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.

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Torrance Public Library Screening Recap

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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

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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 Arriz√≥n, 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.

Southern Methodist University Screening Recap

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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.

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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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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.