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Finding Kukan: Shirley Thompson Tells Us About The Detective Work In Searching The Only Copy of Kukan

The 1941’s documentary film Kukan was honored with an Academy Award at the 14th Academy Awards. And then this award winning documentary was lost for decades.

Director Robin Lung decided it was her task to seek the original copy of the film and the stories of production behind it in Finding Kukan.

Thanks to her search, an extant was print was located and the process of being restored at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. In addition, she also uncovered a story about Li Ling-Ai, who was only credited as a technical consultant—and played a much larger role as the real producer of the original documentary.

The documentary contains some original footage of documentary. And Finding Kukan also recreates past events with voice talent of Kelly Hu and Daniel Dae Kim.

LRM had a wonderful opportunity to sit down to speak in-depth with Shirley Thompson, the producer and editor of Finding Kukan, at the press day. We had a fun conversation about Robin Lung’s sleuth work and the stories of tracking down the true story of Kukan.

Finding Kukan is currently playing at the Asian Pacific Film Festival in Los Angeles. For ticket information, visit For future screenings, also visit

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