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Janesville restauranteur’s incredible Titanic connection inspires documentary

More than 130 films will be available for viewing.
Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 10:07 AM CST
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - The Cozy Inn restaurant is well known in Janesville for its authentic Chinese cuisine. But it’s owner Tom Fong’s family history that is generating box office buzz.

Fong’s Father, Wing Sun, was one of eight Chinese passengers on board of the Titanic in 1912. He survived the wreck by clinging on to a piece of debris. This was a part of his father’s history that Fong did not learn about until much later in life. He knew his father was in a shipwreck but never thought it was the Titanic.

“I was skeptical when I first heard about it,” Fong said. “I never knew about his history. I never thought about it because I assumed he was an older gentleman because he was old when I was born. So I never knew his history I never bothered to ask I just never thought about it.”

Two of the Chinese passengers did not make it, but the six that did are at the center of a new documentary, “The Six.” It explores their amazing story of survival and perseverance against all odds, and how it never made it into history books.

“They never really told the story because nobody really wanted to know about what happened to them,” Fong said.

The film is already resonating with audiences. It is one of 130 films being shown at the Beloit International Film Festival. Tickets are sold out but a special demand screening has been added.

“Ticket sales have been unprecedented because of the relationship between the sister cities, Janesville and Beloit,” said Nancy Clark-Mathers, a BIFF board member. “It’s had phenomenal reception.”

James Cameron, original director of the film “Titanic” is producing this documentary.

Fong hopes people see his father in the new way that he does, all these years later.

“It shows my father’s determination on why he’d want to come to a country with a hostile environment,” Fong said. “How he adapted. How he persevered.”

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