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  2016 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 and digital media from the world's 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 10 to 20, 2016 in San Francisco and Oakland. Films screen at The Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco; the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street in San Francisco; The Alamo Drafthouse At New Mission, 2550 Mission Street; New People Cinema, 1746 Post Street in San Francisco; Chinese Historical Society Of America, 965 Clay Street, San Francisco; City College Of San Francisco - Chinatown/North Beach Campus, 808 Kearny Street, San Francisco; 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 the rich cultural legacy of the opening film TYRUS, to the multi-platform portfolio of local artist H.P. Mendoza, CAAMFest 2016 attempts to demonstrate the growing breadth of Asian American voices 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 Tyrus, an inspirational documentary about the art, life, and enduring impact of 105 yearold pioneering Chinese American artist Tyrus Wong, best known for the conceptual artwork that gave Walt Disney's Bambi its distinctive and unforgettable look. Tyrus will be shown at the majestic Castro Theatre, and is part of a special spotlight series, in partnership with Pixar Animation Studios and the Walt Disney Family Museum, Asian Americans In Animation.

As for the closing night, we have another documentary called Right Footed. It is an inspiring documentary about expert martial artist, disability rights activist and the world's only armless airplane pilot, Filipina American Jessica Cox. Director Nick Spark explores Cox's incredible journey as she overcomes adversity, finds romance and awakens hope in others around the world.

Filmmaker in Spotlight

The spotlight this year is Mabel Cheung, one of Hong Kong's most prominent directors. Her international acclaim reflects over 30 years of award-winning works, beginning with her "Migration Trilogy." CAAMFest presents two of Cheung's influential films: her newest feature and CAAMFest's Centerpiece Narrative A Tale of Three Cities, chronicling the epic love story of Jackie Chan's parents and The Soong Sisters, originally released in 1997 and considered one of the highlights of Cheung's career.

In Addition to Cheung, this year the fest also has another spotlight director: H.P. Mendoza.

Chinese Cinema

Paying homage to the ancestry and history of the Asian American experience, the slate of Taiwanese, Chinese and Chinese American films at CAAMFest 2016 is rich in culture and perspective. From the smooth brushstrokes of Tyrus Wong in Pamela Tom's opening night film Tyrus, to the harsh growing pains of Sunny Yu's The Kids, this year's filmmakers showcase the bold and courageous stories in the lives of Chinese and Chinese Americans.

Notable selections include Chinese movie Thanatos, Drunk,Please Remember Me and The Kids.



It is good to hear that this year, CAAMFest is bringing Hong Kong renowned filmmaker Mabel Cheung to the San Francisco Bay Area. However, similar to last year, a first glance at the festival guide still gives viewers an impression that the festival is still placing a stronger emphasis on Asian American filmmakers than films from Asia these years. Again, 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. It looks like the festival definitely needs to widen its film acquisition source a bit in order to keep the event competitive.

Who will be attending the festival? From what we got so far, the list is still incomplete, yet some notable names would be Mabel Cheung (spotlight), Singapore director Roystan Tan, Chinese actress Joan Chen and Hollywood director Justin Lin.

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

written by: staff (02/2016)
information provided by: CAAM