About the film

Brief Synopsis

In 1982, at the height of anti-Japanese sentiments, Vincent Chin was murdered in Detroit by two white autoworkers who said, “it’s because of you mother** that we’re out of work.” When the judged fined the killers a mere $3,000 and three years of probation, Asian Americans around the country galvanized to form a real community and movement. Through interviews with the key players at the time, as well as a whole new generation of activists, this film explores the history of the case, as well as other important touchstones in Asian American history including the Chinese Exclusion, Japanese Internment, the 1992 LA Riots, the recent murders of Joseph Ileto and Cha Vang and post 9/11 racial profiling. “Vincent Who?” asks how far Asian Americans have come since then and how far we have yet to go.

The film won the 2009 Media Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education and was a finalist for the American Librarians Association Notable DVDs of 2010. We have screened the film at over 200 colleges, libraries and corporations in 37 states.

To book a screening, please email us at curtis -at- apaforprogress -dot- org

Funders/Donors

Thank you to the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Organization of Chinese Americans, Asian Pacific American Legal Center and the members of Asian Pacific Americans for Progress for their generous support. We couldn’t have made the film without you.

Production History

Fall 2006/Spring 2007 – Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (APAP) begins plans for commemorating the upcoming 25th anniversary of the murder of Vincent Chin. The Los Angeles chapter (including producers Curtis Chin, Preeti Kulkarni, Vivian Hao and Jeff Kim) decides to organize a screening of the documentary “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” along with a panel discussion on the status of Asian American empowerment and the effects of 9/11 on the community. Board of Equalization member Judy Chu is asked to provide a recap of the case while panelists Stewart Kwoh, Robin Toma, Hamid Khan and Reneed Tajima Pena are asked to discuss their memories of the case, as well as their thoughts on the development of the movement and how far we have come.

June 2007 – Through APAP’s national network, fourteen panels are organized around the country featuring many of the community’s leading civil rights leaders. ImaginasianTV sponsors the Los Angeles and New York screenings. In addition, the cable network agrees to televise a documentary based off the panels. During the Los Angeles event, Robin Toma asks the audience how many people had heard of Vincent Chin. Surprisingly, many in attendance had not heard of the case before the screening.

Fall 2007 – Other members of the team are assembled including a director, composer, graphic designer and additional producers. Chin travels up to Oakland to interview Helen Zia for the film.

April 19, 2008 – The film has its first public showing at the 13th Annual Asian American showcase in Chicago and the Association of Asian American Studies Conference. Due to feedback, it’s decided to shoot additional interviews.

May 2008 – Chin is awarded the KCET Local Heroes Award for his work on the film.

June 2008 – Chin and the producers come up with a list of additional people to interview. He, along with director Tony Lam, travel up to San Francisco to interview Dale Minami, Jon Jang and Francis Wong and do research.

October 4, 2008 – A re-edited version plays at the Washington D.C., Asian Pacific American Film Festival. Again, due to more feedback, additional interviews are needed.

November 14, 2008 – Chin and Lam travel to Detroit for half a day to interview original activists/lawyers Roland Hwang and Jim Shimoura and then-Executive Director of the American Citizens for Justice (ACJ), Frances Kai-Hwa Wang.

October 14, 2009 – Chin and the film are awarded the 2009 Media Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education. Chin travels to Denver to screen the film before the awards ceremony.

January 2009 – The final version of the film is released.

Spring 2009 to current – Chin travels to over 200 colleges, libraries and corporations to screen the documentary and engage audience members.

April 2010 – The DVD is released. A portion of the proceeds through blacklava.net goes to support the ongoing effort of the Vincent Chin legal team. Chin, along with producer Michael Lee, attend the Detroit premiere of the film, held at the Detroit Chinese Community Center. Also serving on the panel with Chin, Lee, Hwang, Shimoura, Wang, and ACJ Board member LG Almeda.

August 12, 2010 – Chin returns to Detroit for an additional screening in Detroit at the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Midwest Regional Conference. Joining him on the panel are Hwang and Wang. Chin continues working with the original activists on ways to pursue justice in the case.

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Please note: This is the official site posted by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress and the producers of the Vincent Who?  Other sites on the internet claiming to be the official movie page are not affiliated with APAP or the producers of the film, nor do the proceeds from those sales go to support our non-profit work.

For more information or to contact the producers, please email curtis (at) apaforprogress.org.