University of Maryland | Janelle Wong, Professor of American Studies & core faculty of Asian American Studies
"First Vote is the perfect way to introduce students and the public to how broad trends in U.S. politics, such as political polarization and mobilization, affect small, but fast-growing segments of the electorate like Asian Americans. The film offers an important and unique window into ideological development and democratic participation in the U.S."
San Diego State University | Brian Hu, Assistant Professor in Television, Film and New Media
"While many Asian American films have argued for inclusion into an American body politic through assimilation or authorship, FIRST VOTE is a film that comes along to remind us that there are different stakes: that inclusion in the American project means voting. What is so fascinating about FIRST VOTE is that this project requires us to interrogate the terms of assimilation and immigration, as well as the political stakes of navigating that strange civic terrain that ultimately renders you as strange too: a perpetual foreigner, a minority between white and black, an immigrant in search of a claim in an America deemed a 'battleground' for the future of American democracy."
IDA | Patricia Aufderheide, Professor of Communications Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. & Director
"Must-watch ... Yi Chen, herself a Chinese immigrant, gained unparalleled access and never loses the thread."
The Moveable Fest
"First Vote is rewarding because Chen opts to go after something far more complex and ambiguous that one would expect from the provocative hour-long documentary centered around the 2018 midterm elections, largely unconcerned with the end result, but fascinated with how a quartet of Asian-Americans plan to participate in the democratic process.
"Asian-Americans can't be seen as some monolithic voting bloc and as Chen illustrates vividly, a shared heritage can yield wildly different attitudes towards politics based on other personal predilections, an observation that is bound to become more prescient in the years to come not just specifically as it relates to Asian-Americans, but as the fastest growing minority group, the country as a whole."
AFI - American Film Institute
"This beguiling and refreshingly non-partisan political travelogue from Washington, DC-based filmmaker Yi Chen introduces us to a diverse cross section of politically engaged Chinese Americans determined to make a difference."
The Mercury News
First Vote "emphatically proves there is no single Asian-American voting bloc"
Educational Media Reviews Online | Timothy W. Kneeland, History and Political Science Department, Nazareth College of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Highly Recommended “The cinematography is good. The individuals well-defined by their own words, and Li Chen allows the viewer to determine for themselves which pair of voters have a better grasp on U.S. society. This film will generate a great deal of discussion about identity, Asian-Americans in U.S. society, and American politics. At 59 minutes, it is suitable for a middle school to college classroom or community viewing in a public library or other settings. Highly Recommended.”