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Seeking Asian Female

Directed by Debbie Lum

Documentaries / USA / 2012 / Bay Area Connection, Comedy, Culture, Women / 82 mins / English, Mandarin with English subtitles / Color / HDCAM* / San Francisco Premiere


“Yellow fever”—the sexual and romantic preference of non-Asian men for Asian women—is a polarizing topic in mainstream culture; is it empowering or demeaning to feel desired based purely on how black your hair is, or how narrow your eyes are? San Francisco-based filmmaker Debbie Lum initially conceptualized her feature-length debut as an exposé about men like Steve, a gleeful sixty-year-old parking-garage attendant who has spent years corresponding with Asian women he’s met on the Internet. Lum’s plan changes, however, when Steve’s new online love, Sandy, a thirty-year-old from Huangshan, China, comes to California to marry him. The new couple quickly discovers that their Internet dreams of love and life may not actually pan out in reality, however, and as misunderstandings become rifts Lum becomes more than just an observational documentarian, but a confidante, counselor and translator.

A highly intimate documentary about an unconventional relationship, Seeking Asian Female uses the unique romance at its center to address larger issues such as the immigrant experience, cultural conflict, and what it means to love. Humanist and surprising, it showcases the mail-order bride as a strong-willed woman and the man stricken with yellow fever as the one with a heart full of love. Lum’s final words in the film echo the truest: “When it comes to relationships and documentaries,
you have to have an open mind.”

Co-presented by: Cal Humanities


Producer: Debbie Lum
Cinematographer: Debbie Lum
Writer: Amy Ferraris, Debbie Lum, Tina Nguyen
Editor: Amy Ferraris, Debbie Lum, Tina Nguyen
Music: Gordy Haab


  1. SAF_StevenKissesSandy

    Seeking Asian Female: So Beautiful Panel

    Special Presentations / 90 mins
    Join director Debbie Lum and other mediamakers in an extended conversation about "yellow fever" and other topics in Seeking Asian Female. Moderated by Nicole Wong of Hyphen, this panel features Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man and filmmaker Hoang Nguyen.

    Preceded by: Seeking Asian Female

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Dates & Times

Seeking Asian Female

Pacific Film Archive Theater
March 15, 2013 7:00 pm Buy Tickets Buy Tickets

Seeking Asian Female

New People
March 23, 2013 5:00 pm Rush Only

Seeking Asian Female

Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
March 20, 2013 6:30 pm Rush Only

Seeking Asian Female Panel

Union Bank Community Room
March 23, 2013 7:00 pm Free