CAAMFest Week Begins

CAAMFest 2015

The Center For Asian American Media’s annual film festival, CAAMFest, begins its 2015 edition this week. The festival offers attendees a chance to see up-and-coming Asian and Asian-American filmmaking talent, be reintroduced to venerated masters of Asian-American film, and even be exposed for the first time to new foods and music.

As might be guessed from the 2015 festival ads, this year’s theme is travel. The selections for this year’s festival will include a history of the Chinese-American street-ball game 9-Man; a portrait of three Jakarta street buskers; new films from such masters as Arthur Dong, Felicia Lowe, and Lav Diaz; and a visit to a Buenos Aires discount market.

What follows are some suggestions for CAAMFest 2015 programs to check out.

Definitely catch the Spotlight on legendary documentarian Arthur Dong. It’s a trio of programs consisting of Forbidden City U.S.A., a re-mastered portrait of San Francisco Chinatown’s legendary nightlife scene; The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, the biography of the late Cambodian genocide survivor and Oscar-winning actor; and a conversation between Dong and legendary film critic B. Ruby Rich.

Felicia Lowe’s new documentary Chinese Couplets is a personal and powerful tale about the filmmaker’s efforts to learn about her mother’s past, a task made more difficult by the latter’s refusal to talk about it. Paired with Lowe’s endearing China: Land of My Father, which is referenced in her new film.

A couple of Directions In Sound documentaries deal with intriguing subjects. Fred Ho’s Last Year is a touching portrait of the legendary saxophonist and his battle with cancer during the last year of his life. Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock And Roll introduces viewers to the artists of the amazing pre-1975 Cambodian rock and roll scene and shows how that period’s music still endures. Then again, fans of Dengue Fever would have already known about the joys of early-1970s Cambodian R&R.

Centerpiece Film Margarita, With A Straw concerns Laila, an aspiring writer and college transplant who falls for a fiery female activist. Laila’s cerebral palsy, though, makes the possibility of romance a bit more challenging than expected.

Storm Children, Book One is Philippine filmmaker Lav Diaz’ documentary about the forgotten victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

Venues for the 2015 festival range from San Francisco Chinatown’s legendary Great Star Theater to Oakland’s New Parkway Theater to the always welcome Sundance Kabuki Cinemas.

Readers needing further information about the festival can go here.

About the Author

I’m a film reviewer for the Beyond Chron blog. Agnes Varda and Hirokazu Kore-eda are among my favorite filmmakers. I occasionally break down and watch a good action film…but don’t tell anyone.

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