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Golden Venture

by Peter Cohn

Three hundred undocumented Chinese immigrants sail into a 1993 tragedy that becomes a crucial turning point in US immigration history.

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The film chronicles the ongoing struggles of passengers who were aboard the Golden Venture, an immigrant smuggling ship that ran aground near New York City in 1993. Passengers had paid at least $30,000 to be brought to the U.S. from China's Fujian Province, expecting to arrive indebted but unnoticed. But a seemingly golden opportunity quickly evolved into a hellish descent through the cruel whims of U.S. immigration policy. The Golden Venture crash fed a media circus and became a symbol of a growing national concern over illegal immigration. Many passengers were deported over a two-year period, while others were detained for up to four years. "Golden Venture" is a global epic, a story of stoic perseverance and unexpected grace, played out in the shadow of national politics and the continuing failure of ever-harsher US immigration policies. At a time when the immigration issue has led to furious debate and high stakes political maneuvering, the fate of the Golden Venture passengers is more relevant than ever

quoteA compelling and timely portrait of human courage, resilience, and compassion, set against a backdrop of bigotry, fear, and political infighting, this is recommended.
F. Swietek
Video Librarian
full review

quote"Golden Venture" is a thoughtful and beautifully made film that both informs and makes us think
Poshek Fu, Dept. of History and Cinema Studies, University of Illinois
Asian Educational Media Service
full review

quoteHighly recommended, especially for educational purposes.
Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau College
Library Journal
full review

quoteRemarkable stories of human strength, governmental
indecisiveness, and a supportive coalition of national groups rallying on behalf of the refugees...Classes studying the ongoing question of immigration would greatly benefit from the unique perspective provided in the film

Dwain Thomas, Lake Park High School, Roselle, IL
School Library Journal
full review

quoteUsing interviews with Golden Venture passengers (including one whose identity is hidden because he was deported and has returned illegally), York community activists, and government officials, this video presents a compelling story. Its recommended as a purchase for all collections.
Brian Falato, University of South Florida Tampa Campus Library
Educational Media Review Online
full review

More Reviews


  • Tribeca Film Festival, 2006
  • Tahoe-Reno International Film Festival, 2006
  • Amnesty International Film Festival, Sept. 2006

Resource Web Sites

appleGolden Venture Study Guide

The study guide includes: -- A note from the director/producer -- A synopsis -- Key questions for classroom discussion -- Timed chapter summaries -- Suggested activities

appleFilm Transcript

Resources to Download

Download Here

Download Here

Visit the official website for Golden Venture

Golden Venture

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Appropriate for: High School College/University

Special Features:

Closed captioning and English subtitles.

Extensive background and study material on film web site, including a library of declassified government documents. Full transcript also on web site.

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