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Filmmakers Look Behind Hollywood’s Lens on Race

A group of activist filmmakers combat racism and make change inside and outside Tinseltown.

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Finding the Filmmakers’ Work

The Bronze Screen,Baadasssss Cinema, and Baadasssss! are available on DVD. Reel Injun is currently making its way in theaters. 

Hollywood Chinese recently became available, separately or in a boxed set titled “Stories from Chinese America” with two other DVDs showcasing Dong’s work. One of these, the supremely charming Forbidden City, U.S.A., features vintage footage from the legendary all-Chinese nightclub in 1940s San Francisco, as well as present-day interviews with the men and women who wowed its patrons. The third disc in the set contains three short films, including the Oscar-nominated Sewing Woman, based on the life of Dong’s mother, who came to San Francisco as an immigrant; Lotus, an historical feature set in a Chinese village where a woman is struggling with the decision to have her daughter’s feet bound; and Living Music for Golden Mountains, a portrait of Dong’s music teacher, a Chinese immigrant in San Francisco who kept in touch with his cultural identity through music. 

Dong’s distinguished body of cinematic activism also includes three landmark films on homophobia, collected in a previously released boxed set, “ Stories from the War on Homosexuality”: Coming Out Under Fire, based on Allan B érubé’s book about gay and lesbian veterans of World War II; Licensed to Kill, asking convicted murderers of gay men why they did it; and Family Fundamentals, focusing on gay and lesbian children disowned by religious parents.

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