seeking asian female
a personal documentary by Debbie Lum / USA / 82 minutes / in English & Mandarin with English subtitles
seeking asian female is an eccentric modern love story about Steven and Sandy—an aging white man with “yellow fever” who is obsessed with marrying any Asian woman, and the young Chinese bride he finds online. Debbie, a Chinese American filmmaker, documents and narrates with skepticism and humor, from the early stages of Steven’s search, through the moment Sandy steps foot in America for the first time, to a year into their precarious union. Global migration, Sino-American relations and the perennial battle of the sexes, weigh in on the fate of their marriage in this intensely captivating personal documentary.
Born in Minnesota, Steven lived in California from an early age. A baby-boomer and self-professed “internet junkie,” he was once an art student turned jewelry salesman and currently works as a parking lot attendant in San Francisco. In his early 60s, Steven is twice divorced, has two children from his first marriage and is also a grandfather of twins. He became interested in Asian women after seeing his the success of his son’s marriage to a Japanese immigrant. Steven’s ten year search for an Asian wife led him from “mail-order” catalogues to online dating websites where he finally met Sandy.
Sandy, whose Chinese name is Jianhua, grew up on a tea farm in the remote mountains of Huangshan, a UNESCO World Heritage site, located in Anhui Province, China. At the age of 18, she left her village and migrated to Shenzhen, China’s fourth largest city. There she worked her way up from the factory floor to an office job and become an executive secretary at a fashion company. Still single at age 30, she went online looking for love and met Steven. She speaks Anhui dialect, Mandarin, Cantonese and now is becoming fluent in English.
Debbie is a fourth-generation Chinese American who grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. She always considered herself to be a pretty typical American until men with “Yellow Fever” would approach her, then try to hit on her by talking to her in Chinese. It wasn’t until college that Debbie took her first lessons in Chinese and not until shooting the film, did her Mandarin become vastly improved. Read more on The Filmmakers page.
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