Feb 20-23, 2021

Far East Deep South

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Synopsis

The film explores the seldom-told history of early Chinese immigrants living in the American South during the late 1800s to mid-1900s through the eyes of Charles Chiu and his family as they travel from California to Mississippi to find answers about his father, K.C. Lou. Left behind in China as a baby, Charles Chiu, a retired U.S. Air Force reservist, is reluctant to discuss growing up without his father and his family’s complicated past with his sons, Baldwin and Edwin.

Eventually, Charles and his family travel to Cleveland, Mississippi to visit the gravesite of his father, K.C. Lou. In the span of just several hours, a simple family trip leads to unexpected and emotional encounters with residents. Along the way, they get a crash course on the history of the early Chinese immigrants in the Deep South that they never knew. This fateful trip to Cleveland, Mississippi only raised more questions and prompts the Chiu family to dig even deeper into their past. They meet historians and Mississippi Delta residents from the black, white and Chinese communities who help fill in blanks to their family’s life in Mississippi. At every turn, more surprising revelations pop up and change their family forever.

The film provides a window into the lives of the Chinese in the South and the discrimination they faced in the midst of segregation. The film not only highlights the struggles and perseverance of the Chinese, but explores the racial dynamics between the white, black and Chinese communities and the added challenge of exclusionary immigration policies, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, many families faced at that time.

Filmmaker Biography

Larissa Lam is the director, writer and producer of Far East Deep South. She produced the film alongside her husband, Baldwin Chiu. She is making her feature documentary directorial debut with this film.

She previously directed the short documentary, Finding Cleveland, which is the basis for Far East Deep South. Finding Cleveland won awards at several film festivals including Oxford Film Festival, Sacramento

International Film Festival and Asian Film Festival of Dallas. Lam also completed a nationwide tour of Finding Cleveland with over 100 screenings at museums, universities and libraries.

Lam was previously selected for the Smithsonian's History Film Forum Emerging Filmmakers Lab. She has also produced TV shows such as "Top 3" for JUCE TV, music videos and “A Day in the Life of an Engineer” for the Intel’s Stay With It campaign. She also produced and directed a series of PSAs for a national suicide prevention campaign, #IFEELALIVE.

Prior to entering the film and TV world, Lam carved out a distinguished career in music. Lam began her career as the Chief Financial Officer of NSOUL Records and has written & produced music for TV (The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Oz, TLC), film (Dead Man Down, Gone) and video games (Konami, Square Enix). Lam is also an award-winning singer and songwriter whose song “I Feel Alive” won the 2015 Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Dance Song.

Lam is passionate about empowering and inspiring others through the arts. A dynamic speaker, she has been a TV/radio host and keynote speaker on diversity and inclusion, the Asian American experience among other topics at TEDx and numerous universities such as Yale, UCLA and MIT. Currently, she also co-hosts the podcast, Love, Discovery and Dim Sum with her husband, Baldwin Chiu. She is a native of Diamond Bar, California, and a graduate of UCLA.
 

Baldwin Chiu aka Only Won is the producer of Far East Deep South. He and his family are the subjects of the film and he teamed up with his wife, Larissa Lam, to produce Far East Deep South. Chiu is a graduate of the ACT One film producing program. He was born in San Francisco and moved to Sacramento halfway through elementary school where he later graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a degree in mechanical engineering. He previously produced the award-winning documentary short, Finding Cleveland and serves as producer on an upcoming film by director Jason Poon, Sleight of Heart.

In addition to being a film producer, Chiu is a rapper known by his MC name, Only Won and he is a professionally licensed mechanical engineer who gained recognition for his viral videos, “Cantonese Boy” and “I Wanna Be an Engineer.” He previously served as a spokesperson for Intel/White House “Stay With It” engineering campaign under the Obama Administration promoting careers in science. Baldwin’s songs were featured in the video game “Sleeping Dogs” and the film, Dead Man Down starring Colin Farrell. He is also an actor who has appeared in films such as The Pursuit of Happyness, The Hulk and The Matrix. Additionally, Chiu has been a speaker on numerous panels addressing race, immigration, and minority representation in media. He currently resides in Pasadena, CA.

Schedule

Online Screenings

At this time, there are no online screenings of this film scheduled.

In-person Screenings

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