CAAMfest Comes to Town with Movies, Food, Music, and Culture

Awkwafina

[jump] The Center for Asian American Media presents CAAMfest, the largest festival of Asian American movies in North America, with two weeks of food, music and films, films, films.

There will be (deep breath) more than 100 movies from dozens of countries; performances from Awkwafina, the Chinese Korean American rapper from Queens, and Suboi, “The Queen of Hip Hop,” from Vietnam; and local filmmaker Arthur Dong will be spotlighted with showings of The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Noor, about the actor and Cambodian genocide survivor who was murdered, and Forbidden City, U.S.A, about San Francisco Chinatown’s entertainment scene.

The festival kicks off at the Castro on March 12, with Seoul Searching, a film by Benson Lee, whose Planet B-Boy, about break-dancers in an international competition, won best documentary and the audience award at CAAMfest in 2008. His new movie, a sort of homage to the 80s teen movies of John Hughes movies Lee loved growing up has the music, styles, and exploration of teenagers as people that Hughes’ films had – minus the heinous Asian stereotypes. The movie, which Lee and a lot of cast members will attend, is followed by a party at the Asian Art Museum, where there will be an '80s dance party amid the Seduction exhibit of Edo-period Japan. The exhibition features a scroll, A Visit to the Yoshiwara, portraying daily life in the entertainment district in the 17th century.

CAAMfest’s centerpiece movie, Margarita with a Straw, takes on romance, sex, and disabilities in the story of a woman with cerebral palsy from India who goes to New York University. And the festivals closes with Lucky Chow, a PBS series about the Asian food landscape in America. Other food-related films are Grace Lee’s Off the Menu: Asian America and Supper Club, exploring Bay Area restaurants.

The festival also features a couple of youth workshops – Muslim Youth Voices, a collection of shorts and 1990 Institute: Youth Voices on China, where audience members can see the finalists in a video contest on what China means to the filmmakers. Both events are free. Like the wind and the air. Really, CAAMfest has something for everyone. Even if you’re broke.

CAAMfest runs March 12 through March 22 at various venues in the Bay Area. For more information and to get tickets go to CAAM's website. 

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