In September and October of 2010, we embarked on our first international tour, flying to Australia for seven screenings in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. In November, we went to our second country for three screenings in Canada. We then headed to Texas, which some would argue is a whole other country in itself! The adage that everything is bigger in Texas holds true; twelve-lane highways, large swaths of open roads and great expanse of blue sky greeted us when we landed in Houston for the start of our Texas tour.
Our first stop was at the Houston Chinese Community Center. We’ve seen a number of Chinese community centers while on tour, but this one was certainly the largest! Situated on 6 acres of land, the Houston CCC featured a full-sized gym and plenty of classrooms. From the CCC web site, it provides “services and programs for over 7,000 multi-cultural families each year through educational, cultural and social service programs.”
We heard about the CCC from the parents of our friends Janet and Kien-Wei in the Bay Area. Kien-Wei was one of the Qing Dynasty soldiers who captured Qiu Jin in the film. Janet’s father gave us the contact info for Nine-Min, who at the Community Outreach Director for the CCC, organized the screening. With the help of two radio interviews that we conducted while in Canada, we had a strong turnout of over 100 people on Saturday afternoon. The adults in the crowd were especially appreciative, and a number of them came up to both Rae and myself to thank us for making the film. It’s important for the second and third-generation of Asian Americans to take up the mantle to help preserve their history. Even though we are Americans, we have a rich heritage that we should not lose sight of. People often ask us what our next film project will be; still on the plate is a film chronicling the rise of mobile computing, but another possible topic is an exploration of my American and Chinese roots. I recently learned that I have some roots to the US ranging as far back as the early 1900s, as both of my great-grandparents on my father’s side lived and worked in the States for a period of time before returning to Hong Kong.
I’ve stated this before, but one of the great benefits of having made this film is the opportunity to travel and reconnect with friends and relatives living all over the world. Immediately following the screening, we were interviewed for Kollaboration Houston by Caroline Chen, whom we happen to know through blogging. Ordinarily, we would never have met, but Autumn Gem has brought us together! Later in the evening, Janet’s parents took us out to some Texas BBQ at Goode Company. We were joined by my friends, Barry and Catherine. I work with Barry on AllThingsD-related matters; while we communicate primarily through IM and email, nothing can replace good old face-to-face interaction!
Here are a few photos from the screening. The CCC staff took some more, so we hope to add to this collection in the future.