HomeBad Ass AsiansEmotions likely to both unite & divide AAPIs at CAAMFest

Emotions likely to both unite & divide AAPIs at CAAMFest

By Randall Yip, Executive Editor

From hot button issues to the raw emotions that both bind and pull us apart, the films at this year’s CAAMFest in San Francisco will challenge our biases and could make some of us feel uncomfortable.

A wide range of domestic, international, documentary, feature and short films will be showcased at this year’s festival.

As festival director Thuy Tran puts it, in this year’s films “We lose affirmative action, fight with our mom and we elect a dictator.”

The opening night film at the Palace of Fine Arts is Admissions Granted from Hao Wu and Miao Wang. The documentary follows three Asian Americans deeply involved in the Supreme Court decision that eventually dismantled affirmative action in higher education and college applications.

The film gives us an intimate look at UC Berkeley student Calvin Wang who joined the suit as a plaintiff opposed to affirmative action, Michael Wang who had had filed a discrimination complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and Sally Chen, a Harvard graduate who now works with Chinese for Affirmative Action.

“It’s much better to present that more nuanced story of a struggle with an issue. That’s what I try to hold us to – to shed light on an issue and not be partisan for its own sake,” said Stephen Gong, long time executive director of the Center for Asian American Media, the producers of CAAMFest.

The Centerpiece Narrative will be Girls will be Girls from director Shuchi Talati. In it a 16-year-old girl discovers her sexual awakening only to meet the stern warning of her mother who never got to come of age hereself.

“Talati made the film to save her mother,” Tran said. “A film about trauma can be transformed into devotion.”

Another feature film highlight is A Great Divide starring Ken Jeong and Jae Suh Park. They move their family to the great outdoors of a small town in Wyoming only to discover some of the town’s people aren’t as welcoming as mother nature. You can watch the trailer here.

The closing night film is And So It Begins from director Ramona Diaz. This documentary looks at the people’s movement to defend democracy in the Philippines. The film takes filmgoers up to the final days of the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte and the 2022 presidential election.

The full slate of films and tickets can be found here. The festival runs May 9 – 19.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


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