‘Free Chol Soo Lee’ Premieres at Sundance, Highlighting Pan-Asian Activism and Complex Legacies

AAPI activism has hit headlines during the last two years, primarily due to the pandemic-related 76% uptick in hate crimes against the community. From viral social justice groups like Stop AAPI Hate to public figures like Daniel Dae Kim coming together to bring attention to these incidents, the movement has recently seen a rebirth filled with new support. But the history of advocacy for the Asian diaspora has existed much longer than you might think. 

Free Chol Soo Lee,” a 90-minute documentary co-directed by Julie Ha and Eugene Yi, will cover one of the most significant events to launch pan-Asian activism. Lee, a Korean immigrant, faced a wrongful conviction over a San Francisco Chinatown gang murder in 1974. His sentencing united different ethnicities and age groups within the AAPI community to fight his life imprisonment. The documentary, which premieres virtually today, Jan. 21, at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, will explore Lee’s complex life and the long-term effects of the prison industrial complex within the United States, in addition to the growth of activism that continues to this day. 

“Free Chol Soo Lee” will screen multiple times at the festival as part of the Documentary Competition. To learn more about the film and find out how to attend a screening, visit the Sundance site here.