Lum’s documentary Seeking Asian Female began as an exposé on American men with Asian fetishes — and grew into a complicated love story about the challenges of cross-cultural marriage.
The idea behind Seeking Asian Female was born from documentarian Debbie Lum’s life-long discomfort with “yellow fever,” which refers to non-Asian men’s fascination with Asian women. She decides to follow Steven, the stereotypical, clueless, if well-meaning, 60-year-old Caucasian man who is obsessed with finding a young Chinese wife. Through an internet search, he falls for a 30-year-old woman named Sandy and brings her over to the United States on a three-month engagement visa. In that span of time, Sandy will have to decide whether she wants to marry him — or return home to China.