Seeking Asian Female

An American man and a Chinese woman pursue a marriage brokered by the internet when she moves across the Pacific to start a new life with him.

Independent Lens
Premiere Date
May 6, 2013
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call

Debbie Lum

Debbie Lum explored cultural stereotypes in My Tiger Mom and in the award-winning Seeking Asian Female, which was a SXSW Film Festival official selection. She directed and produced two short documentaries for Wayne Wang about his early two works, Chan Is Missing and Dim Sum. She also co-produced and edited the award-winning Kelly Loves Tony, which aired Show more on the PBS series, POV and played at festivals internationally.

Her documentary editing credits include, among others, To You Sweetheart Aloha (winner of Audience Award at the VC LA Film Festival) and the acclaimed a.k.a. Don Bonus (winner of a National Emmy), which aired on POV. She also wrote and directed the fictional films Chinese Beauty, A Great Deal! and One April Morning. Show less

Other ITVS Films
My Tiger Mom
Try Harder!

Ali Sargent

Ali Sargent relocated to San Francisco after over eight years of making documentaries based out of New York City and Vermont. As a director and field producer, Ali has driven across the country, filmed in emergency rooms, lived in a trailer on a circus lot, and interviewed young gang members in Detroit. She field produced Circus, the six-part verité series Show more for PBS about a season with the Big Apple Circus, and Hopkins, a series about Johns Hopkins Hospital for ABC News which won a Peabody award. She directed Inside The Detroit Gang Squad, an episode for National Geographic. She has worked for PBS's Frontline, CBS, ABC, and Reuters as well as the independent documentary company M30A Films. Her print journalism has appeared in the Norwich Times and on She graduated from Barnard College in 2005 with a B.A. in Film Studies and has attended the CPB Producer’s Workshop at WGBH. Show less

We fund untold stories for public media.

Learn more about funding opportunities with ITVS.

The Film

Seeking Asian Female follows the surprising romance of Steven and Sandy — an aging white man obsessed with marrying any Asian woman and the young Chinese bride he finds on the internet. Debbie, a Chinese American filmmaker, documents and narrates with healthy doses of humor and reflection, from the early stages of Steven’s search for an Asian bride, through the moment Sandy sets foot in America for the first time, to a year into their precarious union. Global migration, Chinese-American relations and the perennial battle of the sexes, weigh in on the fate of marriage in this eccentric love story.