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Grant number: TD-50268-11

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TD-50268-11

Arts Engine, Inc. (New York, NY 10011)
Curtis Cleland Ellis (Project Director: January 2010 to present)

The Search for General Tso

Development of an 83-minute documentary film and related materials that would use the history of the popular dish, General Tso's chicken, to examine broader issues in Chinese and American history.

Arts Engine Incorporated, on behalf of Wicked Delicate Films and Jennifer 8. Lee, seeks a $39,795 grant to facilitate basic development of an 83-minute documentary, The Search for General Tso. The documentary, intended for theatrical release in 2012 and national broadcast on PBS in 2013, will be the first major on-screen exploration of Chinese food in America. The program sets out to follow fried chicken, fresh broccoli and steamed rice on a far-ranging trail: across the country in a diaspora that brought Chinese food to small towns and urban centers; back in time to the dish's origins at a New York restaurant; and around the world to the Hunan hometown of China's real and ruthless General Zuo Zongtang. Though told with warmth and humor, the scholarship behind the program's historical investigation is rigorous. In the story of General Zuo and General Tso's Chicken, we find a nuanced study of immigrant experience, and a unique window onto the process of cultural exchange.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
America's Media Makers: Development Grants

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$39,795 (approved)
$39,779 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2010 – 9/30/2011