|In the Shadow of Gold Mountain||A fifth-generation Canadian of mixed heritage travels from Montreal to Vancouver to gather the testimonials of the last living survivors of the notorious Chinese Head Tax and Chinese Immigration Act.||2004|
Native to Montreal, Karen Cho is an emerging filmmaker who has carved out a name for herself directing both documentary and fiction films.
In 2001, she graduated from Concordia University's Film Production Program where she received the Mel Hoppenheim Award. Her graduate film EVE also won the award for Best Cinematography and premiered at the NYC Flicker Film Festival in 2002.
In 2003, Karen was the winner of the NFB's "Reel Diversity Competition." The result was the chance to direct In the Shadow of Gold Mountain, her first professional documentary. The film uncovers the stories of the last living survivors of the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act. It premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival in 2004 and was broadcast on CBC Newsworld's "Rough Cuts" in 2005. The film was awarded a Golden Sheaf Award for Best Multicultural Documentary at the 2005 Yorkton Film Festival and also garnered an Honourable Mention Certificate (Humanities Category) at the 2005 Columbus International Film and Video Festival in Worthington, USA. In 2006, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters honoured the film with a coveted Golden Ribbon Award for Diversity in News and Information Programming.
In 2004-2005, Karen worked as a series director for Past Lives (Global) a 13 x 30 minute documentary series about Canadians in search of their ancestral roots. Karen has directed 4 episodes of the series on topics ranging from Chinese Immigration to Inuit history to Japanese-Canadian WWII Internment to Scottish Home Children.
In 2006, Karen directed the National Film Board’s first ever video podcast. Entitled Chinese Head Tax – the Government Officially Apologizes, the 10-minute documentary captured the unveiling of and reaction to the redress package that ended the Chinese Canadian 22-year-struggle for redress.
Karen is currently in development of a feature-length documentary and mini-series entitled Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution about the history and future of Feminism in Canada, based on Judy Rebick’s book of the same name.
Karen is also working as a series director for Extraordinary Canadians (Omni), a 12 x 30 minute documentary series based upon the Penguin Extraordinary Canadians collection of books. The series explores the lives of eminent Canadians from the perspective of leading contemporary writers.
Karen's films often recount un-told histories and explore themes of immigration, activism, self-identity and social justice. Her approach to filmmaking is shaped by personal experience, pop-culture and her background in a richly multi-ethnic family. Karen is interested in using film as a tool for social debate.
Seeking Refuge is her second auteur documentary, a film produced by InformAction with the collaboration of Radio-Canada, RDI and CBC Newsworld.