Join us for CAAMFest Online: Heritage at Home

Take part in a reimagined festival experience from home, May 13-22, 2020.

During these times when so many of us are sheltering in place, we’re reimagining the festival experience. From May 13-22, 2020, CAAMFest Online: Heritage at Home will be providing an online alternative in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage month. With the theme of Heritage at Home, this event will provide the community and engagement that CAAMFest is known for, while maintaining social distance. CAAMFest Online: Heritage at Home will feature over 20 digital events, ranging from online film screenings to interactive panels, watch parties and house parties featuring live performances, all free of charge. 

The Asian American community has been uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the response from the community has been urgent and inspiring — whether it is working on the front lines, raising awareness about anti-Asian discrimination, or bringing creative solutions to the breakdown in social services across the country. It is more important than ever that CAAM takes this moment to listen to and amplify the diverse voices and experiences of the Asian American community. We are proud to continue our 40-year tradition of cultivating community through storytelling, particularly during these uncertain times.

“While we’re disappointed that we can’t gather in person this May, CAAM is hoping to nurture the same sense of community and connection, bringing together viewers, media makers, and advocates together through our slate of virtual programs,” says festival director Masashi Niwano.

Key Programming

  • Opening Night Film: I Will Make You Mine, May 13: I Will Make You Mine (SXSW 2020 Selection), the long-awaited third part to the Surrogate Valentine trilogy by writer/director Lynn Chen, who also stars as the character Rachel in the film. Three women wrestle with life’s difficulties while confronting their past relationships with the same man. Followed by a House Party featuring a live performance by Bay Area born and raised musician, Goh Nakamura.
  • Closing Night Film: Fruit Fly (10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY), May 22: CAAMFest Online closes with a 10th anniversary screening of H.P. Mendoza’s Fruit Fly, a musical exploration of what it means to be Gay and Asian in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, followed by a House Party with a special reunion and live performance by the film’s cast. This will be an interactive Sing-A-Long (From-Your-Couch) version of the film.
  • Spotlight: Musician Ruby Ibarra, May 19: Filipina American rapper, music producer, and spoken word artist from San Lorenzo, California. Ruby raps in Tagalog, Waray, and English and her raps concern her cultural heritage and her experiences as an immigrant to the United States from the Philippines. We will be sitting down with Ibarra and explore her music career so far and what’s coming next.
  • Spotlight: Filmmaker Alice Wu, May 20: Award Winning Filmmaker Alice Wu (Saving Face, CAAMFest 2005 Opening Night Film) is about to release her new Asian American narrative feature, The Half of It on Netflix. Join us as CAAMFest Festival Director Masashi Niwano talks to Wu about her career and learns more about her new feature. Afterwards, we will be hosting a watch party in partnership with Netflix.
  • Filmmaker Summit: Work From Home Edition, May 14-15: CAAM’s annual convening of mediamakers goes online, with Asian American filmmakers, CAAM 2020 mentors and fellows leading panel discussions, networking happy hours and workshops on filmmaking during these unique times. Topics include Filmmaking In The Time of COVID-19, Personal Narratives in Documentary, and a Grant Writing workshop.

More Highlights

  • Focus on Bay Area Stories and Storytellers Although we are sheltering in place, it’s still important to remember and celebrate our local communities of filmmakers, artists, restaurateurs, store owners, and others. Local showcases includes
    • Filmmakers Alice Wu (The Half of It), H.P. Mendoza (Fruit Fly), James Q. Chan (You Are Here), Manjula Varghese (The Food Historian), Royce Akifumi Wilmot (Takahashi Market: Since 1906), Lisa Yadao, Irene Yadao and Michelle Sampior (Roots and Wings: Yana Gilbuena)
    • Musicians Ruby Ibarra (Spotlight Honoree), Goh Nakamura and Yea-Ming Chen (I Will Make You Mine)
  • Food Entrepreneurs Yana Gilbuena, Founder of SALO, a moveable Filipino pop-up dinner series (Roots and Wings: Yana Gilbuena), Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik and People’s Kitchen Collective, Local Chefs (The Food Historian), Takahashi Market, Japanese American store in San Mateo (Takahashi Market: Since 1906)
  • Focus on Asian Americans (and POC Communities) in Politics 2020 is a presidential election year and Asian Americans and communities of color are rising up and taking a stand. We explore the complexities of politics and activism through two outstanding documentaries And She Could Be Next (Directed by CAAMFest Spotlight Honoree Alum, Grace Lee) and First Vote (Directed by Yi Chen).
  • Live Performances Through the decades, CAAMFest has been a platform for iconic and emerging music acts. From Awkwafina to Jake Shimabukuro to Thao Nguyen, we are thrilled to continue this legacy by delivering some powerful performances during CAAMFest. We also celebrate culinary artists, who use food for social and cultural change. This May, our live acts includes:
    • Goh Nakamura and Yea-Ming Chen | Music Performance (Opening Night (House) Party, May 13
    • Ruby Ibarra | Music Performance (Spotlight Honoree), May 19
    • Jasmine Cho | Cookie Decorating Demonstration (Cookie Time! With Jasmine Cho), May 21
    • H.P. Mendoza | Music Performance (Closing Night (House) Party, May 22
  • CAAMunity Screenings CAAMFest is a safe space to explore vital community topics and we continue this opportunity online. Directed by Drama Del Rosario, I’m Okay (And Neither Are You) is a personal documentary that delves into sexual assaults within the LGBTQ community and our With My Mother Shorts program include films about two struggling mothers, who need help from their children. Shorts include Awaken (Directed by Leena Pendharkar) and Mother Tongue (Directed by Eris Qian). Lastly, we are treated to a first look at James Q. Chan’s (Forever Chinatown, Chinatown Rising) new documentary, You Are Here, a celebration of San Francisco’s Chinatown and its residents. This thoughtful and exuberant documentary will give audiences a new look at this historic neighborhood. All programs will include an extended community conversation to discuss the topics in the films.

CAAM is actively monitoring health and safety recommendations around COVID-19 and hoping to produce an in-person CAAMFest this October. If that is not possible, our Fall festival will continue to be online. For updates and the complete schedule for CAAMFest Online: Heritage at Home and to reserve your space, visit

A Big Thank You to Our Supporters!

CAAMFest Online: Heritage at Home is made possible with corporate support from AARP; Cooper, White & Cooper, LLP; Motion Picture Association; San Francisco Symphony; Film SF; IW Group; Nielsen; and Filmbot. Special thanks to charity partner St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the following institutional funders: Corporation for Public Broadcasting, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Ford Foundation, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Asian Pacific American Heritage Foundation, and San Francisco Japantown Foundation.

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