A Documentary from KQED San Francisco
A Portrait of a World-Renowned Neighborhood
Premiered Wednesday, July 30, 1997 at 10pm ET on PBS
Thousands of tourists flock through its streets every day; its curio shops, all-night restaurants and crowded alleys have been celebrated from Broadway to Hollywood. But few people know the human drama and history that are hidden in the streets and faces of San Francisco's Chinatown. Chinatown, a one-hour documentary in its premiere national broadcast on PBS Wednesday, July 30, 1997 from 10-11pm ET (Editors: check local listings), tells the neighborhood's story from the point of view of those who have lived their lives there. The program is narrated by folklorist Charlie Chin and features the poetry of performance artist and poet Genny Lim.
Chinatown, though focused on one neighborhood, is in many ways the story of all Chinese in America. For decades, San Francisco's Chinatown was the largest community of Chinese outside Asia, and yet was a neighborhood forced to be independent, even isolated, from the rest of society. Its residents were barred from even the basic rights of citizenship. Even so, over 150 years, Chinatown's residents have managed to create a thriving community that today is the second most popular destination for visitors to San Francisco (after the Golden Gate Bridge), and which still functions today as a gateway to immigrants from all across Asia.
Producer/Director Felicia Lowe says, "Chinatown is definitely a living neighborhood, one that reflects, almost block by block, the long struggle of a people trying to gain a foothold here, often against overwhelming odds."
The program uncovers a neighborhood full of paradoxes, using Chinatown's music, poetry and oral histories to weave its intriguing story. Some of the surprises that viewers will discover in Chinatown are:
Funding for the national presentation of Chinatown is provided by Pacific Bell and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. Production funding was provided by Pacific Bell, The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, The Durfee Foundation, California Council for the Humanities, The Mary A. Crocker Trust, The Morris Stulsaft Foundation, Bank of the Orient, Cecilia and David Lee, Linda Y. Chan/Transamerica, The Thomas and Eva Fong Foundation, Leslie Tang Schilling, Shirley and Leo Soong, and the members of the Chinatown community.
Tina Bachemin, KQED Channel 9, Tel: 415/553-2238; Fax: 415/553-2254
Stephanie Murphy, Stephanie Murphy Public Relations, Tel: 508/495-1796
Take me back to the Chinatown home page