Santa Clara and Hayward Public Libraries Screening Recap

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We’re just hours away from boarding a plane to Hong Kong for our final screenings for 2011. Last week, we had two screenings in public libraries in the San Francisco Bay Area. We showed the film at the Santa Clara City Library and the Hayward Public Library.

Though I’m writing this as I’m furiously packing, it was nice to have some local screenings for a change. The Santa Clara library is five minutes from our house and is the library that we personally go to. Both screenings had very enthusiastic crowds who posed many questions when the lights came back up. We’ve been showing a version of the film that has Chinese subtitles during the spoken English sections. We’ve been working on this version for the past several months in anticipation of our Hong Kong trip.

We’ll be scheduling more screenings at local libraries around the Bay Area in 2012. Check our screenings page for a full list or join our mailing list to get quarterly updates.

And now for some photos from Santa Clara and Hayward.

2011 Fall Update

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  • SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, BAY AREA, HONG KONG SCREENINGS
  • LI JING OPENS MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL
  • 1911 REVOLUTION CENTENARY
  • AUTUMN GEM IN THE BLACK

FALL TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED

AUTUMN GEM will have its first Asia showing in Hong Kong next month! We’ll also have events in the Bay Area and Southern California. Check below to see if we’re headed to a venue near you. For detailed information, visit http://autumn-gem.com/screenings

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
September 22: Cerritos Public Library.
September 24: San Marino Chinese Club.
September 24: West Covina Library.
September 24: California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks
September 25: Fullerton Library.
September 27: Diamond Bar Library.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
October 3: Santa Clara City Library.
October 5: Hayward Public Library.

HONG KONG
October 24: City University of Hong Kong.
October 24: Hong Kong Baptist University.
October 25: University of Hong Kong.
October 26: Chinese University of Hong Kong.
October 27: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
October 28: Hong Kong Institute of Education.

If you have friends in the area, please let them know. Feel free to invite them to an event on our Facebook page:

http://autumn-gem.com/facebook/

AUTUMN GEM ACTRESS OPENS MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL IN L.A.

Li Jing, the star of AUTUMN GEM, recently opened a new martial arts school in Temple CIty, CA. Wushu Action Star Academy is “a world class martial arts training center providing instruction in Wushu and Taichi.” The school held their Grand Opening Celebration on September 10 and is currently enrolling students of all ages and levels.

As some of you may know, Li Jing was Rae’s first wushu coach at UC Berkeley, and we’re excited to hear she’s teaching again! For those of you living in Southern California, here’s your chance to learn from “Qiu Jin” herself!

http://www.wushuactionstar.com

1911 REVOLUTION CENTENARY

October 10, 2011 marks the 100th year anniversary of the Chinese Revolution, the cause Qiu Jin devoted her life to. China is celebrating this momentous occasion with several events and exhibitions, including two major films that include Qiu Jin. 1911 is a historical drama directed by and starring Jackie Chan, and will feature Qiu Jin as a supporting character. The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake is a full-length feature on Qiu Jin, directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Herman Yau. Check out a scene-by-scene comparison of AUTUMN GEM with this new film here:

Hong Kong Feature Film on Qiu Jin

1911 will be released in China on September 23. The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake opens in Hong Kong on October 13. For those of you in the area, go see the films and let us know what you think of their portrayals of Qiu Jin.

AUTUMN GEM IN THE BLACK

Four years, three countries, and over a hundred screenings later, we’ve finally broken even on the film! Our next step is getting it aired on public television. We are currently looking into local cable channels and educational distributors such as NETA (National Educational Telecommunications Association).

Hong Kong Feature Film on Qiu Jin to be Released

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A new feature film on Qiu Jin called “The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake” is opening this week in Hong Kong. It’s directed by Herman Yau and stars Huang Yi as Qiu Jin and veteran actor Anthony Wong as a Qing Dynasty official.

Check out the trailer here:

And here’s our version:

Somehow I think they had a bigger budget. I thought it’d be fun to compare stills from their version with ours. What do you think – any similarities?

Qiu Jin – The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake

Portrayed by Huang Yi (left) and Li Jing (right):

Qiu Jin with swordQiu Jin with sword

Gender Bender

Male attire suits her well.

Qiu Jin in man's suitQiu Jin in man's suit

Wedding Woes

Qiu Jin isn’t too happy with her arranged marriage.

Qiu Jin in arranged marriageQiu Jin in arranged marriage

Family Portrait

At least her husband and kids look like they’re having fun on the left.

Qiu Jin and familyQiu Jin and family

A Talented Writer

Writing was central to Qiu Jin’s life and I’m glad to see this element depicted in the new film. I noticed they include a voice-over of her poetry in the trailer, as we do in ours.

Qiu Jin writingQiu Jin writing

Stirring up Revolutionary Fires in Japan

Qiu Jin in JapanQiu Jin in Japan

Arrest Qiu Jin!

Arrest Qiu JinArrest Qiu Jin

Qiu Jin Makes Her Final Stand

I think their budget could afford more than our four soldiers for the final battle scene:

Qiu Jin Resisting ArrestQiu Jin Resisting Arrest

“The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake” opens on August 25 in Hong Kong. We’ll be showing AUTUMN GEM in Hong Kong as well October 24-28 – check out the full list of screenings here. We’re looking forward to watching the feature film while we’re there – it’ll be interesting to see their version of Qiu Jin!

World Journal Article on San Diego Chinese Historical Museum Screening

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Here is the World Journal newspaper’s coverage of our screening at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum last Saturday. Reporter Daming Lee wrote about our first major public event at La Jolla Country Day School in May 2009.

秋瑾紀錄片放映滿百場
記者李大明聖地牙哥報導

正值辛亥革命成功、中華民國誕生100周年之際,旅美華裔曹健鏗、張蕊夫婦拍攝的傳記紀錄片「秋瑾」也在美加各地放映整整100場。這一富有意義的巧合,顯示海外華人新一代重拾歷史使命的心願,更標誌文化傳承有更堅實基礎。

上世紀70年代出生的曹健鏗與張蕊,分別是香港、台灣移民的後代。曹健鏗畢業於史丹福大學,張蕊則是柏克萊加大高材生,兩人在拍攝傳記紀錄片「秋瑾」之前,對百年中國近代史所知有限,對電影製作更是一竅不通。一個偶然機會,他們看到了一本介紹「鑑湖女俠」秋瑾(1875-1907)生平的書,深為這位女傑立志推翻封建王朝、追求婦女解放、最終為理想獻身的事蹟所感動,決心拍攝一部影片,讓海外華人下一代瞭解這些可歌可泣的往事。

兩位年輕人不顧資金匱乏、經驗不足,說幹就幹。他們走遍秋瑾故里浙江紹興,請教研究秋瑾的中外學者,終於在2009年完成這部長達一小時的傳記紀錄片,並在聖地牙哥的私立中學「La Jolla Country Day School」首映,受到許多好評。

此後兩年,曹健鏗與張蕊帶著自己的這部處女作,馬不停蹄地奔走於美國東西兩岸放映,漸漸引起了媒體與公眾的注意。上周末,兩人回到當初起步的聖地牙哥,在當地「中華歷史博物館」為華洋朋友作了第100場放映,作為對辛亥革命百周年的獻禮,並告慰秋瑾烈士。

近百名華洋朋友應邀在聖地牙哥中華歷史博物館觀賞了這部電影,曹健鏗、張蕊還即席回答了觀眾的提問。歷史博物館館長莊紹文代表社區,向兩人頒贈了感謝狀。

Female Circumcision and Footbinding

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I was alerted to an article in the New York Times recently about female genital mutilation (also known as female circumcision) in Africa. Young girls are taken to a “cutter” who carves out their clitoris and labia with a razor, then stitches the flesh back together, leaving a small opening for urination and menstruation. The purpose is for ensuring chastity and “lowering the sex drive of our daughters,” according to one practitioner.

The reporter notes that this is “a form of oppression that women themselves embrace and perpetuate.” I’m reminded of the similarities with footbinding. Women were the ones who carried out the process within the family (usually the mother or grandmother), and they were often the most resistant to change when the practice began to fall out of favor. In fact, even after it was officially banned in 1912, it would continue for over 30 years afterwards, perpetuated by women themselves.

While female genital mutilation is currently illegal in several African and Middle Eastern countries, it is still practiced widely and has even found its way to the U.S. Let’s hope it will be eradicated soon, and, like footbinding, seen as the inhumane violence against women that it is.

Cinematic Celebrations of Centenary

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In addition to Jackie Chan’s film 1911, Taiwan is producing an animated feature on Sun Yat-sen and his comrades to commemorate the 1911 Revolution centenary. I grabbed a couple screenshots from the trailer featuring Qiu Jin:

She looks a bit like Li Jing (maybe it’s the similar poses).

Here’s a portrait of Qiu Jin as played by Ning Jing in the Jackie Chan film. I like the androgynous quality of her face set against the traditional feminine dress.

Both films are set to be released later this year. It’ll be interesting to see how our heroine is depicted in these versions!

A Century of Change: China 1911-2011

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The Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University is celebrating the 100 years anniversary of the 1911 Revolution with a new exhibit featuring archival materials and audiovisual media from its collection, as well as a few props from AUTUMN GEM in its section on “Reformers and Revolutionaries.” Adam and I attended the reception and were impressed with the scope of the exhibit, covering the momentous changes during this critical period in Chinese history.

We were treated to a special viewing of the original diaries of Chiang Kai-shek, on display for one day only during the reception. The diaries were loaned to the Hoover Archives in 2005 by members of the Chiang family for preservation purposes and are rarely shown in public.

Also on display was a section about the Rape of Nanking and the work of Iris Chang. We had the pleasure of meeting her parents there, whom we found out had ties to both our families. They were good friends of my aunt and uncle in Illinois, as well as Adam’s uncle in New Jersey. Small world! Ying-Ying Chang, Iris’ mother, recently wrote a memoir of her daughter, “The Woman Who Could Not Forget.” She’ll be giving a book reading in the Bay Area in mid-May, which we’re looking forward to.

The Hoover exhibit will be on display through March 2012. It’s a fascinating look into China’s emergence as a modern nation and is worth checking out.

“A Century of Change: China 1911-2011″
Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion
(adjacent to Hoover Tower)
Stanford University
Open Tuesday – Saturday
11:00am – 4:00pm
Free admission

http://www.hoover.org/library-and-archives/exhibits/71296