Hong Kong Feature Film on Qiu Jin to be Released


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 Santa Cruz Screening Recap


Rae at UC Santa Cruz

First off, apologies for the tardiness in getting this entry up. After the UC Irvine screening, I realized that I never wrote about the UC Santa Cruz showing that was held on January 25, 2010. This happened during the big winter storms here in the Bay Area. Fortunately, when we drove down to Santa Cruz, it wasn’t raining too much; it helped that we took Highway 17 when it wasn’t busy with commuter traffic. I’ve driven in that once or twice, and it’s not fun when there’s no rain, let alone a torrential downpour!

Department of History Professor, Gail Hershatter, greeted us when we arrive at the University. We had dinner with several of her graduate students before heading over to Merrill College Room 102. Due to the weather, Rae and I weren’t sure how many people would come, but we were pleasantly surprised to have over thirty students and faculty members present.

At the time of this writing, we’re getting ready to embark on our two and a half week tour to Las Vegas, Arizona, Maryland, Boston, New Jersey and New York. I’ve reread my packing strategy and packing recap posts from our October 2009 tour, and I’ve been making the necessary adjustments to get our load down to just two carry-on items for the entire trip. I’ll have a full post about this before we leave. In the meantime, here are a few photos from our UC Santa Cruz screening.

Here are photos from our screening at UC Santa Cruz.

American Association of University Women Screening Recap


Adam and Rae with Qiu Jin's great-grandnephew!

This past Saturday, we screened Autumn Gem at the Willow Glen Branch Library in San Jose. The event was sponsored by the local chapter of the American Association of University Women, an organization dedicated to advancing “equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.” Marilyn, Linda, Mary, and the rest of the AAUW staff did an excellent job advertising the event. We filled up the Community Room to capacity with 63 people! Also in attendance was Kien-Wei, our friend who played one of the Qing soldiers in the film.

During the question and answer session, a question was asked about the whereabouts of Qiu Jin’s descendants. I mentioned that we’ve tried to locate Qiu Jin’s granddaughter, but have not yet been successful. “You just can’t enter Qiu Jin’s Granddaughter” in Google or Facebook and hope to get the address!” Imagine our surprise near the end of the Q&A when a Chinese gentleman in the front row raised his hand and stated that he was the great grandnephew of Qiu Jin! Charles then explained that he was very moved and honored watching our documentary. Suffice it to say, we were honored to have him at our screening!

Read the rest of this post and view the photos »

Stanford University Screening Recap and Photos


Autumn Gem at Stanford University

With over a month to prepare for our Stanford screening tonight, we made sure we got the word out about the film through as many channels as possible. The Center for East Asian Studies was the co-sponsor for the event, and they helped flyer the campus, email various mailing lists, and list the screening on Stanford’s Events web site. Stefan from the Palo Alto Independent Films Group brought a sizeable contingent from his Meetup group to the showing. Another Meetup group brought a large group of Asian professionals. This week’s article in the Palo Alto Weekly also produced a big draw tonight. By my estimations, there were over 150 people of all ages at tonight’s screening of Autumn Gem. The lower portion of Cubberley was so packed it reminded me when I was a frosh taking Humanities in the very same auditorium! Thanks to everyone who came out to see our film!

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City College Screening Recap and Photos


We had a couple of firsts at our Autumn Gem screening at City College of San Francisco yesterday. The place was packed, thanks to the combined efforts of the Asian Studies, Asian American Studies, Cinema and Women’s Studies Departments; we had over 90 people in attendance. The second first is one that I’m not all that proud about; we had our first technical mishap during the screening of the film!

Normally, we play the movie off of Rae’s MacBook Pro. Everything was going fine until the midway point in the film when the video completely froze and the audio started repeating! QuickTime X was completely unresponsive and force quitting (command-option-escape) would not work. Fortunately, I had also brought my own MacBook Pro as a backup for this very situation. While Rae answered a few questions from the crowd, I quickly got my MBP set up with the projector and sound system. The rest of the screening went off without any major issues. Phew!

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Packing Recap


Now that our tour is over, we’ve identified some things we would have changed regarding our packing strategy (see photo to right). We often felt like we were a rock band traveling the country during this tour. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any roadies to help carry our gear! So, because it’s just the two of us, we have to be extra vigilant and ruthless with regards to what we bring with us.

Packing - What We Brought

If you recall from our previous post, Rae carried our clothes and toiletries in her REI Traverse backpack, and I carried all the computers, mobile Internet, camera flash, and power adapters in a Rickshaw Bagworks Medium Commuter Messenger Bag. We took turns dragging around a single Pelican 1510 Carry-On Case that contained 300 DVDs, assorted cables, papers, and my 5D Mark II camera. So, what worked and what didn’t?

For starters, we would try to leave the Pelican at home next time. While ultra-durable and somewhat capacious, it’s also quite heavy and bulky to travel with. When fully loaded, the 1510 tired one’s arm after prolonged periods. Similarly, the Rickshaw bag held a surprising amount of gear, but it too became very heavy to wear over time, even with the critical cross strap (used to distribute the weight more evenly on my body). For the next trip, I think I would try to load everything into my LowePro CompuTrekker AW camera/laptop backpack. I would have to reduce the number of DVDs that we bring with us, but at least 120-140 would fit comfortably along with one computer, my camera, flash, cables, modem and accessories.

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University of Pennsylvania Screening Recap and Photos


Rae and Adam outside the Annenberg Center at UPenn.

Our last stop was at the University of Pennsylvania. Following the screening at the Evergreen Senior Club in Delaware, Uncle Don drove us to Philadelphia. World Series fever was in the air, as we saw many banners for the Phillies, as well as people sporting Phillies jackets, hats and shirts.

We had an intimate screening, similar to our first stop on this tour in Madison, Wisconsin. Despite the small size, the audience was very enthusiastic about the film; I bet the cold weather and World Series fever contributed to the small showing; next time, we’ll mobilize and get those Women’s Studies and Chinese Literature professors to require their students to watch the film! Rae and I have definitely taken notes on how to get more people in attendance at our screenings; we’ll be testing out our theories in the ones coming up at Stanford (November 30) and Berkeley (December 3).

Among the audience members was my Stanford friend, Andreea. The two of us were the Theme Associates in La Maison Fran├žaise our senior year. I have fond memories working with her on in-house classes, wine and cheese nights, and movie nights at the French House. Good times those were back in 1996-1997! Andreea is now an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the university. Her field of research is in Several Complex Variables, which is one complex variable too much for me!

On this tour, we’ve had all sorts of cuisine — Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Kosher, East Coast Seafood, Afghan, American, Indian, Farmer’s Market, Dorm Food, Mediterranean, Chicago-style Pizza, New York Street Food and Vietnamese — but not African. Following the screening, Uncle Don, Andreea, Rae and I had dinner at Abyssinia, an Ethiopian Restaurant near the UPenn campus. Though I really wanted to get a Philly Cheese Steak from some street vendor, the lure of injera and doro wot was too hard to pass up!

And with the UPenn screening, we were done! 17 tour stops in 25 days! Rae and I were supremely tired but very happy with the outcome of our tour. Recap of the entire experience to come soon, but in the meantime, some photos from UPenn!