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December 19, 2022

Kartemquin Films Awards Funding for Three Films as Part of AAPI Voices Fund

(left to right) Quyên Nguyen-Le, Emily Strong, Dave Yim

Kartemquin is excited to announce the three projects selected for funding support as part of the Peng Zhao and Cherry Chen Fund for AAPI Voices.

The projects supported by the second cycle of the Fund are:

  • 120,000 Stories, dir. Quyên Nguyen-Le
  • Coming of Heritage, dir. Emily Strong
  • Chinatown Futures, dir. Dave Yim

This second round of the multi-year fund supports two filmmakers with $10,000 seed funding awards towards research and development of a proof-of-concept, demo, or work sample; and one filmmaker with $5,000 in funding for pitch support – the art of pitching, forum participation and/or the development of a pitch deck.

The purpose of this initiative is to invest funds and critical support in AAPI-identifying filmmakers making documentary films that center AAPI voices and deepen their audiences’ understanding of the complexity and diversity of the AAPI communities in the US.

“We’re very inspired by these projects,” said Artistic Director Amir George. “They are compelling and urgent stories by talented filmmakers whose voices we want to uplift and hear more from in the years to come.”

Applications for Year Two of the AAPI Voices Fund will open in early 2023. More on the Cycle Two grantees and their projects below.

120,000 Stories
Director: Quyên Nguyen-Le

120,000 Stories (dir. Quyên Nguyen-Le)

120,000 Stories is a documentary exploring the artistic life of 83-year-old Nobuko Miyamoto, an activist, writer, dancer, and musician whose groundbreaking work contributed to the emerging Asian American solidarity movement of the 1970s. Nobuko Miyamoto’s story is a long view of coalitional and anti-racist activism from someone who continues to be an active participant.

Quyên Nguyen-Le (they/them) is a queer vietnamese filmmaker born to refugee parents in the place where Chumash and Tongva lands meet (San Fernando Valley, Los Ángeles). Quyên’s work focuses on the ways histories are deeply felt in the quotidian everyday. quyennl.com


“Documentary making is often a resource intensive process and receiving seed funding early on is not usually something available to emerging filmmakers. Being able to thoughtfully plan how to present the project and garner support builds an essential foundation for the rest of the filmmaking process. I feel very grateful that this grant will not only support my in-progress work, but also support the next step in my filmmaking career.”

Chinatown Futures
Director: Dave Yim

Chinatown Futures (dir. Dave Yim).

A young generation in New York City’s Chinatown fights to save their families’ businesses and the historic neighborhood itself.

Dave Yim is an Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker and audio storyteller, whose mission is to bring understanding and connection through his work. Dave is a multifaceted creative, having worked on hundreds of video and audio pieces for news and documentary companies as a director, producer, writer, videographer, and editor. He spent a combined eight years as a staff video editor and producer for Bloomberg News and later CNN’s Great Big Story, where he worked on projects that earned an Emmy Award, Webby Award, and Telly Award. Now independent, he freelances with editorial outlets such as Vox and NowThis News and produces content for a variety of brands. Whether filming in remote regions of the world, or deep in a script or editing timeline, Dave is most at home shaping stories that audiences will carry with them for years to come.


“Independently producing a documentary is fraught with so many challenges, but knowing that the team at Kartemquin Films and the grantors believe in me, believe in the team, and believe in the project feels both empowering and humbling. This funding will allow us to go much deeper in engaging and researching the people and community that our film will be focusing on. It will also give us the resources to create a compelling pitch deck in order to find additional partners who will help get the film made.”

Coming of Heritage
Director: Emily Strong

Coming of Heritage (dir. Emily Strong)

Coming of Heritage is a soulful story about Emily Flynn, a Korean-American adopted woman, and her brave journey to put the missing pieces of her heritage back together. When her Korean-adopted sibling is shot and killed by police during a mental health check, her cultural commitment intensifies.

Emily Strong is an award winning documentary filmmaker and location sound mixer. Some of her collaborations include: Producer on Keep Moving Forward (Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Official Selection) and A Letter for Sang-Ah (CAAMFest Loni Ding Award for Social Justice). She was selected as a DOC NYC, HBO Documentary Films, and Topic Studio’s 40 Under 40 honoree in 2020 and received a NYC Artist Corps Grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) in 2021 for her directing debut, Coming of Heritage. In 2022, she was presented the “Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing” award in the motion pictures documentary category from Cinema Audio Society for her work on the Academy Award winning documentary, Summer of Soul (directed by Questlove, produced by Joseph Patel) and worked as a location sound mixer on other notable films such as Attica (Academy Award nominee 2022), and Netflix’s Taylor Swift: Miss Americana (Sundance 2019).


“The support from Peng Zhao and Cherry Chen’s fund for AAPI Voices at Kartemquin Films came at the exact right time, from the exact right people, when Coming of Heritage needed it the most. Zhao and Chen’s partnership with Kartemquin Films is serendipitous, as [Kartemquin] was my first documentary school and integral in honing my film sensibilities, craft, and ethics in filmmaking. I am looking forward to our adventures together, preserving and celebrating this powerful Asian-American story.”