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Florida Film Fest review: SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE

April 3, 2013
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SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE

★★★★

Since frontier times, desperate American men have turned to mail-order bride services in hopes of finding love. The majority of women listed in these services today are either Asian or Eastern European. As a Chinese-American, documentarian Debbie Lum had always been curious as to why certain Western men are so enamored with Asian women, so she decided to search for the answer.

Lum contacted several men who posted on dating sites that were exclusively seeking Asian women. After interviewing Steven Bolstad, a twice-divorced sexagenarian, she knew she’d found the perfect subject for her documentary. When we first meet Bolstad onscreen, he’s making racial comments about Asian eyes. He then proceeds to reminisce about a Vietnamese film that he once saw, The Scent of Green Papaya, which featured what he referred to as an “idyllic servant girl.” He then muses on the possibility of finding a mate like the girl in the film. He comes off as a man that would make women uncomfortable. Even Debbie confesses that she felt uncomfortable with him in the beginning.

Nevertheless, after corresponding with hundreds of Asian women over the course of five years, Bolstad finds one who agrees to marry him. Sandy, 30, is a Chinese national who entered the U.S. on a K-1 fiancée visa. If she doesn’t marry within three months she must return to China. Surprisingly, Sandy doesn’t appear to have any ulterior motives and genuinely seems to be interested in Bolstad. However, when the relationship turns tumultuous, the couple seeks Debbie’s counsel, as she is the only person they know who can speak both English and Mandarin. As Debbie is dragged into her own documentary, she begins to question her ethics, adding a compelling new layer to an already fascinating and often unsettling film.

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  • Steven Bolstad

    Many misconceptions fade away with this film. Many seem to remain.
    What does not come across is the fact that I took nine trips to China to meet people. I met Sandy on the fifth trip after ten months of almost daily email and WebCam communication with each other for long hours at a time before we even met in person.
    Sandy was raised in the country on a tea farm which gave her a grounding of good morals and a work ethic.
    Then ten years in the big city where her hard work and determination led her to become an executive secretary in an upscale fashion company.
    My first time with her was a two week long 24/7visit that was great fun and we communicated rather well with the aid of our electronics and old-fashioned hand gestures.

    Then followed a short visit to meet her parents and tell them we were serious.
    Then another two week visit to make sure we were still on track with each other.
    And then a final visit to go to the US Consulate and prove that we want to be truly a married couple.
    I dare say that this is a longer and more formal courtship then most American couples undertake.

    What has followed, besides the few misunderstanding stumbling blocks of culture shock featured in the film, is a marriage of three and a half years that has grown in happiness and love.

    As for my attraction to the exotic beauty of Asian women, what’s not to like? It is really a numbers game as well. The odds are on my side.
    Here I am an invisible almost non human with greatly reduced minimal receptive choices.
    In China I am greeted continually with smiling happy faces wherever I go.

    Not a tough decision.

    Steven Bolstad
    Protagonist :-)
    Seeking Asian Female

  • Kevin

    Loved the film! Good luck to both of you!!!