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The Killing of a Chinese Cookie

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2008 | Documentary | USA | English | 75 min | NC16 | $10

Director: Derek Shimoda

Premieres 3rd December 2009 at Sinema Old School

The curious history and cultural impact of the fortune cookie sets the stage for this witty documentary from filmmaker Derek Shimoda. While most people associate the fortune cookie with Chinese food, like many “Chinese” dishes it’s an American invention, first appearing in San Francisco restaurants in the early years of the 20th Century.

Since then, the lightly sweet cookie with the message inside has become an international phenomenon, while the aphorisms inside have become the subject of a wide range of parodies (and the “lucky numbers” featured in many cookies are often played by lottery fans, sometimes with a surprising degree of success).

In The Killing Of A Chinese Cookie, Shimoda looks at the ongoing debate over who invented the fortune cookie, visits a factory where five million cookies are baked every day, interviews writers who make their living dreaming up fortunes for the cookies, and talks to a performance artist who creates deliberately odd fortunes and inserts them into cookies in order to observe the reactions of unsuspecting diners.

About the director: A Los Angeles native, Derek Shimoda produced the feature film In My Life, directed by Gary Chan, as well as the acclaimed short film Secret Asian Man, an official selection of the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. He also wrote, produced, and directed the film Autonomous Soul, winner of a 2002 Visionary Award at the Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF). Over the past several years, Derek has worked on documentary series for several cable networks including Animal Planet, National Geographic and A&E.

The Killing of a Chinese Cookie is Derek Shimoda’s debut feature-length documentary.

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