Meet the CAAMFest36 Staff

Meet some of the folks who make CAAMFest happen, and hear about how they practice self-care during busy times! Scroll to the bottom of the post to learn more about some of our favorite snacks – perfect for moviegoers and a better alternative to flavored tobacco designed to look like snacks!

This post is sponsored by the California Department of Public Health. They are spreading the word to parents about the dangers of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigs, which more and more kids use because they come in flavors like mango and strawberry. In fact there are over 15,000 e-cigarette flavors on the market, many of which are enticing to kids.  And, 80% of kids who ever used tobacco started with flavored tobacco. All tobacco products are toxic and highly addictive. Visit for more info.


Title: Festival and Exhibitions Director

What do you do at CAAMFest? Year Round Curation including CAAMFest36

What was your favorite Festival film or program? Oh that’s a hard one to answer because I programmed a majority of the festival. So I’m going to give a non-answer (sorry) and say my favorite moments are the audience reactions. This year, there were some really daring, exciting and at times, challenging films. I love our audiences and their heightened knowledge and passion for Asian American media and culture. And of course, there were some fascinating Q&As.

How do you practice self-care before and during the Festival? Good question… well, luckily the CAAM staff live pretty healthy lives and that inspires me. I love to cook and regularly make healthy meals. I do my best to find a balance between work and personal life.

Speaking of self-care, has tobacco use impacted your life or someone close to you in any way? Absolutely. My parents and most of their friends smoked when I was growing up. Up until my late twenties, I did as well. At first I thought I only smoked socially and/or under stress, but realized my usage kept growing. I made the decision after my second CAAMFest to stop and really happy I did.

What does “Culture, in Every Sense,” mean to you? It means a lot to me. Culture has so much power and is at the core of our CAAMFest36 programming. There was such a diversity in films, stories and artists that we hope at CAAMFest36 we can collectively share, explore and celebrate culture.

AMA Question: Most embarrassing thing said to a star of a movie and who was it? Ha, spilling the T….actually once in a Q&A, there was a surprise cast member in the audience (who I didn’t know much about). So I asked a question about a previous film…that they were not in. That’s was embarrassing. No names here, but I’ve learned my lesson! 


Title: Development Manager

What do you do at CAAMFest? I manage our CAAMFest sponsorships and year-round strategic partnerships, as well as plan and produce events.

What was your favorite Festival film or program? HERITAGE SF, or as some of us fondly call it in the office, CAAMchella (though I know this comparison is problematic!) I love that this event was free, all-ages, and featured some truly amazing talent. Even more, it was an amazing collaboration between some of the key arts and culture groups in the Bay and LA. This event is proof of what we can accomplish when we work in community. And of course, YUNA was amazing!

How do you practice self-care before and during the Festival? Fortunately, the CAAM staff is pretty good about looking out for one another. Our respective “busy times” are staggered, so we remind each other to drink water and grab one lunch for one another when needed. My personal self-care arsenal includes Korean skincare, serialized podcasts, and spin class with the CAAMily! Reading the news and staying aware of world issues puts our work into perspective as well.

Speaking of self-care, has tobacco use impacted your life or someone close to you in any way? Most definitely. There are a lot of smokers on both sides of my family, so cigarettes were always around when I was younger. My dad started smoking when he was 14 in Korea! Things shifted when I developed pretty severe allergies as a kid and later, asthma. Between my health and a greater understanding of the risks of smoking, most of my family has kicked the habit.

What does “Culture, in Every Sense,” mean to you? This year’s tagline has so much potency, and I’m reminded of the Jeff Chang quote that we paraphrase a lot around the office – the one about how culture is downstream from politics! We need immersive cultural experiences to help break down barriers and building bridges across different communities. Culture is vital for our community’s self-actualization too.

AMA Question: What was (one of) the most moving event(s) you’ve experienced at CAAMFest? One of the most moving moments for me was watching CHANGING SEASONS: ON THE MASUMOTO FAMILY FARM with the whole Masumoto family in attendance. That film resonates deeply with me because of the mixed-race, rural, and queer themes. It’s still one of my Festival favorites. 


Title: Public Relations Coordinator

What do you do at CAAMFest? Mostly publicity!

What was your favorite Festival film or program? I loved the short programs because they are oftentimes films I never get to see outside of working or attending film festivals. Specifically, I loved the animated shorts because cartoons are the best! And there’s so much work that goes into animation that sometimes I feel it’s under-appreciated… that’s my more official reason for loving animated shorts.

How do you practice self-care before and during the Festival? Once a week, so far, I’ve also pressured some new friends (and current co-workers) to go hiking throughout the Bay Area.

I also try to go to the gym (thanks community partner FITNESS SF!) but then gorge myself on all the amazing food that SF has to offer. I’m only in SF for about 3 months unless someone out there has a full-time permanent position for me *ahem* so I’ve been trying to hit up all the big name eats. After festival, my friends are driving out to SF and we’ll be camping up north! That should hopefully be relaxing…

How are you a tastemaker? Before coming to SF, I went to culinary school and worked at a restaurant. I’ve made many tastes by creating specials for work such as a Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken and Waffles dish. But, I often make tastes to consume myself, too. One recent hobby involved making tastes by mashing all the grapes in my friend’s backyard. I usually pair that taste with others I make on the stove.

What does “Culture, in Every Sense,” mean to you? This phrase is the epitome of what I want to do when I travel. I want to experience culture, in every sense where ever it is that I travel. I want to eat the food; smell the wine; converse with the locals; walk down historic paths; explore the famous landmarks; sweat off the calories with new friends; touch the sites, and experience every part of culture that city has to offer me. Culture, in every sense, is how I travel.

AMA question: When it’s crunch time and the opening night is starting in a few minutes and the star or director of the opening night film is no where to be found, what do you do to stay calm? I don’t really do anything special. I’d most likely start trying to figure out ways to find that person! Call everyone! Walkie everyone! code red! Someone stall but don’t be obvious!


Title: Digital and Interactive Media Manager

What do you do at CAAMFest? Social Media!

What was your favorite Festival film or program? This is a selfish response but the Episodic Program, since I curated it! There are so many great Asian American makers and stories to be told in this space, and I’m excited that we got to showcase some of these this year! I’m also a fan of UNLOVABLE, directed and written by Asian American women.

How do you practice self-care before and during the Festival? I’ve been getting really into Spin class. It helps me relieve stress and makes me calmer during hectic times!

Speaking of self-care, has tobacco use impacted your life or someone close to you in any way? Yes, absolutely. My Japanese grandfather smoked all his life. He quit when he was in his late 70’s, due to asthma and becoming diagnosed with Lymphoma, which he eventually passed away from.

What does “Culture, in Every Sense,” mean to you? It represents the breadth of what we do at CAAM and the festival and through that, the breadth and diversity of the Asian American experience. It’s really incredible to be part of an organization that promotes and highlights our stories and voices.


Title: Festival Volunteer Coordinator

What do you do at CAAMFest? I have the honor of working closely with all of our volunteers who for the past 36 years, have made it possible for CAAMFest to become the nation’s largest Asian American festival for film, music, and food!

What was your favorite Festival film or program? I loved our CAAMFest shorts programs.

How do you practice self-care before and during the Festival? I try to practice self-care by getting enough hours of sleep, taking walks whenever I find the free time and drinking tons of water.

How are you a tastemaker? I’m a tastemaker in the sense that I like to contribute, celebrate and pursue the things I believe in and am passionate about.

What does “Culture, in Every Sense,” mean to you? To me, “Culture, in Every Sense”  is to unabashedly celebrate one’s cultural roots and to embrace and appreciate the uniqueness that comes along with it!

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There are more than 15,500 e-cigarette flavors on the market and counting. Many flavored tobacco products are designed to look like snacks, so here is a list of some healthy flavored snacks that you and our young guests can enjoy instead of flavored tobacco products, as recommended by our CAAM staff!

  1. Popcorn: This all-time classic is low-calorie and you won’t feel like you’re missing out at the theatre.
  2. Frozen grapes: When it’s a hot day and you’re craving something sweet, frozen grapes are the perfect treat.
  3. Berries: They’re packed with antioxidants and have a good amount of fiber to help regulate your digestive system.
  4. Dark chocolate: Can’t cut out the candy completely? Opt for some dark chocolate, which may improve blood flow and serotonin levels.
  5. Nuts and granola bars: If you’re really hungry, a handful of nuts or a granola bar can provide enough protein to fill you up for awhile.

The California Department of Public Health is a proud Sponsor of the 36th CAAMFest. CAAM thanks them for their support of ANATOMY OF A MUSIC VIDEO: RUBY IBARRA and POWER IN UNITY!