Opening Night Film

For the first century of its existence, the United States had no legal restrictions on immigration. This all changed in the latter part of the 1800s, when anti-Chinese agitation by politicians, industrialists, laborers, and media led to federal laws targeting Chinese abroad and those already in the country. But THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT goes far beyond the legislation of its title with a sweeping chronicle of the entire exclusion era: the survival and growth of Chinese American communities in the face of prejudice and outright violence; the “paper” sons and daughters who emigrated despite the seemingly impassable barriers; and the legal challenges that produced some of the most momentous decisions in Supreme Court history. Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu—the makers of classic PBS programs like NEW YORK: A DOCUMENTARY FILM and BECOMING AMERICAN: THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE—blend archival photographs, historian interviews, and first-hand accounts to illuminate a period that still informs American conceptions of national and ethnic identity. – J. Martin

This program is FREE and open to the public. Please RSVP using the link above. Like all festival screenings, priority seating will be given to festival badge and film pass holders.

Come early to pick up your badges/passes and enjoy food and drinks in the newly renovated AFS Cinema lobby – badge holders’ first drink is on us!

Opening Night Welcoming Committee:
Amy Wong Mok (Chair)
The Honorable Nick Chu
The Honorable Todd Wong
Texas Civil Rights Project


DIRECTORS: Ric Burns, Li-Shin Yu
WRITERS: Ric Burns, Robin Espinola
PRODUCERS: Li-Shin Yu, Robin Espinola, Ric Burns
CINEMATOGRAPHERS: Michael Chin, Buddy Squires, Anthony Savini, Jon Else, Lincoln Else
EDITOR: Li-Shin Yu
VOICES: Joel de la Fuente, Josh Hamilton, Yuet-fung Ho, Fenton Li, Russell Wong

LENGTH: 161 min
GENRE: Documentary

2017 CAAMFest Gala Presentations