77 minutes 2016, Canada
What emerges from a pile of deteriorating 16mm home movies spanning from 1936 to 1951, is a moving story of a Chinese American family set against the backdrop of race and class in Chicago, and one collector’s obsession with the 1933-4 World’s Fair.
Rescued from an online auction, the filmmakers’ quest to make meaning of this Chinese American family’s early home movies connects him with Irena Lum – the surviving daughter of graphic artist and collector, Silas Henry Fung.
Intertwining a first person narrative as an outside witness with family accounts and other commentators, Kazimi weaves a rich tapestry of the life of an unusually wealthy family of colour from the Depression era. The retrieved footage offers an intimate and radically different visual perspective on the Chinese American community in Chicago – with a surprising feminist twist. Visually rich and textured, unafraid to show the decaying patina of a family archive, Random Acts of Legacy revels in the making of home movies and memory.
Best Documentary Award, 35th CAAMFest, San Francisco, 2017
Honorable Mention for Best Canadian Feature Documentary, Hot Docs Intl. Documentary Film Festival, 2016
Special Mention for Best Documentary, Philadelphia Asian American Festival, 2016
…gorgeous, multi-layered, … a haunting, essential document that, for all its specificity, comments on the universal human condition.
Glen Sumi, Now Magazine, Toronto – April 26, 2016
(A) masterfully crafted film… The filmmaker skillfully pull s a surprisingly rich and textured story from a relatively small cache of found footage. It causes us to pause and consider the ephemeral means by which we record and capture our most important moments and reminds us of the power of good, old fashioned celluloid film.”
Jury Citation, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, 2016
Through Ali Kazimi’s deft command of the filmmaking language, a decaying collection of home movies is turned to an evocative, essential document of an experience rarely seen or heard from — a middle class Chinese American family in a 1930’s America. Ali’s creative design and approach enabled Silas Fung’s footage that’s personal, unique and specific, illuminate and comment on the universal human condition. For it’s creative and evocative manner of giving nuance to our understanding of ourselves, others, and the world we live in, we give CAAMFest’s Best Documentary award to Ali Kazimi’s Random Acts of Legacy.
Jury Citation, CAMMFest 2017
Producer: Ali Kazimi
Associate Producer: Heidi McKenzie
Director: Ali Kazimi
Writer: Ali Kazimi
Cinematographer: Ali Kazimi
Editor: Gary Popovich, Ali Kazimi
Music Director & Sound Designer: Phil Strong
Music: Phil Strong, Thomas Hoy
Produced with the generous support of The Canada Council for the Arts and The Toronto Arts Council
Please address queries to akazimi[at]socialdoc.net