The story of Ted Ngoy, also known fondly as “The Donut King”, is one of fairy tales- fate, love, survival, hard knocks, and redemption. It is the rags to riches story of a refugee escaping the Khmer Rouge, arriving in America via Camp Pendleton in 1975 to escape the brutal genocide in his home country of Cambodia, to build an unlikely multi-million dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry, the donut. From gas station janitor to donut shop owner and the surprising success that came with it, Ted found that a great joy in life was the ability to help others…and help, he did. Ted sponsored hundreds of visas for incoming refugees, who were coming to California by the thousands, and helped them get on their feet by teaching them the ways of the donut business. By 1979, he was rich, living the American Dream. But, in life, great rise can come with great falls. With his great success, he was seduced by the casinos in Las Vegas and lost it all. By 1992, in his sixties, he was homeless, sleeping on a friend’s floor in a mobile home in Long Beach, CA, and the very community he helped in the seventies turned their backs on the hand who once fed them. Alas, a spirit like Ted Ngoy’s doesn’t die easily and he left behind a legacy of independent donut shops spanning from California to Texas to Canada, shaping everything we know about the beloved pastry. It’s the American Dream, with a twist.
Director(s): Alice Gu
Writer(s): Alice Gu, Carol Martori
Producer(s): Jose Nunez, Farhad Amid, Tom Moran, Alice Gu
Editor(s): Carol Martori
Cinematographer(s): Alice Gu
Music Composer(s): Peter Lauridsen
Ted Ngoy (The Donut King), Maylee Tao (The Donut Princess)