Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Ali Kazimi’s Random Acts of Legacy (Vancouver screening)

Friday, Feb. 9 from 7 to 10 pm
Emily Carr University of Art and Design
520 East 1st Ave.

Along with Rungh Magazine and its partners, we’re delighted to invite you to the Vancouver screening of Random Acts of Legacy, a 2016 documentary film produced and directed by Ali Kazimi. We will be joined by Professor Chris Lee (UBC), who will be interviewing Kazimi about the film.

About the film:

Random Acts of Legacy (77 min, 2016)

What emerges from a pile of deteriorating 16mm home movies, spanning from 1936 to 1951, is a moving story of a Chinese American family set against the backdrop of race and class in Chicago, and one collector’s obsession with the 1933-4 World’s Fair.

Rescued from an online auction, the filmmaker’s quest to make meaning of this Chinese American family’s early home movies connects him with Irena Lum – the surviving daughter of graphic artist and collector, Silas Henry Fung.

Intertwining a first-person narrative as an outside witness with family accounts and other commentators, Kazimi weaves a rich tapestry of the life of an unusually wealthy family of colour from the Depression era. The retrieved footage offers an intimate and radically different visual perspective on the Chinese American community in Chicago – with a surprising feminist twist. Visually rich and textured, unafraid to show the decaying patina of a family archive, Random Acts of Legacy revels in the making of home movies and memory.

Please remember to register here for this screening.

Praise for Random Acts of Legacy:

“(A) masterfully crafted film… The filmmaker skillfully pulls a surprisingly rich and textured story from a relatively small cache of found footage. It causes us to pause and consider the ephemeral means by which we record and capture our most important moments and reminds us of the power of good, old fashioned celluloid film.”

***** FIVE STARS – Special Jury Citation, Hot Docs Film Festival

“…a haunting, essential document that, for all its specificity, comments on the universal human condition.”

Now Magazine, Toronto

“For many visible minorities, home movies used to be a luxury, and their rare existence lends insight into personal lives otherwise omitted from moving image history. Increasingly, these original celluloid documents have replaced other media as a key to family histories. Director Ali Kazimi has been rescuing these orphaned home movies, left to decay over decades. A random lot he acquired reveals the middle class lives of a Chinese-American family from the Great Depression to post-war middle America. The films were the work of Silas Fung, a commercial artist who was fascinated with the Chicago World’s Fair and was supported by his trailblazing wife who held a high position at an insurance company. Kazimi unspools a touching memoir through Fung’s films by contacting surviving descendants. As they watch the films and witness youthful images once thought lost, a profoundly different perspective on a Midwest family of colour graciously takes form.”

Alexander Rogalski


This event was organized in parternship with UBC’s Departments of Theatre & Film and Asian Studies,
and made possible by the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and the Onkarbir Singh Toor Memorial Punjabi Studies Enhancement Fund,
with the support of UBC’s Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program, the Centre for India and South Asia Research, Rungh Magazine, Centre A, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, SFU Library, SFU Institute for the Humanities, and the DOXA Film Festival.