good people. good stories.

Forever, Chinatown

Documentary | 32 minutes | USA 2016

Produced and Directed by: James Q. Chan

Producer: Corey Tong

Director of Photography: Jeff den Broeder

Editor, Miniature Cinematography: Michael Palmieri

Assistant Editor: Donal Mosher

Original Music: Thomas Lauderdale and Pink Martini

Sound Design: Jeremiah Moore

Associate Producer: Penelope Wong

Researcher: Dorothy Quock

Graphic Design: James DiRito


Forever, Chinatown is a story of unknown, self-taught 81-year-old artist Frank Wong who has spent the past four decades recreating his fading memories by building romantic, extraordinarily detailed miniature models of the San Francisco Chinatown rooms of his youth.

This film takes the journey of one individual and maps it to a rapidly changing urban neighborhood from 1940s to present day. A meditation on memory, community, and preserving one’s own legacy, Frank‘s three-dimensional miniature dioramas become rare portals into a historic neighborhood and a window to the artist’s filtered and romanticized memories and emotional struggles. In his bargain with immortality, Frank announces plans to cremate his exquisite works with him upon his death in order to ‘live inside them forever’ in his afterlife.

twitter: @4everchinatown

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A beautiful love letter to Chinatown... heartbreaking, tender, evocative
— B. Ruby Rich (Professor, Film & Digital Media, UC Santa Cruz; Editor, Film Quarterly; Author, “New Queer Cinema”, “Chick Flicks”)
...lovely, rich...full of such detail and unspoken gaps...a complex portrait of a man and his memory”
— Sandip Roy (Journalist, NPR, Huffington Post; Author, "Don't Let Him Know")
— (Brenda Wong Aoki, Award-winning Playwright, Performer, Storyteller, founding member; Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University)
             World Premiere

             World Premiere

       Best Documentary Short

       Best Documentary Short

Upcoming Screenings:

American Film Showcase (September 2017-2018)

National Public Television Broadcast May - June 2017 (North America)


Past Screenings:

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival  *Jury Award Documentary Short, Best Cinematography* 2017

Association of Asian American Studies Conference  April 14, 2016

Camerimage Int'l Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, Poland *Nominee Best Short Doc* 2016  

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival     November 19, 2016

Hawaii International Film Festival     November 12, 2016

San Francisco Film Society Doc Stories     November 06, 2016

Austin Asian Film Festival *Audience Award Best Short Doc* 2016

Boston Asian American Film Festival *Audience Award Best Short Doc* 2016

Santa Fe Indie Film Festival     October 21 and 22, 2016

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival     October 13 and 16, 2016

Hanoi Cinematheque (Vietnam)     September 8, 2016

Rhode Island International FF     August 11, 2016

Doc Edge (New Zealand) *Nominee Best Short Doc* 2016

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival *World Premiere*  2016

CAAMfest, special work-in-progress screening 2016






This project was made possible with the support from:


Additional Support:

Project Advisors:

Chi-hui Yang is a film curator and educator based in New York. Yang sits on the selection committee for MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight, and is the president of the board of directors of the Flaherty Film Seminar. From 2000 to 2010, he was the Director and Programmer of the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, the largest showcase of its kind in the US. Yang is also the programmer of Cinema Asian America on Comcast On-Demand, a Visiting Scholar at New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute, and an adjunct professor at Hunter College and Columbia University. His current educational projects include Asian Americans in NY: Film and Literature, an NEH-funded summer institute for K-12 educators to be held in July 2015; the Oberhausen Seminar, a week-long examination of contemporary artists cinema held at the Oberhausen Film Festival in Germany; and a mentorship/public programming initiative examining race, experimental forms, and the work of American artists of color.



Melanie Y. Ide is a Principal at Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc., a multi-disciplinary, international planning and design firm with active projects in over twenty countries. Melanie is currently designing exhibitions for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (Smithsonian Inst.) in Washington, D.C., recently opened Pacific Hall at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu, and is helping to plan a new modern and contemporary art museum in the Middle East/North Africa region. Her built work, which has spanned natural history, cultural history, art, science and technology, has garnered over three dozen awards and has been featured in numerous publications. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and Hawaii, Melanie has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Parsons The New School for Design  and is an architect now based in New York.  



Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman are among the few directors, writers, and producers in the independent film world traversing non-fiction and scripted narrative.  Between them, they have garnered Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In addition, they have had career retrospectives at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London and at the Taipei International Film Festival in Taiwan. Their films include The Times of Harvey Milk; Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt; The Celluloid Closet; Paragraph 175; HOWL; Lovelace; Battle of amfAR.




Friedman began his career in the editing rooms of landmark films as Raging Bull and The Exorcist. His distinguished career as film editor most recently includes work on the short documentary Kings Point, one of 2013 Academy Award nominees. Friedman has taught in the graduate film program at Stanford University and at California College of the Arts. Epstein currently is a professor and Chair of the Film Program at California College of the Arts. He currently serves on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors and the Sundance Institute Board of Trustees.