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At the intersection of a cultural and political transition, Asian-American youth find themselves on the front lines of history.
185 backers pledged $32,428 to help bring this project to life.

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$32,428

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ABOUT OUR FILM

Against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement of the mid-1960s, a young San Francisco Chinatown resident armed with a 16mm camera, turned his lens onto his community. Totaling more than 20,000 feet of film (10 hours), Harry Chuck's exquisite unreleased footage has captured a divided community's struggles for self-determination. Chinatown Rising is a documentary film about the Asian-American movement from the perspective of the young residents on the front lines of their historic neighborhood in transition. Through publicly challenging the conservative views of their elders, their demonstrations and protests of the 1960s-1980s rattled the once quiet streets of San Francisco Chinatown during the community’s shift in power. Forty-five years later, in intimate interviews, these activists recall their roles and experiences in response to the need for social change.

WHAT WE'VE DONE

With the help of our amazing first round Kickstarter Backers, grants from the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and California Humanities, as well as private donors, we have completed over 45 interviews and the majority of our post-production editing. 

OUR PRODUCTION TIMELINE 

  • December 2018 - Fine Cut
  • January 2019 -  Picture Lock
  • February 2019 - April 2019 - Color Correction, Sound Design/Mix, Music Composition.
  • May 2019 - World Premiere

WHY WE NEED THE FUNDS

The money we raise on Kickstarter this second time around will be used to take our film across the finish line. The funds will go towards final editing services such as color correction, sound design/mix, original music composition, as well as archival film, photo, and music licensing. 

We need at least $60,000 to do this. The exciting news is that we don’t have to do it alone! One of our generous supporters, Kathy Kwan, truly believes in the power of the people and that this film will honor the past and inspire change. If we are able to raise $30,000 within the next 30 days, she has offered to match those funds for us to complete the film! 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Please contribute to this campaign. Every dollar counts. After you donate, become our ambassador and spread the word to family and friends. We are so grateful for the opportunity Kathy Kwan has presented us and we’re ready to accept her challenge, put faith in the power of the people, and take her up on the offer!  

WHAT YOU'LL GET

$5 - Thank You: Every dollar counts.

$25 - Online Thank You: Your name in the THANK YOU section on our film’s website.

$50 - Official T-Shirt: Get the Official Chinatown Rising T-shirt and get an Online Thank You.

$100 - Name in Credits: Appear in the credits of our film and get the Official Chinatown Rising T-shirt and an Online Thank You.

$150 - Chinatown Rising Poster: Receive the commissioned poster by renowned artist and activist, Leland Wong.  Each poster will be numbered and signed by the artist. You'll also receive Name in Credits and Online Thank You.

$200 - Poster & T-Shirt: Receive the Commissioned Poster & Official Chinatown Rising T-Shirt as well as Name in Credits and Online Thank You.

$1,000 - Premiere Tickets: Get Two Tickets to our SF Premiere along with the Chinatown Rising Poster, Official T-Shirt, Name In Credits, and Online Thank You.

WHAT YOU'LL SEE

From 1957 to 2001, Harry Chuck lived and worked at a Chinatown community center named Donaldina Cameron House. He experienced and filmed events in the neighborhood as they occurred, often blending in with demonstrators or positioning himself on a rooftop. This film highlights the following movements with Harry's never-before-seen film footage of SF Chinatown from mid-1960s-1980s (8mm and 16mm film footage) coupled with compelling interviews with those on the front lines recalling their roles as activists, 45 years later.

  • Chinese Six Companies and Chinatown's younger generation conflict 
  • San Francisco State University student strike for Ethnic Studies 
  • The Lau v. Nichols Supreme Court case on bilingual education 
  • The beginning of school integration and busing 
  • The International Hotel eviction 
  • Rise in gang violence
  • The fight for affordable housing

Today, there are local and national issues (housing, immigration, discrimination) that have common threads to many of the events highlighted in Chinatown Rising which continue to affect our beloved Chinatown community and beyond. The work continues and we envision this film will inspire people of all ages and cultures, a new generation of community leaders, to stand up and fight for what they believe in. 

THE TEAM

HARRY CHUCK (Producer, Cinematographer, Director) Former Youth Director and later Executive Director of Cameron House, Harry was an early mentor for hundreds of Chinatown youth including author/activist Gordon Chin. Harry was the catalyst in Chinatown’s fight to save the Chinese Playground from being developed into a parking garage, leading to the formation of the Committee for Better Parks and Recreation in Chinatown. He was a co-founder of the Chinatown Coalition for Better Housing, which led the fight to develop the Mei Lun Yuen affordable housing project. He was appointed by four separate mayors to city commissions which included the Public Housing Authority and Juvenile Justice Commission. Harry was one of the first Asian American religious leaders to speak out for same-sex marriage. In 1981, he earned his MA from the SF State University’s Film Arts Department where he served as a p/t student assistant in film history. His footage for this film was shot as a student/activist.

JAMES Q. CHAN (Producer) is an Emmy® nominated filmmaker based in San Francisco. His documentary FOREVER, CHINATOWN is a meditation on memory and community seen through the lens of artist Frank Wong and the miniature dioramas of his childhood Chinatown. His film training began alongside two-time Academy-Award winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK, THE CELLULOID CLOSET, HOWL). His recent projects include BLOODLINE (CAAMfest 2018), the pilot episode of a new documentary food series featuring Chef Tu David Phu (Top Chef; SF Chronicle Rising Star). He is the producer on CHINATOWN RISING, a forthcoming feature documentary about the rise of the Asian American Movement. Prior to filmmaking, James worked as a Talent Agent. He is the founder of Good Medicine Picture Company. James is currently in pre-production on a forthcoming Disney project and he is a recent member to the Directors Guild of America. 

JOSHUA CHUCK (Co-Producer/Assistant Editor) Josh grew up in San Francisco's Chinatown and has worked in the community for over 16 years as a youth worker, filmmaker, and fundraiser. He has produced, shot and edited short films for the past 16 years, mostly sharing the stories of individuals who symbolize the rich diversity of the city, as well as organizations advocating for the needs of the underserved. He currently directs the UPS Community Internship in San Francisco, an intensive community immersion program for UPS Upper Management, which focuses on the Chinatown, Tenderloin, and Bayview neighborhoods. He enjoys international travel, often spending months at a time overseas. To Josh, the best part of travel is learning about other cultures, meeting inspiring individuals, and playing basketball with the locals.

ANSON HO (Cinematographer/ Assistant Editor) Anson is a San Francisco native rooted in the Chinatown community. While serving in the US Navy he found his passion in film and tv when he produced and filmed his own closed-circuit television show on his naval ship, USS OLDENDORF. He followed his passion by moving to Los Angeles and worked on various short films, music videos and documentary projects. Notable projects included Sundance film FINISHING THE GAME as an associated producer and thereafter worked on Universal's Studio FAST & FURIOUS as an assistant to the director both directed by Justin Lin. He also helped develop and film numerous web series and comedy sketches on the Asian American Youtube channel called YOMYOMF, which gained over 35 million views within a year. As a traveling cinematographer, he has filmed documentaries all over China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, and Mt Everest base camp. He is currently working on a feature film narrative called SNAKEHEAD as a 1st Assistant Director.

GREG LOUIE (Editor) Greg is currently a Video Editor and Producer based out of Culver City. He is employed at both NFL Network and Spectrum Sportsnet, where he edits and produces live sports television along with original sports reality programming.  Greg has also been the lead editor on two feature films, UNDOING and FINISHING THE GAME.  FINISHING THE GAME was directed by Justin Lin and premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.  He was also the lead editor on the documentary LINSANITY, which was directed by Evan Jackson Leong and premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  Currently, he is in post-production as the lead editor on SNAKEHEAD, the directorial feature debut of Evan Jackson Leong.  Greg has over 15 years experience editing with 10 years of experience editing live sports television.

PROJECT ADVISORS

JUDY YUNG is professor emerita in American Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She specializes in oral history, women's history, and Asian American history. Judy Yung is the fifth daughter of six children born to immigrant parents from China. She grew up in San Francisco Chinatown, where her father worked as a janitor and her mother as a seamstress to support the family. Yung was able to acquire a bilingual education by attending both public school and Chinese language school for ten years. She received her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds an M.A. in Library Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in English Literature and Chinese from San Francisco State University. Prior to entering academia, Yung worked as a librarian for the Chinatown branch of the San Francisco Public Library and the Asian branch of the Oakland Public Library, pioneering the development of Asian language materials and Asian American interest collections in the public library to better serve the Asian American community. She also spent four years working as associate editor of the East West newspaper. Upon receiving her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies, Yung was hired to establish an Asian American Studies program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she taught courses in Asian American studies, women's history, oral history, and mixed race until she retired in 2004.

GORDON CHIN is the former Executive Director of San Francisco’s Chinatown Community Development Center, which he co-founded and ran for 34 years before retiring in October 2011. Recognized nationally as a leader in community development and affordable housing, and as a pioneering Asian American activist, he led Chinatown CDC in developing thousands of units of affordable housing for low-income seniors, working families, and formerly homeless residents. From the beginning of the Asian American Movement in the turbulent 1960s, he has devoted himself to building community, organizing tenants and immigrant families, and developing youth leaders. Mr. Chin lives in San Francisco, where he continues to be involved in community issues and is an avid Giants fan.

PAMELA KONG is a workers' and tenants' rights attorney at the law firm of Sundeen and Salinas in Oakland, California. Born in Chinese Hospital in San Francisco, she received a bilingual education at St. Mary's Chinese Day School, played on the floors of San Francisco's garment factories where her grandmother's friends worked and came full circle in 2003 at the Women's Employment Rights Clinic when she joined the trial team representing almost 300 monolingual Cantonese garment workers in a lawsuit to recover unpaid wages. Since then, she has steadily provided legal services to the Chinese Community through volunteering with Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus and her own legal practice. Most recently, her law firm is co-counsel with the Asian Law Caucus to largely monolingual Cantonese tenants of an SRO in Oakland Chinatown who have filed a lawsuit against their landlord. She earned her B.A. in Asian American Studies from UCLA and her J.D. from Golden Gate University. Proximity and love for Chinatown is a factor in many of her decisions.

EVAN JACKSON LEONG directed the documentary LINSANITY about Jeremy Lin, which screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Leong has also directed the feature-length documentary 1040: CHRISTIANITY in the NEW ASIA and BLT Genesis: The journey of BLT. Leong is currently in production, directing the crime drama SNAKEHEAD in a tale about the underworld of human smuggling in New York City's Chinatown.

Risks and challenges

We are so thankful to be on this journey. We could not have gotten this far without the encouragement and support of our first round backers, grants from Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and California Humanities, and private donors. Our team is more determined than ever to complete this film. However, without the sufficient funds, this project will take longer to complete.

Some challenges we face include editing a film that is ideal for the theater, classroom, and living room, procuring archival media clearances and licenses, and most of all timeliness. Now more than ever, we need to inspire the next generation to claim their voice and act. We hope that with the success of this campaign, we will be able to accomplish these tasks. However, if we don't receive enough funds, our team will be forced to continue to look for additional funds, taking away time and energy from production. We feel as if it is our duty to share such an important and impactful story, we hope you will be able to help us achieve that.

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Funding period

- (29 days)