SFIAAFF29 in a Nutshell

On behalf of the Center for Asian American Media, thank you for your support of the 29th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival!

On behalf of the Center for Asian American Media, thank you for your support of the 29th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival! The Festival wrapped with an attendance of over 25,000, including over 200 filmmakers, actors and industry guests. More than half of the Festival’s screenings were sold out and the program featured 5 world premieres, 7 North American premieres and 4 U.S. premieres of feature-length films.

The festival opened with the highly anticipated WEST IS WEST, starring legendary Om Puri, with newcomer Aqib Khan in attendance to present the EAST IS EAST sequel. Closing the Festival was the San Francisco premiere of Dave Boyle’s (WHITE ON RICE, SFIAAFF ’05) new comedy SURROGATE VALENTINE, starring Bay Area indie icon Goh Nakamura, who performed at the sold-out screening.

In between, highlights included a star-studded Centerpiece Presentation of Le Thanh Son’s Vietnamese action powerhouse CLASH, with stars Ngo Thanh Van and Johnny Tri Nguyen on hand for a lively Q&A, a Spotlight on veteran filmmaker Gurinder Chadha, a Retrospective on Southeast Asian horror cinema, an Out of the Vaults screening of CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OLYMPICS, contextualized by special guest Yunte Huang, and an on-stage conversation with documentarian Ramona Diaz.

SFIAAFF also introduced a new lineup of interactive and live programs, including an inaugural independent game exhibition, “Pixels, Politics and Play,” the all-day Festival Forum featuring live music and performances, and a hefty slate of panels, including LOOK WHO’S LAUGHING NOW with comedians Ali Wong, Thu Tran and Anisha Nagarajan, and SUITE SUITE CHINATOWN with President of the SF Board of Supervisors David Chiu and Professor at the University of Hawaii and Senior Advisor of the Smithsonian APA Program Dr. Konrad Ng.

Following SF’s Closing Night, the festival opened its 10th anniversary in San Jose with a sold-out screening of UPAJ, a CAAM-funded documentary following the collaboration between Indian Kathak dance master Pandit Chitresh Das and tap dance phenom Jason Samuels Smith. The film was accompanied by performances from the Chhandam Youth Company and by Pandit Das and Smith.

The winners of this year’s juried competitions and audience awards are:


Best Narrative Feature: THE IMPERIALISTS ARE STILL ALIVE!, Dir. Zeina Durra

Special Jury Award: THE TAQWACORES, Dir. Eyad Zahra

Jurors: Aseem Chhabra (entertainment writer), Quentin Lee (filmmaker), Leonardo Nam (actor)


Best Documentary Feature: MADE IN INDIA, Dirs. Rebecca Haimowitz and Vaishali Sinha

Visual Achievement Award: SUMMER PASTURE, Dirs. Lynn True and Nelson Walker

Award for Achievement in Citizen Journalism: OPEN SEASON, Dirs. Lu Lippold and Mark Tang

Jurors: Anita Chang (educator), Jessie Mangaliman (journalist), Alex Rivera (filmmaker)


Narrative Feature: SURROGATE VALENTINE, Dir. Dave Boyle

Documentary Feature: ONE VOICE, Dir. Lisette Marie Flanary

This year’s festival and its successes were possible because of the vision and support of individuals like yourself and we want to extend to you our heartfelt thanks and appreciation.