Mengyu Dong talks to Yi Chen about her documentary film First Vote
Yi Chen is an independent filmmaker who tells stories about Chinese American communities. In her most recent documentary, First Vote, she follows the journey of four Chinese Americans from the 2016 presidential election to the 2018 midterms. I spoke with Chen about the film’s behind-the-scenes stories as well as her own experience being a Chinese American filmmaker. She hopes her film can showcase political engagement in the Chinese American community and inspire people to vote in the upcoming presidential election. The film will be broadcast as part of the America ReFramed series on October 20, 2020. – Mengyu Dong
Mengyu Dong: Let's start with the name of the film, First Vote. How did you come up with the title? What do you think it represents?
Yi Chen: It actually took me a while to come up with the title. There are several layers of meanings. I was interested in first-time voters. In 2016, it was the first time to vote for Sue Googe (former Republican candidate for the US Congress in North Carolina) and Lance (Lijian) Chen’s (Assistant Professor in the School of Business Administration at the University of Dayton). That was partly where the title came from. And, as I was becoming an American citizen, this is also my journey before I cast my first vote.