Never Fade Away

  • Director

    Donna Weng Friedman

  • Country, Year, Length

    United States, 2023, 12:04

  • Category

    Documentary Short

  • Format

    Digital 25fps

  • Festival Year


Film Screening & Ticket Information

When & Where to See this Film!

OVER THE FENCE: 7 stories about getting to where you must go.

April 23, 2024 @ 9:30PM • Kaufman Astoria Studios – Zukor Theatre

View the Trailer


Never Fade Away is the moving true story about a young Chinese immigrant who escapes his homeland in the 1940’s during the Japanese Invasion, comes to America with nothing but his hopes and dreams, and how a radio and a waltz changes his life. Told through narration, music and dance, this short film shines a light on the healing power of music as well as the power of the immigrant experience. Featuring history-making dancer Chun Wai Chan and the exquisite ballerina Xiaoxiao Cao, their stunning pas de deux at the end will take your breath away. This story of heritage will bring you to tears and the music and dance will make your heart soar. Stories like this are the ties that bind, and should Never Fade Away.


Donna Weng Friedman, Writer
Donna Weng Friedman, Director
Donna Weng Friedman, Producer
Chun Wai Chan, Key Cast, “Sin-Tzu Weng”
Xiaoxiao Cao, Key Cast, “Rosalta Li Weng”
Mijo Chang, Key Cast, “Young Donna”

Director Statement

What started out as a love letter to my parents, has since turned into an homage to all those who came here before us- the diverse community of people from all backgrounds living in America- a country where dreams can come true. The themes throughout the story are universal- the healing power of music and the power of the immigrant experience – these are the ties that bind. Our stories of heritage connect us, and should Never Fade Away.

Director Biography

Award winning pianist Donna Weng Friedman enjoys a distinguished career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, curator, producer, app developer and now filmmaker. She will be inducted into the Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame in October, 2023.

Donna is thrilled to have collaborated with Chun Wai Chan, the first principal dancer of Chinese descent in New York City Ballet’s 75-year history, in her short film, Never Fade Away – the story of how a radio and a waltz changed her immigrant father’s life. History-making dancer Chun Wai Chan portrays her father as a young man and dances a riveting pas de deux -choreographed exquisitely by Ariel Grossman- with Xiaoxiao Cao. The short film is set to screen in NYU’s Jack Crystal Theater from May 31st -June 2nd, in celebration of AAPI and Immigrant Heritage Month.

A short clip of Never Fade Away was featured on the big screen at Times Square and Donna has been featured on ABC Eyewitness News, NBC News 4 NY, WCBS News Radio and Asian American Life talking about her father’s story in honor of AAPI Heritage Month. Donna was a guest on Cindy Hsu’s CBS Morning News program on May 29, 9am.

Donna is the inaugural winner of the Women Who Innovate Grant 2023, awarded by the International Alliance for Women in Music, Global Initiatives committee for her “impactful and meaningful” work.

Her album Heritage and Harmony: Silver Linings, featuring exclusively AAPI/BIPOC artists, garnered two Silver Medals at the 2022 Global. Music Awards. Intended as a response to the wave of violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals, her pandemic EP aims to promote understanding and tolerance among people of all backgrounds.

In collaboration with WQXR, Donna created and produced Heritage and Harmony, a virtual concert series in celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month. Her story was featured on Asian Americans of New York & New Jersey | WLIW21, a segment of which has been aired on PBS numerous times.
Donna was awarded a 2022 New York Women Composer’s grant. She is the co-creator and co-host of HER/MUSIC;HER/STORY with soprano Allison Charney, a mini-series on WQXR as well as a concert series that shines a light on women composers, past and present. She was the guest speaker on TEDx Santa Barbara’s series Making Waves: Conversations with Influencers and Disruptors. Donna is the Artistic Advisor of Ariel Rivka Dance, an all-female dance company.