KH Market is located in Cambodia Town, Long Beach, which is home to the largest number of Cambodians outside of Cambodia. The market sells Cambodian and other Southeast Asian foods along with American products and has been serving the multi-racial Long Beach community for over 15 years.
In December 2018, Kun Heng Market received a notice that their business would be demolished to make room for a fast food drive-thru in a community that lacks healthy and quality food access. The family owners of the market quickly organized a petition that collected nearly 10,000 signatures, and sparked widespread community outrage. Various Long Beach community organizations came together to hold space in how to best organize against displacement. Collective community organizing resulted in a cancellation of the demolition and the drive-thru plans.
KH Market was a key community partner business not only in providing healthy and culturally-appropriate food but also played a role in helping the community thrive such as supporting the athletics at Poly High School. KH Market has continued to serve the Long Beach community throughout challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. However, KH Market will be shutting its doors in June 2021 and will not be renewing its lease with the property owner due to increase in rent.
We are raising money to produce a short documentary film memorializing KH Market and celebrating its role in preserving Cambodian culture, and highlighting the resilience and continued struggle of Cambodia Town in the fight against gentrification. Any additional funds that are raised will go toward a community trust fund for KH and other Cambodia Town businesses that are being shut down.
About the Film:
In collaboration with Cambodia Town Thrives, a grassroots collective that uplifts community voices to shape the future vision and development of Cambodia Town, this film aims to celebrate the legacies and contributions of KH Market. This film provides space for the community to grieve the loss of KH but also centers resilience and community power. Due to community outcries, KH stayed open for an additional 2 years. As the store closes, the family who owns the market are starting new beginnings and the Cambodia Town community continues to resist further displacement through equitable development. Our film will use a combination of live action verite (capturing a truthful story on screen through observations), interviews, archival footage, and self-filmed testimonials to tell the story of KH Market and their impact on the Long Beach community.
Pichivy Pang is the face of KH Market and is one of three siblings who run the store. Through sit-down interviews interweaved with archival photos, the siblings tell a detailed history of their beginnings in Long Beach and how their family-owned supermarket came to be. Verite footage of them stocking shelves, working the cash register, and serving customers at their hot foods section not only portray the daily lifestyle of the family running the store, but also their common interactions and connections with the Cambodia Town community. To further highlight the trust and relationships that KH market has built over the decades with the community, self-recorded iPhone videos from members of Cambodia Town and Long Beach sharing their memories of the store will also be incorporated into the film. To show the community’s resilience, the film will show Pichivy and her family’s initial planning for their next chapter, and showcase other Cambodia town businesses continuing to persist and serve the community.
This film will follow-up on the story of KH Market in .
Introduction to the filmmakers:
Brandon Soun - My name is Brandon and I am a recent graduate of UCLA with a B.A. in Asian American Studies. I gained a passion for filmmaking through my studies where I discovered how the art of documentary filmmaking could give a voice to my community and enact social change.
As a Cambodian American who grew up in Long Beach, California, I rarely saw my community being represented in mainstream media. Discovering the power of film allowed me to document the shared experiences of my community, bringing to light the voices who have gone unheard and the social issues that remain unaddressed. Through my work in Asian American Studies and filmmaking, I hope that my films can have positive impacts on people’s lives.
Lan Nguyen - My name is Lan Nguyen. As a Vietnamese American who grew up in Cambodia Town, Long Beach, I am very passionate about preserving the stories of resilience and power within our Southeast Asian communities. As a filmmaker, I have been recognized as a NeXt Doc Fellow in 2019 and received the Loni Ding Award for Social Justice Documentary in 2020. In addition to filmmaking, I am a community organizer and educator, and have been teaching ethnic studies at Long Beach Poly High School for the last two and a half years.
The production of this film is sponsored by United Cambodiatown Community, a 501(c)3 organization. Your donation to fund this documentary is tax deductible.
Tell Your KH Story:
As part of the film, we want to highlight community voices and share testimonies of how KH has impacted you personally. We are inviting community members to record a short 1-2 minute video sharing memories of KH Market, or telling a story of KH’s importance for us to include in the film. While we may not be able to include all videos submitted, we will be sharing every video with the family who owns KH. Testimonies can be in any language (we will work with translators to create subtitles). To submit a video, email your video to . Everyone who submits a video will be acknowledged in the credits of the film, be given advance access to view the film, and will receive “I Love Cambodia Town” stickers.