Next week is the annual 10-day Center of Asian American Media Fest 2016 and they have a lot of exciting programs for everyone to enjoy. The Center of Asian American Media, or CAAM for short, has made it their mission to cultivate and share the variety of Asian American experiences through media. The nonprofit does the “funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting of works in film, television and digital media” and is a great resource for any Asian American interested in sharing a story. CAAM Fest 2016 will be holding panels with the minds and actors behind Master of None, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Sanjay’s Super Team, and so much more. There are a couple of programs that explore music and food, but there’s a huge array of film showings that are all worth seeing. Here are the 7 showings that are on my list to check out.
Shorts, Shorts, Shorts!
I love short films. I find that, although the formats and storylines are shorter, these brief films can better capture characters and ideas because of the limitations. Because, in reality, when we meet people for the first time, it is literally in a moment that we develop a first impression that can be a lasting impression. There are four different showings that will show a collection of shorts that fall under a particular theme for each showing. PORTRAITS FROM THE SCHOOLYARD will mainly discuss an immigrant’s identity and treatment in schools while ROOTS will feature stories of different generations interacting with each other and finding how to relate. THE OUT(ER) LIMITS showing will display visually and emotionally stimulating stories from LGBTQ identies and RELATIONSHIP STATUS: IT’S COMPLICATED will demonstrate through different unique films just how finding love is a little crazy nowadays. Finally, AM I AMERICAN, I AM AMERICAN tackles what it means to identify oneself as American, especially as an immigrant. Pick the shorts showing that speaks to you deeply and witness stories that you may relate with unexpectedly.
Buy PORTRAITS FROM THE SCHOOLYARD tickets here. Buy ROOT tickets here. Buy THE OUT(ER) LIMITS tickets here. Buy RELATIONSHIP STATUS: IT’S COMPLICATED tickets here. Buy AM I AMERICAN, I AM AMERICAN tickets here.
Two Lunes is a feature-length film that follows two female protagonists who never meet, but have parallel stories. Siyeon moves to Los Angeles from South Korea to pursue her graduate degree while Lan is a Vietnamese student in South Korea hoping to reconnect with her estranged sister. These two young women go through similar struggles and experiences as they adjust to their new homes and figure out how to deal with their old ties. It looks like it’s going to be an emotional movie and is perfect for anyone who can relate to taking a new step in their lives. Buy tickets for Two Lunes here.
Crush the Skull
For anyone who enjoys a thrilling and hilarious Saw-like flick, then Crush the Skull is the best pick. It follows two thieves, Ollie and Blair, when they decide to take on a job that seems too good to be true. And, as per usual, it is two good to be true and the pair find themselves lost in a labyrinth of a serial killer’s house. This film looks like it’ll keep viewers at the edge of their seats while invoking many laughs in a dire situation. For me, personally, I’ll be watching through my fingers. Buy tickets for Crush the Skull here.
Daze of Justice
Daze of Justice is a documentary that follows the survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia as they travel back to their home to testify in the trials. For those of you who don’t know, the Khmer Rouge was a Communist party in Cambodia who was in power in the latter half of the 20th century. They were the causes of the Cambodian Genocide and the deaths of thousands because of famine, the lack of medicine for treatable diseases, and tortures and executions. I can’t imagine what it would be like to experience such a terror, survive when so many didn’t, and then return to seek justice. This is the film’s world premiere. Buy tickets for Daze of Justice here.
Good Ol’ Boy
Good Ol’ Boy takes place in 1979 and follows young Smith Bhatnagar, who discovers it ain’t easy being the only Indian in a small town of basically white people. Smith loves a lot of pop culture at the time, from Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever, and Americana, but that doesn’t solve his family’s cluelessness of American culture nor does it change the expectations they have for him as immigrants. The situation gets even more complicated as Smith gets closer to the neighbor’s daughter. This dramedy is a definite must-see for any kid of immigrant parents who know the trials of fitting in and dealing with family expectations, all while going through the stages of growing up. Buy tickets for Good Ol’ Boy here.
Tyrus Wong is a Disney legend and he’s still alive today at 105 years old. He is most known for his work on Bambi, where he was the lead artist. His art style is described as “sensitive” and influenced by Chinese artwork, but his in retirement, he mainly designs ornate kites. In TYRUS, the documentary delves into Wong’s journey to America and finding his identity in his artwork and in a society that wasn’t supportive of his background. But he says his greatest achievement in his life is “his family.” The film is making its Bay Area debut in this festival and has already stirred many audiences around the country. Buy tickets for TYRUS here.
Painted Nails is the documentary that I’m honestly and truly most interested in, mainly because I’ve had questions about the hazards of nail polish and I’m interested in the community. The film follows Van Nguyen, who has a nail salon in tech-booming San Francisco, taking a stand against the cosmetic industry, the very industry she’s built her life on. She questions the ethnics behind “profit over consumer health” and speaks for not only the Vietnamese community, but all those involved in the nail art business. I have high expectations that this film will be informative and poignant. Buy tickets for Painted Nails here.