Starting in February 1999, a total of 33 teens gathered on a weekly basis to script, shoot, and edit a 15-minute video addressing issues they decided were important in their lives. The dreams of Asian American teenagers, the expectations of immigrant parents, and the pull towards gang culture and violence are the themes of the resulting youth-produced narrative. The fictional story centers around three Asian-American teenagers their struggles and choices, set against the backdrop of life in Asian South Philadelphia and teen hip hop culture.
Rocc, played by Cham (Mopp) Mann, is torn between his former gang life and his bright girlfriend. Buffy, played by Den Trach, struggles with parental pressures while pursuing her dream of being a poet. In the middle is Azeil, portrayed by Phally Chroy, who turns to breakdancing as a source of self-expression and strength. Dramatic sequences are intertwined with interviews with these and other characters, climaxing with a party scene where each person is forced to make hard choices about their lives.
Phally Chroy, who graduated from Furness High School shortly after starring in American Sroksrei, is an immigrant who came to America as a baby after the end of the Vietnam War. He attended Temple University as an undergraduate in the Film and Media Arts program, and later applied to the MFA program to grow artistically as a filmmaker.
Cindy Burstein is a documentary producer living and working in Philadelphia. She comes to the field with a background in community organizing and youth leadership development. Since receiving her MFA in 1997 from Rutgers University-Mason Gross School of the Arts, she has been teaching video production, producing documentaries, and collaborating with other filmmakers. Her most recent film, 2004's Passionate Voices: American Jews and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict was created as a tool for dialogue. She served as regional outreach coordinator of theatrical release for two New Yorker Films award-winning documentaries, Trembling Before G-d and My Architect. As an adjunct professor in the Film and Media Arts Department at Temple University, she continues to enlighten students about the merits of progressive media.
November 10, 1999 - "It's Their Life," by Myung Oak Kim, Philadelphia Daily News
5/6/2000 - University of Pennsylvania Law School Human Rights Panel (Philadelphia, PA)
5/6/2000 and 5/7/2000 - Street Movies! screenings at West Philadelphia Community Center and Clark Park respectively (Philadelphia, PA)
5/4/2000 - Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema (Philadelphia, PA)
2001 - Prince Music Theater's Youth Media Jam (Philadelphia, PA)
2001 - Chicago Asian American Showcase (Chicago, IL)