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In its fourth year in the City of Brotherly Love, the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival will feature screenings, film shorts, live music and a B-boy demonstration.

Wednesday, a documentary film on street dancing, Among B-Boys, will kick-off the week of Asian American themed programming. The festival will continue with numerous screenings of films and film shorts followed by discussions and question-and-answer sessions.

This year, the festival will span seven days, expanding from the three to four days in past years, festival director and programmer Joe Kim said.

He added this year’s programming will be “more interesting and more exciting.”

“We got a lot of good variety of romantic comedy, action, drama, a lot of recognizable faces and names — just a little bit of everything,” he said.

The bulk of the programming will take place at the Ibrahim Theater in Penn’s International House. Other venues include the Asian Arts Initiative and Prince Music Theater in Center City.

Although the 20th annual Philadelphia Film Festival, which concluded last week, included international films by Asian artists, Kim said there is a need for a separate festival dedicated to showcasing Asian American talent.

“Though the [Philadelphia Film Festival] is great and has a lot of international programming, there’s a lot of Asian American films out there that people may not know about because people don’t have the opportunity to see it,” he said.

While Kim hopes for audiences to see a different type of Asian American experience, the festival is not seeking to debunk any stereotypes surrounding this group. “The number one thing is to entertain and educate through entertainment,” he said.

Associate Director of the Pan-Asian American Community House and 2004 College graduate Shiella Cervantes has been volunteering at the Festival since its inception in 2008. She said that it is very important to attract large audiences to the events.

“Mainstream media is still trying to figure out how to represent different American stories, and a frequent challenge that filmmakers encounter is having to prove that people are willing to watch Asian Americans on screen, even if the story itself isn’t about being Asian,” she said. The festival made sure that many different genres and viewpoints are represented.

Wharton senior Jenny Fan is planning on attending the festival. She sees the week as “a celebration of greater involvement in American media” by Asian Americans.

“We’re seeing more and more media on YouTube, showing that there is a market for Asian Pacific Americans in film and in media,” she said. “The film festival is a living, breathing example of how APA creativity is growing and thriving.”

Tickets are on sale for $8, with a reduced rate of $6 for students and seniors. Some programs such as the film shorts are free of admission.

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