Directed by Pamela Tom
Official Selection, 2015 Telluride Film Festival
The beginning of Tyrus Wong’s story is like that of many other Chinese immigrants in the early 20th century: detained at nine years old and sequestered at Angel Island during the height of the Chinese Exclusion Act. But what happened after is an inspiring, miraculous journey of overcoming the odds and becoming one of the most celebrated Asian American artists of his time.
Animation lovers know him as the man whose watercolors were the inspiration for the Disney classic Bambi. Film buffs celebrate his production design contributions to legendary Warner Brothers films like Rebel Without a Cause and The Wild Bunch. Another generation knows him as the painter of popular greeting cards. There’s even a band of followers for his kite designs. Things kicked off modestly during the Depression at an art school in Pasadena, where Tyrus impressed colleagues with his Chinese-inspired watercolors. It ended in the annals of Hollywood history.
Now 105 years old, Tyrus has plenty to smile about and he does so behind a century of bringing joy to the lives of millions. He’s now also the subject of TYRUS, Pamela Tom’s rich, fascinating documentary that chronicles the artist’s professional and personal travails, giving insight to a lifetime of perseverance that started with that scared, wide-eyed boy on Angel Island. –Eric Lallana
Co-presented by: New Moon Pictures