Yu + We Books

: Documentary Short
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Production


When a fire destroys a bookstore, an integral heartbeat of NY's Chinatown, grief consumes the neighborhood. Thanks to a loving community, Yu+Me begins to rebuild.


Yu+Me Books, run by Lucy Yu, is NY’s first Asian-American, woman-owned bookstore, and the heartbeat of NY’s AAPI community. When a fire destroys the store a year into its run, grief consumes the neighborhood. But thanks to a few thousand friends, Lucy and Yu+Me begin to rebuild.


My intent as a director is to create films that convey the sincerity of our subject and synthesize their philosophical abstraction for an audience to witness. This ethos was formed through a background in photojournalism, where allowing the subjects to speak for themselves in their natural environment required deep curiosity and empathy. It was after living in the Philippines for a year and witnessing the various indigenous cultures across the many islands that I honed my eye and my empathy, and learned to exercise my awe and humility. To gain trust from others often means to throw away your own inhibitions, fear, and vulnerability first. It was soon after doing this that I was able to truly witness and re-learn what it means to be Filipino.


Chad Santo Tomas - Co-Director & Cinematographer
A photojournalist prior, capturing life in the Philippines across the myriad of indigenous tribes ushered in an urge for documentary filmmaking. In America, working with AAPI non-profit groups amidst the pandemic cemented the vision for Chad to tell cathartic films of and about his community and create short films with big impact and reach.

Esther Chan - Co-Director & Editor
AAPI and Queer editor from LA now based in Brooklyn, NY. Has an immense amount of experience editing in political campaigns including Elizabeth Warren, and an internship with Barrack Obama. She now currently is the senior editor for planned parenthood.

Claudine Cho - Co-Director & Writer
A poet and writer at heart, Claudine sculpted her empathic voice with universal health care activist Ady Barkan. Here she learned under his tutelage before switching to greater advocacy work writing for the New York City Council. In her spare time she is working on a children's book and future screenplay inspired by her Korean-American upbringing and her childhood.


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