May 8 (Harris); 6 p.m. Thu., May 12 (Melwood)
WEDDING PALACE. In Asian-American culture, poking fun at parents obsessing over their adult children's marriage prospects never seems to get old. In Christine Yoo's slightly silly rom-com, it's up to Korean-American Jason to break a family curse by getting married. On a business trip to Seoul, he finds a great match, but there are still surprises to come! Yoo mixes sit-com-style set-ups with short animated sequences and plenty of heart. In English, and Korean, with subtitles. 2 p.m. Sun., May 8, and 7 p.m. Mon., May 9. Regent Square