This event has taken place.
For your health and safety, and to accommodate social distancing, tickets for the Norris Garden film screening are offered as a Table of Four package. For individual viewing of this film, please consider our virtual screening option.
Opening Night Film & Gathering
2020 Naples International Film Festival
Gather with friends to celebrate the opening of the 12th Naples International Film Festival. The evening starts at 7pm with a Red Carpet arrival with complimentary wine, beer, popcorn and sweets. At 7:30pm guests will enjoy a screening of the opening night film, The Donut King on a huge screen outside in Norris Garden. The evening concludes with a recorded Q&A with the filmmakers.
Red Carpet Arrival — 7pm
Film Presentation — 7:30pm
The Donut King
Director: Alice Gu
Producers: Alice Gu, Jose I. Nuñez
Additional Producers: Farhad Amid, Tom Moran
As an LA-born and raised child of Chinese immigrants, I grew up like any other normal American kid — I had loads of friends, took ballet, tennis, piano, you name it. I went to sleepovers, ate hamburgers, and pursued the career of my dreams.
I learned of Ted Ngoy’s story after having a conversation with my nanny about “Cambodian donuts." I pressed her to explain what exactly a Cambodian donut was, and she said it was a donut made by Cambodian people. I argued that it was still just a donut, not a Cambodian donut. This seemingly innocuous conversation led me to research more about the Cambodian donuts and I found an article about Ted Ngoy, The Donut King. I discovered that there are an estimated 5,000 independent donut shops in California and Cambodians own up to 80% of them. I became fascinated by the irony that one of the most American foods, the donut, is nearly entirely made by Cambodians west of the Mississippi. I found the Donut King, now living in Cambodia, and two months later I was there ﬁlming.
Ted’s story was much more than I had initially imagined — as a man who escaped the Khmer Rouge and genocide, arrived as a refugee at Camp Pendleton (a military base in Southern California) and then by virtue of hard work he became a millionaire just three years later. Though my parents were not shop owners, I instantly connected with the immigrant story of my parents’ own journey from China, ﬂeeing the Communist Revolution.
Through my travels, I came to realize that we all, collectively, are not so different from one another. We want the same basic things — to be loved, to feel secure, to have food, opportunity, and to be able to provide. I couldn’t ignore the parallels regarding immigrants/refugees in 1975 and 2019. I couldn’t ignore the difference in attitudes and leadership between then and now. While making this ﬁlm, I couldn’t have felt prouder to be an American and proud of American ideals, or rather, what I know American ideals to be. In a time of such divisiveness, I wanted to present a story of the American Dream and togetherness. I hope audiences have fun watching the film — after all, it is about donuts — but it also gives a human fact to refugees and dreams that can be realized, if just given a chance.
2020, NR, USA, Documentary, 90 min
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NIFF In-Person Events Program Book Information
View this month's program book online. This publication will be handed out during your event.