Screening and Q&A with Producer and Director: THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO

Performances

Smith-Buonanno, Room 106

A 2014 Tribeca Film Festival world premiere, THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO is a feature-length documentary tracing the origins of Chinese American food through what is arguably America’s most popular takeout meal: General Tso’s Chicken. Anchoring the film is an upbeat quest to understand the origins and popularity of America’s Chinese food and its top-selling dish. Who was General Tso? And why do nearly fifty thousand restaurants serve deep-fried chicken bearing his name? Using this dish and its mysterious mastermind as a lens onto a larger story of immigration, adaptation, and innovation, the film follows a lighthearted journey, grounded in cultural and culinary history. Visits to present-day Chinese restaurants spark forays into the past, guided by chefs, scholars, and the occasional opinionated customer, as viewers find they’re on a search to answer a deeper question: how did America’s Chinese food become so… American?  THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO is a production of Wicked Delicate Films, in collaboration with Jennifer 8. Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles. 

Immediately following the Screening, we will welcome the Producer and Director to lead discussion.

Amanda Murray (Producer) is a multimedia producer, writer, and filmmaker based in Cambridge, MA. Most recently, with Monadnock Media, she developed immersive and interactive multimedia programs for museums around the country. With the independent production company Wicked Delicate, she directed WORLD FAIR (2013), a short documentary about the 1939 New York World's Fair, and produced THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO (2014), THE GREENING OF QATAR, and MISSING MODERNIST. She has been an exhibition curator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, and worked with the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, National Building Museum, and National Trust for Historic Preservation. She earned an M.A. in Public Humanities from Brown University in 2008.

Ian Cheney (Director) is an Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker. His films and collaborations include KING CORN (2007), THE GREENING OF SOUTHIE (2008), TRUCK FARM (2010), THE CITY DARK (2011), THE MELUNGEONS (2013), and THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO (2014). He is currently a 2014 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT.

This screening is co-sponsored by the Food Heritage, Hybridity & Locality Conference and by the Public Humanities Program Open House.