Although the usual Filipino gathering customarily includes feasting on a whole roasted pig, nagging (but well-meaning) elders pushing young ones into nursing careers and rounds of top-of-the-lungs, no holds barred karaoke, sometimes you just have to fancy it up and have a legitimate forum to ease non-accustomed others into your culture, or maybe even just to remind your own that you have more than a childhood of spaghetti with cut-up hotdogs in common. UCLA’s Pilipino Alumni Association has collaborated with Samahang Pilipino to bring us the first ever Pilipino American Film Festival, a two-night program of “amazing films, documentaries, short films, videos and public service announcements (PSAs) showcasing various Filipino and Filipino-American experiences.”

Along with submissions of student and amateur films, the festival will screen the documentary Mosquito Filipino: A Bite of Spiritual Healing (2008) and the coming-of-age movie The Debut (2000). Mosquito FIlipino: A Bite of Spiritual Healing chronicles filmmaker R.A. Mendoza’s first trip to the Philippines with his late mother Connie. Gene Cajayon’s The Debut stars Dante Basco as Ben, a high school senior who has turned his back on his Filipino heritage, whose actions and resentment towards his father boil over and threaten to ruin his sister’s 18th birthday party.

The screenings will be followed by Q&A sessions with some of the filmmakers. Admission to the film festival is free, but make sure to reserve your ticket online to attend.

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