Silk Screen Film Festival includes 31 movies and May 10 gala

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The eighth annual Silk Screen Film Festival will stretch its gala and opening film across two nights, screen 31 features and two shorts (one Oscar-nominated) and add a new venue to its lineup this year.

The Asian-American film festival, a showcase of Asian films and filmmakers with origins in Asian cultures, will kick off May 10 with a gala at the Rivers Club at One Oxford Centre, Downtown.

VIP tickets are $150 and will include access to a reception from 7 to 8:30 p.m., with standard gala tickets, $100, providing food, beverages, entertainment and more.

As previously announced, the opening film will be "Midnight's Children" directed by Deepa Mehta and showing at 4:30 p.m. May 11 at the Regent Square Theater, 1035 S. Braddock Ave.

The 146-minute movie, in English, Hindi and Urdu with English subtitles, is based on the Booker Prize-winning magical realist novel by Salman Rushdie.

It follows a pair of children born at the stroke of midnight Aug. 15, 1947, the moment India claimed its independence, and switched at birth by a Bombay nurse. The movie contains adult situations and mild violence.

On May 12, in honor of Mother's Day, any mom accompanied by a child will receive free admission. At 6 p.m. May 19 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood Screening Room, the festival will close with "Architecture 101," a Korean box office hit about a woman who commissions her first love to build a new home in hopes to make good on a past promise, and a reception.

In addition to screening movies at the Regent Square Theater and Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave. in Oakland, the event will use the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Earth Theater, 4400 Forbes Ave., which is accessible from the rear portal entrance.

Tickets for the opening night film are $20, for closing night film, $15, with others $10 or $5 for students with valid IDs. A four-film pass can be purchased for $30 with an eight-film pass, $60 (not valid for opening or closing films).

These can be purchased online through or at the door. Silk Screen is a 501(c)(3) arts and cultural organization dedicated to promoting diversity and cross-cultural understanding of Asia through film, music, art and dance.

In addition to "Midnight's Children," the lineup will feature (listed in alphabetical order):

"Architecture 101" (South Korea) -- Fifteen years after an aspiring architect promised to build the dream home of his first love he must confront those bittersweet memories and consider rebuilding their broken relationship. 6 p.m. May 19, Melwood Screening Room.

"Asura" (Japan) -- Raised by wolves and surrounded by desolation, the cannibalistic child Asura struggles between his appetite for flesh and desire for human companionship in this animated feature. 7:30 p.m. May 12, repeats 6 p.m. May 18, both Melwood classroom.

"B.A. Pass" (India) -- A suddenly orphaned 19-year-old is lured into sex and work as a gigolo in this movie based on the short story "The Railway Aunty" by Mohan Sikka. 8:45 p.m. May 13, repeats 2 p.m. May 18, both Regent Square Theater.

"Beijing Flickers" (China) -- A young man left behind by Beijing's new wealth experiences moments of euphoria amid despair as he roams the city with other misfit dreamers in this darkly funny, gritty portrait of disaffected youth. 4:30 p.m. May 11 (screens with Oscar-nominated short "Buzkashi Boys"), repeats 9:10 p.m. May 13, both Melwood.

"Cairo 678" (Egypt) -- Three Cairene women from different backgrounds warily unite to combat sexual harassment, but their unconventional response provokes a dogged police hunt. 8 p.m. May 15 (with "Buzkashi Boys"), repeats 5 p.m. May 18, both Melwood.

"The Coin Bearer" (Philippines) -- Drama about brothers who exploit the tradition of holding "sakla" games to raise money at the wake of loved ones for funeral expenses. 6 p.m. May 16 at Melwood, repeats 3:30 p.m. May 17, Melwood classroom.

"Cha Cha for Twins" (Taiwan) -- Identical twins, viewed as one indistinguishable unit, find themselves forging separate paths in this comedy. 1:30 p.m. May 11, repeats 5:30 May 16, both Regent Square.

"Chittagong" (India) -- In a little known incident in 1930s British-occupied India, a handful of untrained teens, led by a school teacher, handed the British their first military defeat. This is the story of the youngest and most unlikely participants, a frail, diffident 14-year-old. 6 p.m. May 15, repeats 5 p.m. May 17, both Regent Square.

"The Empty Home" (Kyrgyzstan) -- Uncompromising window into the lives of Central Asian women and the impossible choices they confront. 9 p.m. May 15, repeats 3 p.m. May 18, both Regent Square.

"Foreign Letters" (USA/Israel/Vietnam) -- Based on the director's experiences and early impressions of America after coming here with her family from Israel. 6:30 p.m. May 13, repeats 8 p.m. May 17, both Melwood.

"Gattu" (India) -- A young boy growing up as an apprentice to his uncle, a junk yard owner, will stop at nothing to defeat his rival at flying kites. 1 p.m. May 12, repeats 6 p.m. May 14, both Regent Square.

"Graceland" (USA, Philippines) -- An exploration of crime, the sex trade, political corruption of Manila and how it affects hardworking residents. 6 p.m. May 16, repeats 12:30 p.m. May 18, both at Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Earth Theater.

"The Guardian" (Georgia) -- An ex-convict watches over his godson to prevent him from joining the family's criminal ranks in this crime drama set in Georgia. 1:30 p.m. May 11, Melwood, repeats 12:30 p.m. May 19, Melwood classroom.

"Headshot" (Thailand/France) -- A disillusioned cop becomes a hitman who sees his world upside down, literally, after a bullet wound to the head. 5:45 p.m. May 12, repeats 5:30 pm. May 17, both Melwood.

"Highway" (Nepal/USA) -- As if the mountain terrain wasn't challenging enough, travelers on a bus to Kathmandu must confront civil disobedience blockades on their journey. 5:30 p.m. May 15, repeats 2 p.m. May 19, both Melwood.

"Key of Life" (Japan) -- Comedy about an out-of-work actor who steals the identity of an amnesiac stranger, unaware the man works for ornery gangsters. 8 p.m. May 11, repeats 2 p.m. May 17, both Melwood.

"Kshay" (India) --Story of a childless housewife and her obsession with buying a statue of a goddess with the hope of conceiving her firstborn. 4 p.m. May 12, repeats 4:30 p.m. May 18, both Regent Square.

"Modest Reception" (Iran) -- Two sibling-sophisticates from Tehran travel the mountainous northern countryside, maniacally pushing bags of money on locals. 5:30 p.m. May 13, repeats 2 p.m. May 17, both Regent Square.

"Nightmare" (China) -- A chance meeting, a love triangle and a friend's disappearance push a young urban doctor over the edge in this horror film. 5:30 p.m. May 11, repeats 6 p.m. May 17, both Melwood classroom.

"Parizod" (Uzbekistan) -- When a strange woman appears from the mist along a remote mountain road, dark and mysterious events befall a nearby village. 3 p.m. May 12, repeats 3 p.m. May 18, both Earth Theater.

"Pieta" (South Korea) -- Brutal story of a debt collector who cripples those who cannot pay until he meets a woman claiming to be his mother. Winner of the Golden Lion for best film at Venice Film Festival in 2012. 8:30 p.m. May 16 at Melwood, repeats 3 p.m. May 19 at Melwood classroom.

"Present Tense" (Turkey) -- Story of the quiet desperation of a newly divorced Turkish woman dreaming of starting over in America. 2:30 p.m. May 11, repeats 12:30 p.m. May 19, both Earth Theater.

"Pune 52" (India) -- The life of a private detective undergoes a dramatic change when he takes up a case that is deeply personal and highly complex. Set against the financial upheaval of 1992. 8:30 p.m. May 11, repeats noon May 19, both Regent Square.

"Sita Sings the Blues" (USA) -- Return of winner of audience choice award from 2009 festival. A husband callously ends a marriage by email in this animated film that employs shadow puppets, watercolors, collages, photography and other art forms. 12:30 p.m. May 12, Earth Theater.

"The Sleepless" (South Korea) -- Horror movie in which the veil between the living and the dead is lifted. 8:30 p.m. May 11, repeats 8 p.m. May 17, both Melwood classroom.

"Tatsumi" (Singapore/Japan) -- Film chronicling the life of Japanese manga artist Yoshiro Tatsumi who pioneered a dark, harshly realistic animation style. 5 p.m. May 12, repeats 3 p.m. May 18, both Melwood classroom.

"The Thieves" (South Korea) -- Variety called this a debonair caper that brings together Korean and Chinese cat burglars for a diamond heist in Macao. 8:30 p.m. May 14, repeats 8:15 p.m. May 17, both Regent Square.

"Two Shadows" (Cambodia/USA) -- After a Cambodian-American hipster wannabe opens a cryptic letter from Cambodia claiming that her long-lost brother and sister are still alive, she travels to her birthplace to look for the siblings who disappeared during the civil war 20 years earlier. (Screens with "The Perils of Growing Up Flat-Chested" short.) 2:30 p.m. May 12, repeats 8 p.m. May 18, both at Melwood.

"Two Weddings and a Funeral" (South Korea) -- Dramedy in which two doctors, a gay man and lesbian, devise a plan to hide their homosexuality by marrying. 8:45 p.m. May 16, repeats 7:30 p.m. May 18, both Regent Square.

"Valley of Saints" (India/USA) -- A young man plans to run away from the war and poverty surrounding his village in Kashmir, but a beautiful young woman researching a dying lake leads him to contemplate a different future in this 2012 Sundance Film Festival winner. Noon May 11, repeats 3 p.m. May 19, both Earth Theater.

"Buzkashi Boys" (Afghanistan/USA) -- Live-action short, nominated for an Academy Award, about two boys, one a street urchin and the other training to be a blacksmith and both dreaming of success at buzkashi, the national sport of Afghanistan. 4:30 p.m. May 11, repeats 8 p.m. May 15, both Melwood.

"The Perils of Growing Up Flat-Chested" (USA) -- Coming-of-age short by Yulin Kuang, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate who won first prize in the 2012 Steeltown Film Factory contest. 2:30 p.m. May 12, repeats 8 p.m. May 18, both Melwood.


Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: or 412-263-1632. Read her blog:


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