Land of Gold directed by Nardeep Khurmi
Land of Gold directed by Nardeep Khurmi

It’s a wrap. The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) celebrated a successful return to fully in-person programs at CAAMFest 2023, with more than 11,000 people in attendance.

CAAMFest honored the winning films and filmmaker, with Land of Gold, directed by Nardeep Khurmi winning both the Narrative Competition Award and the Audience Award for Narrative Feature. In the film Nardeep Khurmi stars as Kiran Singh, a 1st generation Punjabi-American, who accepts a last-minute trucking job and discovers Elena (Caroline Valencia), a 10-year-old Mexican-American stowed away in his trailer. They connect through family, dreams of the future, and a healthy debate over God’s existence, all while the ghosts of the past, racially charged encounters, and the threat of I.C.E. linger over their journey.

unseen, directed by Set Hernandez won the Documentary Competition Award, with the jury commenting, “We feel this remarkable film pushed not only the visual form, but also forced us as viewers to literally grapple with the full spectrum of Pedro’s world: the pressures, the expectations to succeed that all immigrants feel, and in the midst of all that, joy and community.”

The Audience Award for Documentary Feature went to Nurse Unseen, directed by Michele Josue. The documentary highlights the fact that even though Filipino nurses make up only 4% of the U.S. nursing population, 31.5% of COVID-19 nurse deaths have been Filipino. Nurse Unseen is a love letter honoring the history and humanity of Filipino nurses who have been the backbone of the American caretaking system.

“We are thrilled and a bit humbled by the turnout at this year’s CAAMFest,” says CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong. “From the Castro Theatre at capacity on Opening Night, to full and enthusiastic audiences at our venues throughout San Francisco and in Oakland, it’s evident that our community wanted to see and share Asian American stories.”


CAAMFest 2023 Narrative Competition Award

Winner: Land of Gold, directed by Nardeep Khurmi

CAAMFest 2023 Documentary Competition Award

Winner: unseen, directed by Set Hernandez

Honorable Jury Mention: Liquor Store Dreams, directed by So Yun Um

Loni Ding Award For Social Issue Documentary

The Loni Ding Award for Social Justice Documentary recognizes the film and filmmaker that most reflect the passions of late TV producer Loni Ding. Ding devoted her life to advocacy and played a key role in the founding of several public media organizations, including CAAM.

Winner: Cambodian Futures, directed by Dustin Nakao-Haider

Honorable Jury Mention: Here, Hopefully, directed by Hao Zhou

AT&T InspirASIAN Award

This award recognizes promising voices in Asian and Asian American media, the InspirASIAN Student Film Award is presented to college students who exemplify the voice of a new generation. One award is presented to an undergraduate student, and a second award is presented to a graduate student.

Undergraduate Winner: The Last September, directed by Sophia Shi
Under the stress of applying to college, an Asian American high schooler begins to see himself—and his Black best friend—in a whole new light.

Graduate Winner: Instant Noodle, directed by Michelle Sastraatmadja
A young woman ends up on an epic, cross-city trek to track down instant noodles for her widowed father’s birthday and reconnects with her Indonesian heritage in the face of her grief.

CAAMFest 2023 Audience Award

Documentary Feature Winner: Nurse Unseen, directed by Michele Josue

Narrative Feature Winner: Land of Gold, directed by Nardeep Khurmi

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