A Chinese-American family’s search for their roots leads them to the Mississippi Delta, where they stumble upon surprising family revelations and uncover the racially complex history of early Chinese immigrants in the midst of segregation and the Chinese Exclusion Act era.

*Currently streaming only - DVD's available late Dec 2020*

“The story is beautifully presented and paced. It was touching and informative on many levels.  It’s very well done and should be widely viewed.”

Dr. Gordon H. Chang / Professor of American History, History Department, Stanford University
Synopsis: 

Far East Deep South explores the seldom-told history of early Chinese immigrants living in the American South during the late 1800s to mid-1900s through the eyes of Charles Chiu and his family as they travel from California to Mississippi to find answers about his father, K.C. Lou. In the span of just several hours, a simple family trip leads to unexpected and emotional encounters with local residents.

Along the way, they discover the history of the early Chinese immigrants in the Deep South that they never knew. They meet historians and Mississippi Delta residents from the Black, White and Chinese communities who help fill in the blanks to their family’s life in Mississippi. At every turn, more surprising revelations pop up and change their family forever.

The film provides a window into the lives of the Chinese in the South and the discrimination they faced in the midst of segregation. The film not only highlights the struggles and perseverance of the Chinese, but explores American identity, racial dynamics between the White, Black and Chinese communities, and the added challenge of exclusionary immigration policies, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, many families faced at that time.

Reviews

"My U.S. History students finished a unit on immigration, which included a viewing of the exceedingly well-done documentary Far East Deep South.  It was very engaging for the students.  Several students admitted to crying. One of my students told me, 'You know how you wanted to bring history alive for this course, watching the documentary Far East Deep South brought history alive for me.'"

Aaron Schermerhorn / Philomath High School

“What an amazing journey...You should warn viewers that Far East Deep South is a 10 tissue documentary. I think that this film should be required viewing in all public schools, state legislatures, and Congress!“

Julie D. Soo, Esq. / Commissioner, San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women

"Informative and compelling. A poignant American Story, that lingers with you even after it’s finished."

Lauren Tuck / Creative Executive, Harpo Films

“A joyous story of discovery about family, tradition and little-known American history”

Edward Douglas / The Weekend Warrior

“Far East Deep South showed how the Chinese and blacks worked together in Mississippi! It was inspiring!” 

Karalee Nakatsuka / 8th Grade History Teacher, Arcadia Unified School District

“Even though I knew about the Chinese Exclusion Act I did not realize that women and children were not allowed to come to America. History appears to be repeating. The movie was very well done and the perfect length to tell the story. “

Jan Alpert / President National Genealogy Society

“This film invites the audience to marvel along with the Chiu clan as they discover so many clues to their storied past in the Deep South.”

Dr. Ken Fong / director and host of “Asian America: The Ken Fong Podcast

“Far East Deep South gives an entertaining and unexpected history lesson.”

Alicia Chang / Film Gone Wild
Director's Commentary: 

Growing up in California, I wanted to be blond and blue-eyed and I struggled with my identity as the daughter of Chinese immigrants. I always felt like I wasn't American enough yet I also wasn't Chinese enough. However, it wasn't until after learning about Baldwin Chiu's Chinese American family in Mississippi, that I learned more about the important contributions of early Chinese immigrants in the American South. I became a filmmaker so I could educate audiences about the role of the early Asians in American history seldom discussed in classrooms and media. I hope this will create better cross-cultural understanding and promote racial equity. So often we keep our stories to ourselves out of fear, embarrassment, or pain in rehashing the past. But it's our stories that make us human and should unite us all as immigrants or descendants of immigrants. I hope to inspire others to share their family stories and document their roots. With so many misconceptions about immigrants, I feel that this film will broaden people’s view of what it means to be American and helps to overcome racial bias. The long-term goal is that this film will help reshape how U.S. history is taught in schools so that it is more inclusive of Asians and other groups traditionally omitted from textbooks.

- LARISSA