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The Donut King (2020)The Donut King (2020)

"They call me the donut king," says the Cambodian American entrepreneur Ted Ngoy (born 1941). And for good reason. In 1975, Ngoy fled the genocide of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, and ended up at Camp Pendleton in California with 50,000 other refugees. After a Lutheran church sponsored him, he worked as a janitor, a gas station attendant, and then as a trainee at Winchell's Donuts. Only six months later, he bought his first donut shop, which he eventually parlayed into 70 stores by leasing them to fellow Cambodians. With a net worth of $20 million, he sponsored some 100 other families from Cambodia to make a start in America. The film says that there are about 5,000 donut shops in California, and that about 90% of them are owned by Cambodians (which begs for comparisons with the movie Nailed It about the $8 billion nail salon industry built by Vietnamese refugees). And that's only the beginning of Ngoy's story, which I will not spoil. This film gushes with unabashed patriotism. It personifies the immigrant work ethic ("I've worked in the donut shop since I was ten," says one person). I watched this film on Hulu. 

Dan Clendenin:

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