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.

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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?

Li Ling-Ai Brochure


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