Running Thursday through March 23 in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland, the 32nd annual film festival presented by The Center for Asian American Media features 121 films and videos, along with a series showcasing Asian and Asian-American musical acts.
The festival’s largest edition has an unprecedented participation of directors, artists and actors from Asia.
“This is my fourth year,” says festival director Masashi Niwano, “and the most ambitious one. When programming, we always think about our very diverse audiences and what films will bring in new generations but also please long-standing attendees.
“Also we reach out to new demographics and communities with our amplified film and music programs. I’m hoping this creates new doors.”
The “Directions in Sound” music programming kicks off with a Korean Showcase at 9:30 p.m. March 20 at Brick & Mortar Music Hall in The City. It features live performances by Love X Stereo, Glen Check and Rock N’ Roll Radio with host Kero One.
Vietnamese hip-hop artist Suboi makes her U.S. debut in the show “Here Comes Treble” at 9:30 p.m. March 22 at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco.
IF YOU GO
Where: San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland
When: Thursday through March 23
Tickets: $12 most screenings, more for special events
Contact: (415) 552-5580, www.caamfest.com/2014/
Select film highlights
How to Fight in Six Inch Heels: The box-office hit from Vietnam about a neurotic fashion designer gets its U.S. premiere in the festival’s opener, which is followed by a 9:30 p.m. gala at the Asian Art Museum. (7 p.m. Thursday, Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F.)
The Great Passage: Director Yuya Ishii’s 2013 film about a book salesman recruited to work on a big new dictionary project was Japan’s entry for best foreign language film at this year’s Academy Awards. (2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., S.F.; 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft Way, Berkeley)
Beautiful 2013: Four directors — Japan’s Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Taiwan’s Wu Nien-jen, China’s Lu Yue and Hong Kong’s Mabel Cheung — each contribute a story about how beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The divergent episodes range from the adventures of a blue-collar kung fu master, to a Taiwanese father in a difficult family situation, to a prince on a quest for true wisdom, to the struggles of a ballroom dance instructor who needs to take care of an autistic son and an estranged daughter. (3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sundance Kabuki; 12:30 p.m. March 22, New Parkway Theater, 474 24th St., Oakland)
Cold Eyes: This police drama, which was South Korea’s biggest hit of 2013, is about an elite surveillance unit’s efforts to track down the leader of a string of robberies. (9:20 p.m. Sunday, Castro Theatre, S.F.)
Eat Drink Man Woman: Ang Lee’s critically acclaimed film — the quirky story of a master chef’s three daughters (which includes a lesbian theme, then new to Taiwan cinema) screens in a 20th anniversary presentation. (6:20 p.m. Monday, New People Cinema, 1746 Post St., S.F.)
Golden Gate Girls: The documentary by Louisa Wei profiles San Francisco native Esther Eng, one of the first Chinese-American film directors; born 100 years ago, she was active in the 1930s-40s in Hong Kong and California. (6:30 p.m. March 18, Great Star, 636 Jackson St., S.F.)
Awesome Asian Bad Guys: Actors who played Asian villains in old action movies team up to avenge a wrongful death in the film by Patrick Epino and Stephen Dypiangco. (9:10 p.m. March 20, Sundance Kabuki; 9:30 p.m. March 21, Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak St., Oakland)