CAAMfest 2022: Asian American film series returns at critical time

Numerous Bay Area activities are in the works to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, with the standout for movie fans being CAAMFest.

The Center for Asian American Media event features an array of feature-length and short films, as well as musical performances, talks and special events to mark the fest’s 40th year, a milestone that finds organizers emerging from a two-year hiatus from in-person screenings.

This year’s program will be a hybrid of live and online viewings, running May 12-22, with in-person screenings in San Francisco and Oakland. And to CAAM executive director Stephen Gong, the event’s return could not come at a more critical time.

“The continuing rise of anti-Asian hate crimes makes the return of CAAMFest especially vital,” he said in  statement.

It also marks the first festival for Thúy Trần, CAAM’s new festival and exhibitions director.

Most live film screenings and events are $13-$14. Find the schedule, information on On Demand offerings and other details, and buy tickets at

Here are some films not to miss.

“Bad Axe”: Something rather special, even unexpected, happened when emerging filmmaker David Siev left New York City at the start of the pandemic and moved back to the rural Michigan town where his Cambodian-Mexican family lives. The result is this multiple South by Southwest Film Festival winner, an engrossing video recollection of what transpired during that time.

With startling candor, “Bad Axe” expresses the resiliency and feistiness of a family of immigrant parents as a younger generation chips in to help their parents’ restaurant located in Trumpland.

Siev’s intimate portrait doesn’t shirk from the uncomfortable and hard stuff, including an intense, volatile Black Lives Matter downtown protest organized after the murder of George Floyd, dad Chun’s unresolved anger issues stemming from being a survivor of the Khmer Rouge and the genocide he bore witness to, daughter Jaclyn’s vigorous and demanding role as the defender/protector of the family and on to enduring the vitriol of unmasked, confrontational customers who refuse to put their masks on.

Siev’s documentary confronts these thorny issues head-on. The biggest takeaway here is how family members came out this pressure cooker of a time with a greater appreciation for one another.

Details: 6 p.m. May 15 at the Great Star in San Francisco.

“Delikado,” screening at CAAMfest, details the efforts of environmental activists on an island in the Philippines. (Thoughtful Robot Productions) 

“Delikando”: Political corruption and the lucrative tourism industry play prominent roles in the background of journalist/filmmaker Karl Malakunas’ blistering investigative documentary that is as suspenseful as it is important. Set on Palawan, a gorgeous island of natural wonders in the Philippines, it takes us deep into a deadly and ugly tug-of-war between developers and activists and townspeople over a critical rainforest land that’s being stripped of its minerals and denuded of its forests. Besides the natural resources, what’s also at stake is a way of life for inhabitants.

Malakunas recounts exiting president Rodrigo Duterte’s devastating war on drugs along with a pivotal mayoral election and, primarily, a group of activists as they attempt to stop the pillaging (most …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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