The Center for Asian American Media’s CAAMFest40 takes place May 12-22. It features 11 days of film, music, food and digital media at venues in San Francisco and Oakland, California.

The annual festival, now in its 40th year, provides a dynamic space for the Asian American creative community to thrive while championing diverse stories to get on to the big screen.

One of the highlights of CAAMFest40 is the world premiere of “In Search of Bengali Harlem,” which opens May 14. The documentary is directed by Vivek Bald and Alaudin Ullah. Read India Currents interview with Bald.

Ullah has been typecast throughout his career, but relates more to a typical New Yorker than his Bangladeshi Muslim parents. Upon realizing he only ever saw them as stereotypes, Ullah decides to visit the areas where his parents grew up. On the way, he unearths a lost history in which South Asian Muslims, African Americans, and Puerto Ricans forged an extraordinary community.

Other South Asian films featured at the festival are:

“Coming Out With The Help Of A Time Machine,” directed by Naman Gupta

“OST,” directed by Abhichoke Chandrasen

“Thank You, Come Again,” directed by Nirav Bhakta

“Congratulations (Mabrook),” directed by Asad Farooqui

“The Return,” directed by Hena Ashraf

“Coming Out With The Help Of A Time Machine,” is directed by Naman Gupta. (CAAMFest photo)

For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, CAAM will once again offer in-person events. Opening Night returns to the Castro Theatre and Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and Closing Night will be held at New Parkway Theater in Oakland. Screenings will also take place at the newly renovated Great Star Theater in San Francisco Chinatown, and at SFMOMA

“The continuing rise of anti-Asian hate crimes makes the return of CAAMFest especially vital,” says CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong.

Thúy Tran, the new Festival and Exhibitions Director, notes: “CAAMFest40 is a celebration of not only listening, watching, relating, and enjoying such voices, but, moreover, I see it as the community statement — showing the world what it is like to be Asian and Asian American.” 

General admission tickets for virtual screenings and panels range from complimentary to $14. Special presentations range from $20 – $65. For more information, visit the box ticketing information page at  For in-person events, CAAMFest requires proof of vaccination and will be checking guests upon arrival. Guests may also be required to mask while indoors.  

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,...