Cleveland Chinese Americans to make a documentary about the 150-year history of AsiaTown

Cleveland Asiatown

The Organization of Chinese Americans of Greater Cleveland (OCAGC) is making a documentary to educate the local community about the history of Cleveland’s AsiaTown. 

The project will document how Asian Americans settled and established themselves within Cleveland’s community over the last 150 years.

The documentary will feature interviews with about 20 Cleveland residents, including two historians and several community leaders, according to the documentary’s producer and OCAGC Vice President of Communications Johnny Wu.

OCAGC shared Facebook photos of the production team interviewing Jenny Chin, the former chair of the Chinese Association of Greater Cleveland (CAGC) before it merged with the OCA Northeast Ohio to form OCAGC in 1995. Chin was recently named one of Crain’s 2021 Notable Residential Real Estate Agents. Her family owned Cleveland Chinatown restaurants the Three Sisters and Golden Pheasant Chinese on Rockwell Ave.

(To view the post above, you must click on the Facebook post and see through the social media platform.)

Wu began working on the documentary with OCAGC president Lisa Wong, filmmaker Kyle Znamenak and filmmaker Nick Muhlbachback in 2020 after the organization was awarded $15,000 for the project.

Production was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wu said he had planned to release the documentary around this time, but the pandemic prevented them from interviewing community members for months. The team finally finished the interviewing process in early December 2021.

“We are in post production,” Wu said. “We trimmed down to 3 hours so far and are now working to get it cut down to half.”

OCAGC set up a fundraising campaign for Give in May where they raised $535, as of this writing. In November, they made an additional fundraising campaign for Giving Tuesday to aid with the editing process. They have raised $435 of their $1,000 goal, as of this writing.

Wu said he hopes to release the documentary in June.

Images via Lisa Wong

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