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2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

My Chinese Southern Roots – Before Lynwood

Directed by Gerald Chow

USA / 2017 / 5 mins / B&W, Color / 16:9, D-Cinema

Plays In:
Digital Histories 2017: Past Informs the Future

Aratani Theatre
April 30, 2017 2:00 pm


Calvin Chow grew up in “small-town” Isola, Mississippi, where his parents had immigrated from China after World War II. They came there to run a grocery store owned by his grandparents, following in the tradition of Chinese who had been opening and running grocery stores in the Southern U.S. since the end of the Civil War. The Chinese were able to carve out a unique, economically successful niche in the region, with their grocery stores passed down from father to son for generations. Mississippi was segregated when Calvin lived there. He described his status as “not black and not white, but somewhere in between.” In the summer of 1967, the Chows moved to Lynwood, California to open up a grocery store. They had moved to the Golden State with the hope of finding, among other things, better educational and employment opportunities for Calvin and his siblings.

Director's Bio

Gerald Chow was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in Lynwood, California with 2 older brothers and 2 younger sisters. His family ran produce businesses at various times in Whittier, Norwalk, and Compton, California. He graduated from UCLA and UCSF.


Producer: Gerald Chow
Director: Gerald Chow
Composer: Ed Kanemoto
Editors: Christine Bacareza Balance, Michi Tanioka, Glen Kanemoto
Photographer: Debbie Yee
Interviewee: Calvin Chow

Plays in

  1. Digital Histories 2017: Past Informs the Future

    Shorts Programs / 60 mins
    The stories from the past, help inform the future. The Digital Histories program engages the passion of our elders to tell their stories and learn the craft of filmmaking. This year the Digital Histories filmmakers not only told their stories through the documentary form but as well as experimental and narrative shorts. - Gary Gabisan

    Preceded by: A Step Forward

    In This Program: Stop And Smell The Roses, A Matter of Truth, In Plain Sight, Returning to Heart Mountain, With a Little Help From My Friend, Wasteful, Inside Nihon Buyo, Tiffany – The Art of Coming Out, My Chinese Southern Roots – Before Lynwood, Our Torrance Farm – Life Before Lynwood

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Dates & Times

Plays In:
Digital Histories 2017: Past Informs the Future

Aratani Theatre
April 30, 2017 2:00 pm