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San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival 30

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The Center for Asian American Media hosted the 30th Annual San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival for the past week and a half. The festival is the largest Asian American Film Festival in the United States and draws thousands of supporters every year. The red carpet is pulled out for famous celebrities and those that are up-and-coming. The festival honored Joan Chen for her great achievement in being a pioneer of Asian American media.

This year kicked off at the famous Castro Theatre, with the world premier of “White Frog” directed by Quentin Lee, with a great supporting cast. The feature starred renowned actress Joan Chen, BD wong, Booboo Stewart, Harry Shum Jr., and Tyler Posey. After the premier, guests headed over to the Asian Art Museum to enjoy the always fun and festive Opening Night Gala to mingle, eat and drink, and dance the night away.

Over the weekend, the festival held a program called Directions in Sound, where artists can display their talents through music. The festival also hosted the Festival Forum, which is the festivals largest free program, where guests can watch local artists, performers, and other media. The forum was held in Japantown’s Peace Plaza. The Centerpiece film for the festival was “Yes, We’re Open” by Richard Wong and H.P. Mendoza.

The festival held surprisingly the most entertaining program that I have ever been to at the SFIAAFF, that program came last Wednesday when Tadashi Nakamura brought his documentary about Jake Shimabukuro to the big screen in its premier. The well written and captured scenes throughout Jake’s tour around the world playing the ukulele was one of the best documentaries that I’ve ever seen. Following the documentary was a special live performance by Jake Shimabukuro. Throughout his performance he was joined on stage by The Dominator, who won a contest giving him the opportunity to play live on stage.  Jake then followed up by playing alongside his brother and his mother who sang. The program at the Castro Theatre was a sell out and I cannot remember a time when the whole building was filled.

The SF Closing Night program, Prison Dancer: The interactive Web Musical, was very unique and different, where the audience took participation in this interactive experience. The web musical is based on the Philippine prisoners who were known for dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. The program featured the web based media that was made alive through a karaoke-styled performance by the characters themselves. The characters also got the audience to move and dance along to one of the created dances. The web series will be updated about every two weeks on their website.

Finally, as the festival closed out their week in San Francisco, San Jose became the heart of the festival as the last remaining three days of the festival moved about 50 miles south. The San Jose Opening Night feature was Michael Kang’s “Knots” with actors, such as Sung Kang and Illeana Douglas. The movie was followed up by a gala at the San Jose Museum of Art.

The SFIAAFF Jury Award Winners for 2012 are:
In The Family: Comcast Narrative Award
A Lot Like You: Best Documentary Award
Director Patrick Wang (In The Family): Emerging Filmmaker Award

Loni Ding Award: Mina T. Son for Roots and Reality

If you would like more information about the festival please visit their website at www.caamedia.org

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SFIAAFF Launch Party

SFIAAFF Launch Party

Last night, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) threw a launch party for the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival’s 30th year. The festival showcases a wide array of Asian American media from music to film. The launch party this year was held at 111 Minna which is a space used as an art gallery as well as a lounge/bar. The night kicked off with a good large crowd; more people came than expected. Festival Goers and other friends are expected to visit the largest Asian American Film Festival in the United States this coming March. Festival kicks off on March 8th and will run until the 18th with eight days in San Francisco and three days in San Jose.

For more festival information, please check out http://caamedia.org

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SFIAAFF San Jose Opening Night|Gala and Film Festival

San Jose Opening Night/Gala and Film Festival (click here for images)

The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) is the largest Asian American Film Venue in the country. The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) played host for it in San Francisco and this year CAAM celebrates it’s 30th year as an established Asian American organization.

The San Jose opening night feature film, Au Revoir Taipei, written and directed by Arvin Chen, kicked off the film festivities for the festival at the Camera 12 Cinemas. The cast and crew that were present at the screening were filmmaker Arvin Chen, producers In-Ah Lee and Philipp Steffens, behind the scenes videographer John Wu, and actor Lawrence Ko.

The film was a comedic creative piece about a guy who falls in love for this girl that works in a bookstore, the cat and mouse adventures of wannabe gangsters led on by their boss, and the food, scenes, and other sights around the city of Taipei.

After the San Jose opening night film guests walked over to the former San Jose Museum of Modern Art, now just called the San Jose Museum of Art. Filmmakers, actors, and guests came to celebrate the night away with drinks, snacks, music, mingling, dancing, and a stroll through the galleries.

The festival lasted throughout the weekend with screenings on Saturday and Sunday. Many made the festival in San Francisco and San Jose a great success. Next year plan on supporting Asian American media and watch a screening of some amazing pieces. Until next year’s festival, keep posted for other events that the Center for Asian American Media put on throughout the year. More information can be found on their website at www.asianamericanmedia.org

Pictures of the holiday party can be seen by clicking on the picture link above. If this post was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.

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San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) Closing Night

SFIAAFF Closing Night 2010 (click here for images)

The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) is the largest Asian American Film Venue in the country. The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) played host for it in San Francisco and this year CAAM celebrates it’s 30th year as an established Asian American organization.

The closing night feature film, Au Revoir Taipei, written and directed by Arvin Chen, ended the film festivities for the festival. The cast and crew that were present at the screening were filmmaker Arvin Chen, producers In-Ah Lee and Philipp Steffens, co-producer Michelle Cho, editor Justin Guerrieri, cinematographer Michael Fimognari, and actor Lawrence Ko.

The film was a comedic creative piece about a guy who falls in love for this girl that works in a bookstore, the cat and mouse adventures of wannabe gangsters led on by their boss, and the food, scenes, and other sights around the city of Taipei.

Prior to the screening of Au Revoir Taipei, special awards went out to:

Narrative Competition Best Narrative Feature: DEAR LEMON LIMA, Dir. Suzi Yoonessi

Special Jury Award: THE MOUNTAIN THIEF, Dir. Gerry Balasta

Jury Recognition for Visual Achievement: FOG, Dir. Kit Hui

Best Documentary Feature: WO AI NI MOMMY, Directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal

Following the film guests moved on over to Temple Nightclub to end the festivities here in San Francisco. Filmmakers, actors, and guests came to celebrate the night away with drinks, music, mingling, and dancing.

Pictures of the closing night can be seen by clicking on the picture link above. If this post was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.

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San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

SFIAAFF (click here for images)

The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) is the largest Asian American Film Venue in the country. The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) played host for it in San Francisco and this year CAAM celebrates it’s 30th year as an established Asian American organization.

This year as in the couple of years back the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas played home to the majority of films that were selected to be played at this year’s festival. Other various venues were the Castro Theatre, Viz Cinema, Japantown Peace Plaza, Landmark Clay Theatre, and the Pacific Film Archive Theater.

With the festival in full swing, guests purchased tickets online or at the theaters. Festival goers who are members of the Center of Asian American Media are given special priority in purchasing tickets about a week before ticket sales are open to the public. A highly encouraged way to make sure you get tickets is to join the organization. More information can be found on their website here.

On location of the theaters guests arrive at least 20 minutes prior to seating to ensure the first come first served policy. People that do not have tickets are encouraged to get to the theater much more in advance and try to buy tickets at the box office or take their chances in the rush line. The rush line is a no guarantee chance at purchasing a seat in the theater. Ticket holders that do not attend the screening basically forfeit their seat and ticket and a guest waiting in the rush line can purchase an open seat if available. Highly stressful to be in such a line because there are no guarantees and one can be standing in line and end up being turned away.

Throughout the festival there were about 108 films shown. Films were rated by patrons to determine the best films of the festival and are also judged by a small select panel of judges for special jury awards in a couple of categories.

The following are the results of the top festival award winners in their respective categories:

Narrative Competition Best Narrative Feature: DEAR LEMON LIMA, Dir. Suzi Yoonessi

Special Jury Award: THE MOUNTAIN THIEF, Dir. Gerry Balasta

Jury Recognition for Visual Achievement: FOG, Dir. Kit Hui

Best Documentary Feature: WO AI NI MOMMY, Directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal

COMCAST AUDIENCE AWARD:

Best Narrative Feature: AU REVOIR TAIPEI, Dir. Arvin Chen

Best Documentary Feature (tie):  IN THE MATTER OF CHA JUNG HEE, Directed by Deann Borshay Liem

and A VILLAGE CALLED VERSAILLES, Directed by S. Leo Chiang

More information on the festival award winners can be found here.
Pictures of the film festival can be seen by clicking on the picture link above. If this post was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.

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San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (Directions in Sound)

Directions in Sound (click here for images)

The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) is the largest Asian American Film Venue in the country. The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) played host for it in San Francisco and this year CAAM celebrates it’s 30th year as an established Asian American organization.

Directions in Sound is an event that is put on by the festival. It showcases Asian American talent through music. The musical talent range from DJs, musicians, singers and rappers. The venue for Directions in Sound this year took place at the Mighty Night Club. This year the festival kicked off with mixes from DJ Nako. She is known for playing indie rock, 80s, and Brit Pop Sound.

Followed DJ Nako was a performance by Kero One and Green Tea. Kero One is a hip hop artist that got the crowd going with his unique flows accompanied with music played by Green Tea. Kero One presents his audience with a jazzy soulful flavor and an upbeat synth-driven sound.

Following Kero One, DJ Shortkut mixed the sound up by incorporating a video-mixing set, using music videos by various artists.  DJ Shortkut kept the crowd going for a good amount of time enough to prepare the group for the next performance.

Hot Tub is a Bay Area group that came up on the stage to rile up the crowd to insanity. The performance is given by three ladies in spandex who throw out flows like no other to upbeat hip hop beats. Hot Tub involved the crowd in a couple of ways that if you were there you would not forget. The ladies of Hot Tub jumped into the crowd to get people pumped up, they even piggy backed some of the party goers to get them to go crazy. Towards the end of their set they brought onto the stage several audience members to dance up on the stage to liven up the crowd.

To finish up the night, DJ Navdeep mixed it up with music of a South Asian flare and Bhangra rhythms.

Pictures of the Directions in Sound can be seen by clicking on the picture link above. If this post was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.

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San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (Opening Night)

SFIAAFF Opening Night (click here for images)

The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) is the largest Asian American Film Venue in the country. The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) played host for it in San Francisco and this year CAAM celebrates it’s 30th year as an established Asian American organization.

The festival was very entertaining and enjoyable that I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t as excited to have attended the screenings and the parties. The festival covers a little over a week with screenings in San Francisco and Berkeley and following the festival in SF the film festival moves down to San Jose for an additional three days with limited screenings.

The beginning of festival kicked off with Opening Night at the Castro theater with the feature film “Today’s Special” Directed by David Kaplan, produced by Lillian LaSalle and Nimitt Mankad, featuring Aasif Mandvi and Madhur Jaffrey. The film is a romantic comedy that deals with family and food in New York City. The film was very humorously entertaining and left the crowd literally hungry for more.

Following the film, festival goers attended a gala held at the Asian Art Museum located in the city’s Civic Center. There local vendors distributed some delicious food and drink, while ticket holders were allowed to wander the halls of the museum, mingle in the open spaces, and dance in an upper gallery.

Pictures of opening night can be seen by clicking on the picture link above. If this post was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.

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SF International Asian American Film Festival Launch Party

SFIAAFF Launch Party 2010 (click for images)

The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) Launch Party was held at 111 Minna Gallery located in Downtown San Francisco. The festival is in it’s 28th year and this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).

The party kicked off officially at 8pm and lasted a little past midnight. CAAM members, fans of Asian American media, and the general public were invited out for a night of fun. The night was filled with music from guest DJs, music videos shown on the silver screen, and live performances from local bands who performed on stage. Hundreds of people showed up to be apart of this celebration and guests showed up ready to party on a Thursday night.

This year’s festival will host about 109 short films, feature length films, music videos, and other various types of media. For more information about the festival and Asian American media please check out CAAM’s website by clicking here. Please support Asian American film makers and actors by watch a film or two at this year’s festival and to be more involved throughout the year please join membership with CAAM to be kept in touch with future festival events, private movie screenings, and discounts from local vendors.

Pictures of the launch party can be seen by clicking on the picture link above. If you enjoyed this post and it was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.

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Kamikaze Girls

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On Friday night CAAM (Center for Asian American Media) and the Japantown Merchants Association hosted a free screening of Kamikaze Girls a film by Tetsuya Nakashima in Japantown’s Peace Plaza to welcome the store New People to San Francisco. The film was to kick off the beginning of the 2009 J-Pop Summit Festival.

The free screening was set up outdoors with limited white folding chair seating. Overflow guests were still allowed to come, but they would have to stand and/or sit on the floor or other permanent fixtures in the plaza.

Prior to the screening there were five contestants who dressed up in Lolita styled clothing. Basically Lolita fashion is a Japanese styled wardrobe focused around the Rococo and Victorian era. More information on Lolita fashion can be found here.

Kamikaze Girls is a comedy surrounding two girls who come from different backgrounds, one who loved buying fancy Lolita styled clothing and the other a wannabe biker chick who rides a scooter. Throughout the movie their bond proves to show that friendship knows no bounds and they become the best of friends. In the movie, the main character Momoko Ryugasaki even gets the opportunity to embroider a Lolita dress.

The night was cold and the fingers numb, but a subtitled Asian film in the middle of Japantown’s Peace Plaza outdoors was priceless.

Five Contestants Compete for Best Dressed

Five Contestants Compete for Best Dressed

People bundle up on a cold night to watch Kamikaze Girls.

People bundle up on a cold night to watch Kamikaze Girls

The film is featured in Japantowns Peace Plaza underneath the Peace Plaza Pagoda.

The film is featured in Japantown's Peace Plaza underneath the Peace Plaza Pagoda.