This morning, we departed Madison, Wisconsin, in the seat of a Coach USA bus. Our destination was Chicago, Illinois, and Columbia College Chicago. Switching buses at Janesville, Rae and I slept most of the way to Chicago. When we arrived at Union Station, it was raining outside; good thing that we came prepared with our waterproof jackets and rain-resistant luggage. We took a taxi to Columbia College Chicago building at 1104 S. Wabash Avenue, which houses portions of the Film and Video Department as well as Film Row Cinema where Autumn Gem was later screened. There were many creative types milling around the dining commons, where they were holding a Meet and Greet. Student filmmakers pitched their ideas to their fellow classmates, hoping to snag a few to work on their semester film projects as art directors, cinematographers, casting directors, gaffers, and editors. We certainly could have used some help in those departments; during the production of Autumn Gem, we often felt stretched thin performing all of these tasks between the two of us.
We’ve had some great screening locales, and Film Row Cinema was no exception. Though we had another intimate screening, we had another spirited discussion afterwards. One of the audience members asked why we focused so much on scholars views of Qiu Jin instead of Chinese feminists views on her. While in Hangzhou by the Qiu Jin Monument, we did record some man-on-the-street interviews about people’s perception of Qiu Jin. In the end, however, we felt that those interviews did not fit well within the overall narrative of the film. In addition, adding them in would have extended the running time to over an hour, which we did not want to do. In the final cut, Autumn Gem is aimed at introducing the story of Qiu Jin to someone who has little or no knowledge of her. Perhaps in the future, we’ll include some clips from our Hangzhou interviews on this web site.
Following the screening, we met up with our friends, Ivan, Margaret, Steve, Jeff and Rina. We had authentic Chicago-style pizza for dinner at Lou’s. We’ll be staying in Chicago for a few days before heading out to Champaign-Urbana on Monday.