New Look at History of Chinese-American Filmmakers

Exhibit chronicles the contributions of Chinese Americans in Hollywood since 1916

Chinese Hollywood

Our view of Chinese American contributions to films in the early days of Hollywood is often enforced by the stereotypes enforced by early films such as Charlie Chan and Dr. Fu Manchu.

But buried beneath the glittering facade of the world's most fabled industry beats the stories of an obscure chapter from Hollywood's golden past.

A new exhibit at The Chinese American Museum will introduce visitors to Chinese and Chinese-American film artists through the decades who have triumphed as well as struggled with an industry often ignorant of race.

It's called Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection, based on the critically acclaimed, award-winning documentary, "Hollywood Chinese" by Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Arthur Dong.

The exhibition is filled with more than 1,000 pieces of movie memorabilia Dong collected during the 10-year research for his documentary.

On display are a selection of posters, lobby cards, stills, scripts, press material and other artifacts dating from 1916 to present-day.

Two highlights of the collection are the genuine Oscar statuette won by Chinese American Cinematographer, James Wong Howe, and rare production photos from "The Curse of Quon Gwon" (1916) the earliest known film directed by a Chinese American.

"At the very heart of it, this exhibition is both a behind-the-scenes probe on the history of Chinese and Chinese American contributions in motion picture history as well as a long-overdue tribute to their pioneering and contemporary filmmaking achievements over the past century," notes
Dr. Pauline Wong, CAM's Executive Director. "But equally as important, this exhibition will help to inform our communities about the transformative role of race and media and the immense power it continues to have in shaping public perception of Chinese American identity."

The exhibit opens to the public Saturday Oct. 24, 2009, and runs through May 30, 2010.

The Chinese American Museum is located at 425 North Los Angeles St., in El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, across from Union Station. Hours are 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Tuesday - Sunday. Admissions are suggested donations of $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Members are admitted free.

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