About the Film

A TALE OF THREE CHINATOWNS is a feature-length documentary that explores the survival of urban ethnic neighborhoods. Specifically examining Chinatowns in three American cities, the film looks at the forces altering each community and the challenges that go with them.The film profiles Chinatowns in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Boston and features the voices of residents, community activists, developers, government officials, and others who have a connection to this ubiquitous neighborhood.  Through these perspectives, the film presents the present day pressing topic of urban development and gentrification through the eyes of those on the frontlines. Chicago’s Chinatown is a story of growth where the Asian-American population has increased and its borders have expanded.  In contrast, Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown has dwindled to an estimated population of 300 residents of Chinese descent. The Chinatown neighborhood in Boston finds itself somewhere in between these two extremes as various groups fight for the land on which it sits.

A TALE OF THREE CHINATOWNS is timely as America’s cities are experiencing a sudden change in demographics due to larger social and economic trends. As reverse “exoduses” occur throughout the country with an increased number of people moving back into cities, ethnic enclaves and lower income residents who’ve long sought these communities for social services, employment, and affordable housing are faced with grave challenges.

These challenges include competition for space, residential displacement, increased living costs, non-community developers and overall, their survival. The rapid changes raise questions about broad socioeconomic accessibility to urban areas, responsible development, evolving neighborhoods and citizens’ rights to the city. It also raises questions about the notion of “community” and how it is defined. Through the voices of those involved, this film aims to bring a 360-view of changing populations and the diverse fabric of people and interests that are in constant flux and negotiation throughout the United States and its history.

Watch It Now!

Available on Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV

For individual and personal viewing of our film, go to Amazon or AppleTV

Interested in educational screenings or sales?

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Albuquerque Chinese American Film Festival | Oct. 21st 2023 at 10:15am
A Tale of Three Chinatowns will be screened at SOUTH BROADWAY CULTURAL CENTER, 1025 Broadway Blvd. SE Albuquerque, NM. FREE TICKETS AT https://ABQTickets.com
Phi Lambda Charitable Trust (PLCT) | Aug 06, 2022
A private virtual screening with a Q&A session.
Revolutionary Spaces | Jun 17, 2022
A free screening took place at the Old South Meeting House in Boston, MA followed by a Q&A.
A Tale of Three Chinatowns broadcast premiered on the World Channel and available for viewing on the PBS app online.
Sidwell Friends School | May 18, 2022
A private screening of A Tale of Three Chinatowns at Sidwell Friends School with a Q&A afterward.
WGBH AAPI Heritage Month Event | May 12, 2022
WGBH and World Channel hosted an AAPI event to showcase A Tale of Three Chinatowns and also included a panel to reflect on some of the challenges and triumphs ethnic AAPI neighborhoods have dealt with as they've developed and evolved over the decades.
Milton Academy | May 7, 2022
A private screening at the Milton Academy in Milton, MA as part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Tufts University Medical Center | Mar 3, 2022
A free screening of A Tale of Three Chinatowns at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston with a Q&A afterward.
Brandon University | Dec 2, 2021
A private screening at Brandon University in the city of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
Tiburon International Film Festival | Nov 19, 2021
A Tale of Three Chinatowns screening at the 20th Annual Tiburon International Film on 11/19th at 4:00 PM PT.
The Wharton School | Nov 10, 2021
A private screening at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania on 11/10 with a Q&A panel discussion.
Harvard University | Oct 22, 2021
A private screening at Harvard University on 10/22 followed with a live in-person Q&A panel discussion. The screening was hosted by the Association of Harvard Asian and Asian American Faculty and Staff (AHAAAFS).
Boston Asian American Film Festival | Oct 20, 2021
A Tale of Three Chinatowns was screened at the Boston Asian American film festival on Opening Night 10/20 followed with a Q&A panel discussion. BAAFF is New England's largest Asian American film festival.
Documentary screening & Webinar Discussion | Sep 15, 2021
The Chinese American Museums of DC and Chinese American Museum of Chicago hosted a screening on 9/15 followed with Q&A panel discussion.
New Haven Documentary Film Festival | Aug 10-15, 2021
A Tale of Three Chinatowns was screened at the 8th Annual NHdocs Film Festival.
DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival | July 14-25, 2021
A Tale of Three Chinatowns was screened at the 21st Annual DC APA Film Festival followed with a Q&A panel discussion.
Roxbury International Film Festival | Jun 23-27, 2021
A Tale of Three Chinatowns had its New England premiere at the Roxbury International Film Festival on 6/23 followed with Q&A panel discussion.
FILMFEST DC | Jun 4-13, 2021
A Tale of Three Chinatowns had its world premiere at FilmFestDC in Washington, DC on 6/4 followed with Q&A panel discussion.

Watch It Now!

Available on Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV

For individual and personal viewing of our film, go to Amazon or AppleTV
Past Work
Tiger Sisters Productions

The civil disturbance and street violence following the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr had a profound impact on the country as well as the nation's capital. It had no less of an impact on DC's Chinatown, a neighborhood of first and second generation Chinese Americans. A community navigating the racial tensions of the time, this is the story of how its residents experienced a pivotal moment in history.

The full documentary is available for viewing on Amazon Prime Video.

By Stephen Grigelevish – Boston Compass Newspaper, 8/12/21 Click here to read the article
“A Tale of Three Chinatowns” raises concerns about neighborhoods’ survival
SAMPAN by SHIRA LAUCHAROEN (June 24, 2021) – “A Tale of Three Chinatowns” is a documentary film screened through the Roxbury International Film Festival, in partnership with the Shared Stories series at ArtsEmerson. The movie, which focuses on the survival of Chinatowns in Boston, Washington D.C., and Chicago, will be played from June 23-27. It explores...
theEagle (American University) REVIEW: ‘A Tale of Three Chinatowns’ explores Chinese American identity through their community experiences
By Tristan Au | Tuesday, August 03, 2021 – For those who make their way to D.C.’s Chinatown for the first time, they may find it jarring to see McDonald’s, Chipotle and Walgreens occupying the streets. What’s more, each shop in Chinatown shares a blatantly appropriated chinoiserie aesthetic — which would be fine if the shop was...
Washington Asia Pacific American Film Festival successfully concluded
Chineseindc.com (published 08.05.21) – Washington DC News, the 21st Asia Pacific American Film Festival in Washington successfully concluded on July 25. Although the film festival was basically screened online, the closing ceremony was held at the AFI Silver Theatre American Film Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland. The ceremony also screened the movie “Girl Away from Home”...
The DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival returns
WJLA-TVA (ABC) News On Your Side did a piece on the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival. For more, click here: https://wjla.com/features/7news-mornings/the-dc-asian-pacific-american-film-festival-returns
BostonHassle.com Interview with Director, Lisa Mao
DIRECTOR LISA MAO (FRONT) INTERVIEWING ONE OF THE SUBJECTS IN “A TALE OF THREE CHINATOWNS”. PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK. From bostonhassle.com: A Tale of Three Chinatowns explores the different stages of disappearing Chinatowns across America, but directs its attention to the ones in Boston, Chicago, and D.C. It is the second collaboration between Penny Lee and...
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