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Watch Trailer: Award-Winning Documentary 'Liquor Store Dreams'

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Liquor Store Dreams documentary trailer

‘POV’ confronts immigrant dreams and generational divides as they collide against LA's Complex Racial Landscape in the Moving Liquor Store Dreams. The award-winning documentary debuts Monday July 10 at 10 pm ET / 9 pm CT on PBS and Streaming on PBS Passport,, and the PBS App. Watch the trailer.

Liquor Store Dreams introduces viewers to So and her childhood friend Danny Park, both “liquor store babies,” first-generation American children born to Korean immigrant parents who made the best of limited opportunities by running liquor stores in Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles. While having great respect for their parent’s sacrifices, they are determined to remain true to their aspirations and contribute to their vibrant, evolving neighborhood. So explores her dreams of a filmmaking career, which is a mystery to her bemused but supportive father Hae who wants her to get married and have children. After the death of his father, Danny returns from a dream job at Nike to help his mother Mae run her store in LA’s Skid Row, reimagining it as a convenience store providing healthy food options to the community. Danny, who once had very different dreams for himself, is committed to building bridges between Korean-Black relationships to heal the wounds of the past.

Director So Yun Um juxtaposes the two families' struggles with the history of how so many Koreans came to own liquor stores in LA, and how that contributed to racial tensions. She includes the 1991 murder of Latasha Harlins in a Korean convenience store, the 1992 uprisings sparked by the police brutality against Rodney King and the ensuing looting of Korean businesses. Harlins’ killer, Soon Ja Du, was convicted of manslaughter but sentenced to no prison time. The LAPD officers captured on video severely beating King were acquitted.

The raw, intensely personal documentary follows the four protagonists as they examine the challenges of race, culture and identity to put a modern take on the immigrant experience in America.

“I made Liquor Store Dreams because I saw a void in the Korean perspective when it came to Black and Korean relations, tracing back to the ’92 LA Uprising to the Black Lives Matter movement,” said So Yun Um, director of Liquor Store Dreams. “I wanted to create a film that was altogether personal, educational, and a conversation starter. It means the world to the entire film team that the film will air on POV. POV has always prioritized uplifting marginalized voices and powerful personal stories and we are honored that we are part of this upcoming season’s line-up.”

"So's first feature gives a fresh perspective on generational and racial divides," said Chris White, Executive Director, American Documentary. "Liquor Store Dreams ambitiously attempts to reckon with LA's troubling Black and Korean American past inviting members of those communities to find common ground. After watching the documentary, we hope our viewers have a better understanding of the nuances impacting the city's community relations."

Liquor Store Dreams made its World Premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, its European Premiere at the BFI London Film Festival 2022, and its International Premiere at the 27th Busan International Film Festival. The film was an official selection of the CAAMFest 2023 (Honorable Mention for Documentary Feature), Toronto International Film Festival - Next Wave 2023, One World 2023 International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2023 (Winner, Documentary Audience Award), Palm Springs International Film Festival 2023 (Local Jury Award), Florida Film Festival 2023, Seattle Asian American Film Festival 2023 (Winner, Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature), Diaspora Film Festival 2023 in Incheon, Korea, and 2022 San Diego Asian Film Festival (Winner, Emerging Filmmaker Award), to name a few.

Liquor Store Dreams is produced by Liquor Store Dreams, LLC and is a co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). So Yun Um is the director, a producer, screenwriter, and cinematographer. Eddie Kim is a producer, Laura Choi and Angela Park are the co-producers. Christina Sun Kim is a screenwriter and editor, and Sal Gabriel is the composer. The executive producers are Diane Quon, Daniel J. Chalfen, Bearcat Content, Tanuj Chopra, and Erika Dilday and Chris White for American Documentary | POV.

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