CAAM is proud to present several one-of-a-kind programs at CAAMFest 2015: CAAM’s Muslim Youth Voices Project, Memories to Light: Asian American home movies, Verses in Exile and the CAAM Fellowship Program.
CAAM’s Muslim Youth Voices Project is a series of workshops that teaches filmmaking to diverse groups of Muslim American youth. It is funded by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program with lead instructor and Sundance Award-winning filmmaker Musa Syeed. This year, the festival will premiere several of the youth films from the New York and Fremont, CA workshops that took place last summer.
Jannah Sellars, 15, is one of the teens who participated in the Fremont workshop. Her film, Wings of Freedom, is a narrative short about a girl with superpowers. She reflects on the impact that the free, intensive workshop has had on her. “I think this program is very important,” she notes. “It gives Muslim youth the opportunity to express themselves and their ideas in a very unique way. I think the biggest way [Muslim Youth Voices] has impacted me, was it really gave me a lot more confidence. While making our film there were many points where I doubted my ideas and my skills and wanted to discard it and start over…but the wonderful people whom I was working with really instilled in all of us that you have you believe in yourself if you want others to believe in you.”
Another one of CAAM’s unique projects is Memories to Light, an innovative Asian American home movies initiative, where we help digitize reels and turn them into meaningful experiences for families. CAAMFest 2015 presents Memories to Light: Kip Fulbeck, “a live home movie performance by pioneering artist, spoken word performer and filmmaker Kip Fulbeck.” This year’s special Memories to Light presentation will be just as memorable as past ones.
“I’ve always loved the CAAM festival, and always counted on it to bring in great audiences and great screenings,” Kip Fulbeck tells us. “The energy, commitment, and dedication of both the staff and the audiences is palpable. It’s always been a privilege to be part of it in the past, and it’s honor to be part of it again this year.”
Verses in Exile is a unique CAAM-funded project that includes a four-part web series. Director Masahiro Sugano is back this year with the premiere of the “prequel” to his award-winning Cambodian Son. Verses in Exile also focuses on poet Kosal Khiev. “I think CAAM’s expertise in reaching a wider audience is the most rewarding to filmmakers…to be able to spread the work through CAAM’s network and have it in a library for future generations to watch, appreciate and learn is a small but comforting justice to our agony and existential crisis.” Sugano will premiere his four-part “prequel” to Cambodian Son, Verses in Exile, about exiled Cambodian poet Kosal Khiev, with the first two episodes at CAAMFest preceding Tashi’s Turbine, and on PBS.org starting March 19, 2015 with a new episode premiering online each week.
One of the key ways CAAM supports emerging Asian Americans in filmmaking, TV and other media is through our CAAM Fellowship Program, a collaboration between independent producer Karin Chien and CAAM. The program started in 2010 with the goal of providing mentorship to emerging Asian Americans in TV, film and other media arenas. Cinematographer and 2013 Fellow Eric Lin attests to the strengths of the program: “[Other film labs] focus on individual projects and sidesteps the larger question of what it means to sustain a career as a film/media-make,” Lin said. “The tailored CAAM Fellowship really showed a commitment by CAAM to foster our growth as artists and helped us expand our notions of what is possible with our careers.” The CAAM Fellowship Program is made possible with special support provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the Comcast Foundation and Southwest Airlines.
CAAM Projects at CAAMFest 2015