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  2015 CAAM Fest

CAAMFEST, previously known as the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF), is back again this March. CAAMFest is an 11 day celebration of film, music, food anddigital media from the worlds most innovative Asian and Asian American artists. Again, this time more than 100 Asian and Asian American films and videos from around the globe make the program.

This year, SFIAAFF takes place from March 12 to 22, 2015 in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland. Films screen at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street in San Francisco; Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post Street in San Francisco; New People Cinema, 1746 Post Street in San Francisco; Great Star Theater, 636 Jackson Street in San Francisco; Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft Way in Berkeley, The New Parkway Theater, 474, 24th St. and Oakland Museum of California.

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.

Let's check below to see what CAAMFEST is offering this year.


Opening and Closing Nights

The opening film of this year's fest is Seoul Searching, a fun coming-of-age feature, chronicling the shenanigans and personal journeys of a group of international Korean teens sent to a government-sponsored summer camp for a crash course in Korean culture. Set in the 1980s, this John Hughes-inspired 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.

As for the closing night, we have a documentary called Lucky Chow. It follows LUCKYRICE culinary festival founder Danielle Chang as she travels across America exploring the Asian food landscape. The series features many of the countrys most renowned chefs and culinary stars such as TOP CHEF winner Kristen Kish, YouTube sensation Maangchi and Bay Area favorite Ramen Shop.

Filmmaker in Spotlight

The spotlight this year is Arthur Dong, a Oscar nominated and three-time Sundance award winning Asian American filmmakers. 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.


Chinese Cinema

Chinese and Chinese American cinema continues to have a strong presence at CAAMFest 2015 with an impressive array of renowned filmmakers. 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.

Notable selections include HK movie Dot 2 Dot,Flowing Stories and documentary My Voice, My Life, All three directors, Amos Why, Jessey Tsang and Ruby Yang are scheduled to attend the screenings.

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 Chehs ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN. A kung fu story about honor and sacrifice, its 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 films success.



While CAAMFest is expanding its focus these years, one interesting trend is that their program guide is getting thinner and smaller each year. I am not sure if it has anything to do with budget, but somehow old fans might miss the good old days when the program guide felt much more solid and vivid.

Another observation is that the festival seems to be placing a stronger emphasis on Asian American filmmakers than films from Asia these years. For instance, the spotlight filmmakers are no longer international favorites like Kiyoshi Kurosawa a few years ago, but local renowned artists like Grace Lee (2014) and Arthur Dong (2015). It is hard to say whether it is a good change or not, but with fewer big shots attending the fest, the stardom effect is inevitably much weaker, hence it is also much harder to capture the attention of general movie goers.

Who will be attending the festival? From what we got so far, the list is still incomplete, yet some notable names would be Arthur Dong (spotlight), Korean actor Cha In-pyu, and Hong Kong filmmakers Amos Why, Jessey Tsang and Ruby Yang.

Tickets go on sale beginning late February. For more information or tickets do check out

written by: staff (03/2015)
information provided by: CAAM