The $8.5 million indie film "Sight" tells the story of a poor Chinese immigrant's success story — and producers have high hopes for the opening Memorial Day weekend.

By Brad Schmitt, Nashville Tennessean


An independent film company is set to launch an $8.5 million movie about Nashville eye surgeon Dr. Ming Wang nationwide May 24.

The biopic "Sight" — with Academy Award nominee Greg Kinnear playing Wang's mentor — will be released on more than 1,500 screens across the country. In the Nashville area, "Sight" will open at eight popular movie multiplexes, including Regal Green Hills and Regal Opry Mills.

And the producer has big expectations: David Fischer — who also put together inspirational movies "Sweetwater," about the NBA's first Black player, and faith-based war movie "Fatima" — said he hopes for a $10 million opening weekend for "Sight."

"It's not a pipe dream. We’re pre-selling at a very good clip," Fischer told The Tennessean. "We’ve worked very hard to get the Asian community and the faith based-community on board."


Though somewhat subdued in the past eight years, Wang became a ubiquitous presence in Nashville after opening his vision center in 2002. Billboards and TV commercials flooded the city, promoting his expertise in laser eye surgery and showing off his ballroom dancing skills and celebrity clients, including Dolly Parton. For years, his annual EyeBall — held to raise money for free surgeries to restore sight to indigent patients worldwide — drew prominent Tennessee political, media and entertainment figures.

The movie focuses on Wang's journey from a poor boy growing up in China during the Communist regime's Cultural Revolution to renowned eye surgeon in the U.S.

Wang shared parts of that story with The Tennessean in 2015 and in his autobiography, "From Darkness to Sight," in 2016.


Wang met Fisher two years earlier at a Nashville fundraising event for another movie, and that led to a dinner at Loews Nashville at Vanderbilt hotel, where Wang laid out the basics of his life story to the fascinated movie producer.

"I was stunned," Fischer said. "I was blown away at everything he had overcome."

The movie starts with Wang, already an established eye surgeon in Nashville, wrestling with how to restore sight to a girl whose mother poured acid in her eyes to make her blind so she'd be a more effective, sympathetic street beggar.


In that process, Wang — played by actor Terry Chen (TV's "Continuum") — has flashbacks to his childhood where, though his parents were both doctors, his family was poor and had little to eat. A teen-aged Wang also gets separated by ruthless Communist Party enforcers from a love interest. As a teen, Wang also had to essentially cram two years of school into a few months to pass a college entrance exam.

The movie uses the from-darkness-to-sight theme to describe Wang using faith as an adult to overcome the childhood trauma that caused him serious mental health issues later in life.

For Wang, an investor in "Sight," it's a powerful message that supercedes any need to recoup the money to make the movie.

"It's already a success," he said. "It's an Asian American first generation story about someone who found freedom and faith in America. It's the story of Chinese American who found way to contribute back to America."

Fischer said he hopes the message resonates beyond Asian and faith communities.

"If you’re a mom or dad or husband or wife or dealing with a past you need healing from, you can find healing. You can be the person you were meant to be," he said. "I hope people can grab that story."

"Sight" will be distributed by indie Angel Studios, which last year grossed more than $240 million for the child sex-trafficking sleeper hit "Sound of Freedom," starring Jim Caviezel and Mira Sorvino.

Fischer's last two movies didn't fare nearly as well. "Sweetwater" and "Fatima" both grossed about $540,000 each at the box office, according to and several other internet entertainment websites.

Reach Brad Schmitt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 615-259-8384.