A filmmaker turns history detective to uncover the forgotten story of Li Ling-Ai, the un-credited female producer of KUKAN, an Academy Award-winning color documentary about World War II China that has been lost for decades.
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Finding KUKAN is in the beginning stages of post-production. We are currently raising funds to complete a rough cut of the film. You can help bring this story to fruition by making a tax-deductible donation HERE.
Backers who donate $25 or more receive a set of three souvenir postcards made from the original 1941 KUKAN lobby cards; backers who donate $1000 or more receive film credit in the film festival version of the film.
About The Film
Asian Americans have been a part of American history and culture for many generations, yet the term “Asian American Hero” is still an oxymoron in mainstream media and popular culture. In Finding KUKAN, Hawaii filmmaker Robin Lung embarks on an investigative journey to reclaim a Chinese American heroine from the past. At a time when Chinese Americans were denied basic rights of citizenship, Li Ling-Ai was a pioneering playwright and moviemaker. She was the un-credited producer of KUKAN, a 1941 color film about World War II China, and one of the first documentaries to receive an Academy Award. Why have we never heard of Li Ling-Ai or KUKAN? And why have all copies of KUKAN vanished completely? These questions become deeply personal as Robin learns that the socio-political forces that robbed Ling-Ai of credit and caused KUKAN to go missing have shaped her own viewpoint in profound ways. Prior to producing KUKAN, Li Ling-Ai knew little about making movies and cameraman Rey Scott had never held a motion picture camera in his hands. They had no Hollywood backing or government support. Yet they created an epic color film of China that screened for President Roosevelt at the White House and had long runs in theaters across the country. Robin looks beyond the entrancing Cinderella story of KUKAN to ask why the Academy Award and most of the credit was given to Rey Scott. Were Li Ling-Ai’s achievements overlooked because she was a Chinese woman?