Southern California Fall 2011 Tour Recap


It’s been two years since we had our first Autumn Gem screening in Southern California at the Pacific Asia Museum. Since then, we’ve had over one hundred screenings around the world, including stops in Australia, Canada, Texas, the Southwest, the Midwest, and the East Coast.

This past week, we returned to Southern California for a week of screenings at the Cerritos Library, West Covina Library, San Marino Chinese School, Fullerton Library, Diamond Bar Library and Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

As I’ve stated numerous times one of the benefits of traveling with our film is the opportunity to visit with friends and family. In-between screenings, we were hosted by Dave and Audrey and by Rae’s aunt and uncle. We also met up with Rae’s cousin Hans (who played the role of Qiu Jin’s cousin in Autumn Gem), my cousin King-Ming, along with his fiancée Aimee, and Rae’s college friends Ben and Christine in Sherman Oaks.

Following a radio interview at EDI Media in West Covina, we paid a visit to our actress, Li Jing, at her new Wushu Action Star Academy in Temple City. At the San Marino screening, one of Li Jing’s acting colleagues, Peter Kwong, was in attendance. Rae and I remember him as the villainous Rain in Big Trouble in Little China, one of our favorite movies growing up!

Here are photos from our Southern California Fall 2011 screening tour. Our next stop is this Monday and Wednesday at the Santa Clara Library and Hayward Library. Then, we’re off to Hong Kong for several screenings in my parents’ hometown!


2011 Fall Update



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

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.

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

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:


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!


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.


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


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


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.




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。



Autumn Gem in the Epoch Times


Epoch Times article on Autumn Gem

The Epoch Times attended our screening at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum in Downtown San Diego last weekend. The newspaper just posted its review of the screening.

曹健鏗與張蕊在影片放映後舉行的招待會上和聖地亞哥中華歷史博物館館長莊紹文合影(攝影: 楊婕/大紀元)


【簡體版】 【不顯現/顯現圖片】

夫婦倆介紹,他們自籌資金,花了兩年多的時間拍片。期間他們到多家圖書館、博物館查找資料, 並到中國參觀了紹興的「秋瑾紀念館」,訪問了秋氏後人,還錄製了美國漢學專家對秋瑾的評價。影片以豐富的史料為主線,加入一些表演鏡頭,由前中國女子武術冠軍、好萊塢華裔女演員李靜飾演秋瑾,使記錄片內容更加全面、更容易讓沒有中國歷史背景的觀眾看懂。
自該片2009年在曹健鏗的母校,聖地亞哥私立學校「La Jolla Country Day School」首映以來,一年多的時間裏,這對年輕的夫婦足跡從美西到美東,並到加拿大。他們除了向公眾放映,還應邀到學校做教學介紹。所到之處,很多人對影片表現出極大興趣。今年十月他們將到香港介紹他們的作品。
2011-06-03 14:47:30【萬年曆】

San Diego Chinese Historical Museum Screening Recap


Two years ago in May 2009, we held our first major public screening at Adam’s alma mater La Jolla Country Day School in San Diego. Over 100 screenings later, we’ve returned to Adam’s hometown for another event at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.

Early on in our project we had contacted the museum to do background research and also film some historical artifacts. Museum director Dr. Alexander Chuang and his staff were very generous in sharing their knowledge and support for our project. It was great to come back with the finished film and have a showing at the museum’s Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.

We had a fantastic turnout with a full house of 100 people, who all managed to fit inside the cozy auditorium. Some audience members had attended our first screening two years ago, and noticed the difference between our earlier version and the latest cut (we’re up to Cut #21 now!).

Many thanks to Dr. Chuang and the terrific museum staff for hosting us and organizing a wonderful reception afterwards.

Here are photos from our screening at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.

Female Circumcision and Footbinding


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


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

AAS Conference


Wednesday night was the start of the Association for Asian Studies Conference, and after our screening at Hawai’i Pacific University we headed over to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort to enjoy the welcome reception.

The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) is the largest worldwide scholarly professional association for those interested in the study of Asia. Last October, we attended their Western Regional Conference, held at California State University Northridge. This year’s conference was a much larger affair, a joint event with the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS), held at the Hawai’i Convention Center.

With over 5000 attendees, the Convention Center was bustling with activity, and we ran into several people we met over the course of our screening tours. We also saw the three scholars whom we had interviewed for our film: Amy Dooling, Lingzhen Wang, and Hu Ying, and it was great reconnecting with them all at the same place.

Prior to our panel, we attended some other sessions, including “Rethinking the 1911 Revolution” which was moderated by Mary Rankin, who had written an invaluable study of Qiu Jin, “The Emergence of Women at the End of the Ch’ing: The Case of Ch’iu Chin” in Margery Wolf and Roxane Witke’s book Women in Chinese Society.

We also caught a few movies playing in conjunction with the conference, including 1428, a documentary on the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the recovery efforts by government agencies and survivors, and Ruby Yang’s Tongzhi in Love, a poignant account of the conflicted lives of gay men in Beijing.

Our panel, “Word and Image in Chinese Film Adaptation,” was organized by Professor Tze-Lan Sang from the University of Oregon. The five panels covered a range a topics in analyzing the adaptation of literary works onto film, and included presentations by Xiaoquan Zhang from the University of Oregon, Alexander Huang from Pennsylvania State University, Hsiu-Chuang Deppman from Oberlin College, and Tze-Lan Sang, with Lingzhen Wang as the discussant.

Prior to the panel, we had lunch with our fellow presenters, all of whom we met for the first time (except Lingzhen Wang). I discovered that Alexander Huang, who had recently written a book called Chinese Shakespeares: Two Centuries of Cultural Exchange, is a colleague of my uncle in Taiwan, who is also a Shakespeare scholar. We also found out some more information about the upcoming feature film on the Xinhai Revolution currently in production in China. Simply titled 1911, it’s directed by Jackie Chan, who plays revolutionary leader Huang Xing. The role of Qiu Jin is played by Ning Jing, whom we’re not familiar with, but in any case we’re looking forward to seeing this when it comes out in September!

We had a tight schedule with our five presentations squeezed into a 2-hour session, but it went fairly smoothly, with a few of us having to shorten our talks a bit to fit into the time limit. Adam served as tech coordinator to help transition between the multiple presentations, and there was time to get in some thoughtful audience questions as well as Lingzhen Wang’s insightful commentary.

Overall, it was a constructive and enlightening experience, and we had a great time participating in the conference. Thanks to all our fellow panelists for a fantastic job!

Here are photos from the AAS Conference.