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CAAMFest37 celebrates Asian American film, music, and food in San Francisco and Oakland

Every year, CAAM proudly presents CAAMFest (formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival). CAAMFest is recognized as the nation’s largest showcase for new Asian American and Asian films, annually presenting approximately 130 works in San Francisco and Oakland. Since 1982, the festival has been an important launching point for Asian American independent filmmakers as well as a vital source for new Asian cinema. In 2018, the festival welcomed over 33,000 participants, including over 250 filmmakers, artists, musicians, culinary creatives, and industry professionals from around the world.

This year, AIISF is proud to co-present two Asian American films connected to Pacific immigration. You can download a one-sheet flyer here.

Directed by Marion Lipschutz, Rose Rosenblatt

2018 | 90 mins

When a newborn baby dies after her mother attempts suicide while she’s pregnant, is the mother guilty of murder? BEI BEI documents the case against Bei Bei Shuai, a Chinese immigrant whose 2011 prosecution brought international attention to the state of Indiana over the legal concept of feticide and its use to criminalize women who attempt to terminate their own pregnancies. The filmmakers follow Shuai from her release after 435 days in jail without bail to the ultimate resolution of her indictment.

The film provides intriguing insights in the strategy deployed by defense attorney Linda Pence in the court of law and public opinion, and it illuminates the unexpected political motivations of the lawmakers and prosecutors behind the case. But the portrait of Shuai is the most important element of the film, serving to humanize the stories of the hundreds of women who have since been charged with murder under similar circumstances. — Chris Bucoy Brown

New People Cinema
Friday, May 10, 2019

AMC Kabuki 8
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Directed by Jon Osaki, Megumi Nishikura

2018 | 79 mins

Filmmaker Jon Osaki traces the fraught racist history of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans and untangles the intergenerational trauma of the decades-long redress movement. ALTERNATIVE FACTS: THE LIES OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066 offers damning proof that the signing of Executive Order 9066 was the result of political pressure and fabricated evidence of espionage by Japanese Americans. Interviews with the family members of prominent political officials and unsung heroes of redress like Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga illuminate the racism, xenophobia and backhanded political maneuvering led to the forcible internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans.

Bookended by fiery youth testimony, particularly that of Mika Osaki, we bear witness to the rage that often remains unexpressed by previous generations. With nods to the present-day ban on travel to the U.S. from some Muslim-majority countries, Jon Osaki makes a compelling case for solidarity and engagement in this deeply personal and political film. It won an Impact Docs Award and the Best Documentary award at the Political Edge Film Festival.

Roxie Theater
Saturday, May 18, 2019