Chinese American Chinatown: 9-Man Street Ball
A slice of Chinatown history comes forth in a project from first time director Ursula Liang for the documentary “9-Man.” 9-Man, a street Chinatown sport created when the Chinese Exclusion Act forced Chinese restaurant workers and laundrymen to socialize exclusively amongst themselves. This nine-man sport offered both escape and fraternity for men who were separated from their families in China and facing extreme discrimination and distrust.
What is it? It’s fast, chaotic, unpredictable, grueling; the rules are distinct and exist no where else in the world—imagine volleyball with 18 guys, dunks, and bloodied elbows.
Stay tuned for the film!
9-Man introduces the history of the game and a diverse cast of modern-day characters – from 6’7″ Olympian Kevin Wong to a 91-year-old pioneer – combining vérité footage and interviews with never before seen archival footage and photos sourced directly from the community. Pivoting between oil-spotted Chinatown parking lots and jellyfish-filled banquet scenes, the film captures the spirit of nine-man as players not only battle for a championship but fight to preserve a sport that holds so much history.
p.s. To support the film, here’s the Kickstarter link. It’s fully funded but she has a great video there of what she’s trying to do.