About the Film

American Dumpling

A Simple Story of Flour, Water and Salt.


2010’s Festival’s so far!

SeaBreeze Film Festival in Gulfsport, Florida

Sonoma International Film Festival

Kansas City Film Fest

Washougal International Film Festival

For more updates on festival acceptances, please go to the “Festival” page, above.


American Dumpling is a full length documentary about many diverse cultures and the one food they have in common – Dumplings.


Korey Kito

It presents itself as a simple story of flour, water, and salt, and how these ingredients bind us together in our search of ‘comfort food’.


Warasawa Polish Restaurant


Nick Nishi

It is a narrative that focuses not on our differences, but on what binds us together as a society, regardless of our race, gender, or age.


Elina Lejman - Warasawa Polish Restaurant

Eileen Nelson, Writer, Director and Narrator of American Dumpling – both off camera and on – – grabs her videocamera in one hand, and her audience in the other, taking us into people’s homes, their restaraunts, and ultimately, intimately, into their lives.


The Board

Eileen starts us out having fun and wondering exactly what is it we are watching and why,but as the story unfolds, we meet family after family, all from different cultures and backgrounds that have nothing in common with each other except for one item – the dumpling.

American-Dumpling-06-CookingThe melting pot of America is the melting pot of the dumpling, and although each cook has their own unique little spin they put in the recipe, it still boils down to three ingredients that are absolutely necessary – flour, water, and salt.

In walking out of this film, you get the feeling that you have known all of the characters for years.


Al Raider & his daughter in-law Roberta Tishman


Heidi Gresko - Wabi Sabi Nouvelle Asian Restaurant

You find yourself looking into the eyes of someone you have never met, but you now recognize something you two have in common. Look at them long enough and you may see a spark of recollection, long buried. Oh, and you will leave the theatre absolutely starving, and nothing but dumplings will satisfy you.

It will all seem so familiar, somehow……..


Laura Ulsh

PRODUCER: Eileen Nelson

CO-PRODUCER: Darrell Hanzalik

COMPOSER: Tomás Hradcky

SCORE CO-PRODUCER: Kelly Mahan Jaramillo

EDITING: Eileen Nelson

SOUND SUPERVISOR: Darrell Hanzalik



Stuffed Dumplings



Brian Kito - owner of Fugetsu-Do Japanese Confectionary


Running Time: 81 Minutes



American Dumpling

American Dumpling – The Feature Length Documentary


11 responses to “About the Film

  1. Sounds like an interesting work.

    In matters of cultural assimilation in the US I prefer things like this film that emphasize the similarities as opposed to reveling in the differences.

    BTW: You trailer seems to not be working. All I get is audio. I checked, and I can view video as well for other clips, just not this one.

    • Thanks for coming over – and I had a feeling we might find yet more common ground as we got to know each other outside of politics. 🙂

      By the way, this is still a work-in-progress, and Tomas quickly threw up the trailer using Vodpod, a feature that WordPress offers, and the trailer itself is in Quicktime (h.264) format, but we are glad to have a heads up that it is not working across the board. Really appreciate it, and we will tackle the problem when the 48 hour day is invented – soon!

      We are going to have a separate trailer page soon – As soon as we do, I will send you the new link.

      Take Care, Jonolan.


  2. Well, I had two friends who are heavy IT professionals check the trailer, and it seems to be working on all fronts – go figure.

    Still, I would like everyone to be able to see it, so we will have a full trailer page, with different sections of the film, up soon.

    Thanks, all – –


  3. Sigh –
    Okay, Jonolan, let me be crystal clear.

    Immigration and assimilation are not what the main thrust of the film is about, and second, just about anything today is a “political issue” – the kind of car a person drives can be made into a political issue, for god sake.

    When I said I was pleased to perhaps find some common ground outside of politics, the politics I was referring to were party affiliations, politicians, propositions, and whatever the latest breaking political news might be for the day. If one were to find this documentary under a selected category, it most certainly would not be under “Politics”.

    Back in Los Angeles, I taught English as a Second Language for two years, and became pretty well informed about I.C.E. and the many rules the students had to go by in order to keep their immigration status. So, my eyes are quite open concerning immigration being a “political issue” – however, that is not what I was saying in the above comment. I was under the mistaken impression that we could exchange a sentence or two that was not politically charged, and obviously I let my general optimism run rampant and write a line that indicated such.

    I would bet my life savings on the fact that anyone walking out of the theater after seeing this film would not be discussing the “immigration issue.”

    So, I hate to break it to you, Jonolan, but you have not given me any information with that comment I did not already know.

    I got back very late last night, and have yet to reply to your Palin points. I will be getting to them later today.

  4. Easy, Kel. We may actually be close to being in some form of agreement on some point of immigration and US culture, both politically hot topics. That’s all I was saying.

    • Sigh again –
      Pardon my snappiness – your comment, when re-worded in the above manner, feels much more direct. I am overworked and overtired right now, and felt the original immigration comment was condescending, with the deliberate intention to incite an argument.

      To be fair, even though my first response to your original comment mentioned that we could talk and get along in the NON-political realm, I am still the one who brought up politics, and that was my mistake. So, I will be more clear – this is not a political film, nor a political site.
      I was hoping to be able to bring up other subjects down the road, subjects in the film, music, books, nature, even computer gear world – I am finishing up a rough draft of a new humorous page on Bobby D. the Crow titled ‘Bobby’s Bi-Weekly Book Review’ to re-kindle my own creativity, and enjoy what kind of lively literature discourse people would engage in.

      The reason I invited you over here was to see if this is a documentary you might find interesting, and your response indicated that you did, even though you had trouble with the trailer. So, when you veered it over into the political side of immigration, I got crabby. I was not expecting that.

      I agree with you 100% that immigration is a political hotbed, but despite all of the different cultures portrayed in the film, “American Dumpling” is simply about people, food, and history. And again, to be fair, I have seen the whole film (about eight hundred times), and perhaps from only hearing a snippet and reading a synopsis, I can see where it could come across as having more to do with immigrants than it does with the aforementioned topics. I do not know, as I am too familiar with it, and have lost my ‘first glance’ objectivity.

      What I had wanted to ask you, once I got through the piles of neglected work in front of me, was – after September, when the film screens in Ireland, we are going to re-submit to a few of the New York City festivals. If you were interested in seeing it, I would be able to comp you two tickets, assuming we got accepted.
      If we do not, would you like a copy of the film? The mix will not be final until after September, but then it would be a totally polished, finished work.

      This is what I was leading up to by sending you over here to investigate ‘Dumpling”, but we had to rather suddenly leave the city for a week, and consequently are behind on the trailer and clips page, etc., that would have given you more of an idea if it was something you might be interested in viewing.

      Again, I apologize for my knee-jerk irritation. Some days I am just sick to death of politics, and just want an on-line dialogue about something, ANYTHING else.

      Anyway, I will let you know when Bobby’s first book review is up, and on that page, comments can run the gamut from political to philosophical. 🙂
      It is meant to be a total free form page – I am not even going to be trying to get people to stay on topic. I am simply very interested in where a book can lead people conversationally. Of course, this is assuming anyone shows up at all, lol.

      Speak soon,


  5. I understand the reaction and the fatigue behind completely, Kel. And my world rarely swerves too far away from politics these days.

    I’d love to see the movie. I cook and love dumplings 😉

    Let me know when you’re ready to submit it to any of the NYC area festivals. My wife has a certain amount of contacts in that arena and she might be able to speed the process for you.

  6. Thanks for understanding. I hate it when I try to push through exhaustion and attempt to work and/or communicate. Total diminished returns.

    To be honest, I do not see how you can stay so hard on politics without losing your mind. Your focus is admirable, but I worry! 🙂

    I will tell the director of the film when she re-submits about your wife and possible contacts – that is very generous of you to offer. Either way, whether we get accepted or not, I will send you both a copy – and if we DO get accepted, we would be in New York, and you would have to let us take the two of you to dinner. Dumplings, of course.

    Seriously, the fact that you cook and love to eat dumplings, you have to own a copy, just to have new ideas for stuffings.

    I’ll be answering you on SP and dropping by The Pond once I have gotten a decent nights sleep.

    Speak soon,

  7. heidi Gresko

    I am Chef Gresko, I did the sweet dessert dumpling. I would like to buy a copy of the dvd.
    I am pleased to hear how successful the film is!

    • Hi Chef Gresko!
      I sent you an e-mail, telling you about when the film would be ready for sale f it has not gotten distribution by then, but I am not sure if you received it. Do let me know, I don’t want to leave you hanging – and to let you know, audience response to your segments is very positive, and a lot of “mmm”‘s ripple through when you are making your dessert dumpling. Plus, the big flame from the pan makes everybody laugh. It’s a great segment.
      So, as I mentioned in my e-mail, let’s stay in touch, and as soon as the final mix and color correcting are finished, you will be sent a copy.
      So glad you found the web site, and if you are on Facebook, we have a Facebook presence where I am keeping the most current updates. I am a bit behind on the blog and web site. Juggling too many hot plates! 🙂

      Take Care, speak soon,
      Kelly Mahan Jaramillo

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