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!

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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!

UC Irvine Screening Recap

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Autumn Gem Screening at UC Irvine

Last week, Rae and I traveled down to Southern California for a screening at UC Irvine. Professor Hu Ying, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages & Literature, was one of our three academic interview subjects in Autumn Gem. We showed the film at Connecticut College and Brown University during our October 2009 tour, so we were excited to complete our scholarly tour!

We drove down a few days before to meet up with filmmaker Arthur Dong, who screened his latest documentary Hollywood Chinese at the South Pasadena Library on Thursday. Meeting with him on Saturday at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, we discussed methods to better market the film to our core audience of educational institutions and Chinese/women’s organizations.

On Tuesday, we returned to UC Irvine for the first time since we interviewed Professor Hu Ying in May, 2008. It certainly doesn’t feel like nearly two years have passed! We attended her Gender in Chinese Poetry class and listened to three of her students presenting their interpretations of Qiu Jin’s poems. Although the English translations were different, I could immediately identify some of the ones we used in Autumn Gem. Following lunch at the University Club, Rae and I retired to the spacious Student Center to get some work done before the screening. A few hours later, we headed to the McCormick Theater in the new Humanities Center building.

Read the rest of the post and see the photos »

Li Jing in China Daily News

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Li Jing, the actress who plays Qiu Jin in Autumn Gem, was featured this past weekend in the Southern California edition of the China Daily News in an article titled, “Hollywood actress, Li Jing, is Qiu Jin, China’s Celebrated Hero.”

ZhongGuoDailyNews-071109(B2)

華裔武打女星李靜扮演秋瑾一角 期讓更多主流人士認識秋瑾
http://news.sina.com 2009年07月12日 00:09 中國日報
(記者蔡宜礽╱洛杉磯縣報導)中國武打女星李靜擔任一紀錄片「秋瑾」中的女主角,希望讓更多西方的主流人士了解秋瑾,這位奇女子的英勇事跡。

「秋瑾」一片是由一對華裔曹氏夫妻集資而拍攝而成的,當初曹氏夫婦看到秋瑾的故事,相當感動,因此有了將「秋瑾」拍攝成紀錄片的想法,但礙於經費有限,所有的拍攝場景都是在很克難的情形之下完成,而當中飾演秋瑾的演員,名為李靜,從小在中國北京的武術學院學功夫,是中國知名的功夫明星李連杰的學妹。李靜表示,希望能透過不同的管道,讓更多人看到「秋瑾」這部紀錄片,進而有興趣,將它改拍成電影,讓更多人知道秋瑾32年短暫而燦爛的一生。

李靜表示,到美國約有十年之久,最早在加州柏克萊大學進行武術教學,她認為弘揚中國的武術,透過教學的效果最大,一個班級幾十個人,畢業之後都可以成為推廣中國武術的種子。後來大約五年前,李靜因緣際會進入好萊塢電影圈發展,華裔女子一人支身在電影圈闖蕩已經很不容易,更何況是在武打的領域,艱辛可想而知。

身為武打演員的李靜表示,拍攝武打片受傷是免不了的,不過在好萊塢拍片,能夠透過大量的彩排,減少受傷的機會。另外李靜還表示,由於武打片需要的人力、場景的工程都較為浩大,這也是為什麼武打片的拍片成本都較龐大的原因。

如今民衆常常可以在各大好萊塢的電影中,看到李靜的武打身影,例如尖峰時刻三、東京甩尾、千機變等電影作品,最近李靜才剛殺青一部名為「The Last Air Bender」的好萊塢電影。李靜的官方網站為www.jingaction.com。

Until we get a full translation of the article, you can read this automated translation from Google.

For those in the LA-area, we’ll be down in Pasadena on August 20 for a screening at the Pacific Asia Museum. Free for members, included with museum admission for non-members. RSVP to (626) 449-2742 ext. 31

Wushu ala Final Cut

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This afternoon, we edited a scene from our filming of the Chinese Women’s Army at Tilden Park in Berkeley. Li Jing, who plays Qiu Jin in the documentary, is running through a hand form.

The timeline from a wushu scene from the film

Nine takes were used to construct this scene. One take was a wide shot which we use to start the sequence. Mixed throughout are eight closeup shots detailing the action as Li Jing goes from one move to the next. Add in a little wind sound, and we’ve got ourselves a nice 34-second clip!

There’s a saying that a film is really created in the editing room. After having spent several months living in Final Cut, Rae and I certainly agree with that statement!