The Scott Free-produced documentary won a Special Jury Award at SXSW, whose physical edition was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus.
Alice Gu’s directorial debut tells the rags to riches story of Ted Ngoy, a refugee who escaped the murderous Khmer Rouge in Cambodia for America where in the 1970s he built an unlikely multi-million dollar donut empire. 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, his steep rise would ultimately lead to a remarkable fall.
Independent will introduce the project to international buyers at this year’s Cannes virtual market.
Producers are Tom Moran for Scott Free, Jose Nunez, Alice Gu, and Farhad Amid. Ridley Scott serves as executive producer for Scott Free, with Freida Lee Mock, Andres Rosillo, Juliana Lemus, and Jonny Hwang also serving as executive producers.
Director Gu said: “As the child of immigrant parents who came to America to seek a better life for themselves, making this film about Ted Ngoy achieving the American Dream was deeply personal for me. Though The Donut King’s story takes place in America, the immigrant experience is a common and shared experience by millions of people all over the world. I hope audiences will delight in this new perspective on the sweet treat and, perhaps, open some hearts and minds.”
Producer Farhad Amid added: “I take great pride in having been part of this beautiful and touching film, particularly now, as anti-immigrant rhetoric has become a consistent and defining feature in American politics. It is vital that we continue to tell stories like Ted Ngoy’s to advance the national discourse about immigration, dispel the terrible myths about immigrants, and hopefully inspire some empathy along the way. Ted Ngoy’s story is one of sacrifice, triumph, failure and redemption. Or what I would call, the American Dream.”
Alice Gu is repped by Gersh.