The first time I saw the footage that I helped digitize from 16mm film to HD files for my friend’s dad, Rev. Harry Chuck, I was completely blown away. Chinese people in Chinatown marching down streets with signs; bus loads of seniors going into City Hall to demand better housing; parents protesting outside an elementary school about the desegregation law, high school aged kids at a funeral from another friend dying from a gang shooting; and these older gentlemen that called themselves the Six Companies sitting around tables like as if it was a government parliament. It was confusing yet surreal. I kept asking myself, did this really happen back then? How come growing up in Chinatown all my life I never heard about any of this?
I grew up seeing Rev. Harry Chuck as a mentor figure. A very charismatic and charming guy that always had a smile. As we sat every day having lunch and going over footage brainstorming what were our next steps, he would share with me stories from the ’60s and ’70s. He would say when he worked at the community center Donaldina Cameron House, it was a normal thing to hear gun shots and call in all the kids into the building to lock the doors. It was a normal weekend to have the Red party and the KMT party marching up and down Chinatown protesting and demonstrating about joining the United Nations. And it was a totally normal thing to have community meetings to figure out how to help all these new immigrants from the insanely over populated influx of Chinese after the US lifted the Chinese Exclusion Act. And I would just say to him…that’s normal???
We talked about story structure on how to present the footage. We constantly discussed would this video be just for people in the community or an educational piece for the class. And Harry kept saying, oh we can interview my friend so and so. He’ll talk now that its 45 years later. Or my other friend is still alive and was in the front lines, we should definitely get him on camera before its too late. Or I can’t wait until you meet this person, she doesn’t give a damn what people think and will say anything. He kept saying there were FBI files on everyone back then and before no one would talk about this openly. But now I think people will. People should. We need to share and pass down what we can for the future generation.
One year later with not too much experience fundraising for a documentary and a slightly bigger team (doubled from two to four), we’ve decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to see if anyone else would be interested in seeing this footage into a real documentary. Its been an overwhelming blessing to see the community support near and far for our project. Originally Harry honestly had a hard time asking for money and supported this project through his own bank account. But as time passed, we knew this couldn’t be the way. As more and more people saw our concept trailer both from the community and on Kickstarter, it sparked huge interest and got everyone excited. The number one comment we always got was, “So when is this going to be done?” We always joked that our credits at the end of this video is going to be only a couple names. But now with the support of so many generous people, our credit list will now be crazy long. What a blessing!
Please check out our Kickstarter page
and our three-minute concept trailer of the amazing never seen-before footage I’ve been talking about. Our new stretch goal is to have 500 backers before our campaign ends. I truly hope we can share our journey with everyone. Our story needs to be told by OUR OWN people!!! June 1st
is our deadline.