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UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association present

Free Chol Soo Lee

Chol Soo Lee
May 6, 2023 - 7:30 pm
Intro by David K. Yoo, UCLA Professor of Asian American Studies and History, and Vice Provost, Institute of American Cultures; May Hong HaDuong, Director, UCLA Film & Television Archive. Q&A with filmmakers Julie Ha, Eugene Yi; Benjamin Kang (UCLA KASA), Kirn Kim (API-RISE), Jai Lee Wong (member of Chol Soo Lee Defense Committee), Michael Suzuki (L.A. County Office of the Public Defender), moderated by Charlene Tonai Din.

Admission is free. No advance reservations. Your seat will be assigned to you when you pick up your ticket at the box office. Seats are assigned on a first come, first served basis. The box office opens one hour before the event.

Free Chol Soo Lee

U.S., 2022

In 1970s San Francisco, 20-year-old Korean immigrant Chol Soo Lee is convicted of a Chinatown gang murder he did not commit. While Lee is serving a life sentence, a journalist takes a special interest in his case and writes a series of stories that inspire Asian Americans to rally to free him, starting a movement that unites the community like never before. But once out, Lee struggles to live up to his newfound status as a symbol, and his demons ultimately threaten to destroy the legacy of the movement and the man himself. Combining rich archival footage, firsthand accounts, and narration drawn from personal writings, this poignant documentary paints an intimate portrait of the complex man at the center of a movement. Highlighting the radical power of activism paired with a scathing critique of the criminal justice system, Free Chol Soo Lee serves as an urgent reminder that his legacy is more relevant than ever.

Following the film, the filmmakers Julie Ha and Eugene Yi will speak about their relationship to the case and their filmmaking journey. They will be joined by activists who were involved in the Free Chol Soo Lee campaign, a member of the formerly incarcerated Asian American community, and a representative of the UCLA Korean American Student Association.

DCP, color, 83 min. Director: Julie Ha, Eugene Yi.

Presented with the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. Special thanks to our community partners: UCLA Documentary Film Legal Clinic, UCLA Asian American Studies Department, UCLA Korean American Student Association, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, UCLA Nikkei Student Union.


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