A Film by Rik Zak and Jun Ren
DRAGONMASTERS is the untold story of the Chinese dragon in America. When this symbol of good fortune and benevolence first arrived, it found communities in trouble and was soon employed by their handlers to battle prejudice, violence, and exclusion.
Utilizing a mix of documentary interviews, archival material, vérité footage, and filmed in six locations in New York, California, Canada and China, this 67-minute “authored-documentary” film with multiple storylines, is the story of the evolution and cultural impact of the Chinese dragon and its Masters in America. The film features two dragons and their handlers. The first arrived in Marysville, California in 1890 and the second in New York City, introduced in the early 1970s. Both of these North American dragon teams were formed at a time and place in America where violence and exclusion were the order of the day.