Hyphen Gift Guide: The Documentary DVD Edition (2010)

December 13, 2010


Why hello, another year has (almost) passed, and, just in time for the holidays...it's your Hyphen Holiday Gift Guide, the documentary DVD edition. As your DVDs editor for the print mag, these are some of the films that, in my humble opinion, would make nice gifts. Educational entertainment while supporting independent Asian American filmmakers. Ye-ah! (Here's last year's DVD list by Sylvie Kim).

9500 Liberty directed by Annabel Park and Eric Byler

A great, action-packed documentary about immigrants and anti-immigrant laws. This is the debate that is going around the country right now. Activist-filmmakers Park and Byler do a great job of capturing the debate, moment-to-moment.

AOKI directed by Mike Cheng and Ben Wang

A film about Richard Aoki, a field marshal and one of the first members of the Black Panthers. Who? What? A Japanese American Black Panther? Watch to learn more. $20 + S/H.

Wo Ai Ni Mommy directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal and In The Matter of Cha Jung Hee directed by Deann Borshay Liem

Two vastly different films in story and style, but both about transracial/transnational adoption. Wang-Breal's film includes lots of vérité scenes about a Chinese girl adopted into a white family in more recent times, and includes many heartbreaking/surprising moments. Borshay Liem's film is about herself and her family, an artful and beautiful film about her search for the truth, whatever that might be. Wang-Breal's film is available for purchase, while Borshay Liem's is available for rent or institutional purchase. Wo Ai Ni Mommy is $25.95 and In The Matter of Cha Jung Hee is $80 for rent and $90 for purchase.

Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story directed by Bruce Alan Johnson and Christine Toy Johnson

For that basketball aficionado. If you're a Jeremy Lin fan, you should check out this film about the first Asian American and person of color in the NBA (lots of history to learn here, folks!). $30.22 including tax and S/H.

Hollywood Chinese directed by Arthur Dong

Dong is a gifted, veteran filmmaker who made this documentary about Chinese portrayals in Hollywood. This is now a part of a boxed, collector's edition DVD set. Loads of interesting material. Many more of Dong's films are available here. Get 15% off if you order more than $125 worth (use code gift15), and shipping is free right now. $39.95 for the 2 disc boxed set, or $29.95 for just the film. 



Momo Chang

Senior Contributing Editor

Momo Chang is the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media, and freelances for magazines, online publications, and weeklies. Her writings focus on Asian American communities, communities of color, and youth culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Her stories range from uncovering working conditions in nail salons, to stories about “invisible minorities” like Tongan youth and Iu Mien farmers. She has freelances The New York Times, WIRED, and East Bay Express, among other publications.