Oscar-nominated “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” the film returns to PBS

Juanita Anderson knew from the start how important it was to realize “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” », the 1988 documentary that she produced as an executive producer.

But she couldn’t have predicted the praise it would receive or how it became what Anderson, head of arts and media studies at Wayne State University, calls “a vital tool for understanding American history.”

After: Vincent Chin commemorated in Detroit cemetery 40 years after his death: “We will never forget”

At 10 p.m. Monday, the newly restored version of the Oscar-nominated film will air on Detroit Public TV (WTVS, Channel 56) and other PBS stations across the country.

The special broadcast marks 40 years since Chin, a 27-year-old automotive engineer, was assaulted by two white autoworkers the night he was celebrating his bachelor party in Detroit. He was beaten so badly that he fell into a coma and died four days later.

Monday night’s broadcast is an encore presentation for “POV.” The long-running TV series featuring independent documentaries launched the film for the small screen 33 years ago.

In March, Anderson joined the board of directors of American Documentaries, the nonprofit media arts group behind “POV.” She says it’s an honor to be a part of “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” and is optimistic that this PBS broadcast will reach a whole new generation that is turning to independent documentaries for in-depth reporting.

“I anticipate the audience will be bigger this time around than it was in 1989 when it premiered on ‘POV’,” she said.

Directed by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Pena, “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” explores what POV describes on its website as “the implications of the murder on the streets of Detroit, for the families of those involved, and for the American justice system”.

Chin’s attackers pleaded guilty to manslaughter and initially received three years probation plus a $3,000 fine. Outrage over the conviction led to the first federal civil rights trial for a crime against an Asian American.

Chin’s death also helped spark the Asian American and Pacific Islander rights movement that continues its battle against hate to this day.

After: Asian Americans who sparked a national movement after Vincent Chin’s death continue to fight

As well as winning an Oscar for Best Documentary, the film won a Peabody Award for what has been described as its “moving and revealing exposition of the nature of urban unrest and racial bitterness that ultimately leads to action.” fools”. He also won a duPont Columbia Silver Baton Award for Excellence in Journalism.

In December 2021, it joined the list of the most important American films, the National Film Registry, which adds each year works chosen for their cultural, aesthetic or historical value.

A free screening of “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” last week at the Detroit Film Theater at the Detroit Institute of Arts was part of a four-day remembrance of Chin’s Motor City and a new dedication to the ongoing efforts of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders against racism and discrimination. .

Anderson noted that the film inspired a generation of Asian American filmmakers in the late ’80s and those who followed in their footsteps. Last week’s memento included what was described as the first meeting of Midwestern Asian-American documentary filmmakers.

In mid-2022, “Who Killed Vincent Chin” also comes with “the ever-relevant tragic part,” Anderson said, referring to rising anti-Asian hatred in the United States fueled by the pandemic. of COVID-19. .

A press release from American Documentary cited that more than 10,000 hate crime incidents were reported from March 19, 2020 through December 31, 2021 to Stop AAPI Hate, which tracks such incidents.

Says Anderson, “”I go back and watch (the 1988 documentary) and watch the rhetoric at the time of government officials and how that kind of rhetoric from authoritative people impacted American society – and the same thing happened around the COVID crisis.”

In a statement for American Democracy, Detroit Public Television President and CEO Rich Homberg said, “This film is a moving testament to the loss of a young man’s life and the people who stood up to protest this terrible injustice. It speaks volumes now more than ever about the wave of discrimination and violence against Asian Americans that we continue to witness.”

“Who Killed Vincent Chin?” was a Detroit Public TV co-production.

Contact Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press pop culture critic, at jhinds@freepress.com.

“Who killed Vincent Chin? »

Documentary on “POV”

10 p.m. Mon.

Detroit Public TV and other PBS stations nationwide

About Shelley Hales

Check Also

TV Direct Public: Resignation of administrators

June 15, 2022 Matter : Resignation of directors TO : The directors and managers of …