CAAMfest (previously the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival) opens March 14 with “Linsanity,” a documentary about basketball player Jeremy Lin, at the Castro Theater, and runs through March 24, with food, music and panel discussions as well as films.
Manager Director Christine Kwon says the name change, besides being much, much easier to say, more accurately reflects what the festival is all about.
“Our function is to support and present a platform for creative expression, so it' s only natural that we're more inclusive of the various mediums artists are working in,” she wrote in an email.
CAAMfest’s programs on foods include the Cook Salons, Mixing Masala and (Bitter) Sweet as well as the introduction of a food show on PBS, "Asian Chops." New Directions in Sound, a music event, happens at the Rickshaw Stop with Dengue Fever, Jhameel and Vinroc.
Kwon thinks this is the future of festivals.
“As an organization whose heart and soul lies within the community, we couldn't be more excited to explore these areas,” she said.
Along with “Linsanity” on opening night, CAAMfest’s other special programs include Deepa Mehta’s “Midnight’s Children,” based on Salman Rushdie’s best-selling novel, and Mira Nair’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” based on a novel by Mohsin Hamid. Kwon calls Nair’s latest movie one of her favorites, and she thinks it will spur dialogue about the repercussions of 9/11.
“The film provides a much-needed window into how American Muslims were affected by the aftermath of 9/11,” she said. “And by providing this promotes a bridge between polarizing perspectives of this life-altering event in American history.”
The films in the Narrative Competition show a shift in storytelling and go beyond traditional identity issues, Kwon says. A few she mentions in particular are Lee Isaac Chung's “Abigail Harm,” Ken Adachi's “Dead Dad,” and Ernie Park's “Late Summer.”
Season two of “Nice Girls Crew” with Michelle Krusiec, Lynn Chen, Sheetal Sheth, which Kwon produced and wrote will also be showing. Kwon hopes the series, to be broadcast on the Internet, stands as an example of what Asian Americnan women can create in the media – and inspires them to create their own.
“It means a lot to me when young women tell me that they think the series is hilarious because it feels like they're watching themselves with their friends and that they hope to create their own media,” she said. “I hope that by showing women of color in all their uncensored glory, we can bask in increased freedom of expression and pass this on to the next generation of creative, passionate artists.”