CAAMFest 2013

We’re switching up our Flashback Fridays over to some Throwback Thursdays so our Friday 5’s get some breathing room. To celebrate the fast approaching CAAMFest 2014 we’re reliving CAAMFest 2013!

CAAMFest2013-2CAAMFest 2013 was the first year that San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) made it’s rebranding debut. In past years the festival largely focused on showcasing shorts and films created by Asian/asian American directors or featuring Asian/Asian American actors and actresses from all around the world including those local to the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to the film festival, CAAMFest 2013 had special shows and presentations highlighting food and music such as the SF Music Matters Asia shows that took place a week before the festival kicked off!

CAAMFest 2013 was my first year attending and it was truly inspiring! I may have put too much on my plate when I made my to-do list for the festival. My list being heavily dominated by evening movie screenings (worth it!), and of course I had to check out the new food additions to the festival. Let’s dive in to my CAAMFest experience!

CAAMFest2013-1Go Grandriders! — A Taiwanese documentary following the journey of 17 seniors ranging from 72-87 as go on a 1,000 km trip around the island of Taiwan. I LOVED this film and it was really heartwarming to see the life and vitality of every rider. They each had a story to tell that was gradually revealed throughout the movie.

One on One – Shorts — These were a series of short focusing on the concept of different one on one interactions and encounters people come across throughout their life. There was a great diversity in the shorts featuring works from South Korea, India, Singapore, and the USA. The crowd favorite seemed to be Got A Job! by Chickie Otani.

The Land of Hope — This Japanese film follows two families and how their lives are ripped from normalcy when they have to deal with the reality of radiation contaminating their town. The tone was very somber as this was inspired by the 2011 Fukushima disaster, but the film while odd at points was hauntingly beautiful.

Turn It Up To 11 Part 2: Wild Days — This “rock-umentary” chronicles the first US tour of South Korean rock band Galaxy Express and their experiences of performing at SXSW and various venues scattered throughout Texas. I had JUST seen the band perform a week before so this was a great treat to learn where they’ve been and hope to go.

XMAS Without China — This documentary challenges an average American household to give up anything and everything “Made In China” for one Christmas season all documented by a young Chinese immigrant working towards obtaining a green card. It proved extremely eye opening about just how many products and appliances we consume that aren’t manufactured in America. I know my family and I would struggle with this challenge.

Seeking Asian Female — As you may have noticed.. I enjoyed documentaries and this one is no exception. This one however hit a little close to home. It’s about an older white male looking to find an Asian bride, in this case a Chinese bride. Most of the film follows them and their tumultuous first few months of marriage in the SF Bay Area. This hit close to home as I grew up knowing family member who did a similar thing but with Russians instead of Chinese women. It was fascinatingly uncomfortable to watch their struggle and interactions. The discussion it opened up continued in a panel after it’s final screening at CAAM where the director Debbie Lum debuted her web series They’re All So Beautiful which exposes more of the now common preference or fetish known as yellow fever.

CAAMFest2013-9The other portions of the festival that caught my attention was the Astroboy exhibition celebrating the character/franchise’s 60th Anniversary. The show room was dimly lit but showcased vintage comic books, posters and had the old school anime playing on one projector while another had a Wii console hooked up for fans to play the Astroboy video game.

In the same gallery hosted the two “Cook Salons” Mixing Masala and (Bitter)Sweet  the following day. Both featured local Bay Area companies with unique products such as traditional chai tea (The Chai Cart), which is nothing like the sugary Americanized version of Chai some may be used to. Then there were the delicious chocolates of Socola and Sosu Sauces featuring Srirachup; a wonderfully balanced ketchup made with sriracha! I’m not a spicy foods kind of girl but the mild heat in the ketchup gave it just the right kick. I still need to hunt them down somewhere in the Bay Area to buy some jars as they’re seasonal and hard to find! Sosu and Socola even joined forces to make a special sriracha infused chocolate truffle just for us CAAM go-ers. And yes, it was delectable. For more photos of the Cook Salons check out our Flickr.

Overall I had an amazing time meeting people in the community. If you have a chance to attend even one screening or event at CAAMFest 2014, I highly recommend it!

Keep up to date with CAAM at the links below:
Official Site: http://caamfest.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CAAMFest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/caam
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+Caamfest/posts
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/CAAMCHANNEL
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/centerforasianamericanmedia
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/caamboard/

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