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Fei Hu Films research and production files

Identifier: RHC-88

Collection Description

Collection contains production records, research files, and audiovisual materials created and collected by Fei Hu Films in the development and production of documentary films about the history of the American Volunteer Group, "Flying Tigers," and the Civil Air Transport airline, later named Air America. The materials span in date from the early 1940s to 2007, and are organized in four series.

Series 1. Fei Hu: the Story of the Flying Tigers Audiovisual Materials contains videotape, motion picture film, and audio tapes created and collected for the production of the documentary film broadcast on PBS in 1999 and subsequently released on home video VHS. Audio and video tapes contain original oral history interviews with veterans of the AVG.

Series 2. Civil Air Transport and Air America Audiovisual Materials contains VHS recordings of original interviews and video reproductions of footage of CAT and Air America activities in Asia.

Series 3. Fei Hu Films Production Files contains both paper and electronic records, and were primarily created by Frank Boring. The records document fundraising and networking activities, lists of interviewees, editing scripts, film and tape time codes, notes and planning documents, and communications with members of the Flying Tigers Association and CAT Association. Also included in this series are some of Frank Boring's related personal and professional papers, including the electronic manuscript of his book, Talking With Tigers, which elaborates on his oral history interviews collected during the production of the film.

Series 4. Research Files contains oral history scripts and transcriptions, photocopies of historical documents, diaries and memoirs, articles, newsletters, books, magazines, and newspaper clippings collected and referenced in the making of the documentaries.


  • 1941 - 2007


Language of Materials

Collection also contains some Chinese language materials.

Access to Materials

Collection is open for research use. Materials may be accessed by request at Special Collections and University Archives in Seidman House. Materials do not circulate.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright retained by the authors. For more information on copyright or permissions please contact Grand Valley State University Special Collections.

Administrative History

In 1999, Fei Hu Films, a documentary film production company headed by Frank Boring and Academy Award nominated filmmaker Frank Christopher, released Fei Hu: The Story of the Flying Tigers. The 60-minute documentary initially aired on PBS and a 90-minute director's cut was released on VHS home video. The film tells the history of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), commonly known as the "Flying Tigers," a volunteer air force of 300 men and women led by Claire Chennault that instructed the Chinese Air Force and fought against the Japanese in Burma and China during the Second Sino-Japanese War, prior to the United States' entry into World War II. The film features original interviews with members of the AVG as well historical film footage and photographs documenting this period in American aviation history.

As a follow-up project, Fei Hu Films used momentum from the success of the Flying Tigers film to document the history of the Civil Air Transport (CAT). The project under development was conceived as a 5-part television documentary series which was to include original oral history interviews, historical film footage and photographs. The Civil Air Transport was a private airline created by Claire Chennault and Whiting Willauer after WWII using surplus aircraft, AVG pilots and mechanics. CAT airlifted food and supplies into war-ravaged China. By 1950 CAT faced deep financial difficulties, and the United States CIA formed a private subsidiary to purchase nominal shares in the company and overtake its management. In 1959 CAT was reorganized as Air America, and continued to maintain a civilian appearance by flying scheduled passenger flights, while simultaneously used other aircraft to fly covert missions through the Vietnam War. It remained in operation until 1976.

Frank Boring is an American playwright, film producer, and educator who was born in Taipei, Taiwan. His father, Jim Boring, worked with Chennault for Civil Air Transport in China and Taiwan from 1949 to 1973. In addition to his career as an independent filmmaker, Boring has taught film production and communications at the University of Texas, Dallas and at Grand Valley State University.

Frank Christopher is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker who has produced Emmy winning documentaries for the Public Broadcasting Service. Christopher's film credits as producer or director include such titles as In the Name of the People (documentary, 1985), Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property (documentary, 2003), Remaking American Medicine (TV series documentary, 2006), and Water Blues: Green Solutions (TV movie documentary, 2014).

Mei-ling Hsu, who served as co-producer of Fei Hu: The Story of the Flying Tigers, performed all of the Chinese-language interviews, helped with fundraising, and coordinated film production in Taiwan.


31 Linear feet (35 boxes)

4.41 Gigabytes (4,128 Files, 413 Folders)


Arranged in four series: 1) Fei Hu: The Story of the Flying Tigers audiovisual materials; 2) Civil Air Transport and Air America audiovisual materials; 3) Fei Hu Films production files; and 4) Research files.

Technical Requirements

Some electronic records and audiovisual materials that have not been digitally reformated may require special arrangements for use. For more information about use of these materials, please contact Grand Valley State University Special Collections.

Source of Acquisition

Gift of Frank Christopher and Frank Boring, 2014.

Related Materials

James E. Boring Papers (RHC-90); The CAT/Air America Archive, History of Aviation Collection, University of Texas at Dallas

Fei Hu Films research and production files, RHC-88
Special Collections & University Archives
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Repository Details

Part of the Grand Valley State University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Seidman House
1 Campus Drive
Allendale MI 49401 United States