On the evening of Sunday, March 16th in front of a packed house at the Castro Theatre, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) announced the winners in five of the six CAAMFest 2014 award categories. The winners include:
FARAH GOES BANG
(Comcast Narrative Award)
FARAH GOES BANG tells the story of Farah Mahtab, a woman in her twenties who tries to lose her virginity while on the road campaigning for presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, to hysterical and heartrending results. FARAH updates the classic American tradition of the Western, telling a new trail story–whose subjects are both cowgirls and Indians, both heroines and outlaws–in a diverse, powerful, and hilarious female voice.
The road-trip comedy of FARAH GOES BANG follows a woman in her twenties, Farah Mahtab, who tries to lose her virginity while campaigning across America for presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004. Farah and her friends K.J. and Roopa follow the campaign trail across historic Route 66 on their way to Ohio, the central battleground state of 2004, seizing control of this charged moment in their lives and the life of their country. Roopa aspires to a job in politics, K.J. brawls her way through a personal motivation to end the war in Iraq, and Farah struggles to locate not just her desirability, but her desire. Though they’re advised to focus on “purple” states where Kerry stands a chance of winning, they naively campaign in states like Texas. We know how the election turns out–but will Farah meet her personal goal for their American odyssey?
The FARAH GOES BANG project is an intensely personal one for co-writers Meera Menon (director) and Laura Goode (producer), who have been friends, collaborators, and sometime roommates for almost ten years, and who have dreamed of making a movie together for many of those years.
Cambodian Son documents the life of deported poet, Kosal Khiev after receiving the most important performance invitation of his career—to represent the Kingdom of Cambodia at the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Kosal would travel to London having only taken two flights prior; first, as a 1-year-old refugee child whose family fled Cambodia and, then as a 32-year-old criminal “alien” forcibly returned to Cambodia in 2011. The film follows a volatile yet charming and talented young man who struggles to find his footing amongst a new freedom that was granted only through his deportation. Kosal’s London representation is a triumphant moment for many people in his life, both in America and Cambodia. The film traces the impact and significance of this moment for Kosal, his friends, family, mentors and a growing international fan base. Armed only with memorized verses, he must face the challenges of being a deportee while navigating his new fame as Phnom Penh’s premiere poet. After the performances end and the London stage becomes a faint memory, Kosal is once again left alone to answer the central question in his life: “How do you survive when you belong nowhere?”
(Remy Martin Filmmaker Award)
Set in Singapore, ILO ILO chronicles the relationship between a family of three and their newly arrived Filipino maid, Teresa, who has come like many other Filipino women in search of a better life.
The entire family needs to adapt to the presence of this stranger, which further threatens their already strained relationship. Still, Teresa and Jiale, the young and troublesome boy she cares for, soon form a bond. Their unique connection continues to develop and soon she becomes an unspoken part of the family.
But this is 1997 and the Asian Financial Crisis is starting to be felt in all the region…
WHY WE RISE
(Loni Ding Award for Social Issue Documentary)
A documentary short about three brave, young New Yorkers reveal what it’s like to grow up without having legal immigration status. Their struggles and their strength are on full display as they come out of the shadows and into the light.
(APCA Student Film Award)
The tragic events of a boat Captain who must collect a debt to save his fleet of boats, as remembered by his ten year old son.
(APCA Student Film Award)
The rapid increase in prosperity and the international modernization of Shanghai has been implemented on a mass scale at the expense of lower-income traditional Chinese communities. Mr. Zhang and his daughter, residents of a Shikumen area known as Lan Yan, reflect upon the sense of closeness and community he and his neighbors have experienced for over a century despite their cramped living conditions. Lan Yan captures the essence of this community as a window in time before the neighborhood is doomed to be swept away by the surrounding high-rise metropolis.
A short documentary by Jamie Oliveira, Danielle Schmidt, Pawara Soh, Lu Xin, Qian Ling, Wang Ting, and Zeng Lingzi in collaboration with the International Documentary Workshop between San Francisco State University and Shanghai Normal University.
Stay tuned to CAAMedia.org for the announcement of the CAAMFest 2014 Audience Award winner. Congratulations to the winners and the nominated filmmakers and films. For more information and pictures from the award ceremony, visit www.caamfest.com