When New York-based filmmaker David Siev joined his Cambodian-Mexican American family in lockdown in their small Michigan home city of Bad Axe, he initially began filming his SXSW award-winning documentary Bad Axe to capture their efforts to survive the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to keep open the doors to their popular family restaurant. But, following then-President Donald Trump's politicization of the pandemic and in the wake of the George Floyd protests, Siev's focus shifted to chronicling the anti-Asian sentiment he and his family endured as a result of both the COVID-19 safety protocols they implemented at the restaurant and their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The result is an intimate portrait of a family trying to maintain the American Dream at a time of extreme hardship and a love letter to a city divided by race, politics, and a crisis seemingly without end. Bad Axe, which is now available for digital and on-demand viewing, will screen at 6 p.m. Dec. 15, 2 p.m. Dec. 17, and 7:15 p.m. Dec. 18 at the AFS Cinema. David Siev's directorial debut won both the 2022 SXSW Special Jury Recognition for Exceptional Intimacy in Storytelling and the Audience Award for the Documentary Feature Competition following its world premiere at this year's SXSW Film Festival.
Aired: Dec. 13, 2022.