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CAAMFEST May 11-21

We are changed by the events of the pandemic. We feel differently. We think differently. We engage with each other in completely different ways. After three years of isolation, The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is bringing back Caamfest, its annual film festival that celebrates Asian and Asian American talent in film, music, food, and ideas.

The festival runs May 11-21.

This year’s festival returns to a joyous in-person celebration with expanded programming, in an effort to lift each other up in the audacity of our stories. “These last few years have deeply altered us and we are only starting to journey towards each other again,” says Festival and Exhibitions Director Thúy Trần. “CAAMFest 2023 is a call to gather so that we may witness each other’s transformations, restore our bonds, and bask in our joys.”

“As we’ve seen in the latest awards season, Asian American stories resonate with audiences,” says CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong. “Some of those stories come from Hollywood, and others originate in communities like the ones we live in here in the Bay Area. That’s why it’s been the mission of our festival for over 40 years to bring the diversity of Asian American narratives to local audiences.”

South Asian Stories

This year, as always, Caamfest features stories and narratives from South Asian filmmakers.

Starting with a feature film, Land of Gold,  directed by South Asian filmmaker Nardeep Khurmi. 

Land of Gold poster, CAAMFEST 2023

When Kiran Singh, a first Gen Punjabi-American truck driver and expectant father, hears pounding coming from inside his truck’s trailer, he finds Elena, a young Mexican-American girl stowed away onboard. Kiran’s already tumultuous life takes a drastic turn as he seeks to reunite her with her family. As the pair ride across the changing American landscape, Kiran faces what it means to be a father while Elena learns how to trust again. They connect through family, dreams of the future, and a healthy debate over God’s existence, all while the ghosts of the past, racially charged encounters, and the threat of I.C.E. linger over their journey. 

Desi Block Party

They also have a great lineup in the Desi Short Programs, titled Desi Block Party featuring:

Brown Elephant, directed by Fawzia Mirwa

Brown Elephant poster, CAAMFEST 2023

A young Muslim woman and her family discuss a peacekeeping solution for their overly aggressive ‘White Elephant’ gift exchange.

Crazy for Bollywooddirected by Imran Khan

Raj introduces his parents to his unique girlfriend, Priyanka: a woman who believes life is a Bollywood movie and she is the heroine. Based on a sketch written for the stage and performed by The Get Brown, an all-South Asian comedy team. The film is an homage to the heyday of Bollywood in the 1990s. Inspired by Bollywood classics like “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” and “Hum Aapke Hain Kaun.”

A scene from Crazy for Hollywood, CAAMFEST 2023

Dos Bros Force, directed by Jyothi Kalyan Sura

In a struggling immigrant household, a little girl’s birthday wish and her brother’s well-intentioned mistake teach their workaholic father that being present for their family is as important as working for their future. 

Running, directed by Arpita Mukherjee

Piecing together mementos, stories from his dad’s old friends, and hard conversations with his Polish American mother, Danny Pudi (Community, Mythic Quest) sets out to solve the puzzle of his estranged, late father and maybe ends up finding acceptance and himself in the process.

A scene from Running, CAAMFEST 2023

South Asian Shorts

Short films directed by South Asians will be featured.

Esperanza, directed by Shruti Parekh

Birdsong poster, CAAMFEST 2023

An immigrant taxi driver in upstate New York and a queer, undocumented couple seeking refuge in Canada find themselves at odds in their shared pursuit of a better life.

Birdsong, directed by Hrishi Bardhan

Amidst moving homes, a superstitious Indian-American girl struggles to bury her pet bird
in fear of it coming to haunt her.

Post Term, directed by Saleem Gondal

Soon-to-be parents Rahimah and Haaris are desperate to connect, but the uncertainty of their future together in a strange country begins to weigh on them. When Rahimah sees a kindred spirit in her husband’s abandoned poetry, she takes her chance at sharing something she’s never expressed before — her doubts. 

A scene from Post Term, CAAMFEST 2023

Angel Dose, directed by Sami Khan

Chronicles Muslim-American nurse Tarik Khan’s earnest attempts to vaccinate his city during the COVID-19 Pandemic and lead a positive change across Philadelphia. 

Angel Dose postr, CAAMFEST 2023

Opening, Closing, Screenings

The Opening Night will begin at the Castro Theatre and Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. 

Opening Night film: JOY RIDE

Thursday, May 11, 6:30 p.m. | Castro Theatre

Closing Day will be held at New Parkway Theater in Oakland with Closing Night festivities to follow at 7th West. 

Closing Night: JUICY FRUITY PARTY (with the iconic Soulovely. Stewarded by three powerful cultural practitioners: Aïma the Dreamer, Lady Ryan, and the Emancipation.)
Sunday, May 21, 8:00 p.m. – 11 p.m. | 7th West

Screenings will also take place at the Great Star Theater in San Francisco Chinatown, the Roxie, and at SFMOMA. This year’s expanded programming on food and music will be held at various restaurants and venues, including Abacá, Calabash, and the Yerba Buena Gardens.
For festival programming and more information, visit

Mona Shah is a multi-platform storyteller with expertise in digital communications, social media strategy, and content curation for Twitter and LinkedIn for C-suite executives. A journalist and editor,...