Far East Deep South

Discover The Past You Never Knew
Year Released
Film Length(s)
76 mins
Closed captioning available Audio description available All4Access available
Remote video URL


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.

Featured review

Its intimate, as-it-happened cinéma-vérité style draws you in, and soon this family trip takes the twists and turns of a compelling detective story. A surprising, sobering history lesson, it is painfully relevant.
Peter Keough
The Boston Globe


Far East Deep South sheds light on the history of Chinese immigrants in the American South and the discrimination they faced during the late 1800s to mid-1900s through the emotional journey of Charles Chiu and his family as they travel from California to Mississippi to find answers about Charles’ father, K.C. Lou. With the help of local residents and historians, the family learns about the interconnected relationship between the Black and Chinese communities in the Jim Crow era and the impact of restrictive immigration policies that kept their family apart for generations. Through a series of stunning discoveries at the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum and the National Archives, the Chiu family also uncover how deep their roots run in America. This unforgettable story offers a poignant perspective on race, immigration, and American identity.

The film features notable leaders, authors and historians such as U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, Dr. Gordon Chang, Dr. Jane Hong, Dr. John Jung, Dr. Robert Voss, Tyree Boyd-Pates and Past National President of Chinese Americans Citizens Alliance, Carolyn Chan.

* Available with English, Spanish, Chinese (traditional and simplified) subtitles


A good film for general audiences but especially good for high school and college classroom use. The film provides a solid introduction on the history of Asian American & Pacific Islander racism and the lasting, generational harm it has and continues to cause. This film is highly recommended for academic and public collections.
Educational Media Reviews Online
The story is beautifully presented and paced. It was touching and informative on many levels and should be widely viewed.
Dr. Gordon H. Chang / Professor of American History
History Department, Stanford University
Far East Deep South is not just a movie. It's a life-changing experience.
Jimmy Cheung
Ascend OC Chapter Board Member
An excellent film to offer for American History. I have always talked about the impact of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, but this puts it in such greater context.
Dr. Tyrone Tillery
History Professor - University of Houston
Far East Deep South stands apart as a fascinating documentary about the contributions of early Chinese immigrants in the U.S. It is a deeply moving retelling of the Mississippi Chinese legacy that triumphs in the face of many difficulties.
Kang-i Sun Chang
Malcolm G. Chace ‘56 Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Yale University
The exceedingly well-done documentary was very engaging for my U.S. History 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 Far East Deep South brought history alive for me.'
Aaron Schermerhorn
History Teacher- Philomath High School
What becomes apparent is the complex picture of race relations in the South and the plight of Chinese immigrants who found a place in the African American community.
Caroline Madden
Video Librarian - Best of 2021
What an amazing journey...You should warn viewers that Far East Deep South is a 10 tissue documentary. 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
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
Chinese immigrants in the Deep South struggle and thrive. A tale of heartbreak and tenacity in post-Reconstruction Mississippi.
Glenn Garvin

Awards and Screenings

Telly Award, 2022
America Reframed - PBS/World Channel Broadcast Premiere, 2021
CAAMFest - Documentary Audience Award, 2020
Cinequest Film Festival - Documentary Audience Award, 2020
Seattle Asian American Film Festival - Grand Jury Winner, 2021
Women Texas Film Festival - Best Feature Film, 2020
Oxford Film Festival - Best Mississippi Feature Film, 2020
Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival - Documentary Audience Award, 2020
Coronado Island Film Festival - Best Documentary, 2021
CineOdyssey Film Festival - Best Documentary, 2021
Film Fatales/Cinemarket Cannes Showcase Winner, 2021
Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association 150th Anniversary Golden Spike Conference - Feature Film Award
Newport Beach Film Festival - Official Selection, 2020
Los Angeles Asian American Pacific Film Festival - Official Selection, 2020
Carrboro Film Festival - Centerpiece Film, 2020
Asian American International Film Festival - Official Selection, 2020
Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival - Official Selection, 2020
Smithsonian History Film Forum Emerging Filmmakers Lab
Grant Recipient of Mississippi Humanities Council
Colorado Dragonboat Film Festival - Official Selection, 2021
-Phoenix Film Festival - Community Spotlight Film, 2021
South Arts - Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, 2021
Best Documentaries of List - Video Librarian, 2021
Best of World Channel List, 2021

Director 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.


Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Audio Description
  • Closed Captioning
  • All4Access
  • Director's Commentary
  • DVD Extras
  • Subtitles
  • Resources for Educators

Film/Audio Languages

  • English
  • Chinese

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • English
  • Chinese
  • Spanish

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

Resources for Educators

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