First Vote

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First Vote is a character-driven feature documentary film with unparalleled access to a diverse cross section of politically engaged Chinese Americans: a gun-toting Tea Party-favorite candidate courting GOP votes in the South; a podcaster in Ohio who became a citizen in order to vote for Trump; a progressive journalist confronting Chinese Americans for Trump after moving to a battleground state; and a University of North Carolina professor teaching about race and racism in the US. A vérité look at Chinese American electoral organizing in North Carolina and Ohio, the film follows their stories from the presidential election of 2016 to the 2018 midterms, and explores the intersection of immigration, voting rights and racial justice.

Until 1952, federal law barred immigrants of Asian descent from becoming U.S. citizens and voting. Today, Asian Americans are the fastest growing population in the United States. More than 11 million Asian Americans will be able to vote in 2020. Directed by Yi Chen, a Chinese immigrant and first-time voter herself, First Vote is a must-watch and rare long-form look at the diverse Asian American electorate.

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  • JustFilms | Ford Foundation
  • Soros Equality Fellowship, Open Society Foundations
  • Center for Asian American Media with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • ITVS Diversity Development Fund  
  • DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
  • Kartemquin Films Emerging Storyteller Fund Grant supported by Sage Foundation
  • Southern Documentary Fund 

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Supported By 

  • DCTV Docu Work-In-Progress Lab 
  • DOC NYC Pitch Perfect 
  • UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program Professional Workshops for Independent Documentary Filmmakers    
  • KTQ Labs: Feedback Screenings Program
  • Docs In Progress
  • Carolyn’s First Decade Fund, Women in Film and Video DC 
  • Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival Pitch Forum
  • Tribeca IF/Then Midwest Pitch 
  • HotDocs Deal Maker Program

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Fiscal Sponsor

Your 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.

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