Random Acts of Legacy (2016) is a labour love by Ali Kazami who wrote, produced and directed the documentary, and the film tile is very apropos. He has beautifully created using found footage a visual memoir of the life of a Chinese-American family spanning the period from the Depression years to the post-war era.
Kazami finds a retired engineer who ingeniously finds a way to salvage the deteriorated 16 mm film footage (28 rolls of 16 mm films) he purchased from a seller. He manages to connect to the surviving daughter of Henry Silas Fung, a Chinese-American, who shot the footage. Irena Lum, Fung’s daughter, provides a first-person narrative to the footage helped along by her husband, Ray Lum, and her cousin, Clara Chen. Kazami brilliantly weaves in first-person interviews from historian Henry Yu, a historian at the University of British Colombia to Chuimei Ho, President of the Board from 2002 to 2006 of the Chinese American Museum of Chicago to frame and contextualize this amazing Chinese-American family’s life within an historical perspective and to the Chinese immigrant experience in North America.
I highly recommend Random Acts of Legacy for it’s an excellent documentary that creates an intimate and moving portrait of the man behind the camera, and his wife Edythe who was a highly successful business woman. More importantly, it shines a light on the assimilation and integration of an extraordinary Chinese-American family, and its educational value to future generations is inestimable. Kudos to Mr. Kazami who has made a most interesting and fascinating film using found footage.
Random Acts of Legacy will be playing at various theatres:
TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 on May 2 @ 9:00 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 on May 5 @ 1:30 p.m.
Innis Town Hall on May 8 @ 4:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased here!