CAAMFest | IL Pop-Up: The Donut King

May 19, 2021
4:00pm Pacific Time
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The American Dream with a *glazed* twist.

'The Donut King' tells Ted Ngoy's rags-to-riches story of a refugee escaping Cambodia, arriving in America in 1975, and building an unlikely multimillion-dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry, the donut.

Join audiences nationwide on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 4:00 pm PT / 7:00 pm ET for a virtual CAAMFest Indie Lens Pop-Up screening of 'The Donut King' featuring a post-screening panel with filmmakers Alice Gu and José Nuñez; Mayly Tao, owner, DK’s Donuts, and film protagonist; and Andrew Hem, artist and 'The Donut King' poster artist. Moderated by writer, director, and showrunner Kulap Vilaysack, the panelists will discuss immigration, cross-cultural community relationships, and the promise of the American Dream.

New American Economy, Refugees International, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center will be sharing resources in the interactive chat.

The film screening will be open captioned, and the live stream Q&A will have ASL interpretation.


This event is hosted by Indie Lens Pop-Up and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), in collaboration with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Justice San Antonio, TX; Bud Werner Memorial Library; City of Mesa, Community Services; Connecticut Public Television; Georgia Public Broadcasting; Global Peace Film Festival; Kansas City Public Library; KIXE; KQED; Nebraska Public Media; New American Economy; Panhandle PBS/KACV; PBS Hawaiʻi; PBS SoCal | KCET; Refugees International; Southeast Asia Resource Action Center; Tillotson Center; WSIU Public Broadcasting; and Yale Film Archive.

With support from ITVS, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS.


About 'The Donut King'

Directed by Alice Gu

'The Donut King' is Ted Ngoy's rags-to-riches story of a refugee escaping Cambodia, arriving in America in 1975, and building an unlikely multimillion-dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry, the donut. Ngoy sponsored hundreds of visas for incoming refugees and helped them get on their feet teaching them the ways of the donut business. By 1979, he was living the American Dream—but a great rise often comes with a great fall. 'The Donut King' is a tale of hard knocks, redemption, wealth, survival, risk, and donuts.

'The Donut King' will air and stream on PBS's Independent Lens on May 24, 2021 at 10/9c. Learn more.

Video Descriptions

THE DONUT KING National Screening Pre-show Video

The pre-show video for the Indie Lens Pop-Up and CAAMFest THE DONUT KING screening.

The Donut King

The Donut King upload2

90 minutes


  • Indie Lens Pop-Up

    Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together for virtual film screenings and community-driven conversations. Featuring documentaries seen on PBS's Independent Lens, Indie Lens Pop-Up draws local residents, leaders and organizations to discuss what matters most, from newsworthy topics and social issues, to family and community relationships.


  • Maggie Berndt

  • Beatriz

  • MoverstreetOVEE

  • Beatriz

  • Maggie Berndt

  • Lindsey Foat - Kansas City Public Library

  • Beatriz

  • MoverstreetOVEE

  • Zoe Stahl

  • Julie


  • Alice Gu, Director, 'The Donut King'

    Alice Gu is a Los Angeles native, who began her career as a Director of Photography, working with renowned directors Werner Herzog, Stacy Peralta, and Rory Kennedy, among others. 'The Donut King,' Alice’s feature directorial debut, was slated to premiere at the canceled 2020 SXSW film festival. Despite the cancellation, the film won the Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Documentary Storytelling, as well as the One in a Million Award at the 2020 Sun Valley Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize at the Bentonville Film Festival. A feature-length documentary about the rise and fall of a Cambodian refugee turned donut tycoon, 'The Donut King' is executive produced by Academy Award-winner Freida Lee Mock and produced by Logan Content in association with Scott Free Productions. Alice is following up her directorial debut with a comedic scripted feature as well as a music documentary.

  • Andrew Hem, Artist, 'The Donut King' Poster Artist

    Andrew Hem was born during his parents’ flight from Cambodia in the wake of the Khmer Rouge genocide and his upbringing was influenced by the rural heritage of his ancestors and the urban sensibility of Los Angeles, where his family came to reside. Being positioned within these cultural dichotomies fostered an aesthetic inspired by graffiti, as well as tribal and supernatural imagery. Describing his compositions as dreamlike memories inspired by personal experiences, Hem’s ethereal paintings function as a window overlooking the invisible realm of the human spirit.

  • José Nuñez, Producer, 'The Donut King'

    José Nuñez and his family emigrated to the United States when he was 12 years old in the mid 1980’s during the height of the cartel wars in Colombia. Seeking a safer environment for him and his younger siblings, his parents settled in Los Angeles and started a new life. After graduating from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, he established himself in the high-end commercial production industry. Producing spots and campaigns all over the world, for clients like Apple, Mercedes Benz, Chevrolet, and Samsung, among others. José has produced and excelled in servicing some of the world’s most regarded directors and production companies. José is a founding partner of Logan Content which celebrates the launch of its first feature length production – 'The Donut King.' The tale of a refugee who escapes the violence in his homeland and is forced to start a new life half-way across the globe. A story that is near and dear to his heart. He’s proud to have joined forces with longtime collaborator, Director Alice Gu in bringing The Donut King’s story to the big screen.

  • Mayly Tao, Owner of DK's Donuts & Bakery, 'The Donut King' Film Protagonist

    Mayly Tao is a Khmer, Thai, and Teochew Chinese Asian American born to Khmer refugee parents who arrived in America to start a new life. Her uncle, Ted Ngoy, sponsored hundreds of Cambodians to come to America and helped them manage and own their own donut shops. She currently owns DK's Donuts & Bakery in Santa Monica, CA and her delivery-only donut bouquet concept, Donut Princess LA. She also is the creator and host of her own podcast: Short N' Sweet: A Donut Princess Podcast where she explores mindset, women empowerment, and small business tips! She hopes to elevate Asian American voices and representation and vows to create a legacy for the next generation of Asian Americans. She is launching her new luxury car rental business, "Donut Exotics," in Summer 2021. You can find her ”Securing the Box” at @maylytao, @donutprincessla, @dksdonuts, @foodfortheclout.

  • Kulap Vilaysack, Writer, Director, Showrunner (Moderator)

    Kulap Vilaysack is a writer/director who created the TV series BAJILLION DOLLAR PROPERTIES on Seeso. She was the showrunner/EP on the show and also directed numerous episodes. Her original documentary ORIGIN STORY, which chronicles her travels to her native land of Laos to search for her father, debuted at the Bentonville Film Festival and CAAMFest to great acclaim and is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. She was also the showrunner/Co-EP on the NBC special A LEGENDARY CHRISTMAS WITH JOHN AND CHRISSY and directed Emily Heller’s stand up special ICE THICKENERS for Comedy Central Digital. She currently co-hosts Add To Cart with SuChin Pak—a podcast about what we buy and what that says about who we are for Lemonada Media.

  • Donald Young, Director of Programs, CAAM

    Donald Young is the Center for Asian American Media’s Director of Programs. He oversees CAAM’s program areas, and specifically develops and implements CAAM’s national productions and national PBS strategies. In public television, Donald has supervised the national broadcasts of over 150 award-winning projects. As a producer, he has worked both in documentaries and independent feature films. Key projects include the epic five-hour PBS history series 'Asian Americans,' a co-production with WETA and produced by Renee Tajima-Peña; 'Family Pictures, USA' by Thomas Allen Harris; and a feature film adaptation of Chang-rae Lee’s 'Coming Home Again' directed by Wayne Wang.

  • Lindsey Foat - Kansas City Public Library

  • Julie

  • Sina Sam, SEARAC

  • Sina Sam, SEARAC

  • Katherine Steinberg, Director of Content Strategy NAE

  • Katherine Steinberg, Director of Content Strategy NAE

  • Yael Schacher, Refugees International

  • Mayly Tao

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.