What began as a documentary on Asian-American gang members has become a universal story about the pain and sacrifice of immigrant families in pursuit of better lives. A-Town Boyz , a new documentary currently in post-production, features the journeys of young Asian Americans in Atlanta, Georgia, whose struggles for acceptance and legitimacy have led them down difficult roads. Through a Korean-American actress Lau met at NYU, in she made her way to Atlanta, a city that has seen a rapid increase in the Asian-American population since the start of the century, and met gang leader Eugene Chung, who agreed to sit down for an interview. Through each encounter, Lau found a common thread: confusion about identity. As Lau began to focus on the journeys of the young men she met and of their families, the three-year shooting process also became a journey for herself and the crew. She recalled an interview with the mother of a gang leader who broke down and cried when asked how she, as a parent, had suffered in her own journey. Lau and her team, who are currently raising funds to finish the film, hopes A-Town Boyz will open up a dialogue about how to address the problems second-generation Asian Americans face, while also giving young men and women the opportunity to see stories they can identify with on screen—something the documentary team feels they never saw when growing up.
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