The uncredited producer of the first Oscar-winning documentary feature
As a fourth-generation Chinese-American who grew up in Hawaii, Robin Lung had always had many Asian role models around her. But as a filmmaker, writer and director, she had always felt they didn’t have enough representation in books, films and on television. In her search for a strong Chinese female character, Lung stumbled upon the late Gladys Li Ling-ai, a second-generation Chinese woman born in the early 20th century who, like her, was a Hawaiian. One thing stood out about Li. In her memoir Life is for a Long Time, she mentions that she produced a documentary called Kukan – “heroic courage under bitter suffering” – a color film shot in China in the 1930s during the second Sino-Japanese w