The 40th edition of CAAMFest, the showcase of Asian American and Pacific Islander-themed films in San Francisco and Oakland, this year features a wide array of feature films and documentaries along with special programs spotlighting cinema from both Hong Kong and the Pacific Islands.
AsAmNews is a proud media sponsor of the festival.
The choices can be overwhelming, so here’s a breakdown to help you make your selections. If you’re not in the Bay Area, look to these films as those to look forward to at a theater, upcoming film festival or TV set near you. There will also be virtual programs as well.
AsAmNews published a broad overview earlier this week of the festival that looked forward to opening night on Thursday and the gala that follows. Free tickets to the opening night documentary Free Chol Soo Lee are still available as of this writing. Tickets to the gala featuring the 14-piece orchestra, Ensemble Mik Nawooj, are just $40.
Longtime Center for Asian American Media executive director Stephen Gong also looked back on the 40 years of CAAMfest- where its been and where AAPI-themed films are today.
The Centerpiece Presentation Leonor Will Never Die from director Martika Ramirez Escobar evolves around an aging filmmaker who is knocked into a coma by a TV and somehow ends up the hero of her own unfinished script. It plays Saturday May 15 at the SFMOMA Phyllis Wattis Theater at 5:30 p.m. This is also the featured presentation of the Pacific Showcase.
CAAMFest on closing night will present Every Day in Kaimuki by director Alika Tengan. When Naz’ girlfriend decides to leave their small Hawaiian town of Kaimuki, he too decides to journey to New York where he questions everything from logistics for his car to whether he’ll ever feel like he belongs. It can be seen Sunday, May 22 at New Parkway in Oakland.
Saturday AsAmNews together with Xfinity is proud to present in Search of Bengali Harlem. Actor Alaudin Ullah is tired of being typecast throughout his career. Feeling a need to reach back to his roots, he visits the past homes and neighborhoods of his Bangladeshi Muslim parents and uncovers a lost history when South Asian Muslims, African Americans, and Puerto Ricans forged a special community. It plays Saturday May 14 at 6pm at the Great Star in San Francisco.
Its preceded by a special panel previewing the upcoming PBS documentary First Look: Plague at the Golden Gate. The film from Lin-Shin Yu zeroes in the 1900 bubonic plague and how it almost destroyed San Francisco Chinatown. You can catch this timely presentation at Noon on Saturday May 14 at the Great Star.
Blurring the Color Lines looks at the lives of the Chinese community in the segregated South. Crystal Kwok tells the story of how her grandmother and family navigated the Jim Crow era. It plays on May 14th at 3pm also at the Great Star.
Anita is the featured presentation in the Hong Kong Showcase. Anita Mui is the daughter of Hong Kong. She sang for survival after losing her father at an early age and a fire destroyed her mother’s business. The story of the beloved Cantopop icon plays May 19 at 6pm at the SFMOMA.
You can also hear from the cast of the NBC comedy Young Rock. The show is a comedic retrospective of Dwayne Johnson’s youth and stars Uli Latukefu as Dwayne Johnson in his 20s. He will be joined by actress Stacey Leilua and executive producer Jeff Chiang and actor Joseph Lee Anderson in a virtual presentation. Tickets are free for this on-demand presentation but must be claimed to get the link.
General admission tickets for virtual screenings and panels range from complimentary to $14. Special presentations range from $20 – $65. For more information, visit the box ticketing information page at: CAAMFest.com.
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