About this film

Growing up a daughter of Korean immigrants who ran a liquor store in a South LA neighborhood, So Yun Um decided that what she wanted to do more than anything else, was become a filmmaker, much to the bemusement of her father. In this vibrant and bold film, So turns the camera on herself, her community and her friends, and documents a rarely seen slice of the American dream as she struggles with creating her own path in life.

Director and liquor store baby, So Yun Um and her father have never seen eye to eye on anything, especially not her career choices. Although his liquor store has provided her financial stability to dream big, there’s tension between father and daughter, and how their Korean culture and store have had a complicated past within a Black community. So goes on a journey to unpack this tension as well as the generational divide between her and her father.

In contrast, in the wake of his father’s passing, Danny Park quits his dream job at Nike and returns home to help his mother run the family store on Skid Row. Unlike So, he’s inexplicably drawn toward home, with a dream of uniting the Black and Korean communities at his store. He’s immediately determined to create a path different from his father’s but soon realizes the insurmountable weight of being a small business owner.

“Liquor Store Dreams” is a portrait of two second-generation Korean Americans trying to create their own future by honoring their parents’ past through understanding and healing.

This film is part of the Asian American Pacific Islander Film Series, produced in collaboration with American Citizens for Justice, with support from Rising Voices and funding from the Ford Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission. 

The AAPI series was curated by Razi Jafri, a Detroit-based documentary filmmaker.


4 p.m. Sun., April 14, Detroit Historical Museum

Available virtually 


So Yun Um

Eddie Kim

So Yun Um and Christina Sun Kim

So Yun Um and Dawn Shim

Christina Sun Kim

Sal Gabriel

Executive producer:

Running time:

Country of origin:


Film website

Festival history:
Tribeca Film Festival, Milwaukee Film Festival, The Pickford Film Center’s Doctober Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, many more

Award history:
Palm Springs Film Festival, Local Jury Award. Seattle Asian American Film Festival, Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature. Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Documentary Audience Award