Faith Salie speaks with CHILDREN OF INVENTION director Tze Chun and cast members Cindy Cheung, Crystal Chiu, and Michael Chen in the Sundance Channel Studio. Presented by Honda, The Power of Dreams.

U.S.A., 2008, 95 min., color
English/Cantonese/Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles

For immigrants, the American Dream has always been a symbol of success that meant achieving a new life far removed from past hardships. In his feature film debut, director Tze Chun explores this age-old-perception through the eyes of a Chinese American family in suburban Boston.

Single mother Elaine Cheng struggles to support her two young children, Raymond and Tina, by juggling various sales jobs. When another one falls through, the family finds itself homeless and must seek refuge in an unfinished apartment building. This latest predicament seems all too familiar to precocious Raymond, who dreams of taking care of his mother and sister with the fortunes garnered from his inventions. Little Tina, however, remains oblivious to their troubles, thanks to her mother’s careful protection. Meanwhile, lured by promises of easy cash, Elaine finds herself drawn into another pyramid scheme, one that will jeopardize the welfare of the two things that matter the most: her children.

Chun delicately explores the immigrant experience through parallel tales as Elaine and Raymond seek solutions to their dilemma. As they do so, age becomes irrelevant as they clutch for the elusive brass ring that always seems just out of reach. —ROSIE WONG

ExP: Dan Cogan Pr: Mynette Louie, Trevor Sagan CoP: Dave Saltzman Ci: Chris Teague Ed: Anna Boden Mu: T. Griffin Principal Cast: Cindy Cheung, Michael Chen, Crystal Chiu