Bellarmine Forum at Loyola Marymount University

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Autumn Gem at LMU

Our fourth and penultimate screening was held at Loyola Marymount University. Autumn Gem screened as part of the 2010 Bellarmine Forum. This year’s focus was on Women’s Art and Activism and featured a weeklong series of panels, performances, and art exhibits. Our film screened on the opening day in the Ahmanson Theater inside University Hall. When we first walked into University Hall, Rae remarked that it looked like an office building1. Sure enough, it used to be owned by Hughes Aircraft as its corporate headquarters before being purchased and converted to university use in 2000.

Professors Gail Wronsky (English) and Susan Barber (Film and Television Studies) introduced us at our screening, which had about 35-40 students, academics and community members.

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Association for Asian Studies Western Conference Screening Recap

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Autumn Gem at Cal State Northridge

The 48th annual Western Conference of the Association for Asian Studies was held between October 22-23 at California State University, Northridge. The theme of this year’s conference was “Translating Asia: Past, Present, & Future.”

Northridge experienced a large 6.7 magnitude earthquake back in January 17, 1994. I may be mixing up my earthquakes, but I seem to recall being home in San Diego during that time. Duck and cover is something ingrained in every California’s mind, but I remember distinctly being frozen in fear in my bed as the quake went on for just under a minute. The earthquake’s epicenter was just two miles away from CSUN’s campus, and it caused $400 million dollars in damages; the rebuilding project was finally completed in 2007. As a student at Stanford in the mid-90’s, I saw how long it took for repairs to be completed; it seemed every quarter there was another building that was closed to do earthquake repairs or retrofitting.

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South Pasadena Public Library Screening Recap

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Autumn Gem in South Pasadena

Back in February, 2010, we attended a talk by filmmaker Arthur Dong at the South Pasadena Public Library prior to our film screening at UC Irvine. Following Arthur’s showing of Hollywood Chinese, we spoke with several of the organizers, including City Librarian Steve Fjeldsted, about bringing Autumn Gem to South Pasadena. We gave him a DVD and communicated with him over the next several months, ultimately setting up the screening we held on October 21, 2010.

First of all, big shout of goes to Steve, members of the South Pasadena Chinese-American Club and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, for bringing out over a hundred people! It’s always great to have large crowds come out to our screening, and it’s a bonus when they all stay to the end for the Q&A. We made some contacts as well, so there’s a good chance we’ll be coming back in 2011 for additional SoCal screenings.

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UC Santa Barbara Screening Recap

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Autumn Gem at UC Santa Barbara

Our first stop in our final SoCal tour of 2010 was at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Our screening was arranged by the East Asia Center and held at the Multicultural Center Theater. Rae and I drove down from the Bay Area; we started our drive at noon, since I had an event that I was covering at Apple. Fortunately, we encountered no traffic on the 101 and arrived at Santa Barbara in just four and a half hours.

The crowd at the MCC was mostly comprised of students and graduate students from the university. Normally, students are a bit shy to ask questions, but a couple of students were particularly inquisitive and kept asking us questions. That’s good! We love to field questions and hear what people think about the film.

The screening was co-sponsored by the East Asia Center and PIRE-ECCI (The Partnership in International Research and Education in Electron Chemistry and Catalysis at Interfaces). Thanks go out to Professor Mayfair Yang and MCC Associate Director Viviana Marsano for organizing the event.

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Women in Asia Conference Screening Recap

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Women in Asia Conference at ANU

Our final screening1 while in Australia was held at the Tenth International Women in Asia Conference at The Australian National University in the capital city of Canberra. The theme of this year’s conference was Crisis, Agency, and Change, certainly apt descriptors for the time that Qiu Jin lived at the turn of the last century. I attended a panel on Raden Kartini, Indonesia’s first feminist. Kartini lived and died around the same time as Qiu Jin. Like her Chinese counterpart, she left behind many writings (from her correspondences with European friends) in which she commented on the condition of Indonesia women. Certainly during this timeframe, there was a lot of activity in the women’s movement across the world! We had never heard about Kartini before this conference, much like non-Chinese have never heard about Qiu Jin.

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Deakin University Screening Recap

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Deakin University screening

On Tuesdsay, we took the Metlink Tram to Burwood where one of the campuses of Deakin University is located. Deakin is a relatively new university, having only been established 25 years ago. It has campuses in several locations, including Geelong, the site of the 2010 Worlds Cycling Championship happening this week. Had we more time, it would have been fun to see some of the top racers in the world duke it out — drug-free hopefully — for the rainbow colored jerseys.

In contrast to the RMIT University screening the previous day, we had a lot more staff and outside guests come to this screening. There were several friends of my parents’ friend Bella in attendance. In addition, two of Li Jing’s compatriots from the Beijing Wushu Team were present. We have enjoyed meeting and making connections with the extended family of all those who contributed to the development of Autumn Gem!

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RMIT University Screening Recap

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RMIT University screening of Autumn Gem

On Monday, we had a screening at RMIT University in downtown Melbourne. The city features a wide range of architectural styles, and the RMIT student center was definitely a unique example. One of the buildings looked like it was covered with green slime! Our screening was organized by Professor Lisa French in conjunction with her “Asian Cinemas” class. Lisa’s research interest is in gender and feminist issues in film, so we thought our film would be a good fit. The audience consisted mostly of students, as well as our friend Jen and Melinda O’Connor from 3CR Radio, who had interviewed us a few days ago.

We had our first technical glitch during this screening. The VGA connector down by the stage wouldn’t sync resolutions properly with either my MacBook Pro or iPad. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to try setting up the computer in the projection booth, so we verbally gave the Keynote presentation and played the movie via the DVD. The mantra that I’ve been saying in previous posts holds, “Always have a backup!”

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Life Matters Interview at ABC Radio

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There’s a popular public radio program in the United States called All Things Considered; in Australia, a similar program is called Life Matters on the Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio station. We were interviewed by Sydney-based program host, Richard Aedy, in the Melbourne station on Tuesday morning prior to our screening at Deakin University. This was our second radio interview, the first being at 3CR Community Radio 855 AM in Melbourne.

I think I speak for most people that hearing my own voice played back to me sounds odd. Do radio hosts, such as Richard, who have such soothing and melodic voices, feel the same way?

The actual interview will be broadcast next week, and we’ll try to get a podcast or MP3 of the interview that we can link to in this article. Until then, check out the photos from ABC Station!

Here are photos from our radio interview on the Life Matters program at ABC Radio.

Chinese Association of Victoria Screening

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Chinese Association of Victoria Screening

On Sunday night, we had a screening at the Chinese Association of Victoria. In the late afternoon, Rae and I took the train from Flinders Station to Wantirna, a suburb of Melbourne. Lillian and Rex Lai picked us up from Blackburn Station and drove us to the CAV. The association was founded back in 1982 by a group of 30-40 Chinese from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia immigrants who shared common objectives for the future of Chinese in their newly adopted country of Australia. After meeting in members’ homes and rented facilities for several years, they opened up the CAV Centre in Wantirna in 1995.

It was at the CAV Centre where we held our screening. We always enjoy showing the film to Chinese organizations such as these, because their primary membership base are often people from our parents’ generation. One of the things that I enjoy asking is how they came to the decision to leave their country of birth to immigrate to Australia or the United States. As we take Autumn Gem to additional international locations, we’ll be asking this question more and more. I find it fascinating to think how one decision changed the course of history for them and their families. As first-generation American born Chinese, we have been fortunate to have grown up in relative prosperity. The decisions we made in our early twenties pale in comparison to those our parents faced. We owe a great deal to them for their sacrifice in providing us a better tomorrow!

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3CR Community Radio 855 AM Interview

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Rae at 3CR Community Radio 855 AM in Melbourne

On Saturday, we were interviewed by 3CR Community Radio 855 AM in Melbourne. Peter Krausz and Melinda O’Connor from the Media Moves program interviewed us about Autumn Gem and our upcoming screening tonight at RMIT University. I’ve been interviewed before on radio, but this was Rae’s first time. I thought we did a pretty job, though I’ll have to listen to the podcast to confirm!

With one radio interview under our belt, we’re looking forward to our second! Tomorrow morning, we’ll be heading to the Melbourne ABC Radio station for the Life Matters show. We hear that this program is comparable to NPR’s All Things Considered!

Here are some photos from our radio interview at 3CR Community Radio 855 AM.