Altar-n8 Realm

Mini-Documentary Series

Directed by Broad Target


In response to the global pandemic and the current hate crimes against Asian Americans, Altar-n8 Realm fosters recovery, resilience, and regeneration in the Chinatown community by utilizing interactive technology as a form of storytelling, uplifting Chinatown voices in support of small businesses. San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the oldest and most established ethnic enclaves for immigrant descent and American Born Chinese. It is a community of working class folx, independent business owners, and “Chinese American Dreamers.” The Altar-n8 Realm mini-documentary examines the diverse lived experiences of five Chinatown business owners and their journey before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Albert Chang is the second generation owner of Chinatown Kite Shop, a San Francisco Chinatown landmark on Chinatown’s Grant Avenue. Like many businesses on Grant, Chinatown Kite Shop relies heavily on the foot traffic of tourists. Albert explains the challenges COVID-19 has posed to local businesses like his and the growing xenophobic climate in the United States. Having been on Grant since 1972, Albert shares the changes he’s experienced in Chinatown and what he hopes will remain the same. Albert reminds us of the cultural significance of Qingming (Tomb Sweeping Day), filial piety, and looking to our ancestors for guidance in trying times.

AR Altar for Chinatown Kiteshop

Becky Ng is the second generation owner of Little Paris, a Vietnamese sandwich shop and modern Chinatown staple for many. Having grown up in the shop, Becky has seen the many changes that Chinatown has gone through, including the
impact COVID-19 and the rising Anti-Asian sentiment has had. Becky speaks about the cultural shifts in the Chinese American community and the importance of maintaining cultural practices such as Qingming.

AR Altar for Little Paris

Kevin Chan is the current owner of Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory and an unofficial historian of Ross Alley in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Kevin shares his views on heritage and history through his efforts with the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. What was once a wholesale operation hidden by protective gates, is now open to visitors from all corners of the world to enjoy. Kevin values the past as much as he does the future, with an emphasis on ancestral worship, preservation of family history, and Qingming rituals.

AR Altar for Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

Li Ly has served as a beacon in her community for almost 15 years through her business, Li Ly’s Hair Salon. The recent challenges with COVID-19 and the growing trend of attacks on Asian elders have culminated in unprecedented times for Li Ly. Amidst the challenges, Li Ly continues serving her wide customer base in her charming salon situated on Waverly Place in San Francisco Chinatown. In the middle of a fortunately busy day, Li Ly shares some of her experiences as a tenacious business owner, her relationship with Qingming, and the importance of appreciating our ancestors.

AR Altar for Li Ly’s Hair Salon

Chelsea Hung is the second generation owner of Washington Bakery and Restaurant. Specializing in Hong Kong cuisine and baked goods, foods tied with socialization and gatherings, Chelsea had to pivot like many local businesses due to COVID-19. Resiliently, Washington Bakery and Restaurant, was able to contribute to meal programs, such as the Feed and Fuel program and the San Francisco New Deal Great Plates program. With the business nestled in what many consider the center of Chinatown, Chelsea had a perfect view of Chinatown’s lively culture, events, and its changes over time.

AR Altar for Washington Bakery and Restaurant

© Macro Waves Est. 2015