Documentaries by Arthur Dong

Documentaries by Arthur Dong

8 Episodes

Over the course of a career that spans five decades, Oscar-nominated activist documentarian Arthur Dong has established himself as one of American independent cinema’s most daring pioneers, bringing powerful untold stories that center queer and Asian American experiences to the screen. Whether exploring the devastating effects of antigay prejudice (COMING OUT UNDER FIRE, LICENSED TO KILL), the complexity and vitality of Asian American culture (FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A.; HOLLYWOOD CHINESE), or the extraordinary life of a survivor of the Cambodian genocide (THE KILLILNG FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR), Dong approaches each project with a rare rigor and a quietly forceful empathy, braiding personal, historical, and political strands into compelling narratives. Taken together, his body of work serves as a stirring testament to the power of individual resistance and resilience in the face of social oppression.

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Documentaries by Arthur Dong
  • Arthur Dong Interview

    Episode 1

    This interview with Arthur Dong was recorded in 2021.

  • Sewing Woman

    Episode 2

    Directed by Arthur Dong • 1982 • United States

    This Oscar-nominated short documentary is the bittersweet chronicle of one woman’s determination to survive, following her journey from an arranged marriage in old China to working-class comforts in modern America. Based on a series of oral historie...

  • Forbidden City, U.S.A.

    Episode 3

    Directed by Arthur Dong • 1989 • United States

    It was the swinging thirties. The big bands of the forties. It was San Francisco nightlife. And the crowds were packing the nation’s premiere all-Chinese nightclub, Forbidden City. Like the Cotton Club of Harlem—which featured America’s finest Afric...

  • Coming Out Under Fire

    Episode 4

    Directed by Arthur Dong • 1994 • United States

    COMING OUT UNDER FIRE features nine gay and lesbian veterans who joined the patriotic war against fascism in the 1940s only to find themselves fighting two battles: one for their country and another for their right to serve. Based on the groundbreak...

  • Licensed to Kill

    Episode 5

    Directed by Arthur Dong • 1997 • United States

    LICENSED TO KILL is a riveting journey into the minds of men whose contempt for homosexuality has led them to murder. Filmmaker Arthur Dong—who was himself attacked by gay bashers on the streets of San Francisco in 1977—confronts murderers of gay me...

  • Family Fundamentals

    Episode 6

    Directed by Arthur Dong • 2002 • United States

    What happens when religiously conservative Christian parents have children who “become homosexual?” FAMILY FUNDAMENTALS is filmmaker Arthur Dong’s personal attempt to answer that explosive question. Armed with a digital camera, Dong takes viewers in...

  • Hollywood Chinese

    Episode 7

    Directed by Arthur Dong • 2007 • United States

    HOLLYWOOD CHINESE is a captivating deep dive into a little-explored chapter of cinema: the Chinese in American feature films. From the first Chinese American film, produced in 1917, to Ang Lee’s triumphant BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN nine decades later, Arth...

  • The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor

    Episode 8

    Directed by Arthur Dong • 2015 • United States

    When Dr. Haing S. Ngor was forced into labor camps by the Khmer Rouge, little did he know he would escape four years of torture and be called upon to recreate his experiences in THE KILLING FIELDS, a film that would earn him an Academy Award. Arthur...