David Huang

2022 HEAR US Awardee
Undergraduate Film & TV Class of 2022

David Huang

David Huang is a fiction and non-fiction filmmaker focusing on telling underrepresented stories of Asian Americans. He is currently in pre-production on multiple commercial projects, as well as a short documentary and his thesis film, Rock Springs.

David has been selected as one of the inaugural recipients of the Kyoko Arai Fund, a gift made possible by Kyoko and Yuki Arai (NYU Stern '10, MBA), who hope to encourage diverse voices and stories in the film industry.


Rock Springs

An NYU Thesis narrative short film - “Rock Springs” is a Chinese-language, fictional retelling of the Rock Springs Chinese massacre of 1885, focusing on the perspective of five immigrant Chinese miners in the hours leading up to and after the incident as the night unfolds.

In 1885, 28 Chinese miners were killed by white miners on the shores of Bitter Creek in Rock Springs, Wyoming, following months of rising racial hatred against the Chinese.

When I first came across this story, by reading first-hand accounts from the surviving miners and residents of Rock Springs, what stood out to me wasn’t the brutality and savagery of the tragedy or murders - but the amount of vital, historically significant pieces of Asian American history, such as the Rock Springs massacre, that were essentially untold in the mainstream narrative of American history.

The stories of the decades of Chinese settlement in Rock Springs Wyoming, and the surrounding towns, as well as throughout many territories in 1800’s America, is something truly incredible - countless Chinese immigrants traveled thousands of miles and crossed oceans, to work on railroads, crop fields, or pit mines in an empty desert in the middle of a very alien country.

It’s easy to look at a tragedy like this and focus solely on the pain. However, I want to make a film that explores the human aspect of the miners - day to day life, grievances, etc. - the individual interactions and small everyday moments, before and after the massacre unfolds. What did commonplace interactions between miners, particularly those who were family members, resemble before and after the event? What were the topics of discussion, what were their dreams, goals, ambitions? What drove them to travel so far, only to be met with obstacles and resistance to their very existence, such as this event?

The story focuses on Leo, a miner in charge of a small crew slightly outside of the Chinese quarter of Rock Springs - a slightly older, more cautious and experienced miner, and his younger brother, Lor, who aims to leave the settlement and start a new life in the West. As he and his crew witness/receive news of the massacre, they are forced to face difficult decisions to survive the night.

Our team is very excited to be telling this story, and we are currently finishing up all aspects of pre-production on this fiction short film. We recently completed a location scout to Rock Springs, Wyoming, where the film will be shot on location, and are excited to move forward towards our production there in the summer of this year.