Film rediscovered on China's resistance war against Japan in WWII

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A Chinese-American filmmaker is on a three-week journey to show her film that tracks a long lost, award-winning documentary on the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

Robin Lung is the director of the film Finding Kukan. [Photo/CGTN]

Robin Lung, director of Finding Kukan, will bring the film to four US cities, including San Francisco, Washington DC, Oakland in northern California and San Pedro in southern California to educate the American public about the war.

The film depicts Lung's journey to rediscover Kukan, a previously lost color documentary produced by Chinese American playwright Li Ling-Ai from 1937 to 1940. "Kukan" is the Chinese pronunciation for "hard working."

As Li was a female, the screenings were also meant to celebrate Women's History Month in March, said Lung.

In San Francisco, the film will be screened on March 22 at the Chinese Culture Center and March 29 at the Association of Asian American Studies Conference.

Poster of the film Finding Kukan. [Photo/CGTN]

In 1937, Li hired Rey Scott, a photo journalist, to shoot the war-torn China at her expense. Scott made four risk-laden trips to China, from cities of Shanghai and Nanjing to Yunnan and Guangdong provinces.

He used a 16 mm motion picture camera and the most advanced color film at that time to capture ordinary Chinese people's lives and their battle against Japanese invaders.

The film offered American audiences a glimpse of the courageous Chinese people in the war. The color documentary won an Honorary Academy Award in 1941.

But the film was lost after the war was over. It was officially categorized as a "lost" film by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences until 2009, when Lung discovered a copy of it.

After seven years, Lung and her team finally completed the film in 2015, which marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the Chinese people's war against Japanese aggression. The film was initially released in November 2016.

"I'm very proud to announce that Finding Kukan received acquisition funding from the Center for Asian American Media. That means the film will be broadcast on PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service) soon," said Lung.

The film was screened in Honolulu and New York last year and received a special jury award for documentary at the Hawaii International Film Festival.

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