First Vote, Yi Chen’s documentary on the Asian American experience at the voting polls will have its World Broadcast Premiere on October 20, 2020.
The film offers unparalleled access to a diverse cross-section of politically engaged Chinese Americans; weaving their stories from the presidential election of 2016 to the 2018 midterms and explores the intersections between immigration, voting rights, and racial justice.
Directed by Yi Chen, a Chinese immigrant and first-time voter herself, First Vote is a rare long-form look at the diverse Asian American electorate. Her thought-provoking journey into the Rust Belt and South captures four Chinese American voters’ ardent first time grassroots political participation ignited by the 2016 rise of “Chinese Americans for Trump.”
First Vote is a character driven cinema verité style film chronicling the democratic participation of four Asian American voters from 2016 through the 2018 midterm elections. In Montgomery County, Ohio, a first-time voter Lance Chen avidly mobilizes new Americans to vote republican through his Rush-Limbaugh-style podcast and political action committee. In Orange County, North Carolina, journalist Kaiser Kuo returns to the U.S. after living in Beijing for 20 years and is unexpectedly confronted with the rise of Chinese American conservativism in the South, personified by a rags-to-riches business woman, Sue Googe, who after an unsuccessful first run for Congress, becomes a “tough Chinese cookie” for the Tea Party. At the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, critical race theory professor Jennifer Ho takes her activism to the classroom teaching about the complexities of race and racism in the American South.
Until 1952, federal law prohibited immigrants of Asian descent from becoming U.S. citizens and voting. Today, Asian Americans are the fastest growing population in the United States. The film is a timely story exploring what it means to be American through personal stories of America’s fastest growing political constituency’s diverse experience at the polls in battleground states.
The world premiere television broadcast date for First Vote is October 20, 2020 on the PBS World Channel at 8PM ET/PT, as part of the channel’s AMERICA REFRAMED series.
First Vote is also the anchor film for the PBS World Channel’s Your Vote 2020 (#YourVote2020) initiative – a multi platform initiative exploring racial diversity of voters in this 2020 election.