When he was growing up Chinese American, most of the films Paul Jew would watch presented stereotypical or comical versions of Chinese people.
“They always had non-Asian actors in the lead roles and making up an accent,” he says. “Those were the kind of portrayals that were typical of Hollywood films and TV.”
That’s why Jew has stepped up to run the Albuquerque Chinese American Film Festival, which is in its fifth year.
This year’s event will take place in person on Saturday, Oct. 16, at Grace Church, 6901 San Antonio NE. The event is free and open to the public, although a donation of $10 per person is suggested.
Eight films will be screened during the one-day festival. There will also be a panel discussion.
Jew says he continues the festival for people who are Asian American.
“We want to give them a sense of pride when it comes to film,” he says. “The Chinese American story is often not told. It’s not in history books. It gives them a perspective into who they are and how far they’ve come.”
One of the films to be screened is “Far East Deep South.”
The documentary follows Charles Chiu and his family – including his son, producer Baldwin Chiu, and daughter-in-law, director Larissa Lam – as they travel from California to Mississippi to find answers about Charles’ father, K.C. Lou.
A retired Air Force reservist, Charles Chiu was reluctant to discuss his family’s complicated past with his sons, Baldwin and Edwin.
The family members’ emotional journey to a place they’ve never seen leads to stunning revelations and a crash course on the surprising history of Chinese immigrants in the segregated South.
Through encounters with local residents who remember K.C., as well as interviews with historians, U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., and others, the family’s trip becomes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for discovery and healing.
Filmmaker Larissa Lam’s journey in making “Far East Deep South” came about while doing family research.
Lam was along for the ride when her husband, Baldwin Chiu, and his relatives began chronicling their family’s history in the Deep South.
“We were making our first trip down there, and this series of events began to unfold,” Lam says. “We went to Mississippi, and what I captured was a short film. With a big response to that, we decided to make it feature film.”
Jew says the film festival will be in person and hopes that the audience will enjoy the programming.
“The last festival we had, we saw over 100 attendees,” he says. “We’re hoping to pull in more people for the event as we are getting noticed more.”