Railroad museum features film trilogy on Chinese railroad workers

CARSON CITY, Nevada – Rail by rail and spike by spike, Chinese laborers helped build the Transcontinental Railroad 150 years ago but their contributions to the United States didn’t end with the driving of the golden spike.

Award-winning journalist and filmmaker Min Zhou has devoted the past four years compiling the experiences of the Chinese railroad workers into a short film trilogy, “Iron Road Builder,” and she is bringing it to Carson City and the Nevada State Railroad Museum on Friday, Feb. 15.

The event starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults, free for members of the Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum and for children 17 and younger.

Min’s trilogy starts with Episode 1: “Crossing Donner Summit” and features the Chinese railroad workers efforts building the Central Pacific Railroad across the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the 1860s. Episode 2: “End of Rails” tells the stories of the migrating Chinese workers after the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad; and Episode 3: “Land of Luck,” brings the audience back to California and explores the Chinese contribution to the farming history of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta.

Each film is about 25 minutes long and there will be a 5-minute intermission between films. After the viewing, there is a question-and-answer period with Min.

Min worked as a journalist and co-founder of a daily newspaper in China for 20 years until she was selected to be a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in 2011. She began her study and has been a documentary filmmaker ever since, focusing mainly on Chinese-American history. She has won multiple awards for her documentary films, including a Gold Award for Arts and Cultural and a Bronze Award from the 51st Houston International Film Festival.

No reservations are required for the Carson City event. For more information, contact Adam Michalski, curator of education at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, at (775) 687-6953, ext. 224 or amichalski@nevadaculture.org.