Whereas some one-term Congressmen are unceremoniously swept into the dustbin of history, ex-Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao has had his Cinderella story meticulously chronicled in “Mr. Cao Goes to Washington,” a documentary making its D.C. premiere tonight.
The movie, which was produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker S. Leo Chiang, kicks off the weekend-long D.C. Asian Pacific American Film Festival (Oct. 4-7) with a 7 p.m. screening at Landmark E Street Cinema (555 11th St. NW), followed by an after-party at Asia Nine (915 E St. NW). Admission to the movie runs $20. Chiang tells HOH that the flick focuses on Cao’s brief time in Washington, tracking the “accidental Congressman’s” first appearance on the political radar after deposing embattled Louisiana Democratic Rep. William Jefferson in 2008 to his abrupt departure during the 2010 cycle. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) handily wrested the historically Democratic seat back from the Vietnamese-American Republican.
According to Chiang, Cao’s journey was surprising not just because of his meteoric rise — he was also the only Republican to initially support President Barack Obama’s polarizing health care overhaul, and he plunged into the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill fray — but also because of his spectacular fall.
“It’s a pretty comprehensive and intimate portrait of a political centrist who tried and ultimately was not able to survive the ultra-partisan climate in the country today,” Chiang said.
If you can’t make it out tonight, the Cao pic is slated for release on PBS next year.
Chiang’s next project promises to be no less controversial, as he turns his lens on a transgender woman and a gay man running for higher office in the Philippines and Kenya, respectively, in “Out Run,” (outrunmovie.org).