Free Chol Soo Lee Premieres at Sundance 2022


The CAAM-funded documentary Free Chol Soo Lee will make its world premiere virtually at the Sundance 2022 film festival. Free Chol Soo Lee tells the gripping tale of a young Korean death row inmate wrongfully convicted of a 1973 Chinatown gangland murder in San Francisco, and the activists who led a pan-Asian American movement to free him. Spanning six years, from the late 1970s to the early ’80s, this movement would for the first time bring together young, third-generation Asian American activists — many of them politically radical — with older, conservative Korean immigrants, as they rally to help this stranger, Chol Soo Lee, a penniless street drifter. Their remarkable victory, with Lee walking into freedom in 1983 after 10 years in prison, would solidify a nascent Asian American community identity and inspire many young supporters to pursue careers dedicated to social justice. 

But, as the person these activists saw as hero and political prisoner devolves into a world of drug addiction and criminality once free, they find themselves struggling to answer, “Who is Chol Soo Lee?” The film will explore the complex legacy of this landmark yet largely forgotten Asian American social movement, and how Lee and his supporters would intimately shape each other’s lives, during his imprisonment and long after his release. Feature length film.

Free Chol Sool Lee is a recipient of the CAAM 2017 Documentary Fund, and is also supported by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), and PBS. The film is directed by Eugene Yi and Julie Ha, and produced by Academy Award nominated Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer Su Kim, who is also one of the mentors for the 2022 CAAM Fellowship, and CAAM uber-mentor Jean Tsien. 


Watch Free Chol Soo Lee Online

World Premiere

Live virtual screening
Friday, January 21, 2022
8:30 pm PT


24-hour screening window
Saturday, January 23-24, 2022
Beginning 7:00 am PT

Free Chol Soo Lee Panel Discussions

Film Talk: Free Chol Soo Lee
Presented by The Atlantic

Virtual Event
Monday, January 24, 2022
2:30 pm – 4:45 pm MT

Event link


Asia Society at 2022 Sundance Film Festival
Virtual Event
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm PT

Event link


You can buy tickets for the live virtual world premiere and online screening at the Sundance Film Festival website. Visit to learn more and buy tickets for the seven satellite in-person screenings taking place around the country on January 29 and 30, 2022.