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CAAMFest 2015

Arthur Dong Press Release

CAAMFest 2015 Honors Local Filmmaker Arthur Dong (曾奕田)

Three programs, two world premieres

 SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 12, 2015 — The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)

is pleased to recognize Oscar®-nominated and three-time Sundance award winning filmmaker Arthur Dong as this year’s Spotlight feature. A San Francisco native who has earned a multitude of prestigious awards for not only his work in film, but also for his public service, Arthur Dong is an inspiration for Asian American filmmakers worldwide.

With over three decades of championing equality through telling Asian American and LGBTQIA stories, Dong’s films have been theatrically distributed throughout the United States, broadcast internationally, and continue to be featured at film festivals worldwide. Known for his prowess utilizing the art of film as a means to investigate social issues and examine undisclosed parts of Asian American and LGBT history and identity, Dong’s voice has spread much further than film alone.

Dong has taught documentary film around the world and has served on numerous industry boards, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Film Independent, Outfest, and the National Film Preservation Board at the Library of Congress. His impact on the film industry is undeniable and we are delighted to pay homage to one of San Francisco’s own.

In celebration of Dong’s legacy in film, CAAMFest (formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival) is honored to present “Spotlight: Arthur Dong,” featuring two world premieres and a special on-stage conversation with noted film critic and author B. Ruby Rich.



Dong’s new feature-length documentary builds on his 30-year career of creating compelling films that focus on personal stories to examine moments of history, social prejudice and public policy concerns. The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor chronicles the years encapsulating the Khmer Rouge’s tyrannical rule over Cambodia as seen through the eyes of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, who escaped to America and recreated his experiences in the film The Killing Fields, for which he won an Oscar®. Ngor became the de-facto ambassador for truth and justice in his homeland, only to be murdered in an alley in Chinatown Los Angeles, a case still surrounded by transnational conspiracy theories. Through an inspired blend of original animation, rare archival material, and newly shot footage, anchored by an adaptation of Dr. Ngor’s richly layered autobiography, this dramatic story is a personal indictment of the global politics that were thrust upon Southeast Asia, and the consequences that continue to surface today.

Sunday March 15, 4:10PM, Castro Theater


Capturing the extravagance, spirit and tension of a little-known era in the history of San Francisco’s Chinatown, FORBIDDEN CITY, USA showcases Chinese American nightclub performers who broke down stereotypes and cultural barriers during World War II with lavish performances at the internationally famous Forbidden City nightclub. Facing criticism from community elders, these entertainers put aside societal norms to pursue their dreams in show business.

CAAMFest’s presentation of this enduring 1989 classic will be the world premiere of a digitally re-mastered version produced by UCLA Film & TV Archive from original film elements. In addition to the film screening, CAAMFest will feature live performances by some of the Chinatown clubs’ original performers and a presentation by Dong highlighting his critically acclaimed book, Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970.

Saturday March 14, 4:00PM, Great Star Theater



Join noted film critic and author B. Ruby Rich in a lively on-stage conversation with this year’s CAAMFest Spotlight honoree, Arthur Dong. Punctuated with clips from Dong’s oeuvre of award-winning films spanning over thirty years, this illuminating talk will cover the personal challenges and emotional thrills of creating artistic and socially relevant independent media.

Friday March 20, 7:10PM, New People Theater