The Camden Film Club to watch and discuss ‘South Far East’

Baldwin Chiu, producer of the film “Far East Deep South”, explores the complex history of his family in Mississippi. Photo submitted

In honor of May’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Camden Public Library’s Friday Film Club plans to watch and discuss the award-winning 2020 documentary “Far East Deep South”.

The film explores the rarely told story of Chinese immigrants living in the American South between the late 1800s and mid-1900s. The film must be viewed before the discussion, scheduled online at 4 p.m. on Friday 20 May, according to a press release from the library.

In the film, a Chinese-American family’s search for their roots leads them to the Mississippi Delta, where they come across startling family revelations and learn about the racially complex history of the Chinese in the segregated South.

“Far East Deep South” presents a personal and revealing perspective on race, immigration and American identity. Along the way, the family meets a diverse group of local residents and historians who help them discover how deep their roots run in America. The film also explores the interconnected relationship between black and Chinese communities during the Jim Crow era and the generational impact of discriminatory immigration policies, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act.

The film is told in a cinema verité style and also features interviews with Congresswoman Judy Chu, former mayor of Pace, Mississippi; Levon Jackson, former president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance; Caroline Chan; and historians such as Gordon Chang, from the Stanford History Department and author of “The Chinese and the Iron Road”, John Jung, author of “Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton”, and Jane Hong, author of “Opening the Gates to Asia”.

“Far East Deep South” has won numerous awards at film festivals, including Cinequest, CAAMFest, Oxford Film Festival and Seattle Asian American Film Festival. The film premiered on the PBS/World Channel’s “America ReFramed” series.

To request information on how to stream the documentary and receive a Zoom link to join the discussion, email [email protected]. For more information, contact Julia Pierce, Programs and Events Coordinator, at 207-236-3440.

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