Silk Fabrics, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Kelly McCarthy’s photostream

The Silk Screen 6th Annual Asian Film Festival kicks off this week in Pittsburgh with an opening night Gala on May 6th at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Silk Screen aims to put Pittsburgh on the map not only for having one of the best Asian film festivals, but by creating a center for Asian culture. As they note on their website, over 40,000 Asians live in Western PA, but there’s “not one central place for all Asian groups to meet together or to interact with the mainstream community.” The Silk Screen Asian Arts and Culture Organization hopes to build a world class Asia center in Pittsburgh as there is no significant center of this kind between New York City and San Francisco. This year’s film festival runs from May 6th to May 15th and includes films from China, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. You can see a full list of the films to be screened here and purchase festival passes here.

The Gala and Opening Night promises to be exciting:

Taste sensational sips and exotic ethnic dishes from Japan, China, India, Korea, and more. Dance with Pittsburgh’s premiere Asian performers. Mingle with celebrities, gaze upon international fashions, and enjoy a world of colorful fabrics and faces.

The Gala is on Friday, May 6th (8:00 PM to midnight) at the Omni William Penn Hotel, 530 William Penn Place in Downtown Pittsburgh (map). To give you a taste of a Silk Screen Gala, here are some photos of last year’s performers (more photos here):

 

The 2011 festival opens with the Indian film “I Am” which the Post-Gazette describes as “weav[ing] together four stories exploring dark themes about child abuse, criminalization of homosexuality, single motherhood and political tension in Kashmir.” Here’s the film’s official trailer:

Councilman Bill Peduto has been a part of the festival from its inception. He secured grant funds to get Silk Screen started and he currently serves as a member of its Advisory Board. Peduto has also recognized Silk Screen and its founder, Harish Saluja (seen below), with proclamations before Pittsburgh City Council for “for providing year round education and entertainment to the Pittsburgh region.”