Filmmaker Debbie Lum got a lot more than she bargained for while filming her documentary, Seeking Asian Female. The idea came out of a “personal quest” to understand “why it bothered me so much that certain Western men have ‘yellow fever’” (i.e., a romantic fixation, obsession or fetish for Asian women). The film follows the “unlikely romance of Steven and Jianhua (or “Sandy”)—an American man who is obsessed with marrying any Asian woman and the Chinese woman half his age who agrees over the Internet to be his fiancee.” Lum ends up being much more involved in their lives than she intended; as she records the couple, she serves as translator between the newlyweds and acts as the couple’s counselor. Her project eventually grows into a “bigger exploration into marriage, immigration, language and communication, Sino-American relations, subjectivity versus objectivity in documentary filmmaking—and the really big one: love.” The Kickstarter project has three days left to make the $20,000 goal; so far, it’s raised about $19,000.

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Alysia Santo is a former assistant editor at CJR.