First-time Chinese American voters seek to shape America’s future through fervent political engagement in a story exploring the emotional pull of their experimentation with newfound democracy. A character-driven verité style feature length documentary, “First Vote” follows the passionate political participation of four Asian American voters from 2016 to 2018 in North Carolina and Ohio. Against the backdrop of changing U.S. demographics, the film explores the themes of immigration, identity and profound challenges facing new voters transitioning from authoritarianism to democracy.
Yi Chen, Director/Producer
Yi Chen is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Washington, DC. Her work has been supported by Independent Television Service (ITVS), Center for Asian American Media, Southern Documentary Fund, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Yi was named “Filmmaker of the Month” by the DC Film Office in 2013. She has produced multimedia content for United Nations Foundation, Financial Times, NPR station WAMU, Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic, Asian Fortune and Voice of America. Her most recent film “Chinatown” aired on PBS station WHUT and won IndieCapitol Awards Best Documentary Short. Yi holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film and Electronic Media from American University. She has taught documentary filmmaking, video production and editing at George Mason University and Marymount University.
Diane Quon, Consulting Producer
Diane lived in Los Angeles for over 17 years before moving back to her hometown of Chicago. While in LA, Diane worked at NBC and at Paramount Pictures where she was last the Vice President of Marketing. Diane is producing multiple documentaries with Kartemquin Films including the Academy Awards nominated and Sundance award-winning film, Minding the Gap directed by Bing Liu; Left-Handed Pianist along with Chicago Tribune arts critic Howard Reich, and co-directed by Leslie Simmer and Kartemquin founder Gordon Quinn; and The Dilemma of Desire with Peabody Award-winning director Maria Finitzo. Diane is a Film Independent Doc Lab (2017) and Fast Track Fellow (2017, 2018). She is also developing a fiction film based on the New York Times best-selling book Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
Su Kim, Consulting Producer
Su Kim is a documentary producer in New York City. Her work has received numerous grants including from ITVS, Sundance Documentary Fund, NYSCA, California Humanities Council and Tribeca Film Institute. She was a 2015 Women at Sundance Fellow. Currently, she is producing One Bullet Afghanistan with director Carol Dysinger, Sanson and Me with director Rodrigo Reyes, Free Chol Soo Lee with directors Eugene Yi and Julia Ha and Midnight Traveler with director Hassan Fazili and producer Emelie Mahdavian. Her most recent film Hale County This Morning, This Evening with director RaMell Ross and producer Joslyn Barnes premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and won U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Vision.
Help us offset production costs. Every donation makes a difference. Donations are tax-exempt through our fiscal sponsor Southern Documentary Fund, a nonprofit arts organization that cultivates documentary projects made in or about the American South.
- CAAM Documentary Fund 2018
- ITVS Diversity Development Fund 2018
- Southern Documentary Fund Filmmaking Grant 2017
- Carolyn’s First Decade Fund, Women in Film and Video DC 2017
- UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program Professional Workshops for Independent Documentary Filmmakers Spring 2018
- Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival Docs In Progress Industry Pitch 2018
- Docs In Progress Documentary Roundtable 2018
- Docs In Progress Fellowship Program 2017
- Docs In Progress Peer Pitch 2017
- Tribeca IF/Then Midwest Pitch, St. Louis International Film Festival 2017
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