Asian Heritage Week Offers Rich Palette of Culture

Illinois State University's Asia Connect in April will offer "series of events where you can experience a variety of Asian cultures," in observance of Asian Heritage Week.

Monday, April 2, 5:30 p.m.
Chinese Calligraphy Demonstration and workshop
ISU Center for Visual Arts, Room 311
Enjoy warm Chinese tea, and learn the history of calligraphy and participate in the workshop.
Miranda Lin, Associate Professor, College of Education, ISU
Shihwei Chiang, Lecturer, College of Arts and Sciences, ISU


Tuesday, April 3, 6:15 p.m.
Kannathil Muthamittal {a peck on the cheek} Indian {tamil} film
Caterpillar Auditorium, State Farm Hall of Business, Room 139
Question and Answers after the film.
Archana Shekara, Associate Professor, College of Fine Arts, ISU
Li Zeng, Associate Professor, College of Fine Arts, ISU

Wednesday, April 4, 5:30pm
Bangla parbon: Celebrating Bengali poetry
Blangladesh Student  Association, ISU
DeGarmo Hall, Room 551
Refreshments, Question and Answers after poetry recital.

Thursday, April 5, 5pm
Indonesian Cuisine Demonstration and Workshop
Food Lab Kitchen, Turner Hall, Room 131
Learn authentic Indonesian cuisine and taste right after!
Rini Stoltz


Friday, April 6, 6:15pm
Cape Number 7, Taiwanese film
Caterpillar Auditorium, State Farm Hall of Business, Rm. 139
Panel discussion after the film.
Wei-Zan Wang, Director, Overseas Community Affairs Council
Cultural Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Chicago
Hsiu-Ling Robertson, Assistant Professor,
Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, Northwestern University
Shihwei Chiang, Lecturer, College of Arts and Sciences, ISU


Asian Heritage Week Wraps Up With Indian Cuisine/Show, East Asian Films

Illinois State University's Asia Connect this week is celebrating the first annual Asian Heritage Week, running from April 10-15. All events are free unless otherwise noted.

Monday's celebration included “Iran: An Ancient Civilization,” a presentation by Amir Marmarchi, Department of Economics, and Elahe Javadi, School of Information Technology; and a Japanese tea ceremony presented by Jennifer Gunji of Japan House in Urbana,

Tuesday's events included “Korean Alphabet Design and Historical Context,” presented by Alice Lee, School of Art, and "The Battle for Human Rights in North Korea: Is There Any Hope for Change?” by North Korean policy expert and human rights advocate Suzanne K. Scholte. Wednesday's offerings were Asian Film Festival entries The Color of Paradise (Iran) and How to Win at Checkers Every Time (Thailand), at the Normal Theater

Thursday's observation featured “Vietnam: From Lotus Pond to Dragon Land,” presented by Tuyen Tonnu, School of Music, followed by Vietnamese cooking class demonstrations by Tonnu.

A Friday Asian dinner and show will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the ISU Center for Performing Arts, including Indian cuisine and the play Harvest by Manjula Padmanabhan. Tickets are available at $30 for paid AsiaConnect members and $35 for non-members -- payment can be made to Miranda Lin, School of Teaching and Learning, care of DeGarmo Hall, Room 212.

Heritage Week ends Saturday with the Asian Film Festival entries The Boy and the Beast (Japan), at 1 p.m., and Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass (Vietnam), 7 p.m., both at the Normal Theater. The Boy and the Beast is a fantasy anime about a young boy named Kyuta orphaned after his mother’s death, who finds himself on the streets of Shibhuya in Tokyo and ultimately taken by Kumatetsu, a grumpy and lazy warrior beast as an apprentice to learn Kendu, a Japanese martial art. Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass, set in Vietnam in 1989, explores the relationship between two brothers as they seek to uncover the truth about the myth of the princess of the enchanted forest and the man-eating tiger that guards her. It was the Vietnamese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.

Asia Connect, an affiliated group at Illinois State University, strives to promote cultural diversity across campus.

Normal Theater to Host Asian Film Festival

In celebration of Asian-American Heritage Month, AsiaConnect will present the 2015 Asian Film Festival from Thursday, April 9, through Sunday, April 12, at the Normal Theater.

The cost of the event is free for students with an ID and $7 for general admission.

The festival will feature four theatrically acclaimed movies from China, South Korea, India and Japan including:

  • Shadow Magic (Ann Hu, 2000) [China], at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 9. The movie is a historical drama about the introduction of motion pictures to China during the beginning of the 20th century. It follows a young photographer who struggles to start a film industry in China despite the strong anti-Western sentiment of the time.
  • Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring (Kim Ki-duk, 2003) [South Korea], at 7 p.m. Friday, April 10. This film is Buddhist, but it is also universal. “It takes place within and around a small house floating on a small raft on a small lake, and within that compass, it contains life, faith, growth, love, jealousy, hate, cruelty, mystery, redemption … and nature. Also a dog, a rooster, a cat, a bird, a snake, a turtle, a fish and a frog,” stated the late film critic Roger Ebert.
  • The Lunchbox (Ritesh Bartra, 2014) [India], at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 11. Set in contemporary Mumbai, this film tells the story of Ila, a middle-class housewife who tries to rejuvenate her marriage through cooking. She prepares a special lunchbox to be delivered to her neglectful husband at work, but it is mistakenly delivered to another office worker, Saajan. This begins a series of lunchbox notes between Saajan and Ila, which leads to an emotional journey of self-discovery. They each find an anchor to hold onto in a big city that so often crushes hopes and dreams.
  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Isao Takahata, 2014) [Japan], at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 12. Based on a Japanese folktale, this animated fantasy drama tells the story of a young princess who must discover her past and confront her fate. Produced by Studio Ghibli, which created Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, this sweeping epic redefines the limits of animated storytelling. It also marks another triumph for director Isao Takahata, acclaimed for his war-themed animated film Grave of the Fireflies (1988). The Tale of Princess Kaguya was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 87th Academy Awards.

AsiaConnect is an affinity group established to promote Asian cultures and represent the interests, needs and concerns of Asian faculty, staff and students.

This event is made possible by the generous support of Beyond Normal Films Cinema Arts Project, Downs Automotive, Inc., McLean County India Association, Normal Theater, Office of the President, Dr. and Mrs. SJ Chang, Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology, Crossroads Project, Department of Politics and Government, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, MECCPAC, Dean of Students Diversity Initiative, Office of International Studies and Programs, and Office of the Provost.