Meet the Featured Guests for Our Celebration of Storytelling

CAAM Forward Celebration of Storytelling
Meet our special guests and join us Saturday, November 21 for this virtual event to honor 40 years of uplifting Asian American stories

We are excited to announce a great lineup of speakers for our 40th anniversary event, CAAM Forward: Celebration of Asian American Storytelling. It’s a great combination of established and up and coming talents that represents where we came from and where we are headed.

Tamlyn Tomita

Tamlyn TomitaAcclaimed actress Tamlyn Tomita will be emceeing our CAAM Forward Celebration! A dedicated advocate and supporter for representation in Hollywood, Tomita was one of the narrators of the  PBS documentary series Asian Americans, co-produced by CAAM and WETA. She is also well-known for her roles on The Good Doctor, The Joy Luck Club, and Karate Kid 2.



Helen Zia

helen zia

CAAM Director of Programs Donald Young will be in conversation with the legendary writer, activist, and Fulbright scholar about this time of reckoning and the role CAAM and Asian American voices play in America. “CAAM makes visible the heartwarming, joyful, tragic, funny, infuriating, complicated REAL stories of our diverse Asian and Pacific Islander communities,” says Zia. “In doing so, CAAM brings forth stories that move AAPIs from margin to center, asserting our full, complex and beautiful humanity.”


Thao Nguyen

Thao NguyenThao Nguyen is a songwriter, musician, producer, and leader of the venerable indie outfit Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. She has been a critically acclaimed touring and recording artist for over 15 years, releasing five studio albums. She was also the subject of the CAAM-funded documentary Nobody Dies. She will have a special performance at the celebration. “I grew up believing I had to downplay, forsake, or even demean my Asian identity. I brought this entrenched belief too far into my adult life and my music career. Those who know, know that denial and shame of self is insidious,” Nguyen shares. “I have suffered for it but I am near free of it, and I thank CAAM for helping me recognize and take pride in the people I come from, my whole voice, and my entire story.”

Ruby Ibarra

Ruby IbarraIt’s been quite a year for this Bay Area rapper, with the releases of both her new album and documentary 7000 Miles: Homecoming, which premiered at the Filipino American History Month Drive-In event during CAAMFest FORWARD. We’re excited to once again welcome Ruby for an encore performance during our Celebration of Storytelling. “We know how white Hollywood still is and we know how difficult it is to put our stories on these mainstream stages. So, being able to celebrate with our community and see our faces on these large theater screens,” she told CAAM earlier this year. “It’s beyond anything I ever imagined and beyond anything I could have ever described, and I saw the power in that.”

Meet the Storytellers

You’ve read the profiles  of our CAAM40 Storytellers throughout this year. During our Celebration, you’ll hear from them in their own words.

Plus, our special guests filmmaker Alice Wu (The Half of It, Saving Face), H.P. Mendoza (Fruit Fly, Bitter Melon), and Karim Ahmad (Director of Outreach & Inclusion at the Sundance Institute) will also join us for a live discussion with CAAM Festival and Exhibitions Director Masashi Niwano and Talent Development and Special Projects Manager Sapana Sakya.

CAAM-themed snack box from La Cocina!

La Cocina Asian Food BoxWe believe food can tell stories, too. In honor of our 40th anniversary, the San Francisco food business incubator La Cocina is partnering with CAAM to curate a sampler box featuring some of the Asian American women who have entered the restaurant business through the support and mentorship of this program.

The box will feature treats from 1000 Layer Bakery, Bakelove, Damansara, and Azalina’s.



RSVP for the Celebration of Storytelling

Saturday, November 21, 2020
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. PST

Click here to reserve your free ticket and receive a link to this online event.

All proceeds for this fundraiser will support the CAAM Forward Campaign to sustain and strengthen CAAM’s vital work in building community, supporting filmmakers and artists, and realizing special initiatives that uplift marginalized voices. Thanks to supporters like you, CAAM is a recognized standard-bearer and largest presenter of diverse Asian American content in the country. But there is still much more to do to ensure the breadth of authentic Asian American stories are seen and heard.

Two anonymous supporters have generously pledged to match up to $125,000 of all donations. Donate today, and your gift will have twice the impact thanks to our donors’ matching gifts.

Unable to attend?

If you are unable to attend but would like to support CAAM’s 40th Anniversary CAAM Forward Campaign with a fully tax-deductible donation, please click here.