CAAM’s Asian American Film Festival Spotlights Desi Filmmakers

By • Mar 14th, 2013
Category: Books, Movies, Music, Televison, Books and Authors, Diaspora, Film, Food, People, YouTube Videos

San Francisco bay area folks are in for a wonderful cultural treat of films, music and food att this s year’s Asian American Film Festival. The 10 day long festival starts today -March 14th and continues till March 24th, 2013. Films, music and foods are the 3 strands that bind the various Asian-American communities across the US, and that is the theme for this year’s festival. The name of the festival has changed to CAAM that stands for Center For Asian Media.

The festival’s opening night gala event is at the Asian Art Museum on March 14th. Linsanity is the opening night film. SF bay area filmmaker Evan Jackson Leong looks at the rise of the Asian American basketball sensation Jeremy Lin in this film. Like many filmmakers Leong turned to Kickstarter to raise money to make this sports documentary on the Asian American phenomenon Lin.

This year’s festival highlights quite a few South Asian filmmakers, musicians and culinary alchemists.

On March 17th you can catch a double feature at the Castro theatre by two well-known filmmakers of South Asian origin – Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta. Both their films are based on well-known authors of South Asian origin.

Mira Nair’s Reluctant Fundamentalist will show at the Castro at 12 noon on March 17th. The film stars Kiefer Sutherland, Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber and Shabana Azmi. It is based on a novel by Mohsin Ahmed by the same name.

Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children will show at the Castro Theatre on March 17th at 6 pm. Satya Bhaba, who plays Saleem and Samrat Chakravarti, who plays Wee Willie Winkie will be at the screening of the film that is based on Salman Rushdie’s novel by the same name.

And then there is that superfun foodie  film Dosa Hunt by Amrit Singh. Yes, you guessed it right. This is a crazy hunt to track down the best dosa in New York. Well, that might sound a tad boring. But wait till you see how this film is spiced up. There is a disco-themed van, where a bunch of musicians share their deep, deep culinary thoughts about finding the best dosa in New York city and they rank dosas according to their own system of Bobby Jindals.  What? Bobby Jindal? Well, you have to watch the film to figure out their dosa rating system with a desi twist. Check out the musicians in this group. You have jazz musician Vijay Iyer or “Vijay uncle” as he put its and he is joined by  Anand Wilder of YeaSayer,  Rostam Batmangli of Vampire Weekend, Himesh Sarin and Ashok Kondabolu of Das Racist (now defunct), Alan Palomo of Neon Indian and Amrit Singh of Stereogum.

You can catch Dosa Hunt on March 21st at the Asian Art Museum along with some of the cast members from the film.

There are 2 documentary films from India.  Invoking Justice by Deepa Dhanraj looks at muslim women in Tamil Nadu, and the role of the first-ever-Women”s Jamaat that addresses the issues of women rights. The film will show at Kabuki on March 16th 2013 at 1 pm.

When Hari Got Married is an interesting documentary that features a garrulous cab driver, who has a running commentary about the socio-economic changes in his town of Dharmasala, hometown of the Dalai Lama. Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam are the producers of this fascinating film where Hari, the cabdriver has a free flowing discussion about the changes in India, his family and how he is preparing for his upcoming wedding. What is fascinating to see unfold is even though this is a traditional arranged marriage, Hari courts his bride-to-be in a very “filmi” way complete with those 3 famous words “I love you.” And guess how he does it? All through that ubiquitous device – the mobile phone.

Besides the films and music performances there are a bunch of culinary programs including one on how to create  your own Masala.

Here is a complete list of the program for this year’s CAAM festival and you can follow them on Twitter.


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