Athens, Georgia | Film Short


Sophia Camak

1 Campaigns | Georgia, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $21,550 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

171 supporters | followers

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Wokman shares an immigrant Chinese family’s pursuit of the American Dream from inside of their restaurant, China Wok. Based in 1998 in rural Georgia, Wokman is a slice-of-life story of the only Chinese family in town, the Lis, as they navigate through their own little corner of America.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Writer & director Jeremy Thao’s top objective as a filmmaker is to create space and opportunities for underrepresented peoples to explore the world of filmmaking. The Wokman team aims to present different points of view to hopefully provide what our world so desperately needs: perspective.

The Story

  The Asian American community has been fighting two pandemics over the last two years, one viral and one racial. Utter terror and pain rippled through our community and I came to the realization that my contribution to the societal changes needed to help end the disease of racism is going to be through my filmmaking. 


Soon after the pandemic started, Film Impact Georgia announced that their bi-annual filmmaking grant competition was starting and I used this opportunity to create the box that I needed to sit down after four years of thinking about it, and start writing “Wokman.” 


Winning Film Impact Georgia’s spring 2021 Filmmaking Grant has changed my life. Producing an indie low budget short film during a pandemic is very difficult and the support and love we’ve received from the Atlanta filmmaking community are the only reasons we’ve made it this far.


“Wokman” is my attempt to explain to the world why I think I am the way I am. “Wokman” is for my Hmong mother and my Hmong father. “Wokman” is for all mothers and fathers who left their homelands to give their children a better life. “Wokman” is what we need right now. Or at least I do.

– Jeremy Thao

Writer & Director of Wokman

After being given a new set of responsibilities at his family’s Chinese restaurant, a pre-teen American-born Chinese boy seeks to better understand his immigrant father’s vision of the American Dream while facing his own challenges from behind the cash register.


“Wokman” is a slice-of-life short film about the Li family as they chase the proverbial American Dream from the inside of their restaurant, China Wok. Taking place in 1998, this semi-autobiographical short film shares what it was kind of like for me to grow up an Asian American kid in the ‘90s. 



 The Li family consists of two immigrant Chinese parents, Sam and Mary, and their two ABC (American-born Chinese) kids, Leah and Andy. 

 Sam, paterfamilias and titular Wokman, controls the kitchen, standing tall in front of his workhorse wok.

 Mary, a no-nonsense and caring mother, deals with customers and various tasks in the front of house. 

 Leah, a senior in high school, serves as her parents’ translator and is beginning to phase out of working at the restaurant to focus on college.

 Andy, a fifth grader who loves his Game Boy, has recently begun working at the family restaurant “China Wok,” seeing what his parents endure daily and gaining a better perspective of his father’s vision of the “American Dream.”


It takes a village! Making a film is no easy feat. If there's anything we've learned is that we want to support our people, and that costs money. We want you to know exactly where these funds are going. Success in our crowdfunding campaign means meals for our crew, funds towards the perfect location, and proper PPE to insure the protection of our cast and crew.


The most effective way for you to help this project is to please share this crowdfunding campaign with your friends and family, and if you can donate finacially as well, it would be greatly appreciated.

To some, the American Dream is the quaint home, 2.5 kids, and a white picket fence. To Team Wokman, we see a Chinese restaurant in a small Southern town.

Our writer & director Jeremy considers the restaurant the main character. Wokman comes to life within a bustling Chinese restaurant and we see the family's struggles in both back and front of house. In "Wokman," we invite the viewer into the kitchen to see how a real family runs a restaurant. 

To best bring this story to life, we will need to find the perfect locations. We hope to partner with local small businesses and communities to help support each other and to find the most idealistic and safest locations to film.


Thank you so much for reading this far. Your support and encouragement is so needed and appreciated as we begin to film "Wokman."


To be Asian American is to be invisible. We are expected to change our names, foods, and ways of life to better “fit in.” We are pitted against other ethnic groups by being labeled as the “model minority.” And we have never been seen as American enough due to being “perpetual foreigners.” 

A new generation of Asian-American and Pacific Islander people is rising. We will no longer sit by quietly as our cultures and our people are at risk of dying simply because we are Asian in America. We will protest and we will donate our time and our money and we will SPEAK UP. For when we speak up and share our stories, we become visible. And Team Wokman is ready for the world to see what we've got to offer. 




Producing an indie short film takes a lot of money, time, and effort and the only way we will hit our crowdfunding goal is if our supporters help us reach beyond our own networks. 

We are inviting you to please become an integral member of Team Wokman, to make a difference in how AAPI stories are told, to help AAPI filmmakers make an impact on their industry, and to be a key factor in the success of our crowdfunding. 

Please share our Seed & Spark crowdfunding campaign through your social media accounts, by email, or by chatting with your friends and family about it! We truly appreciate you and cannot accomplish our goals without you!


Here are some pre-typed examples that you are welcome to copy and paste!


Instagram & Facebook:

Help support @jeremythao by checking out his slice-of-life AAPI film @wokman_film about an immigrant Chinese family chasing the American Dream from their restaurant, China Wok. Follow them on @seedandspark: tinyurl.com/wokman


Check out the upcoming short film @wokman_film by @filmimpactga winner @jeremy_thao & follow them on @seedandspark: tinyurl.com/wokman



Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $500

Brings the story to life. A visual we need to make production go smoothly!


Costs $1,000

Breathing room for last minute or unexpected expenses!


Costs $2,550

This includes hard drives, camera equipment, lighting rentals, and all sound equipment we will need.

COVID test + PPE

Costs $750

We still live in unprecedented times and safety is costly! PPE and testing will be needed!

Production Insurance

Costs $1,500

We have to insure the safety of our cast, crew, and even our equipment!


Costs $3,000

Payment for 4 days of location use!


Costs $7,500

It takes a village! We need to pay our crew for all of their hard work!

Craft Services+ Hot meals

Costs $2,200

Hot meals and snacks for our hard working crew!

Production Design

Costs $1,000

We have to be so detailed, down to every grain of rice!

About This Team


Jeremy Thao was born and raised in Fresno, California, and now calls Atlanta home. For the past five years, Jeremy has worked alongside some of the most talented creatives in Atlanta as a 1st assistant director and is now shifting his career goals towards screenwriting and directing. One of Jeremy's top objectives as a filmmaker is  to create space and opportunities  for underrepresnted peoples to explore the world of filmmaking and to help share their stories on the silver screen.



A former software engineer turned actor, Kurt Yue has found success on both the small and big screens. Always the math and science kid growing up, Kurt never dreamed of acting during his younger years. It wasn't until four years after college, when he was looking for a fun activity to do after his 9-5 day job, that he took a chance on an acting class that would change his life forever.

Since then, Kurt has been lucky enough to work with Oscar winners, Emmy winners, and Golden Globe winners year after year. Some of his past screen credits include Cobra Kai, Black Widow, Dopesick, Venom, and The Vampire Diaries. His most recent role is opposite Bryan Cranston in the upcoming Paramount+ film, Jerry and Marge go Large.



Jodi Tovay is a four-time Emmy award nominated producer who owns and operates her own company,Starwipe Productions. She is also a full-time Executive Producer and Director of Development at Crazy Legs Productions where she develops documentary films and unscripted series.  From her documentary work, she is a past winner of Discovery Communications “Innovation Award” and Realscreen’s “Non-fiction Event Programming” nominee.  Prior to moving to Atlanta, she worked in New York City for 11 years at Discovery Warner Brothers, developing Destination America’s highest-rated series premiere across network history, Ghost Brothers, and the first live event, Exorcism: Live! which was the highest telecast of 2015 and breaking ground as the first live exorcism performed in U.S. television history.  She has developed and produced for Netflix, Discovery Channel, MTV, TLC, Investigation Discovery and Travel Channel, and her most recent film “The Curse of Lizzie Borden” (2021) was the most-watched film on Discovery+ streaming service.



Takashi Doscher is an award-winning writer and director from Atlanta, GA. His second feature film, Only, stars Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire, Mowgli) and Tony-winning Leslie Odom Jr (Hamilton, Murder on the Orient Express) as star-crossed lovers trying to survive in a world nearly devoid of women. His first feature film, Still, starring Madeline Brewer (Handmaid's Tale), Nick Blood (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Lydia Wilson (Netflix's Requiem) is an atmospheric thriller set in the Appalachian mountains. It has won several awards on the festival circuit and sold to The Orchard for world-wide distribution. He is also the youngest director to sell a film to ESPN with his feature documentary, A Fighting Chance, at the age of 22. His ESPN follow-up captured the first ever summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro by a quad-amputee. The story won an ESPY in 2013.



Sophia Camak was inspired by her father, a Director of Photography, whose love for people and film fueled her passion to also pursue a career in filmmaking. She graduated from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Film and Digital Media with a focus on Producing. In 2018, she won the judge's choice award for her film Halfway in the Georgia Film Festival. Sophia has worked for the likes of North Point Media, Grayscale Productions, and Car Pie where she created and assisted with the development of short form content. She has worked five years genreating content in the corporate world, but is ready to take on narrative films. 



Lael Camak, a local cinematographer and camera op, has worked in the Atlanta film industry for over 30 years. He specializes in anti-gravity rig, MOVI, and steadicam operating. He has traveled worldwide and worked on Sundance backed features, Super Bowl Commercials, and many corporate projects. Lael is very invested in sharing stories that are worth telling and even more excited to join his daughter on this project!



Melissa Simpson is the Executive Director of Film Impact Georgia, a nonprofit dedicated to helping uplift the voices of those making independent films in Georgia. She was born and raised just north of Atlanta and has a BS in Film & Digital Media from the University of North Georgia. Melissa was a founding director of the Georgia Film Festival, has worked as the Creative Director for TERMINUS Conference + Festival, and has worked in many different roles for film festivals across Georgia, including the Atlanta Film Festival, Rome International Film Festival, the WIFTA Short Film Showcase, and the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. She spent the past two years working with film festivals and indie filmmakers across the world at Eventive, a virtual streaming platform for independent film. In her spare time, she is involved in many organizations in the Atlanta film community and works as a production coordinator and producer. Melissa also has a house full of rescue animals and won a hula hoop contest when she was eight.



Current Team