top of page

Never fade away

Never Fade Away is the moving true story about a young Chinese immigrant who escapes his homeland in the 1940's during the Japanese Invasion, comes to America with nothing but his hopes and dreams, and how a radio and a waltz changes his life. Told through narration, music and dance, this short film shines a light on the healing power of music as well as the power of the immigrant experience. Featuring history-making dancer Chun Wai Chan and the exquisite ballerina Xiaoxiao Cao, their stunning pas de deux at the end will take your breath away. This story of heritage will bring you to tears and the music and dance will make your heart soar.

poster-neverfadeaway-small (2).jpg


What started out as a love letter to my parents, has since turned into an homage to all those who came here before us- the diverse community of people from all backgrounds living in America- a country where dreams can come true. The story’s themes are universal: the healing power of music and the profound impact of the immigrant experience.  It is a testament to the resilience and hope that define our shared journey.

Never Fade Away is archived at the Bob Hope Memorial Library at Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island in perpetuity by the National Park Service for use in permanent and temporary exhibits, for loan to other institutions, and for research by historians and others interested in the Statue of Liberty and American immigration. 







Roma Cinephilia Magazine:Films You Must Not Miss

NEVER FADE AWAY Review : Critical Dance by Jerry Hochman

Hope, Dreams, and the Healing Power of Music “Never Fade Away”


MOCA Cinema Presents Never Fade Away


NEVER FADE AWAY interview with Britt Stigler, ALL ARTS featuring Chun Wai Chan, Xiaoxiao Cao and Donna Weng Friedman

 NEVER FADE AWAY, Donna Weng Friedman with Lucy Yang on ABC NEWS

Woman Around Town-Donna Weng Friedman and Ariel Grossman: Never Fade Away


Pointe Magazine: Chun Wai Chan Talks About His Role in Never Fade Away:

NFA on Asian American Life, CUNY TV with Kyung Yoon

Film Festival Awards, 2023


Best NYC Film: NYC Downtown Short Film Festival

Best USA Short: New York International Immigration Film Festival

Best Musical Documentary Short: American Filmatic Arts Awards


Best Soundtrack:

London Indie Film Festival


Best Original Script: Athens International Art Film Festival


Best Debut Filmmaker:

London Indie Film Festival

Indo French International Film Festival


Best Short Documentary:

Indo French International Film Festival

Indie Short Film Festival

Best Cinematography: Garrett Parker; London Indie Film Festival

Best Film Score: London Indie Film Festival

Best Female Filmmaker: New Jersey Film Awards

Best Editor: New Jersey Film Awards

Best Inspirational Film: New Jersey Film Awards

Best Movie Poster: New Jersey Film Awards


Finalist - Best First Time Director (Female): Indie Short Film Fest




Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival

Paris International Short Film Festival

Chicago Independent Film Awards 


Honorable Mention:

Independent Short Film Festival: Best First Time Director (Female)

Greece International Film Festival- Best Short Documentary 

London Indie Film Festival- Best Short Documentary



Best Short Documentary:

Queens World Film Festival

Winter Film Awards

New York Odyssey Film Festival 

Fescilmar Festival Venezuela 

Orion International Film Festival

Utah Film Festival, Best BIPOC Filmmaker



Winter Film Awards International Film Festival:

screening at LOOK Cinemas, NYC, Saturday February 24, 2024

Queens World Film Festival:

screening at the Museum of the Moving Image

Roma Short Film Festival

Cannes World Film Festival

Ketchikan Dance Film Festival 

Indian Independent Film Festival

New York International Immigration Film Festival: Award winner

(screening and awards ceremony Jan 13, 2024)


Outstanding Achievement Award for Best Documentary Short: IndieX Film Festival


Outstanding Achievement Award for Best Screendance Short: Indie Short Film Fest


Silver Medal Best Screendance Short: Independent Short Film Festival



Writer, Director, Producer:Donna Weng Friedman

Cinematographer: Garrett Parker

Editor: Siyi Chen

Choreographer of Waltz: Ariel Grossman

Solo dance, Chun Wai Chan

Dancers: Chun Wai Chan and  Xiaoxiao Cao

Mijo Chang, as young Donna

Narration: Donna Weng Friedman

Vocal Narration Producer: David Frost

Sound Mixer: William Hsieh

Skillman Music Recording Studio

Craig Friedman: Duck Installation Specialist 


Music: Performed by Donna Weng Friedman

Audio Recording Engineer David Merrill 

Waltz in C sharp minor by Frederic Chopin

Prelude by Beata Moon

Space Between the Fish and the Moon by Chinary Ung



Production coordinator Deborah Corrales

Film Consultant: Hao Wu


Poster: Xiran Luo


Made possible by the generous donations from:

Melissa Ko and Douglas Hahn Family Foundation

The Yen Family Charitable Foundation

Polsinelli Law Firm

Women Who Innovate Grant

Special thanks:

Ariel Rivka Dance


Living Archives

Chi Li

Chris Hegedus

Steve Weng

Craig Friedman

Jean Tsien

Frazer Pennebaker

Mary Engel

bottom of page