Asian American Trailblazers in Film

Join us for Asian American Trailblazers in Film to celebrate the unsung contributions of Asian Americans to the American film industry.  USCET’s Asian Women Trailblazers Series began in 2021 as a response to rising anti-Asian hate, highlighting the contribution of Asians to the fabric of American society. The series recognizes the accomplishments of trailblazing AAPI women, offering them a platform to share their stories, spotlight the Asian American experience, and inspire the next generation.

On February 8 at 8pm ET, our distinguished panelists for this “fireside chat” webinar are film trailblazers Shirley Sun, Felicia Lowe, and Robin Lung. Their discussion provides a unique opportunity to hear firsthand from accomplished Asian women in the film industry about their own journeys and explore the unsung experiences and stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in film over the decades.  


Felicia Lowe is an award-winning independent media producer, director, and writer with 40 years of production experience. Her documentaries— Chinese Couplets, Carved in Silence, Chinatown, and China: Land of My Father reveal the unique experiences of Chinese in America while underscoring our common humanity.  Her films have been broadcast on PBS and are used in classrooms across the country.  Recent works include Pacific Gateway, a 360° virtual reality video on Angel Island Immigration Station and leading a creative team to produce 17 two-minute videos for the Gold Mountain: Chinese Californian Stories exhibit at the California Museum in Sacramento, California. Prior to producing documentaries, she was one of the first Asian female television news reporters and worked in children’s programming. A descendant of Angel Island detainees, she’s been a leader in the preservation and restoration of this National Historic Landmark.

Robin Lung is a fourth generation Chinese American with deep roots in Hawai‘i. She specializes in bringing untold minority and women’s stories to film. A Stanford University and Hunter College graduate, she became a filmmaker after successful careers in book publishing and higher education. Lung’s feature documentary Finding KUKAN tells the story of her discovery of the lost Oscar-winning film KUKAN and of Li Ling-Ai from Hawaiʻi who produced it. It received the American Library Association’s Notable Film Award in 2019 and was broadcast on PBS World’s America ReFramed series. Lung made her directorial debut with Washington Place: Hawai‘i’s First Home, a PBS documentary about the legacy of Hawaiʻi’s Queen Lili‘uokalani and her personal home. In 2015 Lung was selected as one of four documentary fellows for the NALIP ARC diverse female filmmaker residency, and she is a proud member of the renowned filmmaker distribution cooperative New Day Films. Lung’s short documentary Nancy Bannick: Saving Honolulu’s Chinatown, premiered at the 2022 Hawaiʻi International Film Festival and was chosen to screen on all transpacific Hawaiian Airline flights in 2023.


Shirley Sun is a film director, producer, writer, art curator, and cultural interchange activist. Sun organized the first International Film Symposium in Beijing headed by eminent U.S. director, Martin Scorsese. Sun’s works draw on her East West bicultural heritage. She produced and co-wrote A Great Wall, (Director, Peter Wang), the first American feature co-production shot in the Peoples’ Republic of China. Sun directed and produced another feature, Iron and Silk, based on the true story of a young American who taught English in China, while pursuing martial arts, a hit at the Sundance Film Festival and on the Disney Channel. Sun’s documentaries include: The Cities of China series (co-produced with Sue Yung Li and Peter Wang), a cinematic breakthrough in filming Emperor Qin’s 2200-year-old tomb; Vinegar Joe, a portrait of the rugged Gen. Joseph Stilwell, the most powerful American in China during World War II; and SICHUAN, commissioned by National Geographic, a journey through China’s most populous and diverse province. Sun was Consultant on the movie The Last Emperor, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci (9 Academy Awards). Sun’s recent work, Fire and Ashes, which reveals behind-the-scenes creation of a new ballet RAkU, received acclaim at the San Francisco and New York dance film festivals. Sun served as Deputy Director of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington DC and Executive Director of the Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in History of Asian Art, Stanford University.