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Curtain Up!

In America, every child of immigrants has an assimilation story, but not all of them involve being actors in a student adaptation of the hit musical Frozen. In New York City's Chinatown, the elementary school theater club of PS 124 prepares to stage a production of Frozen Kids. As these Asian American students gear up and rehearse for their big musical production with nervous excitement, they also contend with cultural stereotypes, family expectations, post-graduation uncertainties and the pressures that come with being young and bi-cultural. Through rehearsals and time behind the scenes, the students unveil their dilemmas with honesty, humor and insight. CURTAIN UP! shares a kids-eye view of identity, culture and the heartbreaks that come with growing up.

Video Librarian
Highly Recommended "This joyful production works as both entertainment for adults and youthful audiences and potential discussion material about the role of arts in schools, diversity, inclusion, and family expectations."

Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) | Brandon West, Social Sciences Librarian, State University of New York at Geneseo
"There is plenty of depth to this whimsical documentary and it creates opportunities for discussion about the role of arts in education and disparities faced by marginalized communities. In addition to general viewing, the film would be useful in supporting the curriculum of education and diversity programs. These reasons make it a great addition to library collections."

Asian CineVision
“These kids aren’t shown to the viewers as 'others' or 'outliers,' they are shown as kids, who also happen to be Asian American ... For fellow Asian Americans, the film acts as a form of representation, for others an insight into the struggles that immigrants and minorities face every day ... Hui Tong and Kelly Ng build a documentary that manages to uplift an oft-forgotten group while also showing us that being a kid is complicated, even if it doesn’t always seem that way.”

Buttered Popcorn Movies
“Even in one of the strongest years for the documentary genre of all time, Curtain Up! stands out as one of the freshest and enjoyable documentaries of the year. Not only does the film have the fun and charisma to be one of the funniest films of the year, but the depth and nuance enhance the material, pushing the feature to the next level. This is an expertly crafted and brutally honest film that deserves to be seen by as many as possible.”

Film Threat
“The underlying message is the importance of the arts in education across the board ... A job like this takes patience, long hours, and not much of an impact on the old salary. The rewards, though, are priceless ... Remove the message of school funding of the arts and strict cultural expectations, and the joy of Curtain Up! is watching kids put on a musical. These students are here to have fun and couldn’t care less about the political and familial drama ...Tong and Ng weave together a fun documentary and puts the spotlight on a few of the kids. "

South China Morning Post
"The film Curtain Up! shows how they deal with being pulled in different directions by family and society, and how acting helps them overcome a certain cultural mindset."


Main credits

Tong, Hui (film director)
Tong, Hui (film producer)
Tong, Hui (editor of moving image work)
Ng, Kelly (film director)
Ng, Kelly (film producer)
Ng, Kelly (editor of moving image work)

Other credits

Executive producers, Carlos Sandoval, Hanqi Sun; original score, Wu Jin.

Docuseek subjects

Distributor subjects

Asian American Studies
Arts & Performance Studies
Children, Youth & Families
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Engagement
Education & Educational Equity
Race, Culture & Ethnic Studies
Social Work


Asian American Studies, Arts & Performance Studies, Children, Youth & Families, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Engagement, Education & Educational Equity, Race, Culture & Ethnic Studies, Social Work; "Curtain Up!"; GOOD DOCS