At CAAMFest, Asian directors discuss representing the Filipino American experience in their films

SAN FRANCISCO — The Center for Asian American Media has teamed up with TFCU in the latest edition of inspiring talks by exceptional Filipino Americans in its 37th annual film festival, known as CAAMFest.

These filmmakers all had films that were inspired by issues relatable to the Filipino American experience.

Fil-Am Diane Pargagas directed “Yellow Rose” — a film that touches on a young, aspiring country singer in Texas who must face her reality of being undocumented in America, while chasing her dream.

“Yellow Rose” also took home the grand jury prize, for narrative feature at CAAMFest 37.

“It’s a film first and foremost. I hope they come out singing. I hope they come out thinking. I hope they come out feeling a bit of empathy. I hope they come out feeling that they gotten a different perspective about what immigration is about, in particularity when a young woman is separated from her mom because of immigration.”

Fil-Am Bobby Rubio has been tapped by Pixar to create a new digital short called “Float” — which is inspired by his Filipino culture.

“It’s my story and I just wanted to be true and honest with it. And i hope people respond and appreciate that. And I know I cannot represent the whole Filipino community. I can do my very best. And I did. And I hope the Filipino community appreciates that.”

Korean American Eugene Kim’s short film “Cherry” is a romantic comedy set in heavily Filipino populated Daly City in the late 90s.

Fresh before social media — the movie highlights the trends of Fil-Am music and culture.

“It was kind of like honing in on a very specific time with the all r&b with the kai, one vo1ce, the cars and that whole scene. We wanted to capture that and put that in a short film.”

Finally, Justin Tipping’s “Kicks” tells what he calls a semi-autobiographical story about how sneaker culture adds to the desire of wealth and status and in turn can contribute to violence among the youth, especially in poor communities.

“Putting a pair of J’s on is like riding around in a lamborghini.  You want to talk about toxic masculinity. You equate this product, these jewels, this money with being a “man”. It took me growing up in that way and look back and say that’s really backwards.”

Overall, these filmmakers say that whether you are behind the lens writing the story or in front of the lens acting it out — Filipino representation in the movie business matters.

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