Film Series

Bad Axe: Advance Screening and Conversation

November 15, 2022

FOLCS was proud to partner with IFC Films to offer a special advance screening of Bad Axe, the intimate pandemic-era documentary that garnered awards at SXSW and the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival.  Bad Axe captures a closely knit Asian American family living in a rural Michigan community as they fight to keep their American dream alive. As owners of a prominent local restaurant, they must reckon with a global pandemic, an increasing political divide, rising racial tensions, and generational scars from Cambodia’s “killing fields.”

On November 15, 2022 following the screening, FOLCS was joined by Bad Axe director David Siev, along with his family and documentary subjects Chun Siev and Jaclyn Siev, for a conversation on their family’s battle to hold onto their slice of the American dream, their sense of belonging the community, and why they ultimately decided to tell the story of their survival.

Watch Bad Axe: Advance Screening and Conversation here.

See more from FOLCS here.

David Siev
Director, Producer

After graduating from the University of Michigan, David left his small Midwest town of Bad Axe, MI for Los Angeles. He landed a home at Jeff Tremaine’s production company, Gorilla Flicks, where he spent several years finessing the art of guerrilla filmmaking.

As a jack of all trades filmmaker, David holds producing, camera, and consulting credits on everything from hidden-camera blockbuster comedies like BAD TRIP (Netflix) to rock and roll biopics such as THE DIRT (Netflix). David first made waves in the Asian American festival circuit with the debut of his award-winning short film, YEAR ZERO. The film would go on to win Best Narrative Short awards from the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival, Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Manhattan International Film Festival, and several others.

David currently lives in New York where he is now focused on writing and directing his own projects.

Jaclyn Siev
Bad Axe Documentary Subject

“And as much concern that I felt as a kid, my oldest sister, Jaclyn, bore most of the weight to do something about it.  Jaclyn never got to have a normal childhood that most kids have growing up. At the age of 11, She began working at the restaurant full-time and has not stopped since. It wasn’t until after she graduated from the University of Michigan and got a corporate job that things began to take a turn for our family. Jaclyn invested her salary from her new white-collar job back into the restaurant. We remodeled, recharged, and reinvented what our small, family restaurant could be in the town of Bad Axe.”

-Director’s Statement, David Siev

Chun Siev
Bad Axe Documentary Subject

“The story of Bad Axe begins long before the start of the pandemic and my return to my hometown. My father, Chun, is a Cambodian refugee who escaped the genocide of the Killing Fields in 1979 with his mother and five siblings. In 1998, my parents decided to move our family from the outskirts of Detroit to build a new donut shop, Baker’s Dozen, in a small, quaint town that would become our home for years to come: Bad Axe, Michigan. My parents struggled for years to make ends meet. They shortly after decided to transition the donut shop into a family restaurant named Rachel’s. Fast-forward to 2020, and my father’s PTSD resurfaced due to the anxieties in dealing with the uncertainties of a global pandemic. For him, it brought back the hauntings of the collapsing Cambodia in 1975.”

-Director’s Statement, David Siev