Southern California Fall 2011 Tour Recap

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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!

Hong Kong Feature Film on Qiu Jin to be Released

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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!

San Diego Chinese Historical Museum Screening Recap

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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.

AAS Conference

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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.

Hawai’i Pacific University Screening Recap and Photos

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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

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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.

Miramar College Screening Recap

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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.