CAAMFest: Asian-American films take center stage in mid-March

On Thursday, the Center for Asian American Media announced the lineup for this year’s CAAMFest. From March 9 through March 19, the festival will screen over 50 feature films – ten of them world premieres – plus shorts, live concerts, and parties.

CAAMFest starts at the on March 9 at the Castro with The Tiger Hunter
– a comedy starring Community‘s Danny Pudi as an Indian who comes to America to seek his fortune in 1979, and discovers that the promised land doesn’t keep its promises.

Ten days letter, the festival will close with the documentary, The Chinese Exclusion Act, also at the Castro. For those who don’t know the history, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 outlawed Chinese from immigrating to the United States.

Immigrants? Racist government policy? Yes, the theme this year is pretty clear. As the American government turns more and more to xenophobia, CAAMFest is picking films that remind us of the need to fight intolerance. So it’s not surprising that the festival will screen three films about the relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II: Good Luck Soup, Relocation, Arkansas — Aftermath of Incarceration, and Resistance at Tule Lake.

Other films that look interesting include:

Those are all new films. Old ones to be screened include The Fall of the I-Hotel, Who Killed Vincent Chin?, and Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

The festival website lists ten venues for the festival, most of them in San Francisco. The Mission will be the festival’s epicenter, with the New Mission, the Roxie, and the Gray Area. Appropriately, the Great Star Theater in Chinatown and the Asian Art Museum will be part of the show. But so will the The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco and the New People Cinema. The New Parkway will be one of three Oakland venues.

This year’s CAAMFest provides some important lessons in these dark days. But it will probably also provide considerable fun.

I’ll provide some mini-reviews in the near future.