Student Report on the Screening of ‘Blurring The Color Line’

By Anjini Mani

On November 30th, 2023, DKU hosted award-winning filmmaker Crystal Kwok to share her film “Blurring the Color Line” (2022). Sponsored by UG Studies and the Humanities Research Center (Freedom Lab, Doc Lab, and co-host SuperDeep), the screening was followed by a Q&A session, and a filmmaker and storyteller salon the next day.

Over 150 students and faculty attended the film screening, packing the DKU theater. The short film captivated and touched the audience in different ways. Through the lens of her own family, Kwok narrates race relations in the United States between Chinese Americans and African Americans living in Augusta, Georgia, in the US South. The period revolves around the Jim Crow era, a period of American history that divided, disadvantaged, and discriminated against African Americans in social and legal systems. Kwok draws these stories to the present, illustrating a progression and a greater understanding connecting two worlds, but also systemic racial oppression left behind in the past proliferating still in our communities. The narrative was hard-hitting and emotional, putting in the light an understudied history, forgotten by our high school textbooks. Coming to terms with an uncomfortable past one would rather not face was difficult but important for the young generation to learn, remember, and most of all, understand the present day.

Students and faculty raised intelligent questions in the Q&A section, with curiosity fueled by a deeply introspective film experience. Many felt connected to different parts of the film within their own lives, sharing their unique experiences with the group. Kwok shared the internal dialogue she had in the course of making the film, explaining how the journey of interviewing and storytelling profoundly molded her own views and perspectives on life and family.

Following the screening and Q&A the next day was a filmmaker and storyteller salon in the water pavilion. In a smaller, more intimate group of students, together with Professor Selina Lai-Henderson, Kwok elaborated further on the filmmaking process, taking students on a deep dive of the art of storytelling. The discussion ranged from the more technical parts of filmmaking to the more human side of sharing lives and experiences in the form of art. Students talked about personal experiences of racism and observations of race relations in their own countries and cultures. The intersection of feminism and race relations was a particularly interesting topic; the group discussed the implications of modern feminism and its connection with the erasure of important stories and perspectives.

A heartfelt thank you to all participants for contributing to meaningful dialogues in this event. We trust that it has ignited discussions, introspection, and curiosity in your lives, as it has in ours. Despite its challenges, acknowledging history is vital – the past shapes the present, and the present shapes the future.

Superdeep Nighthawks: “Blurring the Color Line” (Kwok 2022) | Nov 30 6:15pm, CCT Theater

6:15pm CCT Theater | 8pm Performance Café

The Nighthawks are thrilled to co-sponsor a special DKU treat this week: join us for a screening of Crystal Kwok‘s 2022 award-winning documentary Blurring the Color Line, which will be followed by a Q&A (& food & drink) with Crystal Kwok moderated by Prof. Selina Lai-Henderson. Then on Friday morning Crystal Kwok will lead a filmmaker & storyteller salon. For further details on Crystal Kwok and our events see the HRC’s initial announcement. Overview of events:

    • Thu Nov 30, 6:15pm, CCT Theater, Screening of Blurring the Color Line
    • Thu Nov 30, 8:00pm, CCT Performance Café, Q&A.
    • Fri Dec 1, 10:00am, Water Pavilion, Filmmaker & Storyteller Salon.

The events are sponsored by DKU UG Studies, Division of Arts and Humanities, and the Humanities Research Center (Doc Lab + Freedom Lab + Supedeep).


Superdeep Nighthawks generally meet on Thu eve (~8pm till late). For more info, or to submit proposals for the Nighthawks, follow this link; for info on Superdeep more generally, follow this one.

Superdeep is sponsored by DKU’s Humanities Research Center.

Blurring the Color Line

Mark your calendar (Nov 30, 6:15pm, CCT Theater) for an fascinating in-person film screening, Blurring the Color Line, with the award-winning film director, actress, and talk-show host, Crystal Kwok!

See the trailer of Blurring the Color Line

More about Crystal Kwok’s film work

Crystal Kwok holds a PhD in Performance Studies and an advanced Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is an award winning filmmaker who established her career in Hong Kong as an actress, writer, director, and controversial talk show host. Her debut feature film, The Mistress, won the Audience Choice Awards at the Deauville Asiatic Film Festival and her Cable TV and RTHK radio talk show pushed boundaries in Hong Kong, addressing socially sensitive topics around sexuality and the body. She has taught courses in Women and Film/Media at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and currently teaches at the University of Hong Kong under the Department of Comparative Literature. Her latest film production, Blurring the Color Line, examines race-relations between the Chinese and Black communities. This documentary was streamed nationally on PBS under America ReFramed and has won multiple awards including Best Documentary at the Silicon Valley Asian Pacific Film Festival, Courage Award at DisOrient Film Festival, and the Mira Nair Rising Female Filmmaker Award at the Harlem International Film Festival. Through both creative and scholarly work, Crystal is committed to breaking boundaries and amplifying voices of women and marginal communities.

* The event is sponsored by DKU UG Studies, Division of Arts and Humanities, and the Humanities Research Center (Doc Lab + Freedom Lab + co-host Supedeep)

Intimacy and the Afro-Asian Imaginary during the 1930s

Date: Nov 29, Wed
Time: 5-6PM BJT

Freedom lab presents “Intimacy and the Afro-Asian Imaginary during the 1930s” with Dr. Owen Walsh from the University of Aberdeen.

Archives of Black travel in Asia during the1930s testify to the ways that Afro-Asian solidarities were forged through multiple forms of intimacy. Whether in crowded traincars, around dinner tables, or in lovers’ beds, personal and political relations between Black travelers and their Asian hosts were impossible to disentangle. This talk examines the different kinds of intimacy through which Langston Hughes, Juanita Harrison, and Howard and Sue Bailey Thurman became agents of Afro-Asian alliance. It argues that Black narratives and archives of travel proved important spaces for the performance of an Afro-Asian solidarity in opposition to global white supremacy, even as they struggled to operate beyond the Orientalist imaginaries characteristic of that system.

Freedom Lab Film Screening: Stagecoach

Date/Time: Dec 14, 5:30pm China time
Location: IB lecture hall (in-person only)
Drinks and snacks will be served!

The film screening will be followed by a talk, as part of Freedom Lab’s US Studies Speakers’ Series, from Boris Vejdovsky on Dec 15, 4pm China time. Learn more about the talk >>

Additionally, the DKU library has the ebook of the shooting script of the movie:

Freedom Lab Presents: US Studies Speakers’ Series – Boris Vejdovsky

Date/Time: Dec 15, 4pm China time
Location: Zoom ID 334 3189 585
Speaker: Boris Vejdovsky (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)

The speaker will be discussing the film, Stagecoach, an early Western, in 1939. Freedom Lab will have a film screening the evening before, on Dec 14, 5:30pm China time. Learn more here >>

The Global Performance of American Culture: Rhetoric and Symbolic Forms in American Western Movies

The Western has often been read as a quintessentially American form of popular art, a genre that has expressed over decades the moods and anxieties of the nation. While many studies have shown that the Western metonymically expresses the social, political, racial, and sexual tensions of the nation, relatively little attention has been paid to its aesthetic and political forms. In other words, many critics have paid attention to what the Western says, but not so much to how it does it; while it is always dangerous to seek to oppose form and content, I propose to focus on the rhetoric and the prosody the Western. Continue reading “Freedom Lab Presents: US Studies Speakers’ Series – Boris Vejdovsky”

Freedom Lab Presents: Children Are Abolitionists: Boys and Girls of the Antislavery Movement 

HRC Freedom Lab invites you to join Michaël Roy on “Children Are Abolitionists: Boys and Girls of the Antislavery Movement.”

Date/Time: Fri, Nov 25, 8-9:30 PM China time
Zoom ID: 261 330 4845
Speaker: Michaël Roy

Children were a vital, though neglected, presence in the US abolition movement. Throughout the antebellum period, a variety of abolitionists—the Liberator’s editor William Lloyd Garrison and the white reformer Henry Clarke Wright, the fugitive slave turned abolitionist Frederick Douglass and the African American primary school teacher Susan Paul—appealed to children’s antislavery and antiracist sympathies. “If . . . we desire to see our land delivered from the curse of PREJUDICE and SLAVERY,” Garrison declared in 1835, “we must direct our efforts chiefly to the rising generation.” His call did not go unheeded. Young abolitionists read antislavery tracts and slave narratives; they attended antislavery meetings and fairs; they learned and penned antislavery speeches which they recited at school; they participated in Emancipation Day celebrations and in programs to honor the memory of John Brown; they raised money to finance antislavery lecturers’ international travels; they even signed antislavery petitions, testing the limits of their citizenship. Aided by their parents and teachers, Black and white children acted in concrete ways against the slave system and made a meaningful contribution toward its demise. This presentation sheds light on their little-known activism. Continue reading “Freedom Lab Presents: Children Are Abolitionists: Boys and Girls of the Antislavery Movement “

Student Report: Film screening of “I am Not Your Negro”

Reported by Mateja Bokan, Class of 2025.

This Documentary Screening of “I am Not Your Negro” is sponsored by HRC Freedom Lab on October 25, 2022.

Freedom Lab Co-Directors, Selina Lai-Henderson and Jesse Olsavsky introduces the film. (Photo by Jesse Campbell, Class of 2025)

Based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House, I am Not Your Negro by Raoul Peck is a Documentary nominated for an Academy Award that raises urgent ideas regarding racism in the United States of America. Continue reading “Student Report: Film screening of “I am Not Your Negro””