The Center For Asian American Media (CAAM) builds on its history of film, music and food with the launch of CAAMFest 2014. The 11-day festival, from March 13 - 23, brings ”stories to light” from 20 different countries showcasing talent and artistry from around the world.
CAAMFest 2014 celebrates contributions of Asians and Asian Americans in media by paying tribute to significant benchmarks in history and by showcasing the trailblazers of the 2st century. From the legacy of entertainment mogul Run Run Shaw to the social significance of activist Grace Lee Boggs to the numerous innovative Asian females in cinema and music, CAAMFest is a diverse, immersive experience that enlightens as much as it entertains.
OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHTS: HOW TO FIGHT IN SIX INCH HEELS AND DELANO MANONGS
HOW TO FIGHT IN SIX INCH HEELS: The North American premiere of the lively Vietnamese box office hit, HOW TO FIGHT IN SIX INCH HEELS. Directed by Ham Tran (JOURNEY FROM THE FALL) and starring Bay Area native Kathy Uyen (SUPERCAPITALIST, PASSPORT TO LOVE), the romantic comedy keeps in the spirit of fashion-savvy films like THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA to tell the story of Anne (Uyen), a high-strung New York fashion designer who flies to Vietnam after she suspects her fiancé is having an affair. Comedy ensues when she infiltrates Saigon’s high fashion world.
The evening continues with the Opening Night Gala at Asian Art Museum. To keep with the fashion theme of the evening, there will be a special presentation by San Francisco-based socially responsible styling firm Retrofit Republic while guests dance to music from local DJs and enjoy delicious bites and beverages from some of the Bay Area’s finest restaurants. Guests will also get an exclusive look at the world’s first yoga exhibition, Yoga: The Art of Transformation.
DELANO MANONGS: Shifting from San Francisco to Oakland, CAAM concludes the festival with its closing night film, DELANO MANONGS, at the New Parkway Theater, a new CAAMFest venue. Directed by Marissa Aroy, the documentary tells the overlooked story of the Filipino leader Larry Itliong and how he helped rally the thousands of Filipino and Chicano farmworkers that led to the Delano Grape Strike of 1965 and the creation of the United Farm Workers Union. The labor movement garnered national attention and embedded Itliong’s legacy in Filipino American history.
In celebration of the culmination of CAAMFest 2014 and its first year in Oakland, the closing night party will take place at Vessel Gallery. Come toast another wonderful year of CAAMFest at one of the most beautiful modern art spaces in downtown Oakland.
CENTERPIECE PRESENTATIONS: AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS AND COLD EYES
AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS: Acclaimed director Grace Lee spotlights the iconic Grace Lee Boggs, the 98-year-old outspoken activist, feminist, author and philosopher. The first of two centerpiece presentations, AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY documents Boggs and her experiences as an advocate focusing on the struggles in the African American community, including the actions she has taken which have led to her significant impact on social justice in America.
A VIP reception will precede both films where CAAMFest will honor award nominees while enjoying hors d’oeuvres. Guests include director Grace Lee and the revolutionary herself, Grace Lee Boggs. More special guests are expected to be in attendance and will be announced on the website.
COLD EYES: CAAMFest’s international centerpiece is COLD EYES, a remake of the 2007 Hong Kong film EYE IN THE SKY, directed by Cho Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo. Set against the backdrop of the streets of Seoul, the story follows an elite police unit, specializing in surveillance, as they track down the ruthless leader of string of robberies. The crime thriller screened at the 2013 Busan International Film Festival before becoming South Korea’s biggest hit of 2013. Director Jo Ui-seok and Producer Song Dae-chan will be in attendance.
DIRECTIONS IN SOUND & SUPERAWESOME LAUNCH
Directions in Sound is CAAMFest’s premiere Asian and Asian American music showcase featuring emerging and cutting edge artists. This year’s program features the hip-hop and rock beats from Korea, Vietnam and the Bay Area.
KOREAN SHOWCASE: San Francisco native and Korean American hip hop MC Kero One hosts the first of two Directions in Sound music showcases, featuring three bands becoming big marquee names in the Korean music scene. The night will open with a DJ set by Relic, and continue with the electronic sounds of Love X Stereo, innovative indie band Glen Check and the quirkiness of Rock N’ Roll Radio.
HERE COMES TREBLE: For the second Directions in Sound of 2014, CAAMFest puts the ladies front and center in a show that celebrates females in hip hop, folk and soul. Making her U.S. debut is Suboi who has been tagged as “Vietnam’s Queen of Hip Hop.” Influenced by Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Linkin Park and Aaliyah, the 23-year-old has the ability to hold her own in a male-dominated music genre and a country that is known for censorship. With personal lyrics inspired by family, love, and social pressures, she has not only broken down barriers but created her own distinct style and has become the first female rapper to achieve success in Vietnam. Joining her is Bay Area-based MC Rocky Rivera, the contemporary jazz-meets-folk sounds of Cynthia Lin and the Blue Moon All-Stars, and an all-female roster of turntablists including DJ Umami, DJ ThatGirl and DJ Roza.
SUPERAWESOME LAUNCH FEATURING AWESOME ASIAN BAD GUYS: Enjoy a night at the Oakland Museum of California with a sneak preview of the Superawesome: Art and Giant Robot exhibit, curated by Giant Robot’s editor and publisher Eric Nakamura. CAAM and OMCA team up to offer an exciting evening with a special Asian-focused Off the Grid, live music, and a screening of Patrick Epino and Stephen Dypiangco’s action-comedy AWESOME ASIAN BAD GUYS starring Tamlyn Tomita (TRUE BLOOD, KARATE KID PART II)and Dante Basco (THE LEGEND OF KORRA, HOOK).
SPOTLIGHT: GRACE LEE: CAAMFest is proud to highlight the work of director Grace Lee, known for her acclaimed films JANEANE FROM DES MOINES and THE GRACE LEE PROJECT, as this year’s Spotlight. With a varied body of work that includes documentaries and feature films, Lee has been recognized for her contribution to film receiving the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Digital Media, a Rockefeller Media Arts grant, the PPP Pusan Prize as well as funding from several arts and media organizations. In addition to screening her films AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS and AMERICAN ZOMBIE at this year’s festival, Lee will be in attendance discussing her experiences in modern cinema at the event, In Conversation With Grace Lee.
RETROSPECTIVE: RITU & TENZING: For this year’s Retrospective, CAAMFest hosts its Curatorial Residents, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, the directors of the new Dharamsala International Film Festival in India. Sarin and Sonam created the festival to bring the best of contemporary, independent Indian and world cinema to the city that is home to the Dalai Lama and the capital of the Tibetan community in exile. CAAMFest will feature two of their films, THE SUN BEHIND THE CLOUDS, a documentary that gives a provocative look at the Dalai Lama’s struggle for justice and recognition for the Tibetan people, and the narrative DREAMING LHASA that follows a Tibetan filmmaker named Karma as she travels to Dharamsala to interview political prisoners. While there, she becomes involved in an unexpected journey with an ex-monk who is on a journey of his own.
OUT OF THE VAULTS: REDISCOVERING GRANDVIEW FILMS: Witness a piece of cinematic history courtesy of the Hong Kong Film Archive as we highlight two films by the legendary Chinese American producer Joseph Sunn Jue (1904-1990) and the Grandview Film Company in San Francisco. During World War II, Jue made films featuring Cantonese opera actors living in San Francisco at the time. CAAMFest is excited to present two films of the surviving seven from the collection for the first time in 67 years. The comedy BLACK MARKET COUPLE depicts a new generation of Chinese who are making a living for themselves in the United States, all while trying to adapt to local customs. WHITE POWDER AND NEON LIGHTS is a Chinese American take on the age-old theatrical chestnut of “putting on a show.” Determined to start their own Cantonese opera company, a group of young Chinese actors in San Francisco hire a famous opera singer from China, but complications arise as she is spotted and courted by wealthy businessman.
TRIBUTE: RUN RUN SHAW: Having elevated the kung fu movie genre to global proportions, Run Run Shaw has left a significant imprint on the world as a Hong Kong media mogul and founder of Shaw Brothers Studios. His influence in media has also spilled over into his role as a philanthropist, making countless contributions to arts and education as well as promoting Asian culture and values through film. CAAMFest pays tribute to the late Run Run Shaw by screening three films produced by the Asian cinema pioneer including the musical drama THE KINGDOM AND THE BEAUTY, the female warrior driven film COME DRINK WITH ME and KING BOXER (FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH), one of the original martial arts films to become wildly popular in North America.
PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN COMMUNICATIONS PRESENTS: PACIFIC SHOWCASE
FAMILY INGREDIENTS: Hawaii-based chef Alan Wong’s passion for life and affinity for food culture is documented in this travelogue of his culinary adventures. Director Ty Sanga follows Wong, who is of Chinese and Japanese descent, as he explores the lineage of his family recipes that originated in Japan. (With Short NA LOEA – MAC POEPOE: MALAMI MOOMOMI)
HULA: MERRIE MONARCH’S CELEBRATION: The art of hula is an enriching part of the Hawaiian culture that is not only a form of dance, but a valued tradition of the Hawaiian people considered a “language of the heart.” Director Roland Yamamoto goes beyond the surface of hula, taking us deep into its cultural history and the elaborate storytelling living in its fluid motions. (With Short NA LOEA: LOLENA’S LEGACY)
MEMORIES TO LIGHT 2.0
Memories to Light is back for a second year! Launched at last year’s CAAMFest, MEMORIES TO LIGHT is a home movies initiative that aims to recover and digitize film (on 8mm, Super-8 and 16mm) offering a deeper look at the Asian American experience. Set to live music provided by Dan Lee (from Scrabbel) and Goh Nakamura, CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong will share a selection from the first year of the project including San Francisco imagery from the 1930s and ‘40s as well as recollections of a Chinese American family living in India in the ‘60s.
YOUNG HISTORIANS, LIVING HISTORIES
As a collaborative project between the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Smithsonian Affiliations and CAAM, Young Historians, Living Histories is a national project that engages under-served Asian Pacific American youth and educators to deepen their understanding and appreciation of their history. Join CAAM in welcoming these emerging media makers and enjoy an exclusive premiere of their projects.
CAAM FELLOWS SHOWCASE
Join the top Asian American professionals in film, TV and the documentary worlds for casual conversation over coffee as they talk about navigating a successful career in media as an Asian American in an ever-changing media landscape. Information about the CAAM Fellowship will be available and the 2014 CAAM Fellows will be in attendance.
NARRATIVE AND DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
This year’s Narrative Competition includes a mix of genres from eight films including BRAHMIN BULLS (dir. Mahesh Pailoor), a drama about a father-son relationship that straddles the line of heartwarming and heartbreaking; INNOCENT BLOOD (dirs. D.J. Holloway & Sun W. Kim), a dark thriller following a former police detective confronted by ghosts from his past; and the action-comedy AWESOME ASIAN BAD GUYS (dirs. Patrick Epino & Stephen Dypiangco), a gathering of your favorite Asian movie villains from the 1980s and ‘90s. Other competition films include KARAOKE GIRL (dir. Visra Vichit Vadakan), a fictionalized documentary style tale of a Bangkok karaoke girl’s struggles; A PICTURE OF YOU (dir. J.P. Chan), a dramedy about two estranged siblings revisiting their mother’s lake house after her death; and EAST SIDE SUSHI (dir. Anthony Lucero), a story of an aspiring Latina sushi chef fighting against the odds because of her race and gender. Rounding out the Narrative Competition are THE HAUMANA (dir. Keo Woolford), a film against a Hawaiian landscape following a luau playboy turned reluctant hula instructor, and FARAH GOES BANG (dir. Meera Menon) a comedy about a female and her quest to unearth her desirability through awkward sexual adventures.
The Documentary Competition highlights eight films including AMERICAN ARAB (dir. Usama Alshaibi), an evaluation of American and world realities through personal stories of hate crimes and hope; CAMBODIAN SON (dir. Masahiro Sugano), the story of Cambodian refugee turned “criminal alien” turned poet; and JEEPNEY (dir. Esy Casey), a close examination of a colorful and popular form of public transit in the Philippines. Kristi Yamaguchi and other Japanese Americans help rebuild Tohoku two years after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in STORIES FROM TOHOKU (dirs. Dianne Fukami & Eli Olson) and students from China’s most prestigious drama school put on a staging of the 1980s American musical “Fame” in THE ROAD TO FAME (dir. Hao Wu). Other films include BRINGING TIBET HOME (dir. Tenzin Tsetan Choklay) following a New York-based artist as he navigates international borders to transport more than 20 tons of Tibetan soil to Dharamsala; LORDVILLE (dir. Rea Tajiri) featuring a conceptual look at the history of a town and how it makes us reevaluate our relationship to the land; and STATELESS (dir. Duc Nguyen) a look at Vietnamese refugees living in the Philippines who are waiting for resettlement in the United States.
CAAMFEST IN OAKLAND
CAAM brings CAAMFest to the city of Oakland for the first time. Kicking off with the Superawesome launch at the Oakland Museum of California, the festival continues with a full weekend of programming at the New Parkway Theater.
CAAMFeast, the festival's special food centered programs, kicks off with CAAMFeast: Stories, Food and You, an evening honoring Asian American culinary achievement. The event honors Chef Martin Yan (of PBS and M.Y. China restaurant) and Chocolatier Wendy Lieu (Socola Chocolates).
Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the honorees and special guests, such as Roy Yamaguchi and enjoy an exciting evening of food tastings from over a dozen Bay Area restaurants. Guests will view CAAM-produced portraits of the featured chefs, participate in food tastings and demonstrations, and bid on spectacular live auction items.
Fine cuisine is combined with fine cinema at CAAMFeast, a presentation of food-centric films paired with food provided by local eateries. This year’s lineup includes the food travelogue FAMILY INGREDIENTS, the Indian wedding feast of JADOO, the colorful Taiwanese comedy ZONE PRO SITE: THE MOVEABLE FEAST and Ang Lee’s Academy Award-nominated EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN. More information here.
CAAM enhances the media experience by extending its programming with CAAMFest Online, a platform where talented media makers can share their latest works with a global audience. Visit caamedia.org throughout March for free original content.
OFFICIAL CAAMFEST JURY
COMCAST NARRATIVE COMPETITION: Nicholas Chee (Founder, Sinema Old School & Sinema TV), Melissa Hung (Founding Editor, Hyphen Magazine) & Musa Syeed (Director, VALLEY OF SAINTS)
DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION: Michael Fukushima (Producer, CNOTE), Cheryl Hirasa (Director of Program Development & Content Strategy for Pacific Islanders in Communications) & Oliver Wang (Associate Professor of Sociology, California State University)
The awards program at CAAMFest also includes the APCA Student Film Award, the Remy Martin Filmmaker Award, the Audience Award and the Loni Ding Award. See caamedia.org for full details.
AWESOME ASIAN BAD GUYS, Patrick Epino and Stephen Dypiangco
FAMILY INGREDIENTS, Heather Huana Giugni
FLAT 3, Roseanne Liang, New Zealand, 2013
HULA: MERIE MONARCH’S GOLDEN CELEBRATION, Roland Yamamoto
JEEPNEY, Esy Casey
LORDVILLE, Rea Tajiri
STORIES FROM TOHOKU, Dianne Fukami and Eli Olson
GENERAL FESTIVAL INFORMATION
CAAMFest is a presentation of the Center for Asian American Media. CAAMFest, formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF), is a celebration of film, music, food and digital media from the world's most innovative Asian and Asian American artists. CAAMFest takes place March 13-23, 2014 in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. San Francisco venues include: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street; Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post Street; New People Cinema, 1746 Post Street; Great Star Theater, 636 Jackson Street; Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin Street; 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna Street; Pa’ina Lounge & Restaurant, 1865 Post Street; Brick & Mortar, 1710 Mission Street; Slate Bar, 2925 16th Street; Oakland venues include: The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street; Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street; Vessel Gallery, 471 25th Street; Berkeley venues include: Pacific Film Archive Theater, 2575 Bancroft Way.