CAAMFest Celebrates 35 Years of Festivals

SAN FRANCISCO – The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is pleased to announce that CAAMFest 2017 will take place March 9-19 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

CAAMFest is an 11-day feast for the senses, with film, music, food and digital media from the world’s most innovative Asian and Asian American artists.

Celebrating its 35th year, CAAM turns the lens on itself, peering back to the festivals and themes of yesterday, exploring the organization and CAAMFest in its current form today, and looking ahead to future iterations and directions for the Festival. CAAMFest 2017’s expansive and diverse slate of programming will be on display in a variety of stunning and culturally rich venues in San Francisco and the East Bay, including the Castro Theatre, Asian Art Museum, New People Cinema, Alamo Drafthouse, New Parkway Theater, Jewish Community Center, Roxie Theater, Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, and Oakland Museum of California.

“CAAMFest 2017 is a true milestone for our organization and community,” says CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong. “The need for a festival —that celebrates creativity and diversity, that builds understanding and empathy, that educates and inspires — has never been more important and more necessary, and our dedication to the advancement of Asian American visibility and perspectives has never been stronger.”

This year’s festival boldly explores visibility and perspectives through a diverse and interactive media, from the charming resolve in Opening Night’s “The Tiger Hunter” (Bay Area premiere) to the ever-relevant struggles explored in Closing Night’s “The Chinese Exclusion Act” (West Coast premiere), and shines light on the cultural identity, community intersectionality and political landscapes that Asians and Asian Americans constantly navigate.

Opening and Closing Nights

“The Chinese Exclusion Act”

“The Tiger Hunter” is the first feature film from director Lena Khan. The endearing and light-hearted story follows Sami (Danny Pudi), a young Indian engineer who moves to America during the 1970s wave of South Asian immigration to gain wealth, live up to the notoriety of his legendary tiger-hunting father, and above all, win the favor of his childhood sweetheart Ruby. As reality hits and Sami quickly learns his dreams will be harder to achieve than he thought, Sami is forced to look inward and decide what kind of person he wants to be. Khan’s film is a testament to the immigrant experience, and the meaningful, invaluable contributions they make to American history and society.

Following the premiere, join CAAM at the beautiful Asian Art Museum for the star-studded Opening Night Gala. Indulge in a cornucopia of delicious food and drink from the likes of Rémy Martin, Reems, Sol Food and Boba Guys. Enjoy music, art and conversation about the many programs in the festival while taking photos in the Xfinity Lounge and exploring the museum’s newest fascinating exhibit, “Tomb Treasures: New Discoveries from China’s Han Dynasty.”

“The Chinese Exclusion Act” is directed by award-winning filmmaker Ric Burns and longtime collaborator Li-Shin Yu. History mirrors today’s politics in this enlightening documentary, co-produced by CAAM for PBS, that explores the causes, consequences and impact of the only federal legislation in U.S. history to single out and name a specific race and nationality for exclusion from immigration and citizenship. It sheds light on the history of immigration and the evolving meaning of American identity, something that has become even more relevant in recent weeks.

CAAM would like to acknowledge the National Endowment for the Humanities, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and “The American Experience” for their contributions to the film.

Centerpiece Presentations

“Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming”

Centerpiece Documentary: “Who Is Arthur Chu?” (West Coast premiere, following recent Slamdance world premiere), drected by Scott Drucker and Yu Gu. This film explores the question behind the “Jeopardy!” game show answer. Follow the 11-time “Jeopardy!” champion, media-labeled as a “villain,” writer and internet iconoclast, as he traverses a post-“Jeopardy!” world where fame brings both a platform and cyber-bullying. As Chu builds a larger following through writing, public speaking and participation in the infamous #Gamergate movement, he reflects on his youth, his family relationships and his identity as a Taiwanese American.

Centerpiece Narrative: “Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming” (U.S. premiere), directed by award-winning filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming. An exquisitely animated film about the physical and inner journey of Rosie Ming, a young Chinese-Iranian girl (voiced by Sandra Oh) whose poetry carries her on a trip from her Canadian home to a festival in Iran. When she leaves her loving and worrisome grandparents behind and meets an eclectic and seasoned group of confident poets, Rosie finds her true voice as an artist, and unveils a deep family secret. Ellen Page and Shohreh Aghdashloo provide additional voices.

Special Presentations

“Who Killed Vincent Chin?”

CAAM celebrates 35 years of advancing Asian American media and evolving its platform for Asian and Asian American voices. During the Festival, revisit three films from CAAMFests of yesterday, and view an even broader collection streaming online.