MFA grad presents award-winning documentary today


Masahiro Sugano, 2000 UIC MFA graduate, right, founded Studio Revolt, a media lab based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with Urbana-Champaign grad Anida Yoeu Ali.

A UIC film grad will present his prize-winning documentary, “Cambodian Son,” today at 3 p.m. in Gallery 400.

Masahiro Sugano, a 2000 MFA grad in film, video and digital animation, will discuss the film after its screening at the gallery in Art and Design Hall, 400 S. Peoria St.

“Cambodian Son” was named Top Documentary at the Center for Asian American Media’s 2014 Film Festival. It was shown last week at Columbia College and the Siskel Film Center and other screenings are scheduled through May around the country.

The film traces the story of poet Kosal Khiev, who was 1 year old when his family fled Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge for the U.S., where they were granted asylum. He was convicted of attempted murder at age 16 and deported to Cambodia in 2011 at the end of his 14-year sentence. By then a poet and spoken word artist, he was invited to represent Cambodia at the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

After his career-changing performance he faces the question, “How do you survive when you belong nowhere?”

Sugano, a native of Japan, lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he established the media lab Studio Revolt with producer, writer and spoken word artist Anida Yoeu Ali, who earned a BFA from the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Sugano’s short film “Why I Write” was named Best Poem Performance on Film at the 2012 Berlin Zebra Poetry Festival. His next project, the experimental web series “Verses In Exile,” will be a prequel to “Cambodian Son.” His first feature-length film, “Art of Love,” was shown at international film festivals.

“Cambodian Son” is presented as part of the “Migrations, (dis)placements, and resistance film series,” organized by the Asian American American studies and Asian studies program, and for Asian American Awareness Month at UIC.

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