The Center for Asian American Media returns this week with a mostly virtual festival that features more than 40 films, two drive-in nights at Fort Mason Center and other programs.
This week, Pass the Remote is handing it over to CAAMFest Forward, which kicks off Wednesday and ends Sunday with the COVID-19-focused documentary, “76 Days.”
For tickets and a full lineup, visit https://caamfest.com/forward/.
“7000 Miles: Homecoming”: San Lorenzo hip-hop artist Ruby Ibarra and her band the Balikbayans pack up their bags and head to the Philippines in director Evelyn Obamos’ short documentary, receiving a world premiere. Ibarra performs in Tagalog, Waray, and English. Part of the fest’s “A Celebration of Filipina Musical Talent,” it’ll be shown Wednesday at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco after a 7 p.m. concert with opera star Lea Salonga who will be accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The event, unfortunately, is sold out.
“A Simple Life” and “My Prince Edward”: The second drive-in experience comes the following night, Thursday, with a celebration of Hong Kong Cinema. The double bill couldn’t be better with Ann Hui’s celebrated award-winner “A Simple Life,” a compassionate 2011 narrative feature starring the great Andy Lau as a film producer who takes on the caregiving duties for the person (Deannie Yip) who has cared for his family for years. That’s followed by the U.S. premiere of “My Prince Edward,” which has received raves for its depiction of romantic expectations and secrets from the past. It marks the directorial debut of Hong Kong’s Norris Wong. The screening begins at 7 p.m. https://caamfest.com/forward/special_events/drive-in-day-2-hong-kong-cinema-showcase-se/
“Coming Home Again”: Wayne Wang’s somber memory of caregiving receives a national premiere at CAAMFest Forward and is its opening-night feature. Shot in San Francisco and based on Chang-rae Lee’s New Yorker piece about caring for his dying mother, Wang’s film weaves in food and Korean traditions to tell a piercing, personal tale. As the son who abandons New York so he can return home, Justin Chon gives the best performance yet in his career. He’s aided in achieving that by the presence of Jackie Chung who brings dignity and grace to the role of the dying matriarch. Available only to Bay Area residents. https://caamfest.com/forward/movies/coming-home-again/
“Definition Please”: Not only did Sujata Day write and direct this edgy family dramedy, but she also stars as Monica, a stuck-in-a-rut former spelling bee champ ignoring her dreams to tend to her mother. When her personal trainer brother Sonny (Ritesh Rajan) returns to the fold in Pennsylvania, family drama is taken up numerous notches. Although played a bit too broadly at times, Day’s ambitious feature, a Centerpiece selection, accomplishes a lot in its brief 90-or-so minutes — addressing mental health, sexism and Indian stereotypes. Both Day and Rajan have charisma to spare for this frisky and fleet rabble-rouser with a lot on its sharp mind. Available only to Bay Area residents. https://caamfest.com/forward/movies/centerpiece-definition-please/
“Take Out Girl”: Hisonni Johnson’s sobering drama taps into the reality of our times as a desperate L.A. woman (Hedy Wong, who also co-wrote the screenplay) hustles to save her family’s restaurant business. Johnson’s feature is raw and real, uncompromising in what it has to say about struggling to stay afloat in a sea filled with sharks and no helping hand in sight. https://caamfest.com/forward/movies/take-out-girl/