Category Archives: Books

Watch Variety Studio Interview: Amy Tan Reflects on Creative Collaboration for ‘Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir’

“Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir” is an Official Selection of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and will premiere on February 2nd.  Producer Karen Pritzker and author and subject of the film Amy Tan discussed the chance circumstances that led to the film’s creation.

Author Amy Tan in a still from the documentary feature Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir. The film was made by James Redford, son of cinema legend Robert, who died from cancer before it was finished. Photo: Courtesy of KPJR Films

At Sundance Film Festival’s Variety studio presented by AT&T TV, Pritzker and Tan, author of the beloved “The Joy Luck Club” and lead singer in the literary rock garage band The Rock Bottom Remainders, remembered the doc’s late director and reflected on its unique cinematography.

Tan said the documentary , which will appear on “American Masters,” didn’t initially appeal to her. It was director James Redford, who died last October at the age of 58 from cancer, who had to convince her to agree to the film.

Tan takes a moment to herself in a scene from the documentary feature Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir. Photo: Courtesy of KPJR Films

“I was trying to wind down my public life and become a private person and not do things anymore, let alone a whole documentary so but it’s testament to how persuasive Jamie is without appearing to be persuasive,” Tan said. “It was a lot about trust … the more we talked I realized that this was an amazing opportunity already to talk to somebody about very deeply personal matters and I don’t think I could have done that with very many other people, certainly not other filmmakers.”

Amy Tan and her mother, Daisy, in a still from the documentary Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir. Photo: Courtesy of Jim McHugh

Amy Tan has firmly established herself as one of America’s most respected literary voices. Born to Chinese immigrant parents, it would be decades before the author of The Joy Luck Club would fully understand the inherited trauma rooted in the legacies of women who survived the Chinese tradition of concubinage.

A still from the documentary feature Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir. Photo: Courtesy of KPJR Films
Tan (left) and her mother in a still from the documentary Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir. Photo: Courtesy of Robert Foothorap

In 1989, Amy Tan’s first novel, The Joy Luck Club, was published to great commercial and critical success. With the blockbuster film adaption that followed as well as additional best-selling novels, librettos, short stories and memoirs, Ms. Tan has firmly established herself as one of the most prominent and respected American literary voices working today. Born to Chinese immigrant parents into 1950’s America, it would be decades before Ms. Tan would come to fully understand how her mother’s battle with suicidal tendencies was rooted in a legacy of suffering common to women who survived the ancient Chinese tradition of concubinage. This very legacy, however, has provided Ms. Tan an inexhaustible well of inspiration from which to work her literary magic. An interweaving of archival imagery, artful animation and live performance from Ms. Tan form the basis for this documentary that allows the audience to journey through Ms. Tan’s life and career in vivid, living colors.

Amy Tan and her mother. Photo: Courtesy of Amy Tan

This, the late James Redford’s final film, epitomizes his filmmaking talent, treading with great empathy into the life story of another and leaving telltale signs of a directorial vision both crystalline and warm. Perfectly implementing the generative listening Tan highlights so deliberately, Redford is responsive and engaged in this dimensional portrait of one of the most important writers in contemporary fiction. Produced by Karen Pritzker. 

Amy Tan (left) and her family. Photo: Courtesy of Amy Tan

See the film: 

TUES, FEB. 2ND, 3PM PT / 4PM MT / 6PM ET: SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL ONLINE WORLD PREMIERE

Tickets

TUES, FEB. 2ND, 7:45PM PT – SATELLITE DRIVE-IN SCREENING AT FORT MASON CENTER WITH ROXIE THEATER, SAN FRANCISCO

Tickets

WED, FEB. 3RD, 7:00AM PT (24-HOUR WINDOW) – SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL ONLINE SECOND SCREENING

Tickets

Variety Studio presented by AT&T TV at Sundance Film Festival

Amy Tan: An Unintended Memoir Film Animation by Xaviera López

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

James Redford, director of Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

James Redford 1962 – 2020

Always a voice for the vulnerable, James spent a lifetime leading with kindness and amplifying solutions that provide hope for generations to come.

James Redford was an award-winning director, writer, producer for film and television. In collaboration with Karen Pritzker, he formed KPJR FILMS to produce groundbreaking social issue documentaries that impact change in communities around the world, including The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, Paper Tigers, Resilience: The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope, Playing For Keeps, and Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir.

He and his father, Robert Redford, co-founded The Redford Center, a non-profit media entity that engages people through inspiring stories that galvanize environmental action. Among many of its functions, the center’s documentary film projects include Watershed, Fighting Goliath, and The Art of Activism, as well as HBO films HAPPENING: A Clean Energy Revolution, Toxic Hot Seat, Mann v. Ford, and The Kindness of Strangers.

James received the 2016 Distinguished Service and Excellence in Film Award and 2016 Partnership with Children Anne Vanderbilt Award. His other awards include the 2014 Wild Care Environmental Award and in 2015, he was named a filmmaker envoy for USC/US State Department’s American Film Showcase as well as inducted into the leadership circle for the United Nation’s second annual Media for Social Impact Summit.

James was committed to storytelling and passionate about his filmmaking. Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir is his last completed film and shows him at the height of his powers.

Amy Tan: An Unintended Memoir Film Animation by Xaviera López

PRODUCER’S STATEMENT

“I had suggested to Jamie that we interview his friend, Amy Tan, for our film Playing for Keeps about the need for adults to cultivate play and fun into their lives. I had seen Amy Tan perform as part of the Rock Bottom Remainders, a band comprised of best-selling authors, who I imagined each spent many days alone in their rooms staring at a blank computer screen. Amy’s performance as the lead singer was so much the opposite of the introspective and serious writer I had encountered through her beautiful books.

Jamie’s interview was brilliant. Not only did Amy say everything I hoped she would say about the need for play, but her discussions about how she activated so many parts of her imagination and creativity was a revelation. At that moment, Jamie and I realized that we had to make a film about Amy Tan. Jamie’s thoughtful, comfortable and curious style of interviewing unearthed so many layers of her character. As he was struggling with his own mortality and failing health, he directed this film that literally makes me cry each time I view it. We see Amy’s bravery and humanity in dealing with the many losses, traumas, and joys that she has faced, while still managing to emerge from her personal struggles with work that speaks to everyone and has been healing for her to produce.

I am so glad to be able to share this film with the world and am only sorry that Jamie can’t share the experience of seeing the world’s reaction.” – Karen Pritzker

The WNET Group’s American Masters Pictures Brings Documentaries on Rita Moreno, Amy Tan, Alvin Ailey and Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio to 2021 Sundance Film Festival 

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

“Crazy Rich Asians” in Theaters August 15

Jon M. Chu (“Now You See Me 2”) directed the contemporary romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians,” based on the acclaimed worldwide bestseller by Kevin Kwan.

The story follows New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. Not only is he the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families, but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh) taking aim. It soon becomes clear that the only thing crazier than love is family, in this funny and romantic story sure to ring true for audiences everywhere.

“Crazy Rich Asians” features an international cast of stars, led by Constance Wu (“Fresh Off the Boat”), Gemma Chan (“Humans”), Lisa Lu (“2012”), and Awkwafina (“Ocean’s 8,” “Neighbors 2”), with Ken Jeong (the “Hangover” films”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”). The large starring ensemble also includes Henry Golding, making his feature film debut, Sonoya Mizuno (“La La Land”), Chris Pang (“Marco Polo”), Jimmy O. Yang (“Silicon Valley”), comedian Ronny Chieng (“The Daily Show”), Remy Hii (“Marco Polo”), and Nico Santos (“Superstore”).

Color Force’s Nina Jacobson (“The Hunger Games” films) and Brad Simpson (“World War Z”), and Ivanhoe Pictures’ John Penotti (“Hell or High Water”) produced the film, with executive producers Tim Coddington, Kevin Kwan, Robert Friedland, and Sidney Kimmel. The screenplay is by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim, based on the novel Crazy Rich Asians, by Kwan. The creative filmmaking team included director of photography Vanja Černjul (“Marco Polo”), production designer Nelson Coates (“Fifty Shades Darker”), costume designer Mary Vogt (“Kong: Skull Island”) and editor Myron Kerstein (“Going in Style”). The music was composed by Brian Tyler (“Avengers: Age of Ultron”). “Crazy Rich Asians” was filmed entirely on location in Singapore and Malaysia. It is set for release on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with SK Global and Starlight Culture, a Color Force/Ivanhoe Pictures/Electric Somewhere Production, a Jon M. Chu Film, “Crazy Rich Asians.” The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company. It is rated PG-13.

 

Taimak Celebrates Release of Autobiography with National Tour of Book Signings and Screenings of ‘The Last Dragon’; in Detroit today at The Maple Theater

ldtPasadena based Incorgnito Publishing Press is presenting a national tour screening of the cult classic The Last Dragon with personal appearances by the movie’s co-star Taimak  Guarriello. The tour includes the launch of Taimak’s autobiography, Taimak, The Last Dragon.

TAIMAK BIOYou can meet Taimak today in Detroit at The Maple Theater, 4135 West Maple Road, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan  48301. A Q & A with Taimak will follow each screening.

Bruce-Leroy-Poster

 1st Appearance: 5:00PM (Movie @ 6:00PM) / 2nd Appearance: 7:45PM (Movie @ 8:45PM)

“The Glow” ticket with VIP status includes:

• Your Movie Ticket

• FREE copy of Taimak, The Last Dragon hardcover – $25 value

• PLUS Meet & Greet and Photo Opp with Taimak

• Popcorn eating Chopsticks

NOTE: Please make certain you are at the event by 5:00pm for the first showing and by 7:45pm for the second showing. The Meet & Greet has a limited time availability before the movie begins!*

The Glow tickets are limited by event and sell out so reserve them now! They may be gone before the performance night!! General Tickets without the glow benefits on sale via the Maple Theater website.

Note: VIP & General tickets will also be on sale at the Maple Theater if available.

The Last Dragon is a cult martial arts film originated by Motown legend, Berry Gordy. The film debuted in 1985 and though critically not well received, it was a financial success, grossing over $33 million, making it the highest grossing martial arts film of the time. The film pays tribute to marital arts legend Bruce Lee. Combining pulsating music, cutting-edge dancing and the best in non-stop action, producer Berry Gordy’s cult favorite features an amazing Motown soundtrack, including music by Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Vanity, and DeBarge performing “Rhythm of the Night.” Directed by Michael Schultz.  Prince protege Vanity, Taimak’s co-star, recently passed away from kidney failure, the result of drug abuse in her early years.

In The Last Dragon, a martial arts student (Taimak) on a quest to obtain the elusive all-powerful force known as “The Glow” must battle the evil, self-proclaimed Shogun of Harlem—a kung fu warrior known as Sho’nuff (Julius J. Carry III)—and rescue a beautiful singer (Vanity) from an obsessed record promoter.

The Last Dragon was released on Blu Ray by Sony in August of 2015 to celebrate the 30 th anniversary of the film. It has since been screened to sold-out audiences in select cities and remains a favorite to decades of inspired fans. The film launched Taimak onto the Hollywood scene and introduced a few notable actors including Chazz Palminteri and William H. Macy.

This eighties cult classic film is a unique blend of action, comedy, romance, fantasy, martial arts philosophies and Motown music. Featuring the unforgettable larger-than-life villain “Sho’nuff”, the meanest, prettiest, baddest mofo, lowdown around town! It’s also an underdog story that resonates with anybody who’s ever felt bullied, underestimated or a little different. From helping people to understand it’s ok to be different or teaching the power of believing in yourself, Berry Gordy’s ‘The Last Dragon’ is an inspirational action film with a deeper message that connects with generations of fans. Taimak Official Website.

Cool Video Clips: Cult Classic Video Review | Remastered Movie Trailer

Taimak now

About the Actor/Author – Taimak is a versatile actor, director and writer as well as a nationally recognized marital arts expert. At the age of eighteen, he won the New York State Kickboxing Championship and was inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2010. He has worked as choreographer with such notables as Debbie Allen, Jaime King, Madonna, former rock band Bush, and many others. He has guest starred on several national television shows including “A Different World,” “Alley McBeal,” “Red Shoes Diaries” and “Malcolm and Eddie.” His stage appearances include the highly successful Roadhouse the Comedy at the Barrow Street Theater in New York City and in the national tour of Cheaters. He is making his directorial debut with a film noir detective story titled, “I’ve Seen Things” (in pre-production).

When asked why he chose to write his autobiography now Taimak replied, “I wrote the book in part because my fans thought I left them prematurely and I wanted to explain. And, because I wanted to give people of all backgrounds, something inspiring that would help them through their journey of life”.

The tour kicked off in Seattle at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) on April 1st and continues throughout 2016. A complete listing of cities can be found at here.

About Incorgnito – Incorgnito Publishing Press is a small indie press that launched in January of 2015. The first two volumes of their 8 volume series, Chronicles of Ara, is in development with Ovation Television for an 8-hour miniseries.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

THE LAST DRAGON
THE LAST DRAGON

Full disclosure. My big screen debut was in The Last Dragon as a student in Bruce Leroy’s dojo and it was wonderful to reconnect with Taimak at a recent screening of Black Salt presented by the Urban Action Showcase at HBO in New York. Check back for my in-depth interview with Taimak.

Taimak, Lia Chang and Kinyumba Mutakabbir attend The Urban Action Showcase & Expo's premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Taimak, Lia Chang and Kinyumba Mutakabbir attend The Urban Action Showcase & Expo’s premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

BLACK SALT Premiere and UASE Diversity in Action Panel Discussion featuring Warrington Hudlin, Lia Chang, Taimak, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Mike Hodge, Kelly Edwards, Bobby Samuels and Vincent Lyn 

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

EW.com: See exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from The Official Making of Big Trouble in Little China

Photo: Drew Struzan
Photo: Drew Struzan

When it was released three decades ago, John Carpenter’s modern Western-cum-martial arts epic Big Trouble in Little China was greeted by a tepid reception at the box office and often negative reviews (Roger Ebert began his assessment of the film with the words “It seems like a great idea” and then concluded it was not). But, like Carpenter’s 1982 horror film The Thing, this tale of a befuddled truck driver (Kurt Russell), his much more competent partner (Dennis Dun) and the monster-filled fantasia they encounter beneath the streets of San Francisco has been positively reassessed over time and is now regarded as a cult classic.

This August, BOOM! Studios is marking the 30th anniversary of the movie by publishing The Official Making of Big Trouble in Little China, which includes hundreds of never-before-seen photos and exclusive interviews with cast and crew members.

Click here to read the interview with authors Tara Bennett and Paul Terry, who talk about their book and their love for Carpenter’s weird, wonderful creation.

Video: HIDE AND SEEK Starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits to Screen in 2016 Katra Film Series in New York on May 14; Complete Lineup
BLACK SALT Premiere and UASE Diversity in Action Panel Discussion featuring Warrington Hudlin, Lia Chang, Taimak, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Mike Hodge, Kelly Edwards, Bobby Samuels and Vincent Lyn
Up Close and Personal with Actor Peter Kwong 
Photos: Inside HorrorHound and Son of Monsterpalooza with ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ stars Peter Kwong, James Hong and James Pax 
Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee ‪
lookitseugeneabano.wordpress.com: Big Trouble in Little China Revisited- Picture Heavy
Funko to Release Big Trouble in Little China Pop! and ReAction Figures

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.