This collection of documentary shorts illuminates the varied experiences of the Asian diaspora. Intimate stories range from Asian immigrants setting up shop in new lands, to students on short-term study visas, to first and second- generation Asians in America. These stories will charm and surprise you.
Memoir of a Fortune Cookie Factory
Leonard Lee | Canada | 2001 | Video | 9:00 | Colour | World Premiere | Director in attendance
The Lee family takes a nostalgic look back at the origins of their 30-year-old family business. Memories of Dad buying an automatic mixer in the States – and of one family member eating the precious inventory on the sly – bring to life a small Prairie factory that continues, despite everything, to churn out the ever-popular fortune cookies.
Leonard Lee was born in Calgary, the site of Red House Food Products. Memoir of a Fortune Cookie Factory is his first film.
Texas Doughnut Shop
Wook Steven Heo | USA | 2003 | Video | 21:00 | Colour | Canadian Premiere
There are about 700 doughnut shops in the Dallas/Fort Worth area – and nearly three-quarters of them are owned by Korean immigrants. Director Wook Steven Heo’s Uncle Hyun is one of these intrepid shop owners. Spend a day with Uncle Hyun and his wife as the overworked couple toil away to pay off heavy debts and secure a better future for their son.
Wook Steven Heo was born in Korea and worked in TV production in Seoul for six years before moving to the U.S. to pursue an M.F.A. in film at Syracuse University in New York. Texas Doughnut Shop was his second-year documentary project.
Dim Sum (A Little Bit Of Heart)
Jane Wong | UK | 2002 | 35MM | 38:00 | Colour | Canadian Premiere
The stereotypical image of the Chinese woman as subservient and shy is turned inside-out in this documentary. Wah So, Marietta and Linda make dumplings in a Chinese grocery store as they discuss family, men, traditions and the personal histories of their lives – all with disarming frankness. Can they be satisfied with life in England, when ‘satisfied’ is such a difficult word to pronounce?
Awards: Student Documentary Prize, 2002 Doc en courts International Short Film Festival; Jury Special Mention, 2003 Britspotting in Berlin; RTS Postgraduate Student Documentary nomination, 2003
Jane Wong was born and raised in Liverpool, where an early initiation into science suppressed artistic desires. Dim Sum (A Little Bit Of Heart) was her graduation film at the National Film & Television School in England. She now works as a director in the British television industry.
Matthew Jumahat | Canada | 2003 | Video | 9:00 | Colour | World Premiere | Director in attendance
This short documents the experiences of three Singaporean students in Toronto who talk candidly – about opportunity, similarities and differences – to form an impressionistic view of Singapore and Canada. Touching on Western and Eastern customs, proper English and Singaporean colloquial English, a.k.a Singlish, three edited conversations explore the nature of home.
Matthew Jumahat is a graduate of the film studies program at York University who has travelled extensively. His thematic obsessions include cultural and sexual identity, the reconciliation of past and present, and the relationship between geographical and mental space. Home is his fourth short film.
Dupont Guy: The Schiz of Grant Avenue
Curtis Choy | USA | 1976 | 16MM | 35:00 | Colour | Canadian Premiere
A mock newscast lamenting the increase in “gangland activity” in San Francisco’s Chinatown opens this visually captivating and thought-provoking work. A spoken-word narrative and an interview showing neither the interviewer nor the interviewee provide part of the voice-over to scenes from daily life in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Dupont Guy: The Schiz of Grant Avenue is a critical examination of the way Asians are perceived in America – as applicable today as it was in 1976, the year it was made.
Awards: The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Documentary Award, 1975
Curtis Choy has been an independent filmmaker since the early ’70s. When not losing money on his own projects, he earns a living working on feature films. As a producer/director, his work includes The Fall of the I Hotel (1983) and Manilatown Lives! (1985).