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Saturday May 21st

Asian-American art and culture will be highlighted at film festival

UNC MASH is hosting the first CineMASH food and film festival. Photo courtesy of UNC MASH.
Buy Photos UNC MASH is hosting the first CineMASH food and film festival. Photo courtesy of UNC MASH.

UNC Mixed AAPI Student's Heritage (MASH), in its efforts to promote Asian-American and Pacific Islander culture, will host its first ever UNC CineMASH event on Friday from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. The Asian-American film festival will be complete with dumplings and a discussion panel to talk about the issues brought up in the films after the event.

Josh Jiang, UNC student and MASH’s political chair, had the idea for CineMASH after interning with an Asian-American film and media company called Visual Communications. 

During his internship, Jiang helped the film group put on the annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Jiang explained that his experiences with Visual Communications this past summer are what inspired CineMASH. 

“I was like, 'Hey, why shouldn’t we have this here, too?'” he said. 

Some of the films to be shown next Friday at CineMASH were also screened at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival this year. 

People who plan to attend the festival should expect a varied mix of six thought-provoking short films, ranging from five to 30 minutes long, about issues Asian-Americans face.

In addition to the screenings, attendees should expect free food. MASH will be serving homemade dumplings for anyone who attends.  

“We wanted the food part to be meaningful. We could’ve just done pizza, or something that we knew would be popular," Harrison Lee, MASH’s main events coordinator, said. "In MASH, we have a lot of different backgrounds from all over Asia, and one thing that seemed to be in common was that many of these countries have some sort of dumpling-type dish. It’s something that, this demographic that we’re shooting for, that they can all enjoy, and they can all connect to.”

CineMASH was made possible by MASH, the Carolina Union Activities Board and the Carolina Asia Center. It is part of a month-long series of events called APIAutumn, aimed increasing awareness and catering to the needs of the Asian-American community in Chapel Hill. 

Helen Yang, a Duke student who will be a panelist at the event, was surprised that CineMASH existed at all.

“Knowing that there is the capacity to have an Asian-American film festival is beyond shocking. I’ve been in the South as an Asian-American for my entire life, and I don’t see a lot of representation of the Asian-American population in media,” she said.  

Yang also communicated how important and refreshing the event is for members of the Asian-American community in the Triangle. 

“I think the underlying wave of emotion that I received from the films was gratitude," Yang said. "Gratitude of being able to watch films that verbalize the emotions that I’ve had for so long, and have had a lot of trouble expressing myself. As a child of immigrants, growing up has been a very hard navigation of emotions.”


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