formerly San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival
Date: March 12-22, 2015
Locations: San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland
$14 General Admission
$12 Center for Asian American Media Members
$13 Student/Seniors (65+)/Disabled
For more information, call 415.552.5580 or go to
The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is excited to launch the 2015 CAAMFest. Formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, CAAMFest is an 11- day celebration of film, music, food and digital media from the world's most innovative Asian and Asian American artists. CAAMFest showcases the work of new Asian and Asian American artists and pays tribute to the pioneers who have paved the way for Asian Americans in media and entertainment. From film visionary Arthur Dong, to hip-hop enthusiast Awkwafina to a myriad of talented artists, CAAMFest 2015 truly demonstrates the strength of Asian American voices in media today.
Fresh off its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, CAAMFest 2015 (formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival) opens with SEOUL SEARCHING, directed by award winning Korean-American director Benson Lee. Inspired by THE BREAKFAST CLUB, one of the most quintessential films of its time and Lee�s own personal experiences, SEOUL SEARCHING is a fun coming-of-age feature, chronicling the shenanigans and personal journeys of a group of international Korean teens sent to a governmentsponsored summer camp for a crash course in Korean culture. Set in the 1980s, this John Hughesinspired dramedy delivers a pitch-perfect tale of teenage angst, modernized with a stellar Asian and Asian American cast. Director Benson Lee and several cast members including Justin Chon will be in attendance for opening night. The excitement continues with the Opening Night Gala at the . Guests will have an exclusive look at the museum�s newest exhibit, Seduction: Japan�s Floating World.
Chinese and Chinese American Cinema have always been well represented at CAAM, and this year is no exception. From local film pioneers, Arthur Dong, Ruby Yang and Felicia Lowe, to stories about Chinatown, to international Chinese dramas, CAAMFest 2015 features prominent works from many talented Chinese and Chinese American filmmakers. CAAMFest is excited to bring together three original festival participants from the first San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival in 1982. Acclaimed filmmakers Arthur Dong (THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR), Ruby Yang (A MOMENT IN TIME; MY VOICE, MY LIFE) and Felicia Lowe (CHINESE COUPLETS), will all showcase their latest films for this year�s CAAMFest audience.
SPOTLIGHT: ARTHUR DONG: CAAM is pleased to recognize Oscar�-nominated and three-time Sundance award-winning filmmaker Arthur Dong as this year�s Spotlight feature. A San Francisco native who has earned a multitude of prestigious awards for not only his work in film, but also for his public service, Dong is known for his prowess in utilizing the art of film as a means to investigate social issues and examine undisclosed parts of Asian American and LGBT history and identity. In celebration of Dong�s legacy in film, CAAMFest is honored to present Spotlight: Arthur Dong, featuring two world premieres and a special on-stage conversation with noted film critic and author B. Ruby Rich. In celebration of Dong�s legacy in film, CAAMFest will present the world premiere of THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR and a new digitally re-mastered version of his 1989 documentary, FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A.
With two entries in this year�s program, Oscar-winning director and San Francisco Art Institute graduate, Ruby Yang presents her new film MY VOICE, MY LIFE, a documentary about Hong Kong students from �lower-tier� high schools producing a musical, and her 2009 documentary, A MOMENT IN TIME, a retrospective examination of the critical role of Chinatown movie theaters in San Francisco with intimate, multi-generational interviews and rare film clips. The film keeps the legacy alive with records of theater history, connecting Chinese bachelors to the cinema and opera of the 1920s and �30s.
Rounding out our trio of local pioneers, CAAM showcases Emmy Award winner Felicia Lowe and the world premiere of CHINESE COUPLETS. This deeply personal look at three generations of Chinese women captures Lowe�s journey trying to unravel the story of her past.
Chinatown is significant for many Chinese American immigrants who at one time or another had ties within these communities. From theaters and nightclubs to neighborhood parks and courts, CAAMFest 2015 highlights these connections with the films A MOMENT IN TIME, FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and 9-MAN. In Ruby Yang�s A MOMENT IN TIME, Yang explores the evolving role of Chinatown movie theaters in San Francisco. Through intimate multi-generational interviews and rare film clips, she reflects on how cinema helped to shape the community. Capturing the extravagance, spirit and tension of a little-known era in the history of San Francisco�s Chinatown, FORBIDDEN CITY, USA showcases Chinese American nightclub performers who broke down stereotypes and cultural barriers during World War II with lavish performances at the internationally famous Forbidden City nightclub. Facing criticism from community elders, these entertainers put aside societal norms to pursue their dreams in show business. CAAMFest's presentation of this enduring 1989 classic will be the world premiere of a digitally re-mastered version produced by UCLA Film & TV Archive from original film elements. In addition to the film screening, CAAMFest will feature live performances by some of the Chinatown clubs' original performers and a presentation by Dong highlighting his critically acclaimed book, Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970. In director Ursula Liang�s feature debut 9-MAN, she documents the legacy of a gritty Chinese-only street-ball game born in the alleys and parking lots of 1930s Chinatowns. From the discrimination that many Chinese American immigrants faced in that time to the physical and emotional battles that take place on the courts, 9-MAN captures the spirit of the game as the players not only battle for a championship, but fight to preserve a sport they love.
CINEMASIA: HONG KONG �CLASSICS�
From classic kung-fu films like ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN, to a new crop of international Hong Kong dramas, this year�s group of directors bring stories of love, family and home to CAAMFest audiences. Harping back to the roots of Hong Kong cinema, CAAMFest adds a bit of nostalgia with the renowned Shaw Brothers Studio and acclaimed director Chang Cheh�s ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN. A kung fu story about honor and sacrifice, it�s the first film in Hong Kong history to gross HK$1 million and features Jimmy Wang, whose rise to stardom was in large part due to this film�s success. Part of the new breed of soon to be classic films, DOT 2 DOT, directed by Amos Why, follows Chung, a young man who returns to his childhood home in Hong Kong after living in Canada only to find it is no long familiar to him. As he attempts to reclaim missing monuments of the city he remembers by leaving graffiti of cryptic dot diagrams, he meets a young woman who deciphers his messages. Thus beginning a playful courtship, their solitary paths crisscross as they risk arrest to leave each other a series of public clues. From Hong Kong Film Awards� Best New Director, Jessey Tsang Tsui-shan, FLOWING STORIES is a revelatory tale of one family�s ties to a place through the 400-year-old HoChung Village Festival held every 10 years. Grandmother Lau Yu Tam-Kiu frankly recounts the poverty and hardship of farming for a living in the New Territories, as her children reflect upon their immigration and struggle to make a living in Europe.
NARRATIVE AND DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION FILMS
Whether it�s the SUPERBAD-esque charm of Justin Chon�s MAN-UP! or the mystery of Caryn Waechter�s THE SISTERHOOD OF NIGHT, these films defy typical Asian and Asian American stereotypes with moments of comedy, inspiration and secrecy. In the world premiere of Justin Chon�s MAN-UP!, two young deadbeats are forced to grow up quickly as their friendship is tested when unemployed 19-year-old Martin (Kevin Wu) finds out his girlfriend is pregnant. This comedic and eccentric film marks the directorial feature film debut of Justin Chon, who plays Martin�s overeager best friend Randall. �Can you scream a little more, Asian?� is the defining question of Sophie�s acting career and the sticking point in Joyce Wu�s San Francisco premiere of SHE LIGHTS UP WELL. With dwindling funds and no job prospects, the story follows Sophie, a fiery young actress who reluctantly leaves New York for her family�s home in Detroit. There she becomes embroiled in a plot to save the community theater�s production of �The Mikado.� With its West Coast premiere, THE SISTERHOOD OF NIGHT, directed by Caryn Waechter and written by Taiwanese-American Marilyn Fu, mysteriously follows the friendship between three high school girls whose decisions lead to a series of increasingly dangerous events, throwing their community into a modern-day witch hunt. THE SISTERHOOD OF NIGHT pulls together a wide variety of cultural touchstones, from the Salem witch trials to cyber bullying, to show the power of silence and finding a voice. LOVE ARCADIA is a coming of age story of a young man’s journey
dealing with the lessons of holding on, letting go and loving what you have
YOUTH STORIES AT CAAMFEST
The Youth Voices on China online video contest is the 1990 Institute�s signature education initiative to foster better global awareness among young Americans. Meet the winners from the middle, high school and college divisions and enjoy an exclusive premiere of all the finalists� videos. TOP SPIN is a sports documentary, directed by Sara Newens and Mina T. Son, about three young athletes trying to fight their way through the rigors of the ping pong world, while balancing the pressures of adolescence. Ultimately, they hope to fulfill their dreams of representing the United States at the 2012 Olympics.
DIRECTIONS IN SOUND
For over 10 years, Directions in Sound has been the Festival�s premier Asian and Asian American music showcase featuring emerging and cutting-edge artists. Bringing together leading Asian American musicians, Directions in Sound exposes Bay Area audiences to innovative artists from the underground music scene, many of whom have built strong online followings and created new definitions of success. This year�s program features hip-hop and future beats from Cambodia, Vietnam, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Inspired by the legendary beats of hip-hop�s iconic MC�s, this year�s Directions in Sound is bringing to the stage two of hip hop�s rising Asian and Asian American female artists. Hailing from Queens, New York, Awkwafina brings her satirical and witty lyrics to CAAMFest with her viral hits �My Vag� and �Yellow Ranger.� Emerging from LaGuardia High School, the same school that molded Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks, Awkwafina�s hipster, comedic New York swag will be on full display when she hits the Mercer stage. Joining Awkwafina is Suboi, better known as Vietnam�s �Queen of Hip-Hop,� who will be giving her first ever U.S performance. Influenced by the likes of Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Aaliyah among others, CAAMFest 2015 gets a taste of Vietnam hip hop royalty with Suboi�s signature mix of international style and urban hip hop flavor. Rounding out the night will be Los Angeles-based Kronika, representing the highly acclaimed Soulection crew, two-time World Champion DJ Vinroc, along with ConnectFlow radio host and party rocker DJ Bluz. Hosted by Asian American Hip-Hop pioneer, CHOPS of the Mountain Brothers.
DIRECTIONS IN SOUND FILMS
This year, CAAMFest expands its music programming to include music-centric films paired with a special live performance. Influenced by this year�s features, CAAM is excited to bring Kollaboration SF veteran Tim Atlas and instrumentalist Masaru Koga to the CAAMFest audiences. KOLLABORATION SF: MOVEMENT IN MOTION: Tapping into San Francisco�s local talent, this energizing documentary explores the making of Kollaboration SF�s annual talent showcase. From exclusive interviews to behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, director Howard Lui delves into what it takes to bring Kollaboration�s motto of �Empowerment through Entertainment� to life. Following the film, Kollaboration SF veteran Tim Atlas will bless the stage with a musical performance. FRED HO�S LAST YEAR: Making its San Francisco debut just shy of the one-year anniversary of Fred Ho�s passing, FRED HO�S LAST YEAR pays tribute to the musician�s determination to share his insights with the world while confronting his battle with cancer. Exclusively following the New Parkway screening, multi-wind instrumentalist, Masaru Koga will honor Fred�s legacy with a special live performance.
OFF THE MENU: CAAMFest favorite Grace Lee explores the contributions Asian Americans have made to the nation�s culinary landscape, with the growing mainstream popularity of foods like kimchi and sushi. As she travels across the country, Lee discovers how Asian Americans have transformed ethnic foods into new revolutionary cuisines, while reflecting on her own identity. SUPPER CLUB: Follow �Demon Chef� Alvin Leung as he visits the Bay Area�s most exciting restaurants and speaks to renowned chefs, including Michael Mina and Corey Lee, about ingredients, craft and personal vision in the restaurant industry. Get ready to eat, drink and be inspired by all things gourmet and culinary!
Shifting from San Francisco to the East Bay, CAAMFest 2015 concludes just a BART ride away in Oakland with the premiere of CAAM co-produced PBS series LUCKY CHOW. LUCKY CHOW follows LUCKYRICE culinary festival founder Danielle Chang as she travels across America exploring the Asian food landscape. The series features many of the country�s most renowned chefs and culinary stars such as TOP CHEF winner Kristen Kish, YouTube sensation Maangchi and Bay Area favorite Ramen Shop. As CAAMFest�s Closing Night presentation, LUCKY CHOW�s six episodes will be showcased over two days and feature an Asian-inspired menu from The New Parkway kitchen. Come join them as we toast another wonderful year of CAAMFest in downtown Oakland.