Travel & Places United States

Bay Area Chefs, Ping Pong Players, Chinatown and More Close SF’s Asian Film Fest 2015

San Francisco’s Asian film festival, the largest of its kind in North America, brings about 110 films and videos from 20 countries to the Bay Area during March 12-22, 2015. Named CAAMFest and organized by the Center for Asian American Media, the annual showcase of Asian and Asian American filmmakers and movies also presents film screenings accompanied by music and Asian cuisine. Below are some highlights of the second half of CAAMFest 2015.

A separate article covers the first half of the film festival

--A MOMENT IN TIME, March 17
San Francisco Chinatown’s movie theaters opened in the 1920s to bring cinema and opera to Chinese laborers, showed newsreels of China in the 1950s and fed the http://martialarts.D106/   martial-arts craze in the 1970s. The film by Oscar-winning documentarian Ruby Yang, a San Francisco Art Institute alumnus, features interviews with industry notables like director John Woo and cinematographer Christopher Doyle.

This film recaptures the vibrancy of Cambodia’s culture before 1975, before the Khmer Rouge regime exterminated so many of the country’s musicians, artists and others. Director John Pirozzi’s documentary is especially timely because the 40th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge’s take-over of Cambodia is April 17. Pirozzi is expected to attend both screenings. The March 18 showing includes a performance by Cambodian American musician Bochan.

--SUPPER CLUB, March 19
Three-Michelin-star chef Alvin Leung of Hong Kong visits the San Francisco Bay Area to compare notes and cook with top chefs Michael Mina, Benu’s Corey Lee, Adam Mali of San Francisco’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Ken Tominaga of Sonoma’s Hana. Innovation, techniques, cross-cultural flavors and the region’s culinary scene are all food for thought and talk.  

CAAMFest honoree and San Francisco native Arthur Dong has won three Sundance Film Festival awards and the Peabody Award, been nominated for an Oscar and served on the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is known for insightfully probing sensitive and under-the-radar subjects such as Chinatown’s history and murderers of gay men. Film critic and author B. Ruby Rich talks with Dong about his three-decade career, accompanied by clips from his films.

San Francisco documentarian Felicia Lowe’s most personal film makes its world premiere at CAAMFest. Chinese Couplets traces three generations of Chinese women in her family, including what Lowe calls “the hardest story for me to crack,” her mother (whose name changed six times). Lowe’s previous documentaries have explored ChinatownAngel Island and Chinese-American history. A Q&A session with Lowe follows the screening.  

--TOP SPIN, March 22
Bay Area natives Ariel Hsing and Lily Zhang and New Yorker Michael Landers give up the “normal” schedule of American high-schoolers, driven by dreams to make the U.S. Olympics table tennis team and go to the 2012 London Games. They endure grueling ping-pong workouts (including at training camps in China) while juggling parental expectations, college applications, friendships and adolescence.

--9-MAN, March 22
Played on gritty urban concrete and passed from generation to generation, this Chinatown-born form of volleyball features nine guys per team, trash talk and racial rules and makes other volleyball games look tame. 9-Man traces the game’s origins, stemming from the segregation of Chinese Americans in the 1930s, and shows the dedication of and rivalry among teams spread throughout North America, who compete for the sport’s championship every Labor Day weekend.  

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