Santa Clara and Hayward Public Libraries Screening Recap


We’re just hours away from boarding a plane to Hong Kong for our final screenings for 2011. Last week, we had two screenings in public libraries in the San Francisco Bay Area. We showed the film at the Santa Clara City Library and the Hayward Public Library.

Though I’m writing this as I’m furiously packing, it was nice to have some local screenings for a change. The Santa Clara library is five minutes from our house and is the library that we personally go to. Both screenings had very enthusiastic crowds who posed many questions when the lights came back up. We’ve been showing a version of the film that has Chinese subtitles during the spoken English sections. We’ve been working on this version for the past several months in anticipation of our Hong Kong trip.

We’ll be scheduling more screenings at local libraries around the Bay Area in 2012. Check our screenings page for a full list or join our mailing list to get quarterly updates.

And now for some photos from Santa Clara and Hayward.


Hawai’i Pacific University Screening Recap and Photos


We had two events at Hawai’i Pacific University, part of their weekly Viewpoints Film Series. At the first screening Professor William Zanella, who teaches Chinese history and Mandarin, introduced the film and provided historical background for this critical juncture in China’s modernization.

We had a full house of students and community members at both screenings, held at the downtown HPU campus near Honolulu’s Chinatown. An interesting point brought up at the Q-and-A was the connection between the feminist movement in China and other countries. The British and U.S. women’s suffrage movements were gaining momentum at the same time that Qiu Jin and her cohorts were fighting for their rights. Also during this period was the development of a radical feminist movement in Iran. Were these women influenced and inspired by each other, tapping into a similar energy worldwide? Qiu Jin, for example, specifically mentions contemporaries like Harriet Beecher Stowe and Florence Nightingale as role models for Chinese women.

Many thanks go out to Professor Linda Lierheimer, coordinator of the Viewpoints Film Series, and her student assistant Tim for putting on a successful event. We especially enjoyed the free pizza and snacks provided by the History Department, which made for a festive atmosphere!

Here are photos from our Hawai’i Pacific University screening.

University of Hawai’i at Manoa Screening Recap and Photos


We were very excited to show our film in conjunction with the “Rethinking the Chinese Revolution: 1911 in Global Perspective” Conference at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The event was organized by the Center for Chinese Studies and Confucius Institute and held at the East-West Center on the UHM campus.

Hawaii holds a special place in relation to the 1911 Revolution since it was where Sun Yat-sen spent his formative years. He attended the Iolani School and later studied at Punahou School, whose famous alumni also includes President Obama. His education in Hawaii had a strong impact on his political ideals, and he later incorporated the American concept of “government of the people, by the people, for the people” into his revolutionary principles.

While checking into the hotel, we ran into Amy Dooling, one of the scholars in our film, who was speaking on a panel called “The Gender of Revolution.” One of the larger questions in light of the 1911 Revolution centenary is the role of women, and we were glad to see this subject addressed at the conference.

At the hotel we also saw Tamara Jacka, our contact at Australian National University, who was in town for the upcoming Association for Asian Studies Conference. It was great reconnecting with her, and we’d be seeing many of our other past screening acquaintances at the conference itself.

We had a great turnout for our screening at the Art Building Auditorium, due in large part to the extensive promotional efforts of our local contacts Leigh-Wai Doo and Marsha Joyner. We met Leigh-Wai back in 2009 at one of our first events, at the US-China Peoples Friendship Association National Conference in San Francisco. Leigh-Wai is involved in several organizations including the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foundation, Palolo Chinese Home, and United Chinese Society. Besides being a pillar of the Chinese community in Hawaii, his grandfather was an early supporter of Sun Yat-sen and one of the 72 National Martyrs of Revolutionary China.

Marsha Joyner came across our film while researching Chinese women revolutionaries. A life-long civil rights activist and former president of The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition in Hawaii, she was initially drawn by the issue of footbinding and Sun Yat-sen’s efforts to bring women into the political process. She’s been a fantastic supporter of the film and has helped us get involved in many of the centenary events in the area.

Many thanks also to Frederick Lau, Director of the Center for Chinese Studies, Cynthia Ning, Director of the Confucius Institute, Professor Shana Brown from the History Department who was our initial contact, and CCS coordinators Daniel Tschudi and Jialin Sun for hosting us. We had a fantastic time participating in the conference, which was an excellent lead-in to the upcoming Association for Asian Studies event.

Here are photos from our University of Hawai’i at Manoa screening.

UC Riverside Screening Recap


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 Arrizón, 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.

Deakin University Screening Recap


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!

Read the rest of this post and see the photos »

RMIT University Screening Recap


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!”

Read the rest of this post and see the photos »

Life Matters Interview at ABC Radio


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.

Stony Brook University Screening Recap


Stony Brook University screening of Autumn Gem

The Spring 2010 Autumn Gem Tour featured 13 screenings in 18 days. Our final stop before returning to the Bay Area was at State University of New York at Stony Brook on Long Island. Saying goodbye to my relatives in New Jersey, we took an early morning train to New York’s Penn Station. We didn’t head immediately to Long Island, as I had to make a quick jaunt over to the All Things Digital “East Coast Office” in Midtown. The differences between the two cities of Boston and New York were readily apparent as we walked between the towering skyscrapers. Boston had more of an old-time colonial and working class feel to it, whereas New York had a more hustle and bustle, white-collar feel. I can understand how intense a rivalry can develop between these two cities (esp. in sports); the variations here are more apparent than those between Northern California and Southern California cities.

We spent just an hour inside the News Corp. building before leaving to return back to Penn Station for our Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train ride. I didn’t realize the News Corp. building had a subway stop in the basement — convenient! I’m very fortunate that I’m able to work remotely while on tour. We couldn’t have produced Autumn Gem without having the flexibility to work virtually anywhere, be it in China, Las Vegas or the East Coast. My motto is “Have Internet, will travel!”

Read the rest of this post and view the photos »

Brookdale Community College Screening Recap


Brookdale Community College

The previous day’s double feature, coupled with the lengthy and hectic travel to get to New Jersey, left us pretty tired. But, we were now on the home stretch and nothing would get in the way of our completing this tour! Fortunately, the next screening at Brookdale Community College was extremely well organized. Linda Wang and her students in the Brookdale Asia Society were very proactive in getting the word out to students and the outside community. We also got great publicity from the World Journal and from my uncle’s friends and colleagues. As a result of their efforts, we saw a large crowd of about 120-130 people at the screening. Asia Society even brought a popcorn maker, which brought an authentic movie viewing experience to the evening!

The night kicked off with an overview of Chinese history during the time of Qiu Jin by Michelle, a member of Brookdale Asia Society. This helped set the stage for our film, which was shown on dual projector screens in the room.

Read the rest of this post and view the photos »

Montclair State University


Autumn Gem at Montclair State University

A short while after our first East Coast tour, we got an email from Montclair State University asking us if we would like to screen the film. It was this email and screening around which we scheduled our Spring 2010 tour. By locking in the date early on, we were able to plan all the stops before and after. For instance, knowing that we didn’t have to be in New Jersey until the sixth of April, we were able to schedule the Southwest and Maryland/Massachusetts portions of the tour. There’s a saying about beginning with the end in mind, and we followed that to a hilt!

After lunch at Kean University, Rae and I hopped back into our rental car and drove further up the highway to Montclair. As with the past few days, the weather was unusually warm for this time of year on the East Coast, and we saw many people wearing what amounted to summer clothes. On the day we left to return home to the Bay Area, the weather suddenly went from 80 degrees to 50-60 degrees! I doubt many of them are wearing t-shirts and shorts now!

Before the screening, Professor Roberta Friedman told us that we would be interviewed at the DuMont Television Station. We felt like television or movie stars while sitting in the studio, which had an uncanny resemblance to a talk show set. I wish we had a setup like this when we were filming our interior scenes! As we stated in our presentation, we built a set in our garage for the film. Because space was so cramped inside the garage, we could only film from the garage-door side. To get around this limitation, we rearranged the furniture and hung up different scroll paintings on the walls. And ta da! We had a “different” room! It would have been a whole lot better, however, if we had access to a setup like in DuMont!

Read the rest of this post and view the photos »