Cast: Rosalind Chao, Chris Cooper
Director: Nancy Kelly
Screenplay: Anne Makepeace
After the film celebrated screenwriter Anne Makepeace will join us for a Q&A. Anne Makepeace has been a writer, producer, and director of award-winning independent films for more than three decades. Read full bio.
Set in a mining town in the 1880s and based on a true story, the script for Thousand Pieces of Gold was developed with the support of the Sundance Institute’s writer/ director lab. The film premiered at the San Francisco Film Festival After its theatrical release, Thousand Pieces of Gold aired on the PBS American Playhouse series, the UK’s Film Four and around the world. It won immediate acclaim for its portrayal of the real-life story of Lalu (Rosalind Chao), a young Chinese woman whose desperately poor parents sell her into slavery. She is trafficked to a nefarious saloonkeeper in Idaho’s gold country. Eventually, Charlie, a man of a different ilk, played by Chris Cooper, wins her in a poker game and slowly gains her trust.
Way ahead of its time, the film resonates even more powerfully today in the era of #MeToo. But Nancy Kelly became a victim of prejudice against women directors within the American film industry and was never offered another narrative feature to direct in spite of extraordinary reviews from critics, some of whom compared her talent to that of John Ford.