Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Celebrating 35 Years of Asian Film Festivals in the San Francisco Bay Area

While every birthday is special, turning 35 is a proud moment for the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). 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.

“CAAMFest 2017 will truly be a milestone for our organization and community,” says the Center for Asian American Media ’s Executive Director, Stephen Gong. “We’ve come such a long way since our inception in the 1980s. Our dedication to the advancement of Asian American media has grown in strength and breadth, and our resolve is stronger than ever as we continually evolve our platform for Asian and Asian American voices through a diverse and interactive program.”

In this celebration 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.

Film lovers are invited to visit four powerful films from the CAAMFests of yesterday, and enjoy a month-long showcase of over a dozen films streaming online as a special treat in addition to the Festival.

But the core are the many presentations at a variety of venues in San Francisco and Oakland.

“CAAMFest 2017 is a festival that celebrates creativity and diversity, that builds understanding and empathy, that educates and inspires— and has never been more important and more necessary in our dedication to the advancement of Asian American visibility and perspectives has never been stronger,” said Gong.

This year’s Festival boldly explores visibility and perspectives through a diverse and interactive media, shining light on the cultural identity, community intersectionality and political landscapes that Asians and Asian Americans constantly navigate.

Visit the website here and download the complete Program Guide.

Food and its dynamic origins and impact in Asian and Asian American stories and culture are always a highlight at CAAMFest and 2017 is no exception.

EatDrinkFilms is proud to be a co-presenter.


Saturday, March 11, 2017 7:00 pm Free 41 Ross, San Francisco

Eat_Chinatown_1.jpgCAAM, in partnership with the Chinatown Community Development Center, is thrilled to bring some mouth-watering shorts to the big screen, including Kerry Chan’s SUNDAY DINNER, a film that follows one man’s journey from picking the freshest ingredients in San Francisco’s Chinatown to cooking an incredible feast for his family. This special screening is part of the EAT CHINATOWN Spring Exhibit. 60 minutes

SUNDAY DINNER Precedes: Eat Chinatown

Sunday Dinner begins quietly at 7 am in Burlingame, California, a town just south of San Francisco, home to the country’s oldest and most enduring Chinatown. Wiley with his wife, Gloria, are sitting in the kitchen deciding what to prepare for Sunday dinner. Gloria sees him off as we accompany Wiley to San Francisco’s Chinatown on a
whirlwind shopping expedition. Later in the afternoon, Wiley and his brother begin the process of preparing the traditional and elaborate Sunday dinner, where he expects anywhere from 10 to 40 people. As the day descends into evening, the small suburban kitchen begins to fill with family who are frying duck, making dumplings from scratch, chopping vegetables and setting the table. Wiley is the conductor of this culinary symphony as his family defers to him and waits for instructions about how he wants the meal prepared and served. The house is a cacophony of sound and a
swirl of activity. Food fries in the wok. Lively conversations are underway. Some are about cooking. Some are about sports. ESPN is on the television. Children are everywhere playing, running, laughing. The love, affection and respect for family are palpable as they catch up on the week past and share plans for the week ahead. Hours later, close to 9 pm, the house begins to empty. Quiet and order return to Wiley’s home, where he is left with Gloria, having tea and ending the day just as they began it, together, quietly talking, perhaps reflecting on the day until they both retire to the living room to relax and take in a movie before bed. Director: CASEY BECK  / USA / 2016

Expected Guests in Attendance: Casey Beck (Director), Kerry Chan-Laddaran (Producer), Mary Cardaras (Producer), Jessica Ramirez (Associate Producer), Wiley Chan (Subject)


Saturday, March11, 4pm, Gray Area

 PBS series LUCKY CHOW returns with an all-new season exploring Asian culture   and cuisine across America. Indulge in a feast of Bay Area highlights from a few episodes with host and LUCKY RICE founder Danielle Chang. Featuring renowned chefs, culinary stars and breakout food-crafters, LUCKY CHOW will satisfy your cravings. Director: FRANCISCO ALIWALAS / USA / 2017 / 90 MINS

March 18, 2017 9:20 pm, New People Cinema

Good_Luck_Soup_1.jpgThis film sorts through home video and family interviews to examine identity and a story of growing up mixed race in America, coupled with Hashiguchi’s grandmother’s ritual of making the soup for the whole family as a way of keeping Japanese tradition is kept alive across generations. 
Director: Francisco Aliwalas

CAAMFest returns to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – New Mission for a second year. Working together with CAAM, the Alamo has crafted a CAAMFest-inspired menu of food and drinks to satisfy your cravings during the Festival.

  •  Eat: The Alamo/CAAM menu features four food dishes exploring Vietnamese, Japanese, Cambodian and Chinese American flavors. Savor tofu banh mi, miso glazed cod, Khmer steak skewers and General Tso’s wings.

  •  Drink: Accompanying the delicious bites are creatively-concocted drinks, including a Nikka whiskey Highball, Apricot Blossom, CAAMFest IPA Boilermaker and Leaves & Flowers with green tea and vodka or gin.

 Here are some other highlights from the festival.


  • WHO IS ARTHUR CHU? – Centerpiece Documentary

  •  Directed by Scott Drucker and Yu Gu

  •  West Coast Premiere, following recent Slamdance World Premiere

  •  Explore the question behind the Jeopardy! game show answer, and title of the film, 
WHO IS ARTHUR CHU? Follow 11-time Jeopardy! champion, media-labelled “villain,” writer and internet iconoclast, Arthur Chu , 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.


  • Window_Horses_1.jpg

  •  Directed by award-winning animator/filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming

  •  US Premiere

  •  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.

 35TH ANNIVERSARY: CAAM celebrates 35 years of advancing Asian American media and evolving our 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.

  •  THE FALL OF THE I-HOTEL , by Curtis Choy , examines the impacts of urban renewal with the story of 50 old-timers who were displaced by 300 cops in the dead of night, marking the destruction of the last block of San Francisco’s Manilatown.

  •  WHO KILLED VINCENT CHIN? , by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Peña , is an Academy Award-nominated documentary that explores the aftermath of the violent murder of Vincent Chin at the hands of two white men who were convicted but never served a day in prison.

  •  YELLOW , by Chris Chan Lee , celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, telling the story of eight high school friends who go on a wild and desperate scavenger hunt to help a friend who was robbed.

  •  Celebrate CAAMFest’s 35th anniversary all March long with Comcast Cinema Asian America, featuring over a dozen films from past festivals.


  • SPOTLIGHT – EMIKO OMORI: Documentarian Emiko Omori ’s award-winning career spans decades, including CAAM’s very first Festival in 1981. CAAMFest spotlights two of Omori’s films that uncover beautifully intimate stories and perspectives.

     WHEN RABBIT LEFT THE MOON , a poetic follow-up to RABBIT IN THE MOON, is a short film that pays tribute to the generation of Omori’s parents.

    RABBIT IN THE MOON , an award-winning documentary on Japanese American internment, explores Omori’s own childhood experiences within the camps and the complex, political tensions between the generations held there.

  • Srbv3qO.jpgSPOTLIGHT – HAM TRAN: A leader in Vietnam’s new film industry, Vietnamese American filmmaker Ham Tran has honed his craft of storytelling through a diverse collection of films and genres. See his two most recent features at CAAMFest.

  •  BITCOIN HEIST is an action-adventure set in the world of complex digital connectivity where a cop teams up with criminals to pull of the ultimate heist and capture a “ghost” hacker who stole billions of dollars in bitcoins.

  •  SHE’S THE BOSS follows two co-workers whose secret relationship could compromise their employment. With a supporting cast of goofy and endearing characters, the couple tries to sabotage one another into quitting their job so both can get married.


  • Robin Lung takes us on a winding journey to rediscover the long-lost Academy Award-winning documentary KUKAN, which afforded America a rare glimpse of China before and during the life-altering events of World War II. FINDING KUKAN explores questions of racial and gender prejudice, leaving us with much food for thought.
  • JAPANESE AMERICAN COMMUNITY & THE LEGACY OF INTERNMENT: CAAM marks the 75th anniversary of the forced relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII with a series of bold new documentaries that explore this painful moment in America’s history and urges others to defend those under threat of similar injustice.

  •  RELOCATION, ARKANSAS – AFTERMATH OF INCARCERATION , by Vivienne Schiffer , follows Japanese Americans on a touching journey of strength and identity as they travel to former internment camps in order to move forward from a painful past.

  • RESISTANCE OF TULE LAKE , by Konrad Aderer , focuses on the notorious camp where Japanese Americans labeled “disloyal” were held. Emotional stories make clear the consequences of race, wartime hysteria and political expediency.

PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN COMMUNICATIONS PRESENTS: PACIFIC SHOWCASE: From New Zealand to Hawaii, celebrate the resilience, wisdom and creativity of the Pacific Islander community.

  •  EVER THE LAND , by Sarah Grohnert, embarks on a landmark cultural construction project in the lush forests of New Zealand and its vital ties to an indigenous Maori tribe.

  •  POI E: THE STORY OF OUR SONG , by Tearepa Kahi, revisits the simple song that took New Zealand by storm, and the pride it continues to inspire more than 30 years later.

  •  VISIONS IN THE DARK: THE LIFE OF PINKY THOMPSON , by Ty Sanga, explore the story of Hawaiian Pinky Thompson, who fought for education and healthcare reform for native Hawaiians. (Preceded by short, KU KANAKA/STAND TALL , directed by Marlene Booth ).

  • CHINATOWN SCREENINGS: CAAM continues Festival programming in San Francisco’s Chinatown, the oldest and largest Chinatown in North America. Soak in the rich history and community with a series of films overflowing with culture and perspective.

  •  ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL , by Steve James , explores the 2008 financial crisis and the family-owned Abacus Federal Savings Bank, the only US bank to face criminal charges. (Preceded by short, THE RIDE , directed by Jeff Adachi ).

  •  EAT CHINATOWN is a mouth-watering collection of shorts, part of the Eat Chinatown Spring Exhibit.

  •  THE PEOPLE’S HOSPITAL , by Jim Choi and Chihiro Wimbush , tells the endearing story of the Chinese Hospital, the last independent San Francisco hospital.

  • MEMORIES TO LIGHT: ASIAN AMERICAN HOME MOVIES FROM THE CENTRAL VALLEY : The fifth iteration of CAAM’s innovate Asian American home movie initiative presents a compilation from California’s Central Valley, accompanied by live music from musicians led by the acclaimed Mark Izu .

  • BROWN GIRLS : This new web series, directed by Sam Bailey and loosely based on creator Famimah Asghar ’s own life, paints an intimate portrait of two young women of color navigating their relationships, families, sexual orientations and the messiness of being in your mid-20s.

  • DIRECTIONS IN SOUND – MUSIC AND FILM: 12 years strong, crowd favorite Directions in Sound has been the premier Asian and Asian American music gathering of emerging and cutting-edge artists. Carrying sounds to screen, CAAMFest rounds out the program with three musically-minded films.

  •  DIRECTIONS IN SOUND W/ KOLLABORATION SF , a CAAM- Kollaboration SF team-up, presents a live-performance playlist of artists that hit all the right notes, including DANakaDAN , Satica , Traktivist , Eko Zu and QSTN .

  •  BAD RAP , by Salima Koroma , follows Asian American rappers Awkwafina , Dumbfounded , Rekstizzy and Lyricks as they break ethnic and music-industry stereotypes. Features live performances from the film’s highlighted artists in partnership with Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

  •  IN SEARCH OF PERFECT CONSONANCE , by Ruby Yang , takes a journey across Asia with hopeful young musicians, illustrating their passion and dedication. Features a live performance at Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

  •  UNTITLED THAO NGUYEN DOCUMENTARY , by Todd Stan Krolczyk , follows SF-based indie singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen on her travels to Vietnam to reconnect with family and culture.

  •  FESTIVAL SOCIAL CLUB , the official CAAMFest after-party, is the chance to rub elbows with filmmakers, artists and fellow attendees. Hang out, celebrate and unwind.

  • ASIAN AMERICAN NARRATIVE COMPETITION: A fierce collection of films where edgy characters unravel histories and reveal true identities.

  •  CARDINAL X , by Angie Wang , revisits the 80s, where a young woman loses her college scholarship and begins a double life as student/Ecstasy-manufacturer to make ends meet.

  •  CHEE AND T , by Tanuj Chopra , introduces a dynamic duo whose adventures in Silicon Valley capture the growing pains of becoming an adult in an overtly selfish world.

  •  GOOK , by Justin Chon , explores the Korean American experience during the 1992 L.A. 
Uprising, as two brothers struggle to maintain their family’s shop amidst tense rioting.

  •  LIGHT , by Lenora Lee and Tatsu Aoki , combines dance, memory, music and poetry to 
paint an intimate portrait of a 20th century migrant in New York’s Chinatown.

  •  THE LOCKPICKER , by Randall Okita , enters the mind of a teenage thief haunted by loss 
and violence, with a furious, adolescent desire for both intimacy and escape.

  •  WEXFORD PLAZA , by Joyce Wong , shows how an unexpected encounter between two 
friends at the strip mall leads to the fallout of mixed-messages and emotional baggage.

  • ASIAN AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION: Follow outsiders as they work for visibility, success and even survival, looking to the past, present and even the future.

  •  95 AND 6 TO GO , by Kimi Takesue , is a moving tribute to Takesue’s grandfather, capturing moments in his life and the wisdom found in his own story of love and loss.

  •  AKA SEOUL , by Jon Maxwell , travels with five Korean adoptees, raised around the world, as they return to Seoul, finding cultural experiences and tearful reunions.

  •  FINDING KUKAN , by Robin Lung , rediscovers the long-lost Academy Award-winning KUKAN and the racial and gender prejudice throughout its production and success.

  •  MIXED MATCH , by Jeff Chiba Stearns , is an intimate look at the complex challenges facing multiracial individuals searching for a bone marrow donation match.

  •  RANDOM ACTS OF LEGACY , by Ali Kazimi , reveals an unfiltered perspective from a first-generation Chinese American experience in Chicago from the 1930s to 1950s.

  •  RE:ORIENTATIONS , by Richard Fung , traverses a spectrum of LGBTQ+ voices as they grow and evolve through three decades of community, politics and identity.

  • CINEMASIA: Explore international horizons with stunning perspectives and stories from China, India, Japan, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam and many more destinations.

  •  APPRENTICE , by Boo Junfeng , collides morality and history when a young prison guard forms a budding partnership and apprenticeship with the chief executioner.

  •  BACHELOR GIRLS , by Shikha Makan , dives into the complicated world that single, independent women in Mumbai face as they try to find both housing and acceptance.

  •  BLANKA , by Kohki Hasei , tells the story of a street kid who discovers her talents, joins forces with a blind musician and struggles to save enough money to “buy” a mom.

  •  GUANGZHOU DREAM FACTORY , by Christiane Badgley , captures the hopes of striking it rich in China, and how they spread to, influence and impact people living in Africa.

  •  HANG IN THERE, KIDS! by Laha Mebow , journeys with three indigenous boys on their last sixth grade field trip to the city, and the personal struggles they solve along the way.

  •  HARMONIUM , by Kôji Fukada , reveals secrets and deceptions when a family’s ordinary life takes a drastic turn after a familiar face from the past reenters their world.

  •  THE HOUSEMAID , by Derek Nguyen , is a haunting tale set on a plantation surrounded by unmarked graves with a sordid history.

  •  THE MOMENT , by Wong Kwok Fai , explores the bonds across family, lovers and friends through the story of four damaged relationships.

  •  MY NEXT STEP , by Cheuk Cheung , documents fading traditions of opera in modern China, and an intimate portrait of a last wusheng (martial hero) performer.

  •  PLASTIC CHINA , by Jiu-Liang Wang , sorts through a family’s struggle to achieve a richer life, surrounded by mountains of plastic.

  •  SINGING IN GRAVEYARDS , by Bradley Liew , enters the out of touch and out of mind world of a musician bent on following the footsteps of his Pinoy rock legend idol.

  •  THE TENOR , by Kim Sang-Man , chronicles the inspirational journey of a South Korean 
opera singer who struggles to get back to the stage after losing his voice to cancer.

  • CAAMFEST IN OAKLAND: Now into its fourth year in Oakland, CAAMFest’s East Bay programming continues the fantastic success of last year’s kickoff at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) with this year’s BLASIAN NARRATIVES. Following OMCA, indulge in a phenomenal lineup of films at the New Parkway Theater and experience an all-new family friendly event at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC).

  • CAAMFEST @ OMCA: BLASIAN NARRATIVES is the kickoff event for CAAMFest’s second weekend. Head to the OMCA for half-price admission, delicious snacks from Off The Grid food trucks, art workshops for the whole family, music and spoken word. Capping off the evening will be the premiere of creator Jivan Atman ’s BLASIAN NARRATIVES, a multimedia presentation that unravels the complexity of Black and Asian relations.

  •  INSIDE THE MIND OF A CREATOR – SHARING HISTORY AND CULTURE THROUGH CHILDREN’S BOOKS is a family friendly event at the OACC where children’s book and graphic novel creators share their inspirations, process and personal stories with guests.


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  •  Directed by award-winning filmmaker Ric Burns and longtime collaborator Li-Shin Yu

  •  History mirrors today’s politics in THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT , an 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. THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT sheds light on the history of immigration and the evolving meaning of American identity, something which has become even more relevant in recent weeks. This film has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


  • Ticket prices for regular screenings range from $12-$14, excluding special events and galas. Tickets can be purchased by CAAM Members online beginning February 9 and open to the general public on February 13. All attendees can purchase tickets at the CAAMFest box office at the Alamo Drafthouse beginning March 3. Learn about member pricing, discounts and more on the Box Office & Ticketing Information webpage .

  • Purchase tickets and learn more at

  • Visit the website here and download the complete Program Guide.

Adapted from Press materials provided by CAAMFest 2017.

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