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Arthur Dong named SF State alumnus of the year



Denize Springer
SF State Office of Public Affairs & Publications
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Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications


Oscar-nominated and three-time Sundance award-winning filmmaker will be honored at May 26 Commencement exercises

SAN FRANCISCO, May 16, 2007 - Award-winning producer/director Arthur Dong has been named San Francisco State University's 2007 Alumnus of the Year. He will receive the award at the University's 106th Commencement exercises at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, May 26, in Cox Stadium.

Dong, who has focused on complex social issues throughout his career, graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in film in 1982, the same year he established his Los Angeles-based company, DeepFocus Productions, Inc. []. The company released Dong's first DVD collection, "Stories from the War on Homosexuality," which includes "Family Fundamentals," a study on America's cultural wars over homosexuality, "Licensed to Kill," a look into the minds of murderers who killed gay men, and "Coming Out Under Fire," an investigation of gay and lesbian soldiers during World War II.

Dong's films about Asian and Asian American culture include "Sewing Woman," a documentary about his mother's immigration to the United States from China, "Forbidden City, U.S.A.," a musical tribute to the plight of Asian American nightclub performers in the 1940s, and "Lotus," a half-hour drama about the foot-binding of Chinese women, co-written with his sister, SF State Professor of Asian American studies Lorraine Dong. He recently completed a new feature documentary, "Hollywood Chinese," a visual and cultural history of the Chinese in Hollywood feature films, from the early 1900s up to present day. It will be released this fall.

Dong received an Oscar nomination for "Sewing Woman," as well as a George Foster Peabody Award, three Sundance Film Festival awards, and five Emmy nominations. He has been named a Guggenheim Fellow in Film and a Rockefeller Fellow in Media. Retrospectives of his work have been presented at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Hawaii International Film Festival, and Outfest in Los Angeles. Dong served as a governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and currently represents the Academy on the National Film Preservation Board.

"Arthur Dong's body of work is a reminder of the power art can have to move us -- not only emotionally but also to move us to action," said Robert A. Corrigan, president of San Francisco State University. "His films merge artistry and activism, making him an impressive role model for all of our students who are taught that their talents can and should be used for the greater good of society."

Dong said that his experience at SF State was one where he was given the freedom to express his ideas and grow as an artist. "A lot of the education was hands-off," he said. "I was left alone but I also knew that my professors were always there when I needed advice."

SF State's Alumnus of the Year award is given to former students who have gained recognition for significant contributions to their field of work. Previous winners include Kenneth Fong, the chairman of Kenson Ventures LLC, Manny Mashouf, the founder and chairman of bebe stores inc., E-LOAN co-founder/CEO Chris Larsen, journalist Ben Fong-Torres, "Frasier" co-creator and executive producer Peter Casey, jazz and cabaret singer Wesla Whitfield, actress Annette Bening, conductor Kent Nagano, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and physician and NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle.


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Last modified May 16, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications