A filmmaker turns 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.
Now available for Educational & Institutional Use and streaming through Vimeo On Demand (w/Chinese subtitles) and Kanopy!
“Totally absorbing.” Louis Proyect (Rec Arts)
“Amazing.” “If you love movies or history see this film.” Steve Kopian (Unseen Films)
“4 stars” John Soltes (Hollywood Soapbox)
American Library Association “Notable Film for Adults” 2019
Broadcast on PBS World’s America ReFramed Series, May 2018
Winner — Audience Award, LA Asian Pacific Film Festial 2017
Winner — Honorable Mention, Documentary Award, CAAMFest 2017
Winner — Best Documentary, Special Jury Award, Hawaii International Film Festival 2016
Winner — Courage in Cinema Award, UMass Boston Film Series 2017
Winner — Audience Award Honorable Mention, Boston Asian American Film Festival 2017
About The Film
In the late 1930s China is in dire straits. The country will collapse under Japan’s military juggernaut if it doesn’t get outside help. Chinese American firebrand Li Ling-Ai jolts Americans into action with a new medium — 16mm Kodachrome color film. She hires photojournalist Rey Scott to travel to China and capture a citizen’s perspective of the war-torn country, including the massive bombing of the wartime capital Chungking (now Chongqing). Their landmark film KUKAN screens for President Roosevelt at the White House, is called “awesome” by the New York Times, and receives one of the first Academy Awards for a feature documentary in 1942. Why have we never heard of Li Ling-Ai? And why have all copies of KUKAN disappeared? Filmmaker Robin Lung goes on a 7-year quest to find the answers.