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Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story

Documentary about pioneering Asian Aviatrix Katherine Sui Fun Cheung, a Chinese immigrant who defied racial and gender bias to become a daredevil stunt pilot during the Golden Age of Aviation in the 1930s.

  • Ed Moy
    Up in the Clouds
  • Ed Moy
    Up in the Clouds
  • Ed Moy
    Keye Luke, Up in the Clouds
  • Katherine Park
    Key Cast
    Up in the Clouds
  • Judy Chu
    Key Cast
  • Judy Yung
    Key Cast
  • Dottie Leschenko
    Key Cast
  • Jully Lee
    Key Cast
  • Leslie Ishii
    Key Cast
  • Barbara Beck
    Key Cast
  • Karen Huie
    Key Cast
  • Judy Soo Hoo
    Key Cast
  • Brandon Wong
    Key Cast
  • Barbara Schultz
    Key Cast
  • Ethel Pattison
    Key Cast
  • Jacquie Warda
    Key Cast
  • Mattia Cupelli
  • Howard Ho
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Web / New Media
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Historical, Biographical, Aviation, Web, Short Film
  • Runtime:
    20 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    April 1, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Marina Del Rey Film Festival
    Marina Del Rey, California
    United States
    Southern California Premiere
    Winner Audience Award for Short Film
  • Long Beach Indie Film, Media, and Music Festival
    Long Beach, California
    United States
    Nominated Best Documentary Short Film
  • Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival
    Sacramento, California
    United States
    Northern California Premiere
  • Long Beach International Film Festival
    Long Beach, New York
    United States
    East Coast Premiere
  • Culver City Film Festival
    Culver City, CA
    United States
    Winner Most Inspirational Short Film
  • Asia Web Awards
    Korea, Republic of
    Winner Best Documentary Award
  • Caribbean Film Festival & Market
    Documentary Semi-Finalist
  • CACAGNY Mid-Autumn Film Festival
    New York
    United States
Distribution Information
  • Amazon Video
    Country: United States
    Rights: Video on Demand
Director Biography - Ed Moy

Ed Moy is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist. He was recipient of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's National Print Media Award in 2000 for his series of articles about their Team in Training programs.

He is the director of the documentary Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story, which claimed an Audience Award for Short Film at the Marina del Rey Film Festival (2016), received the Most Inspirational Short Film award at the Culver City Film Festival (2016) and won Best Documentary in the Asia Web Awards (2017).

Additionally, his animated short film Up in the Clouds premiered at the Catalina Film Festival (2015) and has played in festivals around the world.

Most recently, his documentary short film Luminaries received the Audience Award for Documentary at the Marina del Rey Film Festival (2017).

He's currently in production on a feature length documentary about women in aviation, narrated by actress Ming-Na Wen (Joy Luck Club and Mulan). The film will primarily focus on Chinese female pilots, including Katherine Sui Fun Cheung's story.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

This is a newly recut 20-minute version of my documentary Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story, which won the audience award at the Marina del Rey Film Festival (2016) and received the most inspirational short film award at the Culver City Film Festival (2016).

This 20-minute short version of Aviatrix was a semi-finalist in the Caribbean Film Festival (2017) and won Best Documentary in the Asia Web Awards (2017).

Aviatrix has also screened at the Chinese Historical Society of America Learning Center Museum in San Francisco, Santa Monica Museum of Flying, LAX Flight Path Museum and Seattle Museum of Flight.

My goal of telling Katherine Sui Fun Cheung's story began in November 2013, when I had the great fortune of meeting with Katherine's now 88-year-old daughter Dottie Leschenko.

Three prior attempts were made by separate filmmakers to create a documentary film about Katherine but none were able to complete their projects.

Katherine's family had also discussed making a movie based on her life story with actress Lucy Liu, but no deal was ever made and the project was never developed.

After meeting with family members, I began recording preliminary interviews, gathered archival photos, videos and documents then began researching more about her life story.

As it turned out, we found that Katherine's story had inspired many Asian American artists and performers over the past four decades.

Her story has been the inspiration for short films, stage performances, visual art pieces, and even a comic strip.

Several of the artists agreed to be interviewed for the documentary, including a playwright, several actresses, and a film director. They can be seen in the 40-minute version released on DVD.

Our documentary also features Congresswoman Judy Chu, who is the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress.

Katherine was one of only a handful of Chinese women to earn a pilot's license in America during the 1930s when less than 1% of all pilots were women.

This documentary features archival newsreel clips from a 1935 women's air show in Long Beach where Katherine performed stunts with her biplane for the crowd, along with a group of 99s members (an organization consisting of women pilots led by Amelia Earhart).

It is my goal with this film to shine a spotlight on her accomplishments and pay tribute to her as a pioneering Chinese woman in American aviation history.