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THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD
TRAILER

 
THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD
(New 4K Restoration!)

Director: Nancy Kelly

United States, 1991, 105min
Format: Digital
Festival Year: 2019
Category: Feature Narrative
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Cast:  Rosalind Chao, Chris Cooper, Michael Paul Chan, Dennis Dun
Crew:  Director, Producer: Nancy Kelly - Editor, Producer: Kenji Yamamoto - Writer: Anne Makepeace - Co-Producer: Sarah Green - Director of Photography: Bobby Bukowski - Production Designer: Dan Bishop - Photographers: Bob Marshak, Jim Tolley

synopsis
Set in the late Gold Rush in the 1880s, Thousand Pieces of Gold was developed by the Sundance Institute and premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1990. It won immediate acclaim for its portrayal of the real-life story of Lalu (Rosalind Chao), a young Chinese woman whose desperately poor parents sell her into slavery. She is trafficked to a nefarious saloon keeper in Idaho’s gold country. Charlie, a man of different ilk, played by Chris Cooper, wins her in a poker game and opens the door to a brave new world – for Lalu and for himself.

Thousand Pieces of Gold is being shown in a new 4K restoration supervised by the filmmakers in collaboration with IndieCollect, which scanned the original 35mm film negative.

director
Nancy Kelly - A native of North Adams, Massachusetts, Nancy Kelly is self-taught. As a public health educator, she was hired to produce five short dramas about how to drink responsibly. Having fallen in love with filmmaking, she quit her job and moved to the high desert on the California/Nevada border. Though she had never ridden a horse or made a documentary, she learned to do both, making her living as a ranch hand while she shot A Cowhand’s Song and Cowgirls. Both films won awards. Kelly discovered Ruthanne Lum McCunn’s novel Thousand Pieces of Gold while touring with Cowgirls, and immediately saw it as a narrative feature. She and Kenji Yamamoto, her husband and filmmaking partner, spent six years financing the film with support from American Playhouse Theatrical Films, CPB, Film Four International and private investors. Although Kelly’s career as a movie director stalled -- the victim of sexism that stymies the career of so many women -- she continued to direct documentary films, including Rebels with a Cause, Downside UP, Smitten, and Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives. She is currently developing When We Were Cowgirls, a feminist adventure story about two women whose friendship is more like a twinship. Kelly’s work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, ITVS, National Endowment for the Humanities, California Humanities. She has won artist-in-residence fellowships at Yaddo, UCross, the MacDowell Colony and the Banff Center for the Arts. When not in production, she teaches filmmaking at the California College of the Arts.

producer
Kenji Yamamoto - A California native, Kenji Yamamoto started documenting the world around him as a teenager, when his father gave him a still camera. He studied painting, photography, and experimental filmmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute and later made narratives and documentaries, often about people on the fringes of society. He has been partners with Nancy Kelly in filmmaking and in life since 1980. When Kelly discovered the novel Thousand Pieces of Gold, he felt it was a story he was put on this earth to tell. He spent years financing the film and also edited it. Kenji participated in the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Editing Lab with Jennifer Maytorena Taylor’s New Muslim Cool and has won an artist-in-residence fellowship at the Banff Center for the Arts. He is currently making his directorial debut with Hacker House, a documentary about a Spanish entrepreneur who risks everything on a Silicon Valley hacker house where he is ‘father’ to thousands of nascent entrepreneur residents, all the while neglecting his own young children in Madrid.
Filmography   

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