Private Project

Fighting Back

Short Documentary Fighting Back follows Jessica Ng, a first-generation Hong Kong Chinese American, is an internationally recognized Muay Thai fighter and instructor. Her self-defense classes empower AAPI women and girls at a time of an alarming rise of Anti-Asian hate crimes in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic. She navigates her identity and newfound motherhood with her husband in New York City. The film explores themes of love, energy, growth, and personal identity.

  • Xiaoying Su
  • Xiaoying Su
  • Justin Zimmerman
    Consulting Producer
  • Yaakov Gottlieb
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 16 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 1, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Xiaoying Su

Xiaoying Su, known as Echo Su, is a documentary filmmaker based in New York focused on women's rights and social justice. She actively engages with social justice organizations and the AAPI community. Using visual storytelling to drive positive impact and spark essential conversations on social justice is her passion.

As the Director of Women in NAAAP-NY, Echo leads efforts to empower and educate Asian American women, encouraging their success and meaningful contributions to their communities and cultures.

Echo's expertise shines through her roles as director, producer, and editor of short documentaries like "First Saké Brewery in New York" and "Christian Demarco.", which were screened in film festivals including DOC NYC 2022, Maui Film Festival 2022, and Ethnografilm Paris 2023.

Her filmmaking journey began as a co-editor of the feature film "Love Story in Xiangxi"(China) in 2017, which was screened at events such as the 27th China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival and the 9th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) in 2019. She also worked as a film instructor for one year in Yunnan Province in China from 2018-2019.

She holds a second master's degree in MFA Social Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts (SVA).

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Director Statement

Personally inspired by a 2022 New Yorker article titled "Asian American Women Fight Back," I started work on this film in Spring of 2022. Since then, we have interviewed 7 survivors and cooperated with more than 10 local non-profit organizations also combating the rising anti-Asian hate by empowering the AAPI community. We continue to hear from Anti-Asian hate crime survivors who wish to share their story with us, and it is our hope that we can continue working on this project to tell their stories.

Fighting Back is about the fight, struggle, and ultimately the love needed for a group of Asian women determined to collectively transform from victims of anti-Asian hate crimes to community activists, from a scapegoated model minority to proud New Yorkers who know self-defense and can shout "STOP" loud enough to be heard across the five boroughs of NYC.

The documentary captures the transformative power of free self-defense classes taught by Jessica Ng, providing a collective empowerment experience for Asian women, and aims to break the historical legacy of male-dominated self-defense spaces. We hope this film can provide Asian women dealing with trauma a sense of empowerment and confidence, armed with the knowledge that they are not alone. We see this film as a way of healing within our communities and between each other. Ultimately, we aim to raise awareness of the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes and its impact on the AAPI community.