Austin College Screening Recap

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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.

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Texas A&M Screening Recap

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Texas A&M Screening

Following our great time at Trinity, we made the three and a half hour trek to Texas A&M, the oldest public university in Texas. The university is located in the city of College Station, which is in the middle of the Dallas, Houston and San Antonio triangle. Confirming the theory that everything is bigger in Texas, the campus sits on an enormous 5000+ acres. I felt like many a lost Stanford parent driving around Campus Drive while trying to find Parking Lot 28. According to our contact Kelly, there’s a lot of construction going on, which explained why some roads were closed for pedestrian traffic only.

We had a little mixup with the screening room, which turned out to be double-booked. Quick thinking on the part of our hosts at the Confucius Institute, Kelly Kleinkort, Executive Director Randy Kluver, Director Luo Yirong, James Mendiola and Amanda Zuccarini, got us a new room in the same building, on the third floor. Most of the students came from a Gender Studies class, and we had a great discussion with Paul, a French exchange student, after the showing.

We wish we could have stayed longer in College Station and explore the many Aggie traditions, but we simply did not have enough time. The next day, we had to drive four hours to Sherman for our screening at Austin College.

Here are photos from our Texas A&M screening.

Trinity University Screening Recap

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Our next stop on our Texas tour was at Trinity University. Since we were staying with Patrick and Nicole in San Antonio, we only had to drive 25 minutes to get to campus instead of three to four hours as we did for our next two screenings to Texas A&M and Austin College. Being able to stay in one place for a couple of days meant we could explore the area more fully.

If I could use one word to describe our Trinity experience, it’s hospitality. The Trinity faculty and staff at the EAST (East Asian Studies at Trinity), especially Professor Zhang, did a fantastic job making us feel welcome during our two days. EAST’s Franke Johnson first took us to the River Walk of downtown San Antonio. We took some photos of the Carlos Cortez sculptures along the River Walk. Back in 2001 during my first trip to San Antonio, I walked along the river in the retail district, but didn’t get to see these sculptures. One day, we’ll walk the entire seven miles! We had lunch at La Gloria, which specializes in street foods of Mexico. We ordered the ceviche, which had cilantro in it, but surprisingly neither Rae nor I could taste it. For two people who don’t like cilantro, that was refreshing!

Carlos Cortes sculptures at the River Walk.

After lunch, we went back to the EAST office where we were videotaped for an upcoming Trinity University iPad application. The app will display a map of the campus; users can tap on a building or use GPS to bring up video clips from their current location. Reuben took videos of us talking with Franke about our film; he also videotaped the beginning portion of our presentation at the screening. We can’t wait to see the app!

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University of Texas at San Antonio Screening Recap

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UTSA screening of Autumn Gem

After a night at my relative’s house in Houston, Rae and I drove three and a half hours to San Antonio, Texas, for our second screening at the University of Texas at San Antonio. I was last in San Antonio back in 2001, during which I also visited Austin, Houston, and San Jacinto.

Had we arrived the day before, the campus would have been a lot busier due to Saturday being UTSA Day. That’s when the public can meet with faculty, students, and experience the Roadrunner lifestyle.

We had a mix of community members and students at the screening. Among them was a Japanese woman from Brazil. She told us that early Japanese immigrants to Brazil were snookered into slavery. Her friends whom she brought to the screening were interested in documentary films; perhaps they should get together to work on that!

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Houston Chinese Community Center Screening Recap

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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.”

Houston Chinese Community Center

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Simon Fraser University Screening Recap

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Autumn Gem at Simon Fraser University

We’re currently in Texas and getting ready to leave lovely San Antonio for Texas A&M in College Station. Catching up on our screening recaps, we’d like to tell you about the great screening we had at Simon Fraser University last week in Vancouver, British Columbia. As you can see in the photo to the right, we had a huge turnout. Originally, our screening was to be held in a different auditorium, but SFU received so many RSVPs that they had to move the location to the Woodward’s building in downtown Vancouver. The venue was recently opened or renovated, so our film was among the first to use the new space.

Before the screening, we walked around the Vancouver Chinatown, which reminded us of the one in San Francisco. We went to the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Public Park, which would have worked great as a filming location for Autumn Gem! Rae and I also tried to look for buildings that were featured in some of our favorite TV shows, including Battlestar Galactica, MacGyver and The X-Files. Vancouver has a bustling film industry, and there are many filming locations scattered throughout the city and surrounding area.

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In Texas

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We arrived yesterday in Houston, Texas, following our screening at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. We had a great screening at SFU and at the Houston Chinese Community Center on Saturday. Now, we are at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where we have a screening at 3:30pm in the Retama Auditorium inside the University Center. We’ll have recaps of the past few screenings within the next few days.

Richmond City Council Screening Recap

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Autumn Gem at Richmond City Council Chambers

The day after our screening at the University of Victoria, we took another ferry — this time from Schwartz Bay to Tsawwassen — to head into Vancouver. Both Rae and I have been to Vancouver once before to attend Expo 86. Yes, twenty-four years ago as kids, we were both attending the same World’s Exposition here in Vancouver. If we had a time machine, it would have been interesting to see if our families ever crossed paths at the Expo.

We had always wanted to set up a screening in the Pacific Northwest, since (1) we have friends and family living in the Washington and Vancouver areas and (2) there is a large Asian population in these areas. At a wedding a few months back, we were introduced to Amy Yu, the sister of one of my aunts. Amy lives in Richmond and was instrumental in setting up the screening at the Richmond City Council Chambers on November 9. She, along with Liesl Jauk from Cultural Services and countless others, attracted a huge crowd of over 140 people to the screening. The room was filled to capacity, and if more people tried to arrive, they would have been turned back! Fortunately, everyone who arrived was able to find a seat and see the film.

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University of Victoria Screening Recap

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Autumn Gem at the University of Victoria

On November 8, 2010, we woke up very early in the morning to catch the 8:30 am ferry — the only one leaving that day — from Anacortes, Washington to Sidney, British Columbia. Located over 70 miles north of Seattle, the Anacortes Ferry Terminal was quiet and nearly deserted when we arrived at 6:00 am. We went into town for some breakfast before queuing the rental car up to get onto the ferry.

The boat ride was pretty fun; we saw the sun rise as we made our way through the various islands between the United States and Canada. The trip took about three hours, with one stop at San Juan Island. I saw a lone seal or seal lion swimming in the harbor as we made our way out of San Juan; with a thick layer of blubber, it must have still been warm in the chilly water!

Our first stop on our second international tour of Autumn Gem was at the University of Victoria, located on Vancouver Island. My parents are accompanying us on this leg of our tour, and their knowledge of the area has proven to be very useful thus far.

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Pacific Northwest Screening Tour Underway!

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Our final tour of 2010 is underway! Rae has been in Oregon for the past four days, screening at Portland State University, Williamette University and Oregon State University to large student and community crowds. She’s heading up to Seattle to meet with me; I was in New York earlier this week for a business meeting and was unable to accompany her on the first leg of our tour.

We have a screening on Saturday at the Northwest Chinese School. Then, it’s off to Canada for three screenings at the University of Victoria, Richmond City Council and Simon Fraser University. Our SFU screening was recently mentioned in the World Journal, and it’s shaping up to be a very large screening with over 200 people in attendance.

Following our Canada trip, we fly to Houston to begin the Texas leg of our tour. It will be Rae’s first time in the Lone Star State!

Check out our screenings page for more details.