By Liza Solberg
“The Comast Narrative Competiton at CAAM Fest highlights the diversity and ingenuity of modern cinema and recognizes excellence in narrative filmmaking.” —CAAM Fest 2017 Program Guide
This year’s nominated films explore the universal search for identity through rights of passage, friendship, history and community. Here are the nominated films.
Set in the 1980s, Angie Wang leads a double life of both scholar and drug dealer. Hiding dangerous secrets from those closest to her, she finds herself in a downward spiral. Her participation in the drug world escalates from dealer to manufacturer when she loses a prestigious scholarship.
“Chee and T” follows two best friends struggling with adulthood in the tech bubble of Silicon Valley. They are forced to overcome their growing pains when tasked with the surprisingly challenging responsibility of preparing a cousin for his engagement party. This part comedy, part drama is a lesson in what family truly means.
“Gook” portrays the 1992 L.A. uprising through the eyes of a Korean-American. Director Justin Chon drew from his personal experience to write the story of two brothers struggling to maintain their family’s shoe repair shop amidst the brewing tension in the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict.
In “Light,” Lenora Lee Dance transcends history through experimental and narrative movements that tell an Asian-American history. The film follows the touching story of Bessie M. Lee, an immigrant in New York’s Chinatown in the early 20th century. The film explores the intersectionality of womanhood and Chinese-American struggle through the ages.
Set in a Toronto high school, “The Lockpicker” follows Hashi, a teenage thief struggling with the trauma of identity, teetering between violence and the need for intimacy. The raw performance by Keigian Umi Tang brings to life the complex journey of male adolescence and the universal desire for escape.
Betty leads the monotonous life of an overnight security guard at a suburban strip mall. When she meets Danny at one of the mall bars, she is inspired to take a chance and breach the “friend zone.” What follows is the unveiling of emotional baggage from both Betty and Danny’s perspectives that culminate in a quirky, dark comedy with a deeper meaning.
The winner of the Comcast Narrative Competition at CAAM Fest will be announced on March, 12, 2017.