Winner of the 2015 Hawaii News Now HIFF Audience Award for Best Documentary, HIFF is proud to present a special return engagement of TYRUS.
Tyrus Wong is a living legend. At 104, he is America’s oldest living Chinese-American artist and also one of its most prominent. He is considered one of the world's most respected and influential animation concept artists and has the distinction of being the only “Disney Legend” of Chinese descent. Yet, despite his cultural and artistic significance, Tyrus Wong’s story remains largely unknown.
TYRUS, the film, tells the unlikely story of the 104-year old, and how he overcame poverty and racism to become a celebrated modernist painter, Hollywood sketch artist, and groundbreaking artist on the classic animated film, BAMBI as well as many other classics from the Golden Age of Hollywood through today.
While TYRUS reveals the significant impact Wong has made in the world of art and animation, it also tells the dramatic and little known story of Chinese Americans in the 20th century. The film follows Wong's emotional return to the Angel Island Immigration Center, where he and other Chinese immigrants were interrogated and detained in an effort to prevent them from entering the US.
From his 1932 group show with Picasso and Matisse to his current solo show in New York City in 2015, Tyrus Wong continues to live the life of an artist. The film ends on the beaches of Santa Monica where he gathers his menagerie of hand-made kites and sails his magnificent creations high above the Pacific Ocean – the same waters he crossed as a young boy 95 years ago.