Tag Archives: Finding KUKAN

New Day Out and About!   

At New Day Films, we’re known for our decades-long reputation of creating compelling social issues films, but as a co-op of member-filmmakers we do so much more than just sell educational media through our catalog. We’re passionately engaged in the educational sphere and the social issue landscape. Here are some exciting ways our members are engaging with the larger world at conferences, and other events in the near future:

Come meet us in person!

Ellen Brodsky representing New Day Films
at the Association for the Studies of African American Life and History in Cincinnati!

On October 2, 2018, New Day filmmaker Jonathan Skurnik will present and screen Becoming Johanna at the Out and Equal Workplace Summit conference in Seattle, Washington. Becoming Johanna profiles a trans teenager struggling to transition despite her mother’s resistance and finding a family of choice to support her quest.

On Oct. 6, New Day filmmaker Robin Lung will deliver the keynote presentation and host a screening of her film Finding Kukan at the American Association of Chinese Studies conference in Baltimore, Maryland. The film is a compelling investigation into the making of Chinese American Li Ling-Ai’s 1942 Academy award-winning documentary Kukan, a film detailing the Chinese experience of World War II neglected in the news media.

On Oct. 6, New Day filmmaker Pam Sporn will screen her film Detroit 48202 at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. Detroit 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route examines the rise, demise, and contested resurgence of Detroit through the lens of African-American mail carrier, Wendell Watkins, and the committed community he faithfully served for thirty years.

On Oct. 8, New Day filmmakers Ellen Brodsky and Ellen Frankenstein will be at the National Media Market conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, presenting some of our latest acquisitions. New Day will also host tables throughout the conference.

On Oct. 19, New Day filmmaker Katherine M Acosta will host a screening and discussion about her film Divided We Fall at the North American Labor History conference in Detroit, Michigan. Divided We Fall combines original in-depth interviews with dramatic citizen-produced video and photos to tell the story of the movement that inspired workers around the world yet failed to achieve its most urgent objective – defeating Governor Scott Walker’s signature union-busting and austerity legislation.

Between Oct. 18-21 at the National Latinx Psychological Association conference in San Diego, California, New Day filmmakers Brenda Avila Hanna and Corey Ohama will discuss their respective films about the experiences of “dreamers” – undocumented children who grew up in the United States, but were born in Mexico and thus face a precarious future in the only country they have known. Their respective films are Vida Diferida/Life Deferred and I Was Born in Mexico, But..

Meet New Day: Robin Lung

Filmmaker Robin Lung

Finding KUKAN chronicles my search for a long-lost 1941 Oscar-winning documentary called KUKAN – and Li Ling-Ai, the Chinese American woman from Hawaiʻi who was its un-credited producer. Itʻs a fascinating detective story that highlights how easily history can be lost or forgotten – especially the history of women and minorities.

I was a book and movie lover while growing up in Hawaiʻi, but in all the books and movies I devoured, I rarely came across Chinese American heroines I could identify with. When I became a filmmaker, I sought to fill that void and hit the jackpot when I discovered Li Ling-Ai. Even though she had died several years before I started the project, her larger-than-life personality came through in her letters and interviews and the remembrances of her friends and relatives, who referred to her as a “Chinese Aunty Mame.”  She was bold and brash, glamorous and egotistical, but she also had a generous heart and used her charm to break down negative stereotypes associated with China and Chinese people. I wanted to know everything I could about her. Although I did end up finding the “lost” film KUKAN, I still have many unanswered questions about Li Ling-Aiʻs life.

I made a difficult choice to put myself into my own film. And Iʻve been pleasantly surprised by audience reactions to my on-screen search. All across America and Canada viewers of all ethnicities have responded very emotionally to Finding KUKAN. Itʻs been a touchstone that prompts people to contemplate the lost or forgotten stories in their own lives. Several viewers have told me that after seeing the film, they sat down with their mother or grandfather or children to record stories or pass them on. Many young women have also shared that I am now a role model to them. I started looking for one womanʻs life, and it has led to so much more.

Learn more about the work of Robin Lung.