Cinematic Celebrations of Centenary


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


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

A Step Backwards for Women in China


“What’s the current status of women in China today?” This question comes up often in our Q-and-A sessions. Interestingly, we were recently alerted to an incident which sheds some light on this topic.

Li Yinhe slams NPC representative Zhang Xiaomei’s proposal to send women back into the kitchen

At the recently concluded “Two Sessions”, a female National People’s Congress representative by the name of Zhang Xiaomei made the shocking proposal for women to leave the workforce and return home. Notable feminist-sociologist Li Yinhe took to her blog to explain why Zhang’s proposal is a bad idea, and to lament the overall lack of the awareness of gender equality among female NPC delegates.

“This would not only be a huge setback to the great strides we have made in women’s rights, but also a huge letdown to the many great feminists (like Qiu Jin) who have fought the tough battle for gender equality for over a hundred years.”

At one of our recent screenings an audience member remarked that, for many feminist movements around the world, the greatest resistance came not from men but from other women. Perhaps they felt they had the most to lose. Although if Representative Zhang Xiaomei actually followed her own proposal, I guess that means she’ll have to give up her official position. I’d like to see a modern day Qiu Jin take her place.

Thanks to I.H. for the article!

2011 Winter Update


The plum blossom’s icy beauty defies the aggression of snow and frost.
Refusing to decorate jade palaces, she adorns an ancient peak.
Her sublimity lies in her independence.
– Qiu Jin
(translation by Kang-i Sun Chang and Haun Saussy)

Happy Year of the Rabbit! We have some great developments this year as we continue to exhibit and promote AUTUMN GEM. 2011 is especially meaningful as it marks the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution, the cause that Qiu Jin sacrificed her life for.


AUTUMN GEM is now available for purchase online for both personal and institutional use. The institutional DVD comes with an extensive study guide that provides historical context, key concepts and figures, discussion questions, and a full transcript of Qiu Jin’s writings used in the film with English translations.

Purchase the DVD for yourself or as a gift to family and friends. If you are affiliated with an educational institution, request your department or library to order a copy for their collection. Celebrate the centenary of the 1911 Revolution by sharing the story of Qiu Jin. Order online here.


We will be presenting on a panel at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference in Hawaii, March 31 – April 3. The Association for Asian Studies is the largest professional organization of scholars of Asia worldwide. Our panel, “Word and Image in Chinese Film Adaption,” was organized by Professors Tze-lan Sang from the University of Oregon and Hsiu-chuang Deppmann from Oberlin College, and will be moderated by Lingzhen Wang, one of the scholars in the film. We’re very excited to be part of this special event in the beautiful city of Honolulu.


We’ll be continuing our screening tour with more events lined up across the U.S. and Canada. If you have family and/or friends in these areas, please let them know and encourage them to attend! Feel free to invite them on our Facebook page.


  • February 28: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Richmond, B.C. Canada
  • March 1: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Canada
  • March 2: Richmond Women’s Resource Centre at Richmond Hospital, Richmond, B.C. Canada

Southern California

  • March 8: UC Riverside, Riverside, CA
  • March 9: Torrance Public Library, Torrance, CA
  • March 11: San Diego Miramar College, San Diego, CA
  • March 13: Monterey Park Public Library, Monterey Park, CA


  • March 29: University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
  • March 30: Hawai’i Pacific University, Honolulu, HI
  • April 1: Hawai’i Pacific University, Honolulu, HI

Full details can be found here:


First the film, now the IPad app! We’ve developed a free app that provides an extensive trailer of the film through selected video clips, animated images, and interactive features. Experience the story of Qiu Jin in a new media format and catch a glimpse of the frontier of digital storytelling. AUTUMN GEM Preview won the Future of Publishing Award at the 2010 iPadDevCamp. Download it now from the App store.

AAUW Morgan Hill Screening Recap


Back in March 2010, we had a screening at the Willow Glen Library sponsored by the San Jose branch of the American Association of University Women. After a successful event, the organizers promoted the film to other AAUW chapters, and soon afterwards we were contacted by Peggy Thompson from the Morgan Hill branch, who along with Betsy Ding arranged a screening last Wednesday.

The event took place at the Morgan Hill House, a historical residence built by Hiram Morgan Hill. I never realized the city was named after an actual person rather than a hill! Morgan Hill was a rancher from San Francisco who built a country retreat in the town that now bears his name.

We had a packed house of AAUW members and the outside community. Several in the audience shared their experiences visiting or living in China, in some cases back in the 1930’s! With Hu Jintao’s recent meeting with President Obama, China is definitely becoming a hot subject for discussion, with many in the audience expressing their desire to explore its history.

A tremendous thank you to Peggy, Betsy, her sister, and their fellow AAUW members for organizing the screening and being terrific hosts.

Here are photos from the AAUW Morgan Hill screening.

Austin College Screening Recap


Austin College

Next stop on our Texas tour was Austin College, located in Sherman, a small town about an hour north of Dallas. Driving there from Texas A&M took 4 hours, passing by several other small towns along the way, including Hearne – home of John Randle, Hall of Fame NFL Player, according to the giant billboard greeting us on the side of the road. Football is big in Texas, and even the small towns take great pride in their local heroes!

Austin College is a private liberal arts schools with about 1350 students. We were greeted upon our arrival by Scott Langton, Professor of Japanese, who gave us a tour of the campus. We visited the Jordan Family Language House, a residential hall “specifically designed to encourage the study of foreign languages (Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish).” Students speak entirely in their chosen language and practice with native speaker residents. One of the hallways was labeled La Maison Française, which reminded Adam of his senior year house. As the theme associate for the French House, Adam organized wine and cheese nights and French classes for the residents. Fun times indeed!

Our screening that evening had a good mix of students and community members. Afterwards we had a great conversation with the Colombo family and their four children from China. Apparently the Dallas-Fort Worth area has a sizeable number of families with adopted children from China, and there are various programs and services that cater to them. My sister May adopted their daughter Abby from China 2 years ago, and they participate in similar programs out in Colorado.

Read the rest of this post and see the photos »

UCSF Screening on September 25


UCSF Screening

Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival with our appropriately titled film! BioBridge at UCSF will be hosting a free screening and reception with delicious snacks. Supported by the UCSF Cultural Enrichment Fund.

Friday, September 25 at 6:00pm
Cole Hall Auditorium
UCSF Medical Sciences Building
513 Parnassus Avenue
San Francisco, CA

RSVP here on Facebook.

Southern California Screening of AUTUMN GEM



Join us for a special outdoor screening of AUTUMN GEM at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena! Enjoy the warm summer night and mingle with filmmakers Rae Chang and Adam Tow and star Li Jing in the museum’s beautiful courtyard garden. Free with museum admission.

Thursday, August 20
8:00 pm
Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101

Feel free to pass this on to your friends in Southern California. Stay tuned for upcoming events in the Bay Area this fall, including screenings in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Clara.
Hope to see you there!

Here is the link to the Facebook Event where you can RSVP!

Casting Call


Be An Extra!

We are currently looking for supporting actors and extras for various scenes to be filmed in the Bay Area during weekends in May and/or June. If you or someone you know fits into one of these categories and would like to be an extra, send us an email at info(at)

  1. Asian men (able to pass for Chinese) with shaved heads, 20’s – 30’s yrs. old. Both non-speaking and Mandarin-speaking roles. We will need about 7-10 people to play soldiers and scholars.

    Filming dates: May 10-11, 17-18 (Note: Extras do not need to be present for all days, most likely 1-2 days, 3-4 hours each day.)
    Location: Santa Clara and San Jose

  2. Asian men (able to pass for Chinese) with short or slicked back hair, 20’s – 30’s yrs. old. We will need about 10 people to play students.

    Filming dates: May 10-11, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm.
    Location: Hakone Gardens, Saratoga

  3. Asian women (able to pass for Chinese), 20’s – 30’s yrs. old. Able to speak Mandarin (basic level okay). We will need about 5 people to play students. We have filled all of these spots. Thanks for responding.

    Filming dates: May 10-11, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
    Location: Hakone Gardens, Saratoga

  4. Asian women (able to pass for Chinese), teens – 30’s yrs. old with knowledge of wushu basics. All levels welcome, from beginner to advanced. We will need about 40 people to play soldiers training in the Women’s Army.

    Filming date: Sunday, May 4, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
    Location: Tilden Park, Berkeley

  5. Asian men with shaved heads, 40’s-60’s yrs. old.

    Filming dates: May 10-11, 17-18 (Note: Extras do not need to be present for all days, most likely 1-2 days, 3-4 hours each day.)
    Location: Santa Clara and San Jose

  6. Asian women, 40’s-60’s yrs. old.

    Filming dates: May 10-11, 17-18 (Note: Extras do not need to be present for all days, most likely 1-2 days, 3-4 hours each day.)
    Location: Santa Clara and San Jose

Extras will be provided meals and a free copy of the DVD when completed!