This week for our weekly five Bay Area-related films to see, we’re handing it over to CAAMFest Online: Heritage at Home, a shortened version of the esteemed annual film festival.
The virtual fest runs from May 13-22 and celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. It kicks off with Lynn Chen’s heralded narrative directorial debut “I Will Make You Mine” (already sold out) and ends with a Bay Area fave “Fruit Fly” from the talented San Francisco filmmaker H.P. Mendoza. There’s even a watch party for San Francisco filmmaker Alice Wu’s adored Netflix release “The Half of It,” and a spotlight shined on the influential director/writer. For foodies, there’s a trio of tempting short docs to add to your cinematic meal.
For the complete lineup, visit https://caamfest.com/2020.
Here are five must-sees:
“And She Could Be Next”: Award-winning filmmaker Grace Lee teamed up with Marjan Safinia for a two-part POV series to air/stream on PBS. The inspiring documentary explores how women of color are not merely reshaping the political discussion, but standing up, organizing and lifting up voices too often ignored by male-dominated political parties. Ava DuVernay serves as the series executive producer. It’s hot off the Tribeca Film Festival, and you can be that cool kid who gets a jump on watching the first part — slated to air June 30 —by snapping up a ticket for the viewing at 5 p.m. on May 14.
“First Vote”: It’s not politics as usual in Yi Chen’s illuminating hourlong documentary that peers into the voting habits of four Chinese Americans during the 2016 to 2018 elections. From a shrewd female real estate broker to a schoolteacher, the passionate views expressed glimpse into the diversity of opinions from these Ohio and North Carolina residents. Expect to be surprised by what they say resonates for them. (5 p.m. May 15; free screening)
“Mother Tongue”: In this beautifully shot and reflective short narrative feature, a Chinese American daughter grapples with becoming a new mother while her mother’s mind slowly deteriorates. Writer/director Eris Qian’s minimalist structure and quiet tone speaks volumes about a heart-wrenching experience many families know all too well. (2 p.m. May 22)
“I’m Okay (And Neither Are You)”: As part of the healing process after a sexual assault, Drama del Rosario turns the camera on himself and his boyfriend. His candor is admirable as he frankly addresses his depression and anxiety, and the interior and exterior toll it takes. It’s affecting and makes those dealing with similar devastating issues not feel alone. (2 p.m., May 20)
“Fruit Fly”: H.P. Mendoza — one of the Bay Area’s most inventive filmmakers — has an innate ability to lift spirits. In Mendoza’s musically-inclined 2010 feature, a young Filipina playwright befriends an artsy cadre of pals in San Francisco’s Mission District while she searches for her identity. What’s exceptional about this being the closing night feature, is that this cult fave is also a sing-along. So don’t be shy, just nab a ticket for the viewing at 5 p.m. on May 22 and belt those songs out — including the opener on a BART train.