Asian Cinema Comes to San Francisco

Some of the most exciting  cinema today is created by Asian and Asian American filmmakers. They represent an incredible array of cultures and each year CAAMFest is a perfect opportunity for the San Francisco Bay Area to explore new worlds through the moving image.

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) presents its annual celebration along with plenty of parties and special events to accompany the films at CAAMFest 2016 playing through March 20 in San Francisco and Oakland.

EatDrinkFilms is proud to co-present Family Ingredients and Kampai: For the Love of Sake this year.

In addition we have assembled a collection of program notes and trailers for the shows we are most looking forward to seeing. Click on each film’s title for showtimes and more details about the movie.

Family Ingredients

Sundance Institute Native Filmmakers fellow Ty Sanga spotlights Hawaiian culture in the culinary documentary series Family Ingredients. We travel with host and chef Ed Kenney, owner of Oahu’s booming restaurant Town, as he traces his ancestral roots through one of the oldest of Hawaiian foods, poi (made from taro). As the first solid food his mother served to him as a baby, Kenney has a relationship with poi that goes beyond mere consumption. He visits two land-focused food conservations and a community college to learn how people are revolutionizing the way poi is used.

Digging deeper into a more rural area, Kenney travels to Waimea, HI, to learn about pipikaula (salted dried beef). Local resident and Hawaiian musician Kuana Torres Kahele, a direct descendent of paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys), is masterful in the art of making pipikaula. Kahele and Kenney travel to Sonoma, CA, to discover the roots and similarities that Mexican cowboys and Hawaiians share.

What begins as primarily a food journey for Kenney transforms into a self-reflective and familial cultural expedition.— Elisa Gyotoku

Filmmaker Mirai Konishi follows these unique individuals who have been fascinated with the extraordinary Japanese beverage, Sake, known as “the drink of the gods.” As they encounter the challenges of the current sake industry, the trio traces the origins of sake as they investigate its rich, complex and spectacular history influencing culture in Japan and across the world for many generations.— Hensen Roque

Colma, The Musical

It is the 10-year anniversary of H.P. Mendoza’s seminal ground-breaking film, (written by and starring the Bay Area auteur himself), with an interactive showcase. Much of the cast and crew with be reunited for once-in-a-lifetime live performances and a raucous, profanity-laced sing-a-long!

Drawing the Tiger

We observe a rural Nepali family over seven years in an immersive tableau of the human experience. Even the filmmakers themselves couldn’t have foreseen how a hopeful story of a teenage girl winning a big city scholarship could lead to the Darnal family eventually being overturned by tragedy.

France Is Our Mother Country

Oscar-nominated director Rithy Panh (The Missing Picture) illuminates the underlying tones of melancholy and indignation of the French occupation of Cambodia and delivers a beautifully edited piece detailing the tragedy brought by the brute forces of French colonialism using satirically placed archived footage and old propaganda films.

CAAMFEST posterGood Ol’ Boy

It’s 1979, and 10-year-old Smith Bhatnagar’s American dreams — filled with Saturday Night Fever, Darth Vader and the girl next door — clash with his parent’s hopes for his future. A coming-of-age dramedy about enduring first loves and the weighty expectations of immigrant parents. Starring Jason Lee, Samrat Chakrabarti and Anjul Nigam.

In The Room

Room 27, in a dilapidated Singaporean hotel, is a time capsule for six sensual and melancholy vignettes in Eric Khoo’s (Be With Me,12 Storeys) newest and Singapore’s first erotic film. There, several decades of illicit trysts and fantasies are realized, and love and its companion loss swing suspended over each heartbreaking encounter.

Mad Tiger

Making its West Coast premiere, Mad Tiger chronicles the relationship between two bandmates, Peelander-Yellow and Peelander-Red, of the Japanese performance-art band Peelander-Z. When Red quits, their friendship is tested and both are catapulted into finding greater meaning in their lives through their art and relationship with each other.

Master of None Panel

CAAM is thrilled to host Master of None co-creator Alan Yang and cast member Kelvin Yu as they share details on the show’s inspiration and production as well as their own experiences in an industry full of both opportunity and obstacle.

Mele Murals

Following the inspiring portrait film Jake Shimabuko: Life on Four Strings, filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura strikes again. Beyond the serene coastlines that have made the Hawaiian Islands famous lies a deeper community connection amongst locals. Artists Estria Miyashiro and John Hina travel to the rural town of Waimea, HI, where they attempt to connect ancient Hawaiian traditions and graffiti with the youth of tomorrow.

Memories To Lights: Chinese American Home Movies

For its fourth CAAMFest iteration of this innovative home movie initiative, Memories To Lights presents a compilation of Chinese American home movies from the 1930s through the 1970s, with live musical accompaniment by acclaimed jazz musician Francis Wong.

Muslim Youth Voices

Muslim youth in Philadelphia and Minneapolis create short film magic. In the second year of this signature CAAM program, they explore the universal truths of growing up. Acclaimed filmmaker Musa Syeed returns to help young people craft their unique stories that disintegrate the borders built on stereotypes.

The Name of the Whale

Director Fujikawa Fumito makes his second directorial feature with this genre-defying film which takes audiences through a pre-coming-of-age story that pulls from Fujikawa’s own childhood recollections of his two-year stay in the rural Japanese fishing village of Miyoshi.

This “drama-mentary” blends drama and documentary footage to tell the story of junior high student Yuta, whose love for whales and paleontology inspires him to dig for cetacean fossils along the Miyoshi shoreline as a summer project. The contentment this assignment brings him is abruptly shattered when pieces of his everyday life begin to fall apart — his grandmother passes away; his mother’s new partner moves in; and his close friend moves away. Yuta suddenly is faced with finding the balance between his old and new worlds.

It weaves fact and fiction and is beautifully brought to life by a non-professional cast. The film transcends both genre and culture, making for a uniquely gratifying viewing experience.

No Land’s Song

Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, women have been forbidden to sing as soloists. Composer Sara Najafi, determined to organize a concert for solo female singers, collaborates with three French singers in Tehran, opening the door to musical freedom for Iranian women, and building a cultural pathway to the West.

Painted Nails

Mission District nail salon owner Van Nguyen tackles the cosmetics industry in this provocative documentary focusing on workers rights and the little-known implications of getting a mani-pedi in America as it raises awareness of the daily health hazards faced by nail techs on the job.

Portraits From The Schoolyard

From pride and joy to fear and anger, everyone faces these emotional swings as they grow into themselves. Portraits From The Schoolyard is a collection of diverse moments and experiences that magnifies the lives of students in and out of class

Right Footed

CAAMFest celebrates the close of the festival with Right Footed, a documentary about expert martial artist, disability rights activist and the world’s only armless airplane pilot, Filipina American Jessica Cox. Ride along on her journey as she overcomes adversity, finds romance and inspires the world.

The Royal Tailor

Sartorial rivals Dol-suk (Han Suk-kyu), a master craftsman devoted to tradition, and Kong-jin (Ko Soo), an avant-garde upstart with rakish charm, cross shears for the position of the king’s tailor. High fashion and political intrigue weave together this sumptuous court drama, replete with scenes of rustling hanbok and sensuous embroidery.

The Soong Sisters Link title

Join us as we revisit acclaimed filmmaker Mabel Cheung’s 1997 evocative portrayal of the powerful and influential Soong family. The film details the true story of the Soong daughters’ rise in fame and influence during a turbulent period of war and revolution in 20th-century China.

The Super Story Behind Pixar’s SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM

Join director Sanjay Patel and producer Nicole Grindle for an insightful peek behind the curtains of Pixar Animation Studio’s latest Academy Award-nominated short, Sanjay’s Super Team.

A Tale of Three Cities

From CAAMFest spotlight filmmaker Mabel Cheung, A Tale of Three Cities transports you to Hong Kong during the turbulent times of war in the 1930s and 1940s, focusing on an epic story of romance and tragedy of the real-life parents of Jackie Chan.

Two Lunes

Displacement and loneliness permeate the shared experiences of two immigrant women in Two Lunes. Siyeon settles in Los Angeles by way of Korea for art school. Lan is a Vietnamese ex- change student living and working in Seoul. Their lives unfold with quiet struggle, as past burdens and future hopes converge in the present.


“Umrika” is how a small village in India refers to “America.” One of their own decides to journey to “Umrika,” inspiring both hope and debate. When the village loses touch with its contested hero, his younger brother Rama and friend Lalu set out on their own to find him.Starring Suraj Sharma, the lead of Life of Pi, and Tony Revolori, the bellboy from The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass

Sweeping takes of Vietnam’s lush countryside and ragged seaside cliffs set a pastoral scene for Victor Vu’s box-office hit about two young brothers who share an inseparable, yet tumultuous bond. When jealousy erupts into violence over a shared love interest, older brother Thieu must seek redemption.

Yeu (Love)

Pop music sensations Chi Pu and Gil Le light up the screen in Vietnam’s first mainstream LGBTQ film. Reunited with her childhood best friend, aspiring singer-songwriter Nhi must grapple with her own burgeoning feelings. A testament to the power of music, friendship and family — and a universal reminder that loves wins.

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