© 2023 WSIU Public Radio
WSIU Public Broadcasting
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Indie Lens Pop-Up: "The Donut King"

man holding a donut
Logan Industry
Logan Industry
Ted Ngoy at DK Donuts.

Meet the Donut King, the Cambodian refugee who built a multi-million-dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry.

Family Business: Southern Illinois Asian Restaurateurs Talk Life, Family, Culture, & Food

Join WSIU and The Carbondale Public Library for a glimpse into life as an Asian cuisine restauranteur in Southern Illinois. We will hear from William Lo from New Kahala as well as other restaurant owners from the region about history, food, family, and culture.


The discussion will be moderated by Jennifer Butler from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the SIU College of Business and Analytics. This is an IndieLens Pop-Up program inspired by the film The Donut King.

Stream Online at pbs.org: May 24 – June 30, 2021

Resources related to this film are located here.

About the Film

Co-Presented by Center For Asian American Media (CAAM).

An immigrant story with a (glazed) twist, The Donut King follows the journey of Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy, who arrived in California in the 1970s and, through a mixture of diligence and luck, built a multi-million dollar donut empire up and down the West Coast.

After Ngoy escaped the brutal Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, he eventually was able to start his first donut shop in Orange County, California, and his Christy’s Doughnuts became a rapidly expanding chain of success. Over the next decade, Ngoy also sponsored hundreds of visas for incoming Cambodian refugees and offered them steady employment in his donut shops. But after living his version of the American Dream, everything came crashing down for Ngoy.

A story of immigration, assimilation, prejudice, and who gets access to the American Dream—and what happens when you achieve it—The Donut King is also about how the American Dream gets handed down and evolves from one generation to the next: the film includes the current generation of Cambodian donut shop owners and the ways they have been inspired by and diverged from their parents and grandparents before them.

About The Filmmakers

A Los Angeles native, Alice Gu began her career as a Director of Photography, working with renowned directors Werner Herzog, Stacy Peralta, and Rory Kennedy, among others. She was cinematographer on Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton, a documentary directed by Academy Award-nominated director Rory Kennedy. The Donut King is Alice’s feature directorial debut and was selected to premiere in competition at SXSW 2020.


Sponsored by Carbondale Public Library and Southern Illinois University.

WSIU VIRTUAL FILM EVENTS Indie Lens Pop-Up is a WSIU media project that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. The project, which features documentaries from the PBS hit series Independent Lens, draws local residents together to discuss newsworthy topics to family, relationships, and more. These virtual screening events are free and open to the public.

WSIU Digital Services provide program promotions, online activities, and community updates for the program areas of Southern, Central, and Western Illinois
As a WSIU donor, you don’t simply watch or listen to public media programs, you are a partner. By making a gift, you help WSIU produce, purchase, and broadcast programs you care about and enjoy – every day of the year!