September 29, 2021

Cheryl Crooks, Executive Director
CASCADIA International Film Festival

CASCADIA Hosts Outdoor Movie Night Featuring Lafeen’s Donuts

Everything you thought you knew about the donut begins with Ted Ngoy––a Cambodian refugee who arrived in America in 1975 and began building an unlikely multi-million-dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry, the donut.

Ted’s rag-to-riches story is profiled in the new documentary, “The Donut King,” directed by Alice Gu, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, who discovered Ted in Los Angeles while researching “Cambodian donuts.”

Gu learned later that Cambodian donuts are just regular donuts made by Cambodian people. She was surprised to learn there are more than 5,000 independent donut shops in California and Cambodians own up to 80% of them. Gu became so fascinated that one of the most American foods, the donut, is nearly entirely made by Cambodians west of the Mississippi. She tracked down the Donut King, now living in Cambodia, and two months later she was there filming.

CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival will present the film Sunday, Oct. 3rd at 6:30 p.m. outdoors at Boundary Bay’s Beer Garden. Admission to the film is by suggested donation of $10 and can be made in advance through CASCADIA’s website here. Proof of vaccination is required for entry by CASCADIA. Masks are required when not eating or drinking.

CASCADIA is taking the opportunity to present a panel discussion that evening prior to the film about the contributions Asian Americans, like those in the film, are making to our country and the ongoing problem of attacks against them. Baozhen Luo, a professor of sociology at Western Washington University and former CASCADIA board member, will lead the discussion on October 3.

“CASCADIA is pleased to bring this inspiring film directed by Alice Gu to our audiences. Its story of Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy who built a donut shop empire in Southern California is moving and fascinating and illustrates the valuable contributions that immigrants and Asian Americans like him bring to our country,” said Executive Director Cheryl Crooks.

One of the film's executive producers, Freida Lee Mock, has been an active participant in The Action Project, a grassroots group of Asian-American Academy and Emmy Award-recognized creatives and leaders in entertainment and other fields, formed to help stop violence and discrimination against Asian Americans and to share their stories. (Mock was also CASCADIA's Honored Guest in 2019.)

CASCADIA will also provide donuts from Bellingham’s own Donut King––Chan Samuth, who owns Lafeen’s Donuts on Electric Avenue––to ticket holders. Samuth, whose Lafeen’s Donuts business has become well-known in Whatcom and Skagit County, also learned to bake donuts in Southern California––in Los Angeles’ South Gate community.

Food and drink by Boundary Bay Brewery will also be available for purchase that evening.

ABOUT CASCADIA Now entering its sixth year, CASCADIA showcases and celebrates exceptional films directed by women. It is one of only a handful of festivals in the U.S. currently dedicated to this purpose. The organization also works year-round to provide film production, exhibition, and distribution education.

Since its first festival five years ago, CASCADIA has presented films by more than 125 women directors from around the world and more than half of the films shown at their 2021 were made by women of color. Last year's festival included eight full-length features and 19 short films including animated films, documentaries, and narrative films from 14 different countries. Films by students, emerging directors, and Indigenous women are also usually in the mix.

More information about CASCADIA may be found on their website at

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