Energized communities battle developer pressure and


Toronto, Ontario, April 26, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Leading TVO Today’s Asian Heritage Month lineup for May 2023, TVO Original Big Fight in Little Chinatown premieres on TVO, TVO Today, YouTube and smart TV services on Tuesday, May 9 at 9 pm ET. This insightful and emotionally gripping documentary makes its broadcast and online streaming debut amidst a wave of critical acclaim from a North American film festival tour.

Chinatowns everywhere are under threat of disappearing—and along with them, the rich history of communities who fought from the margins for a place to belong. TVO Original Big Fight in Little Chinatown delves into the collective struggle to save Chinatowns in major cities across the continent.

“Chinatowns are important drivers of economic activity and cultural life, as they have been for generations,” says John Ferri, VP of Programming and Content at TVO. “Big Fight in Little Chinatown documents the ways in which these communities are forced to struggle against being erased. The battle has changed over the decades, but the same pressures continue to test the resilience of Chinatowns everywhere.”

For director Karen Cho, this documentary is “really a love letter to these neighbourhoods.” Cho’s family has deep roots in the Montreal and Vancouver Chinatown communities.

“I wanted the documentary to go beyond the tourist façade of Chinatown and to be rooted in the point of view of the community,” says director Karen Cho. “All Chinatowns are under enormous gentrification pressures, but it was also important for me to tell the other side of this story and focus on the pockets of community resistance and renewal that I discovered in each Chinatown I visited.” 
Drawing parallels between past and present, Big Fight in Little Chinatown spotlights how developer interests in New York, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are accelerating displacement. But today’s Chinatowns are fighting back and reimagining their communities. Viewers explore the lives of Chinatown residents, businesses and community organizers who are working to preserve their community and values. 

Watch TVO Original Big Fight in Little Chinatown on Tuesday, May 9 at 9 pm ET on TVO and stream it anytime afterwards on TVO Today, YouTube, smart TV services and the TVO Today Mobile app for iOS and Android. The documentary will also air on TVO on Saturday, July 1 at 9 pm ET to acknowledge the centenary of Canada’s Chinese Exclusion Act.

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EyeSteelFilm is a documentary film and interactive media company dedicated to using cinematic expression as a catalyst for social and political change. It was created to develop cinema that empowers people who are ignored by mainstream media, a mandate that has taken the company to explore projects, people and ideas around the world. For over 20 years, Montreal’s award-winning EyeSteelFilm has made an international impact with social issue documentaries such as Midwives (2022), Softie (2020), Dope is Death (2020), Anote’s Ark (2018), Let There be Light (2017), I am the Blues (2015), Deprogrammed (2015), Chameleon (2014), Forest of the Dancing Spirits (2013), Inside Lara Roxx (2011), RiP! A Remix Manifesto (2009), as well as a series of films chronicling modern life in China: Bone (2005), Chairman George (2006), Up the Yangtze (2007), Last Train Home (2009), Vanishing Spring Light (2011) and China Heavyweight (2012). In the process, it has been the recipient of over 100 international awards. bigfightinlittlechinatown.com

TVO Media Education Group inspires learning that changes lives and enriches communities. Founded in 1970, we are a globally recognized digital learning organization that engages Ontarians of all ages with inclusive experiences and diverse perspectives. Through video, audio, games, courses, newsletters and articles, we’re investing in the transformative potential of education for everyone. Funded primarily by the Province of Ontario, TVO is a registered charity supported by thousands of sponsors and donors. For more information, visit TVO.me, TVO.org and TVOkids.com. 

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Media contact:
Danny Payne, Raison D’Être Media
514 621-8657, danny@raisondetremedia.ca  

Alex Nitsiou, Raison D’Être Media
514 443-3731, alex@raisondetremedia.ca 

Sean Minogue, TVO


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Twitter: @chinatownfilm, @eyesteelfilm, @TVODocs
Facebook: @bigfightinlittlechinatown, @eyesteelfilm, @TVODocs
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