Hawai’i Pacific University Screening Recap and Photos

Standard

We had two events at Hawai’i Pacific University, part of their weekly Viewpoints Film Series. At the first screening Professor William Zanella, who teaches Chinese history and Mandarin, introduced the film and provided historical background for this critical juncture in China’s modernization.

We had a full house of students and community members at both screenings, held at the downtown HPU campus near Honolulu’s Chinatown. An interesting point brought up at the Q-and-A was the connection between the feminist movement in China and other countries. The British and U.S. women’s suffrage movements were gaining momentum at the same time that Qiu Jin and her cohorts were fighting for their rights. Also during this period was the development of a radical feminist movement in Iran. Were these women influenced and inspired by each other, tapping into a similar energy worldwide? Qiu Jin, for example, specifically mentions contemporaries like Harriet Beecher Stowe and Florence Nightingale as role models for Chinese women.

Many thanks go out to Professor Linda Lierheimer, coordinator of the Viewpoints Film Series, and her student assistant Tim for putting on a successful event. We especially enjoyed the free pizza and snacks provided by the History Department, which made for a festive atmosphere!

Here are photos from our Hawai’i Pacific University screening.

University of Hawai’i at Manoa Screening Recap and Photos

Standard

We were very excited to show our film in conjunction with the “Rethinking the Chinese Revolution: 1911 in Global Perspective” Conference at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The event was organized by the Center for Chinese Studies and Confucius Institute and held at the East-West Center on the UHM campus.

Hawaii holds a special place in relation to the 1911 Revolution since it was where Sun Yat-sen spent his formative years. He attended the Iolani School and later studied at Punahou School, whose famous alumni also includes President Obama. His education in Hawaii had a strong impact on his political ideals, and he later incorporated the American concept of “government of the people, by the people, for the people” into his revolutionary principles.

While checking into the hotel, we ran into Amy Dooling, one of the scholars in our film, who was speaking on a panel called “The Gender of Revolution.” One of the larger questions in light of the 1911 Revolution centenary is the role of women, and we were glad to see this subject addressed at the conference.

At the hotel we also saw Tamara Jacka, our contact at Australian National University, who was in town for the upcoming Association for Asian Studies Conference. It was great reconnecting with her, and we’d be seeing many of our other past screening acquaintances at the conference itself.

We had a great turnout for our screening at the Art Building Auditorium, due in large part to the extensive promotional efforts of our local contacts Leigh-Wai Doo and Marsha Joyner. We met Leigh-Wai back in 2009 at one of our first events, at the US-China Peoples Friendship Association National Conference in San Francisco. Leigh-Wai is involved in several organizations including the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foundation, Palolo Chinese Home, and United Chinese Society. Besides being a pillar of the Chinese community in Hawaii, his grandfather was an early supporter of Sun Yat-sen and one of the 72 National Martyrs of Revolutionary China.

Marsha Joyner came across our film while researching Chinese women revolutionaries. A life-long civil rights activist and former president of The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition in Hawaii, she was initially drawn by the issue of footbinding and Sun Yat-sen’s efforts to bring women into the political process. She’s been a fantastic supporter of the film and has helped us get involved in many of the centenary events in the area.

Many thanks also to Frederick Lau, Director of the Center for Chinese Studies, Cynthia Ning, Director of the Confucius Institute, Professor Shana Brown from the History Department who was our initial contact, and CCS coordinators Daniel Tschudi and Jialin Sun for hosting us. We had a fantastic time participating in the conference, which was an excellent lead-in to the upcoming Association for Asian Studies event.

Here are photos from our University of Hawai’i at Manoa screening.

A Step Backwards for Women in China

Standard

“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!

Monterey Park Public Library Screening Recap

Standard

Rounding out our Southern California tour was an event at the Monterey Park Public Library. Monterey Park was where we filmed the scene of Qiu Jin training with her cousin (who is played by Rae’s real cousin Hans), so it was great returning to one of our shooting locations.

Our actress Li Jing attended the screening, and we had a nice chat with one of her wushu friends from China, who currently does stuntwork in Hollywood as well. We also got excellent advice and feedback from several audience members who are active in the arts and film community in Southern California.

Our friend Rafael posed a great question about the reception of gender equality in current repressive regimes. Adam pointed out a recent article about the ongoing Egyptian protests, in which women participating in a march on International Women’s Day were harassed by men and told to “go home where they belong.” Women throughout history have been fighting for their rights and engaging in political activism, but oftentimes they’ve faced resistance from men who accuse them of impinging on “their” revolution. It’s inspiring to see the struggle for equality continue with the women in Egypt, who share the same spirit as Qiu Jin.

Many thanks go out to Senior Librarian Cindy Costales for helping us set up and managing a full house, and the Friends of the Library for providing the delicious refreshments.

Here are photos from our Monterey Park Public Library screening.

Miramar College Screening Recap

Standard

Our first major public screening was at Adam’s high school in San Diego back in May 2009. On Friday we returned to his home turf for another event, this time at Miramar College.

We had a fantastic turnout of students, faculty, community members, and even some of Adam’s elementary school classmates from Spreckels! Thanks to the internet and sites like Facebook, we can now reconnect with friends from over 25 years ago, and it was great having a mini-reunion at the screening.

We’ve often been asked whether we’ll be showing the film in China. We’ve just begun planning a trip to Hong Kong in October this year, which looks to be a busy time for commemoration activities of the Chinese Revolution which took place on October 10, 1911.

Many thanks to Judy Patacsil, Ethnic Studies Professor and International Education Coordinator at Miramar and her student volunteers for putting on a successful event!

Here are photos from our Miramar College screening.

Torrance Public Library Screening Recap

Standard

Second stop on our Southern California tour was the Torrance Public Library. Rae was born in Torrance, and the screening was held the day before her birthday, March 9, which happens to be Adam’s birthday! Yes, we’re both Pisces, and this year is also Adam’s Year of the Rabbit, so we’re looking forward to being especially productive.

We had a fantastic turnout with over 120 people, which made for a lively discussion session. Thanks to Dana Vinke from the library for putting on such a terrific event and getting the crowd to come!

A special thanks to Ann Lau who helped put us in touch with the library initially. We first met Ann almost two years ago at our Pacific Asia Museum screening. Since then, she’s been a strong supporter of the film as well as an inspiring activist in her own right in her many efforts on human rights issues.

Ann made an important point during the Q-and-A regarding the different perspectives on suicide in Chinese and Western cultures. Traditional Chinese culture viewed giving one’s life to a larger cause as heroic, whereas in the U.S. the act may be seen as more selfish or inward-directed. As Hu Ying mentions in the film, Qiu Jin was able to achieve a greater impact in her sacrificial death than in her life.

Here are photos from our Torrance Public Library screening.

UC Riverside Screening Recap

Standard

On Monday we headed down to Southern California for another week of screenings. Around this time a year ago we were at UC Irvine, where Professor Hu Ying, one of the scholars in the film, had invited us to show it. This time, we travelled inland to UC Riverside, where we were hosted by the Women’s Studies Department in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8.

It was a hundred years ago that the first IWD was celebrated, marking awareness of the social and political struggles of women worldwide to achieve equality. 2011 is also the centenary of the Chinese Revolution that Qiu Jin was involved in, so it’s especially timely to recognize the work of early feminists in China’s history.

After the screening we were invited to dinner by Alicia Arrizón, Chair of Women’s Studies, and Professor Tammy Ho and her mother. We had a wonderful time hearing about their many projects and family stories and enjoying the delicious Italian food – a great way to end the evening!

Here are photos from our UC Riverside screening.

2011 Winter Update

Standard

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.

INSTITUTIONAL DVD NOW AVAILABLE

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.

AUTUMN GEM AT ASSOCIATION FOR ASIAN STUDIES CONFERENCE

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.

SPRING 2011 TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED: VANCOUVER, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, HAWAII

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.

Vancouver

  • 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

Hawaii

  • 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: https://autumn-gem.com/screenings/

IPAD APP

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

Standard

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.

Southern Methodist University Screening Recap

Standard

SMU Screening of Autumn Gem

Our final screening of 2010 tour was at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. SMU was chartered and founded in 1911, the same year that Women’s History Month was started and the fall of the Qing Dynasty in China. Today, the school is home to 11,000 students, and will be the future site of the former President George W. Bush’s Presidential Library. In fact, the groundbreaking ceremony was held on November 16, 2010, just a few days before our November 22 screening.

We met the Colombo family at our Austin College screening the previous Friday. They had read about our article in a Dallas newspaper and were keen on coming because they are adoptive parents of several children from China. Following the screening, they told their friends in their children’s Chinese Girl Scout troop about the SMU showing. Thanks to the Colombo’s and Kimberly Powell for bringing a great community turnout at SMU!

Along with them, we had a large number of students from various Chinese Language and History classes turn out. Next time, we’ll have to get a bigger room, as it was standing room only in the back! We got a great question from one of the students about the dilemma between Qiu Jin’s fascination with Western ideas and her opposition to Western incursion into China. In order to repel the Western invaders and internally strengthen her country, Qiu Jin felt that China needed to learn from its enemies. Knowing this perhaps gives us perspective on China’s relationship with the West today. After all, it’s only been 100 years since the birth of Modern China, a relatively short-time by historical measure.

Read the rest of this post and see the photos »