February 12, 2015, Berkeley, CA – The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is honored to be a host venue for the thirty-third installment of CAAMFest. A presentation of the Center for Asian American Media, the annual festival brings moviegoers the best in contemporary cinema from Asia and the Asian diaspora. Beginning Friday, March 13 and continuing through Wednesday, March 18, the PFA Theater will show eight stellar new films from Iran, Japan, Argentina, Vietnam, the United States, and Cambodia.
The BAM/PFA portion of the festival kicks off with top Iranian director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’s return to fiction filmmaking, Tales(March 13), an intimate portrait of the interwoven lives of its working-class characters. Featuring brilliant performances by some of Iran’s finest actors, Tales showcases Bani-Etemad’s unrivaled gift for turning pressing social issues into compelling, engaging drama.Hollow, presented later that evening, uses the supernatural to explore society’s ills. Directed by Ham Tran (How to Fight in Six-Inch Heels), the film is a story about a family terrorized by their dead daughter, who has returned to life possessed by a vengeful spirit. The family’s investigation into the source of their daughter’s possession leads them to a community victimized by child prostitution and human trafficking.
On March 14 we present Caryn Waechter’s The Sisterhood of Night, which follows the deceptively liberating activities of three high school girls—acts which eventually pull their families and communities into a dark spiral of suspicion and fear. The Oakland-inspired film’s excellent cast, featuring Kal Penn among others, brings warmth and humor to this otherwise dark parable. Precocious children young and old, albeit of a far less dangerous variety, populate Dean Yamada’s Japanese/American hybridCicada, also showing on March 14. Schoolteacher/protagonist Jumpei is surrounded by children both in his work life and in his relationships with his adult friends, who have not quite grown up themselves. So when he finds he cannot have a child of his own, he seeks to deepen his bonds with the big and little kids he encounters every day.
Emmy Award–winning filmmakers Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson’s (Out in the Silence) new documentary Kumu Hina (March 15) follows Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, a hula teacher and advocate for native Hawai’ian rights, as she prepares her students for a year-end dance performance. Kalu’s special status as transgender allows her to possess both the feminine and the masculine, bequeathing her unique healing and teaching powers. Later that evening, first-time director Juán Martin Hsu’s La Salada transports audiences to an enormous, bustling market just outside Buenos Aires. The ensemble cast features Korean, Taiwanese, and Bolivian immigrants to Argentina, whose experiences converge and dance parallel to one another with equal parts poignancy and banality. Hsu illuminates the painful middle ground that all immigrants inhabit, teetering between borders and across chasms. The ambitious 2030, by acclaimed writer and director Minh Nguyen-Vo (Buffalo Boy), closes out the weekend’s offerings. Part love story and part mystery, the film explores a future where global warming has caused sea levels to rise, engulfing much of lowland Vietnam. The film follows Sao in her investigation into the death of her husband, whom she suspects was murdered by a worker at a “floating farm.”
This spring marks the fortieth anniversary of the fall of Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge. To commemorate that tragic event, we present John Pirozzi’s Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll on our closing night, March 18. The film offers an eye-opening glimpse at the country’s vibrant East-meets-West musical culture of the sixties, which was entirely erased during Pol Pot’s reign of terror. In recent years a community of contemporary musicians, artists, and record labels has emerged to revive this musical tradition for new generations of music lovers. One of these neo-Cambodian artists is Oakland-based pop singer Bochan, who will perform a set of songs as part of this special screening.
Festival screenings will take place at the PFA Theater, located at 2575 Bancroft Way near Bowditch Street, on the southern edge of the UC Berkeley campus. General admission to the screenings is $14 per program. BAM/PFA and CAAM members, and UC Berkeley students are admitted for $12. Tickets for non-UC Berkeley students, seniors, and disabled persons are $13. Advance tickets for programs are available online at bampfa.berkeley.edu/tickets, by telephone at (510) 642-5249, or in person at the PFA Theater box office two hours prior to the first screening on any given day on which films are scheduled. For information about CAAMFest screenings at other venues, please visit the CAAMFest website at www.caamedia.org.
A full list of titles/dates/times for screenings at BAM/PFA, as well as anticipated special guest appearances, follows. For program notes on these screenings, please visitbampfa.berkeley.edu/film.
CAAMFEST 2015 AT BAM/PFA
Media Contact: Peter Cavagnaro: firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 642-0365
The PFA Theater
2575 Bancroft Way near Bowditch Street
University of California, Berkeley
(510) 642-1412 / bampfa.berkeley.edu
A copresentation with the Center for Asian American Media
Friday, March 13
7:00 pm: Tales (Iran, 2014), Rakhsan Bani-Etemad
8:50 pm: Hollow (Vietnam, 2014), Ham Tran
Ham Tran and Suboi in person
Saturday, March 14
5:45 pm: The Sisterhood of Night (U.S., 2014), Caryn Waechter
Caryn Waechter, Marilyn Fu, Willa Cuthrell, and Kal Penn in person
8:15 pm: Cicada (Japan/US, 2014), Dean Yamada
Dean Yamada in person
Sunday March 15
3:30 pm: Kumu Hina (US, 2014), Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson
5:30 pm: La Salada (Argentina, 2014), Juán Martin Hsu
Juán Martin Hsu in person
8:00 pm: 2030 (Vietnam, 2014), Minh Nguyen-Vo
Minh Nguyen-Vo and Bao Nguyen in person
Wednesday, March 18
7:00 pm: Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll (US/Cambodia, 2014), John Pirozzi
John Pirozzi in person; live music by Bochan
General admission: $14; BAM/PFA and CAAM members, UC Berkeley students: $12 (limit two tickets per person per program); non-UC Berkeley students, seniors, disabled persons: $13 (limit one ticket per person per program)
Internationally recognized for its art and film programming, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is a platform for cultural experiences that transform individuals, engage communities, and advance the local, national, and global discourse on art, film, and ideas. Founded in 1963, BAM/PFA is UC Berkeley’s primary visual arts venue with its screenings of some four hundred films and presentations of up to twenty exhibitions annually. BAM/PFA’s mission is to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.
The institution’s collection of over nineteen thousand works of art dates from 3000 BCE to the present day and includes important holdings of Neolithic Chinese ceramics, Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese painting, Old Master works on paper, Italian Baroque painting, early American painting, Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, and video art. Its film archive contains over 17,500 films and videos, including the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan, impressive holdings of Soviet cinema, West Coast avant-garde film, seminal video art, as well as hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film—many of which are digitally scanned and accessible online.