Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center Screening Recap and Photos

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Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center - 885 Washington Street

Our third week on tour concluded with a screening at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center in Boston, Massachusetts. The BCNC is celebrating their 40th anniversary of serving the Chinatown community this year, and the organization is having a celebration gala in a couple of weeks on Saturday, November 7, 2009 at the center’s two buildings at 885 Washington Street and 38 Ash Street. When Rae and I arrived, we initially went to the Washington address and were confused when we couldn’t find anyone who knew about the screening. Fortunately, a passerby told us to go across the street to the other BCNC location. Apologies to anyone who came to the screening who first went to the Washington address!

After setting up the projector and tinkering with the image and color settings, we were ready to go around 12:40. Following an introduction by Carmen Chan from the BCNC, Rae and I gave our 10-minute presentation before starting the film. We had to duck out during the screening to be interviewed by a reporter from the World Journal. We were also interviewed by the Sing Tao Daily after the screening. We’ll try to pick up copies of the newspaper when we’re in New York tomorrow.

We had our most spirited discussion during the Q&A session. There was considerable debate among the attendees about the role of feminism versus nationalism in Qiu Jin’s life. Which was more important of the two? Could the two exist separately or were they intricately entwined within each other. This is the question that scholars have been asking for years about Qiu Jin, and there is no right or wrong answer; it’s up to interpretation and one’s own opinion! It was great to see the guests debating each other during the Q&A; it shows that people are reacting to the film! Here’s a video from the discussion:

In addition there was one scholar in the room who pointed out some potential mistakes in the film that we may want to address in a future screening (and DVD) version of Autumn Gem.

Following the screening, we had a late lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant with my high school buddy, David, and his friends, Jessica, Dawn and Arnold. Aside from my friend Rod in Denver, David is the person whom I’ve known the longest — since elementary school! We reminisced about Spreckels, Country Day, San Diego, playing pool, and about old friends now in high places. I’ve said it many times on this blog, but one of the great benefits of taking Autumn Gem on tour is that we’ve been able to see so many of our friends and relatives. That alone is worth the price of admission!

After lunch, Rae and I braved hard rain and strong winds over nearly five and a half hours as we drove back to New Jersey from Boston. We’re now on the homestretch for this tour, with three more screenings on the docket. We’ve added another screening in Delaware at the Chinese American Community Center in Hockessin on Wednesday. On Monday, we’ll be spending our free day in New York City. Any ideas on what to visit?

Here are photos from the screening at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center. Additional photos are provided by Anh Ðào Kolbe.

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University of Massachusetts, Boston Screening Recap and Photos

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UMass Boston Autumn Gem

On Friday, we had a great time at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where we participated in several seminars before our screening of Autumn Gem at 4:00 pm.

At most of the screenings on this trip, we don’t have too much time to wander around the school and talk with the students. We have typically arrived at the venue an hour before the screening in order to test the projector, screen and speakers. Following the screenings, we return to the road to reach the next venue. This is why Rae says, “It feels like we’re in a band… minus the roadies!” At UMass Boston, however, we had scheduled two additional events before the screening, giving us time to connect with the faculty and students. Kudos go to Shirley Tang, Professor of Asian American Studies and American Studies at UMass Boston, for organizing these extra events. It’s something that we’ll definitely suggest to other schools that we show Autumn Gem at in the future.

At noon, Rae and I conducted a martial arts demonstration at the Campus Center. Rae performed her mantis form and taught wushu basics, whereas I went through the first few steps of the Tai Chi 24 form. Here’s a video of the two of us performing and teaching, along with student reactions following the workshop:

Afterwards, we visited a core set of Asian American Studies students and talked about our background and how we got to where we are today. These students had all completed their own short films, many of which tackled very personal topics. I hope that Rae and I were able to inspire the students to continue their media projects and create their own feature-length documentaries on the subjects they care deeply about! Shirley was saying that the program encourages students to create media more than they consume media; I heartedly agree with that!

The screening was well received, with over 65 people in attendance. Like at Whitewater, the room had dual projectors, so everyone in the long classroom had a good view of the film. The crowd asked some good questions that were well-documented by Professor Peter Kiang; we’ll try to get these up in the future (and add to our growing FAQ list).

Today, we have a final screening in Massachusetts at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center; after that, we’ll be returning to New Jersey for the final leg of our four-week trip.

Here are photos from the U-Mass Boston screening.