a.k.a. Don Bonus

AKA Don Bonus Photo
Photo courtesy of the Center for Asian American Media

Genre: Documentary
Ethnicity: Cambodian American
Themes: Cultural Encounter & Misunderstanding, Family and Intergenerational Issues, Identity/Representation, Immigrant/Refugee Experience/Diaspora,
Individual Profiles & Personal Stories, Youth
Date: 1995
Running Time: 55 min.
Directors: Spencer Nakasako and Sokly Ny
Producer: Spencer Nakasako
Availability: Center for Asian American Media (formerly NAATA)
College/Institution: $175 Purchase/$50 Rental
K-12/Public Library/Community Group: $75 Purchase/$40 Rental
*Teacher's guide included
Although Ny admits that it is very uncomfortable for a traditional Cambodian family to talk about its secrets publicly, Sokly "Don Bonus" Ny allows the audience access to his life during his senior year of high school in this simple, yet powerful video diary.  After his father was murdered by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, Ny escaped to the United States with his mother, grandmother, and siblings.  Ny’s family has faced hardship and disappointment in America —Ny struggles to finish high school after failing many classes, his family’s apartment in the projects is a frequent target of vandalism, and his troubled younger brother stands accused of attempted murder.  This is not an uplifting story of triumph against the odds, but a harshly honest depiction of a troubled son of an immigrant family in crisis.


Guthmann, Edward.  "From Cambodia jungle to `a.k.a. Don Bonus.’"  San Francisco Chronicle.  June 25, 1996.

Harvey, Dennis.  "a.k.a. Don Bonus."  Variety.  March 10, 1995.

Liu, Calvin.  "Urban Voices: Teenage refugees document their lives."  AsianWeek.  March 25, 1999.

Silver, Marc.  "Dear video diary…"  U.S. News & World Report.  July 1, 1996.
A short interview with filmmaker Spencer Nakasako and Sokly Ny.
Supplementary Materials
a.k.a. Don Bonus Press Release

Tamaki, Julie.  "Cultural Balancing Act Adds to Teen Angst."  Los Angeles Times.  July 13, 1998.
This article about Asian American youth experiences references the film.
A teacher’s guide is available from the Center for Asian American Media (formerly NAATA).  To request a copy, contact distribution@asianamericanmedia.org.

Asian American Filmography ExEAS