CAAMFest Staff Picks give you a behind-the-scenes look at our personal favorites. Find out what made each of us laugh, cry and everything in-between. You may even find a hidden gem that you could have missed entirely.
CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong:
FRANCE IS OUR MOTHER COUNTRY: Director Rithy Panh’s Incredible reframing of archival footage.
ASIAN ART MUSEUM TAKEOVER: H.P. Mendoza’s event at the Asian Art Musuem is the place to be.
MEMORIES TO LIGHT: CHINESE AMERICAN HOME MOVIES: If you like archival footage — then come to CHSA and geek out . Live musical accompaniment by the estimable Francis Wong Ensemble.
TYRUS: Don’t miss Opening Night! We promise you one of those completely amazing experiences like LIFE ON FOUR STRINGS and AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY when the whole Castro Theater seems to levitate!
Psychiatrist, Writer and Superfan Ravi Chandra:
I’m looking forward to EVERYTHING! Including our new location highlighting the Mission. While I’m sad that I won’t be sneaking in my usual bento box into the Kabuki, I’m sure The Alamo will keep me well fed during my marathon film-viewing!
DAZE OF JUSTICE: Since I’ve worked with Cambodian people for the last six years, this promises to be a very important film.
BREATHIN’: THE EDDY ZHENG STORY: Eddy is a friend, and a great community leader, and I’m hoping to see a lot of Bay Area activists come out to support the film.
A TALE OF THREE CITIES and 3688: should also be very memorable, as they will bring two acclaimed directors from Asia to San Francisco, Mabel Cheung and Royston Tan.
Festival Assistant Director Lin Kung:
SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM: If you just look at my desk, you can tell I love me some Pixar!
This will be my first year ever participating and working with CAAMFest. I am looking forward to attending an event that solely has to do with Asian American representation within the media. With that, the many people I will have the opportunity to meet with and the various films that will be featured at the festival are what I am mostly looking forward to!
Festival Intern Lauren Lola:
ASIAN AMERICANS IN ANIMATION: When the first stills from “Sanjay’s Super Team” were released, I already had a feeling that this was going to be something special. I was beyond blown away when I saw it prior to “The Good Dinosaur,” and it instantly became one of my favorite shorts to come out of Pixar. As many film goers may know, Pixar has a special way of tugging at one’s emotions without feeling inferior, and the fact that this short touches on a story that’s rarely ever seen on screen and then taken to another level, I see it as progressive storytelling in motion. I look forward to hearing director Sanjay Patel and producer Nicole Grindle dig deep on the making of this Academy Award-nominated short.
PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN COMMUNICATION: PACIFIC SHOWCASE: One of my favorite things about CAAMFest are the films from the Pacific Islanders in Communications. There is a good line-up of films from them this year; from a series focusing on the origins of the wide variety of food in Hawaii, to a documentary focusing on the last native Hawaiian of Halawa, whose struggling to preserve the traditions of his ancestors. These films explore aspects of Hawaii that go beyond the picture perfect sunny beaches the world otherwise knows the islands for, and brings forth the depths of its culture. I believe the showcase will be an immersive, learning experience worth looking forward to.
Volunteer Coordinator Malinda O’Brien:
I can’t wait to see everyone’s preparations and hard work come together to showcase an innovative film festival that dives into the richness and diversity of Asian American cultures. I am very excited to work with all the new volunteers and returning volunteers. It’s going to be a crazy roller coaster ride full of amazing films, music, and refreshments!
Operations Manager Phil Lorenzo:
GRASS: As women in comedy continue to make their mark in film here in the US, the drug comedy has still been male dominated, until now. The chemistry and the authenticity of Emily C. Chang and Pia Shah permeate every frame of this film. With Tanuj Chopra at the helm (NICE GIRLS CREW) these performances also illustrate that women got this genre down!
MELE MURALS: Under the guise of street art is a tale of identity, culture, and the environment. Tadashi Nakamura has become one of our great storytellers on the Asian experience across many forms of expression. The art in this film elicits an unexpected emotional reaction that will feed your soul.
BE ABOUT IT: Get your kleenex. A tale of two families who have to battle a disease that has affected the AAPI community gets personal in a way that fully illustrates the importance of awareness and community. Christopher C.C. Wong knows how to capture the gravity of every moment and communicate subtext of how hepatitis B affects the nuclear family and the community at large.