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A Celebration of AAPI Heritage Month

When We Danced & Riding Han

Sponsored by:
ATG Cognizant Missoula

This is a free screening of two short films followed by a panel discussion led by Sarah Aswell.

When We Danced: Written, directed, and produced by Filipino-American filmmaker Ryan Moore, the film follows a man who left the Philippines to pursue a better life and comes to terms with his unfulfilled dreams by teaching his grandson to dance.

Riding Han: In the summer of 2021, three Korean Americans traveled by bike along the Great Divide, a 2400+ mile bicycle route from Mexico to Canada. RIDING HAN’s foundational essence is based on the Korean word “han”. The film captures their journey while exploring their identities as Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, with anti-Asian violence on the rise. Han brings clarity that this is the time to create. Written and directed by Pak Eugene.

Immediately following the screenings there will be a panel discussion lead by Sarah Aswell. At the conclusion of the panel discussion we will be gathering in the Roxy Garden for fellowship and snacks provided by Aiko's food truck and Pearl Boba Tea.

Salina Lee, SCLW (She/Her)

I am an Hmong-Asian American, whose family came to the US as refugees from Laos/Thailand after the Vietnam War. I graduated with my Masters in Social Work and am currently a mental health therapist who provides compassionate work towards vulnerable communities.

Meera Mohan-Graham (She/Her)

Meera Mohan-Graham lives here in Missoula with her wonderful spouse and their quirky rescue dog; all three of them arrived here in 2017 when her husband was offered a two-year teaching position at UM, and that's where they built their earliest local community. Meera is a professional coach, writer and speaker that supports marginalized people in stepping into their power and agency while navigating the painful realities of oppression and discrimination. Moving through the world as a Queer Woman of Color married to a white, transgender man, as the daughter of Indian immigrants, and as someone with decades of autoimmune issues, Meera's lens is deeply informed by her experience of living at the intersections of many identities without fully belonging to any singular community. From years of direct practice with clients, she created her own self-liberation framework, building upon existing research in internalized oppression and liberation psychology. Meera believes that when marginalized people learn to show up our own terms with intention, integrity, and unwavering self-trust...we become living, breathing forms of direct action against oppression.

Josh Taira (He/Him)

Josh is an illustrator and graphic designer working under the name Daruma Party. He watches a ton of anime, plays a lot of Final Fantasy XIV, and has an insatiable hunger for tuna onigiri from Japanese 7-Elevens. He currently works as the Art Director for the Roxy Theater, and is responsible for creating and overseeing the theater’s visual marketing, film festival branding and design, as well as the theater’s merchandise. He is also a co-organizer of Stick Drift, a monthly fighting game meetup focused on making fighting games less intimidating and more accessible to new players. Outside of work, he is still trying to find the time to finish Persona 3 Reload.

April Werle (She/Her)

April Werle is an emerging painter whose narrative works investigate how culture is passed down from generation to generation in the Filipino diaspora. Influenced by her multicultural upbringing, Werle's works explore themes of mixed-race identity, family, and belonging. She reimagines memories and shared family stories, skillfully capturing the nuances of body language, particularly through the expressive use of hands. Her paintings have been exhibited at notable venues, including the Holter Museum of Art, Missoula Art Museum, and The Other Art Fair Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in publications like New Visionary Magazine and Kapwa Magazine. April Werle has received recognition for her contributions, including an ARPA Grant and a Strategic Investment Grant from the Montana Arts Council. Currently based in Missoula, Montana, she continues to explore cultural identity and heritage through her art.

Duration: 90 min

A Celebration of AAPI Heritage Month

When We Danced & Riding Han

When We Danced & Riding Han