MING LAI I PRODUCER / WRITER / DIRECTOR AND DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY / EDITOR / COLORIST
Ming Lai is a filmmaker and photographer and Founder/CEO of Humanist Films, a film and photography production company based in Los Angeles. His narrative and documentary films explore the human condition, from social issues to arts and culture. His fine art and documentary photography express his artistic vision. He’s created TV commercials and videos for many international clients, including Coldwell Banker, Epson, Fujitsu, Marukome, and Yakult. With all of his projects, he strives to create enduring works of art that benefit humanity.
Shige Suganuma and Chico Kodama, two Japanese/Japanese American hot rodders, helped save Moon Equipment Company, an iconic American speed parts company, rebrand it as Mooneyes, preserve legendary founder Dean Moon's legacy, and popularize hot rod culture in Asia.
CRAFT OF SPEED
For 30 years, Shige Suganuma and Chico Kodama, two Japanese/Japanese American hot rodders, helped save Moon Equipment Company, an iconic American speed parts company, rebrand it as Mooneyes, preserve legendary founder Dean Moon's legacy, and popularize hot rod culture in Asia. As Asian/Asian American pioneers in their industry, they battled against racism and xenophobia and ultimately created a global following. Now, Shige is attempting to grow hot rod culture despite declining interest in hot rods, and Chico is handcrafting a new race car to try to break a second land speed record at Bonneville Salt Flats.
I was introduced to Mooneyes by my father-in-law, who used to own a ’32 Ford Roadster, in bright yellow and equipped with Mooneyes speed parts. Later, I had the honor of meeting Chico Kodama, the President of Mooneyes USA, and I was inspired by his and Mooneyes owner Shige Suganuma’s incredible story. With their full support, my team and I are making a feature documentary about their lives and work. The film is an epic origin story of legendary Dean Moon and his worthy successors, Suganuma and Kodama. It spans from Moon’s creation of Moon Equipment Company as an iconic American speed equipment & custom accessories company to Suganuma and Kodama’s evolution of it into Mooneyes, a coveted international brand. We’re deeply honored to be able to tell this important story to inspire new generations of hot rodders.