Category Archives: Film Festivals

Video- BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang – An Academy Museum Tribute to Big Trouble in Little China’s James Hong w/ Arthur Dong, Dennis Dun, Peter Kwong

Updated: 

The eleventh episode of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, executive produced and hosted by Lia, aired on November 20 at 6:30 pm (EST) on FIOS 34, RCN 83, and Spectrum 56/1996. If you missed the episode, it is archived on the BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang youtube channel or click below.

 

Lia Chang attends the screening of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and special tribute to James Hong on November 5, 2022.  Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation

On this edition of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, you’ll meet prolific Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong who has curated a terrific film series presented by The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Hollywood Chinese: The First 100 Years.

Lia Chang and Arthur Dong at the reception and screening of “Hollywood Chinese” Nov. 4, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Tami Chang

On the opening weekend of the series, I flew to LA for to celebrate the 15th anniversary since the release of Arthur Dong’s Hollywood Chinese documentary and finally got my signed copy of Arthur’s book, Hollywood  Chinese:The Chinese in American Feature Films. You can get your copy here.

Arthur Dong and Lia Chang at the reception and screening of “Hollywood Chinese” Nov. 4, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Tami Chang

Here’s a recap of my 24 hours in LA. 
Nov. 4 at 3:30 p.m. A late lunch at Petit Trois, Ludo Lefebvre’s L.A. Bistro with Jeanne Sakata and her husband, Timothy Patterson.

Petit Trois

We noshed on the heartiest French Onion Soup I’ve ever had made with veal broth, gruyère and emmental cheeses, carmelized onions and croutons, and a Belgian Endive Salad (walnut, avocado, anchovy, formaggio di fossa, lemon zest, sherry vinaigrette).

Lia Chang, Timothy Patterson and Jeanne Sakata at Petit Trois.

6:00pm Ted Mann Theater at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, 6067 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Lia Chang
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Lia Chang

My first visit to the Academy Museum began with a opening night reception for the film series Hollywood Chinese: The First 100 Years, followed by a screening of Hollywood Chinese (2007) and a post-screening conversation with the film’s director and series guest programmer Arthur Dong, moderated by Academy Museum Director and President Jacqueline Stewart.

Lia Chang at the reception and screening of “Hollywood Chinese” Nov. 4, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation

Opening night reception of Hollywood Chinese at the Academy Museum on November 4, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Jacqueline Stewart, Arthur Dong at the opening night reception and screening of “Hollywood Chinese” on Nov. 4, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Lia Chang
Jacqueline Stewart, Ross Lipman, Arthur Dong, Lia Chang at the opening night reception and screening of “Hollywood Chinese” on Nov. 4, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Tami Chang
Tami Chang, Buck Gee, Arthur Dong, Lia Chang, Young Gee, Jean Rosenblatt Sem Gee, Zand Gee at the reception and screening of “Hollywood Chinese” on Nov. 4, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Todd Weiner, Lia Chang, Stephen Westerhout at the Opening night reception of Hollywood Chinese @ the Academy Museum on November 4, 2022. Photo by Tami Chang
Lia Chang photographing the Gee Family at the reception and screening of “Hollywood Chinese” Nov. 4, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Director and President Jacqueline Stewart and Arthur Dong, at the reception and screening of “Hollywood Chinese” Nov. 4, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Lia Chang
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Director and President Jacqueline Stewart and Arthur Dong, at the reception and screening of “Hollywood Chinese” Nov. 4, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Lia Chang
Arthur Dong at the reception and screening of “Hollywood Chinese” Nov. 4, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Director and President Jacqueline Stewart and Arthur Dong, at the reception and screening of “Hollywood Chinese” Nov. 4, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Lia Chang at the reception and screening of “Hollywood Chinese” Nov. 4, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation

Hollywood Chinese: The First 100 Years showcases films that both critique and celebrate Hollywood’s depictions of the Chinese, as well as spotlight groundbreaking Chinese and Chinese American artists who have navigated an industry often ignorant of race.

Lia Chang and Tami Chang. Photo by Zand Gee

Nov. 5 – The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

2:00pm – I watched a double bill of Anna May Wong in Daughter of the Dragon and King of Chinatown, featuring a primer by Arthur and an introduction by Anna May Wong’s niece, with my sister, Tami Chang.

4:00 pm –  I had a few hours to explore the museum, which I will feature in an upcoming article.

Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986).
Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986).

7:00 pm -I played a Wing Kong guard in John Carpenter’s cult classic, Big Trouble in Little China, which was featured on a double bill along with Black Widow at the Academy Museum as part of the opening weekend of Hollywood Chinese: The First 100 Years film series.

Bernardo Rondeau, Academy Museum Senior Director of Film Programs. James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Arthur Dong, Guest Programmer. James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation

The evening was a special tribute to James Hong, who plays Lo Pan in the film. Arthur presented a deep dive into Hong’s 68 year career.

Arthur Dong, Guest Programmer. James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation

The Q & A that followed included Arthur moderating a panel with Big Trouble in Little China cast members James Hong, Dennis Dun (Wang Chi) and Peter Kwong (Rain).

A Lo Pan replica made a surprise visit at the James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
A Lo Pan replica made a surprise visit at the James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Pictured: Lo Pan, James Hong and Peter Kwong. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
A Lo Pan replica made a surprise visit at the James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
James Hong is feted at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022.  Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
James Hong. A James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
James Hong. A James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
James Hong focus at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series HOLLWYOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS. The tribute included screenings of “Big Trouble in Little China” and “Black Widow” on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Panelist Peter Kwong, Dennis Dun, James Hong & Arthur Dong. James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Dennis Dun speaks during the James Hong focus at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Panelist Peter Kwong, Dennis Dun, James Hong  with guest programmer Arthur Dong at  James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Panelist Peter Kwong, Dennis Dun, James Hong  with guest programmer Arthur Dong at  James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Panelist Peter Kwong, Dennis Dun, James Hong  with guest programmer Arthur Dong at  James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
“Big Trouble in Little China” cast member Peter Kwong speaks at the James Hong focus at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Panelists Peter Kwong, Dennis Dun, James Hong & guest programmer Arthur Dong at James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022.  Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation

It was wonderful to have an opportunity to reconnect with my castmates James Hong, Dennis Dun, Peter Kwong and Gerald Okamura after the Q & A.

Lo Pan, Irene Tsu, Joycelyne Lew, Peter Kwong, Rhonda Wong, James Hong, Dennis Dun, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, Arthur Dong. Photo: Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Arthur Dong attend the James Hong focus at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series HOLLYWOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
Gerald Okamura, Lia Chang, Peter Kwong. Photo by Tami Chang
Lia Chang, Stephen Westerhout, Todd Weiner. Photo by Tami Chang
“Big Trouble in Little China” cast member Gerald Okamura attends the James Hong focus at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
“Big Trouble in Little China” cast members Gerald Okamura and Peter Kwong attend James Hong focus at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series HOLLYWOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS. on  November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation
“Big Trouble in Little China” cast members Geraldo Okamura, Lia Chang, and Peter Kwong attend the James Hong tribute at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures series, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS on November 5, 2022. Photo by Michael Owen Baker © Academy Museum Foundation

Click here for tickets and more information on the film series.

Special thanks to my sister, Tami Chang who got me back to LAX to catch my redeye back to New York.

Lia Chang and Tami Chang. Photo by Zand Gee

Check out the full lineup below and the remaining screenings.

• Nov. 20, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Sand Pebbles
• Nov. 25, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Flower Drum Song –In person: Nancy Kwang, Irene Tsu
• Nov. 26, 2022 | 3 pm | Our Gang: Baby Blues with Charlie Chan in Honolulu – In person: Margie Chun Moon, original Charle Chan kid
• Nov. 26, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Joy Luck Club -Special guests TBA
• Nov. 27, 2022 | 2 pm | The Arch with Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl – In person: Joan Chen
• Nov. 27, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Last Emperor – In person: Joan Chen

TICKETS Tickets to the Academy Museum are available only through advance online reservations via the Academy Museum’s website and mobile app.

Film screening tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors (age 62+), and $5 for students and children (age 17-). Matinees are $5 for all. Ticket prices for Academy Museum members are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for students, children, and matinee-goers. Use promo code VC2022 for $2 off every ticket.

TOP: Joan Chen, James Hong, Nancy Kwan, Ang Lee, Christopher Lee.
MIDDLE: Luise Rainer, James Shigeta, Amy Tan, B.D. Wong, Wayne Wang.
BOTTOM: Tsai Chin, David Henry Hwang, Lisa Lu, Justin Lin, Turhan Bey.

SCREENING DETAILS

Nov. 4, 2022 | 7: 30 pm |
Hollywood Chinese: With a treasure trove of clips from over 90 films, Hollywood Chinese traces the American film industry’s representation of the Chinese during its first 100 years. Scenes ranging from the first feature film made by Chinese Americans in 1917 to breakout Oscar wins are interwoven with interviews of Chinese and Chinese American artists who reveal stories of working in Hollywood. White actors, such as Luise Rainer and Christopher Lee, recall their yellowface performances to explain the now-controversial practice. Hollywood Chinese, produced and directed by series Guest Programmer Arthur Dong, is a fitting roadmap to embark on the upcoming film series.

Nov. 5, 2022 | 2 pm |
Daughter of the Dragon: After Anna May Wong’s breakthrough romantic role in The Toll of the Sea (1922), Hollywood relegated her
to mostly stereotypical villainous parts, including the sadistic daughter of the evil Fu Manchu in Daughter of the Dragon. Wong stars opposite silent film idol Sessue Hayakawa, both in their first sound film, with both speaking standard English at a time before Hollywood latched on to the common practice of directing Asian characters to deliver dialogue in overblown, accented broken English.

King of Chinatown: Under contract with Paramount, Anna May Wong embarked on a series of films upon which she exercised more input, starting with Daughter of Shanghai (1938), about which Wong declared, “We have the sympathetic parts for a change.” King of Chinatown casts Wong as a prominent Chinese American doctor
raising funds for the Red Cross in war-torn China, inspired by the real-life Chinese American physician Dr. Margaret Chung. This fictionalized crime drama features Korean American actor Philip Ahn as Wong’s romantic interest, playing a lawyer out to expose corruption in the underbelly of Chinatown.


Nov. 5, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
Big Trouble in Little China: James Hong gives a show stopping performance as sorcerer Lo Pan in this cult favorite. Directed by horror-meister John Carpenter, Big Trouble in Little China takes a supernatural spin on Hollywood’s Chinatown tropes, populating the neighborhood with mystical beings Kurt Russell plays an antihero, but he’s not the typical white savior—he’s an outsider who’s clueless without his Chinese American friend Wang Chi, portrayed with modest aplomb by Dennis Dun Veteran actor Victor Wong offers crusty comic relief as a sorcerer-cum-tour bus driver. Special guests: James Hong, Dennis Dun and Peter Kwong in conversation following the Big Trouble in Little China screening.

Black Widow: With over 500 acting credits to his name, including scene-stealing performances in Chinatown (1974), Blade Runner (1982), and Kung Fu Panda (2008), James Hong counts Black Widow as one of his favorites. In this crime drama centered on the case of a murderess, Hong first appears mid-point a sa drug addicted investigator. For the role, the actor drew upon his improvisation training and bi-cultural background: “I just say the lines that are in my head, and of course what’s in my head is cussing out in Chinese to Debra Winger—all patterned after all those Chinese people who came to my dad’s herb store in Minnesota.”

Nov. 6, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
Lost Horizon: This Frank Capra-directed classic is emblematic of how Hollywood constructed paradise—by way of China. The Oscarwinning art direction presents an opulent Shangri-La, yet the story is predicated on the subjugation of the Chinese by white saviors and colonialist, missionary ideals. The National Film Registry considered the film differently, however, when in 2016 it honored the film as “an emotional respite to an American public seeking escape from the Depression and yearning for their own personal utopias.” Lost Horizon received seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and produced wins for Film Editing (Stephen Goosson) and Art Direction (Gene Havlick, Gene Milford).

Nov. 11, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
Walk Like a Dragon: James Shigeta was a Japanese American singer whom Hollywood studios recruited to shape into a leading man— even casting him opposite white lovers. In the western Walk Like a Dragon, Shigeta portrays a Chinese immigrant who defies racism in 1870s California, winning a shoot-out against Mel Tormé and winning the girl, a formerly enslaved Chinese woman (Nobu McCarthy) who was previously saved by Jack Lord’s character Linc Bartlett. Lead roles for Shigeta diminished after Flower Drum Song (1961) as theHollywood studio system faded—but that didn’t stop Shigeta from working, including as the iconic Joseph Takagi in Die Hard (1988).

Pre-screening conversation with Nancy Kwan where she will discuss working with James Shigeta and Bruce Lee.

Enter the Dragon: Martial arts films were popular with Chinese audiences since the 1920s but it took Bruce Lee’s star power for the genre to catch fire worldwide. Born in San Francisco, Lee ignited his movie career in Hong Kong, experienced a frustrating career in the United States, and returned to Hong Kong where he directed and starred in hit films that caught the attention of Warner Bros. This all culminated with Lee’s seminal blockbuster, Enter the Dragon. “For Asian Americans, Bruce Lee wasn’t just exciting and cool. He was somebody who very deeply moved us, because he was us.”—Nancy Wang Yuen, media scholar

Nov. 12, 2022 | 2 pm |
Six Early Films, 1900-1929: For much of the history of Hollywood filmmaking, movies often portrayed Chinese as the “other” in a “them vs. us” hierarchy. Early movies, in particular, exploited this dichotomy, illustrated by the now-absurd—but no less damning—examples in this program. Yet, this era also saw productions from pioneering- Chinese American filmmakers who aspired to elevate onscreen representations of themselves. The films are as follows: Massacre of the Christians by the Chinese, The Heathen Chinese and the Sunday School Teachers, That Chink at Golden Gulch, The Curse of Quon Gwon, Lotus Blossom, and The Letter.

Special guests: Family members of filmmaker James B. Leong will join us for a post-screening conversation.

Nov. 12, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
The Tong-Man: Japan-born silent screen idol Sessue Hayakawa produced and starred as the titular Tong-Man. Ostensibly a love story set in San Francisco Chinatown, the film’s infusion of lurid hatchet murders and opium tong wars sparked the first legal action known to be filed by the Chinese American community against Hollywood’s depiction of the Chinese. The effort failed, and instead created free publicity and soaring box office receipts. Ironically, the film was supposed to be Hayakawa’s path away from racialized Hollywood typecasting.

Year of the Dragon: With a screenplay co-written by Oliver Stone and director Michael Cimino, this violent vision of 1980s New York Chinatown gang wars triggered nationwide protests by the Asian American community for its racist and sexist portrayals. Bowing to pressure, distributors added a disclaimer denying any intent to denigrate Asian Americans. No yellowfaced white actors were used, but Asian American cast members were caught in a controversial crossfire. The film, ultimately, was a box office flop.

Nov. 13, 2022 | 7:30pm |
7 Faces of Dr. Lao: Tony Randall portrays multiple identities in George Pal’s fantasy set in 1800s Arizona. The title character, Dr. Lao, features Randall in yellowface as he cunningly switches between broken and codespeak English to challenge corruption and intolerant attitudes. Artist and sculptor Wah Ming Chang served on the team that created the film’s Oscar-nominated special visual effects (Jim Danforth received the nomination for this achievement). Chang was also on the team responsible for the Oscar-winning visual effects in The Time Machine (1960). An honorary Oscar was awarded to William Tuttle for his makeup work on 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, yellowface included.Nov. 18 | 7:30 pm |

M. Butterfly: A cross-dressing Peking opera performer-cum-spyand a delusional French diplomat are unlikely lovers in David Henry Hwang’s explosive re-visioning of East/West sexual dynamics in M. Butterfly.  Based on Hwang’s Tony Award-winning play set during China’s Cultural Revolution, John Lone and Jeremy Irons portray two men who convolute Western ideals of femininity and masculinity, where the East is submissive and the West is dominant, and where Asian men are feminized and more desirable as female than as male. David Cronenberg directed this richly designed production, which was inspired by a true story.

The Wedding Banquet: Before Ang Lee directed his heartrending examination ofrepressed homosexuality in the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain (2005), he directed The Wedding Banquet, a playful comedy of manners involving a gay Chinese American New Yorker and his white boyfriend who fake a heterosexual
marriage to quell nagging parents. The scheme sets the stage for lighthearted explorations of family, self-identity, cultural values, and sexual politics. The US/Taiwan co-production earned an Academy Award nomination for Best International Feature Film, propelling Lee’s career worldwide.

Nov. 20, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
The Sand Pebbles: Robert Wise’s follow-up to The Sound of Music (1965) netted eight Oscar nominations, including a Best Supporting Actor mention for Mako’s endearing portrait of a Chinese coolie. Hong Kong and Taiwan provide the locations for this widescreen spectacle—an exotic 1920s China in revolutionary turmoil, where Chinese women are prostitutes and Chinese men are ruthless, where colonialism and missionaries are the norms, and the leading man is always a white savior. The Sand Pebbles kickstarted Mako’s distinguished career in film, stage, and television, and as co-founder of the nation’s leading Asian American theater group, the East West Players, in Los Angeles. Fellow founders James Hong and Beulah Quo also appear in The Sand Pebbles.

Nov. 25, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
Flower Drum Song: Flower Drum Song represents a Hollywood milestone for Chinese American representation with its all-dancing, allsinging, and almost all-Asian cast, headlined by James Shigeta, Oscar-winner Miyoshi Umeki, Jack Soo, Benson Fong, Patrick Adiarte, and Nancy Kwan in her follow-up to The World of Suzie Wong (1960); Juanita Hall reprised her yellowfaced Broadway portrayal of Madame Liang. This lavish romantic comedy gave many Americans their first look at Chinatown beyond tourist facades and was later inducted into the National Film Registry for its stories of immigration and cultural assimilation. The musical, with joyful tunes by Rodgers and Hammerstein, earned five Oscar nominations for art direction, cinematography, and costumes, as well as its music scoring, and sound. Hermes Pan choreographed the lively routines.

Special guest: Post-screening conversation with actress Nancy Kwan

Nov. 26, 2022 | 3 pm | 
Our Gang: Baby Blues: “Every 4th child is born Chinese.” This questionable Almanac factoid ignites Our Gang member Mickey’s fears that his unborn sibling will end up being Chinese. What’s he afraid of? Perhaps he’ll learn something from Eddie and Jennifer Lee, two veteran Hollywood movie extras who portray the parents of a boy rescued from racist bullies by the kids in Our Gang. The Lees’ real-life daughters, Faye and Margie, appeared as Charlie Chan’s kids in Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1939). Anti-Asian violence, racial slurs, Confucianism, and white saviorism: it’s all packed into this ten-minute short that, in the end, is a call for tolerance.

Charlie Chan in Honolulu: Just one of over forty films in the popular Charlie Chan detective franchise, Charlie Chan in Honolulu emphasizes family, with the plot bookended by the birth of a grandchild. A raucous family meal with Chan’s kids opens the film, pushing the patriarch to command, “Save football tactics for gridiron!” Audience members who cringe at the sight of yellowfaced white actors might want to wear blinders and earplugs when Sidney Toler appears as Chan, replete with slanted eyes and dubious aphorisms, in order to enjoy some spirited scenes with Victor Sen Yung and Layne Tom Jr. as his all-American sons.

Nov. 26, 2022 | 7:30 pm |

The Joy Luck Club: In the history of Hollywood studio films, only a handful have centered on contemporary Chinese American characters and cast with mostly Asian actors: Flower Drum Song (1961), The Joy Luck Club (1993), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), The Farewell (2019), and Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022). Based on Amy Tan’s novel about mother/daughter relationships, The Joy Luck Club was guided by Tan as co-producer and co-writer and Janet Yang as executive producer, with auteur Wayne Wang directing what became his pivot into main-stream studio filmmaking. Hiring white performers in yellowface was off-limits, and the film boasts an ensemble cast of trailblazing Asian American actors from two generations: veteran actresses Tsai Chin, Kieu Chinh, Lisa Lu, and France Nuyen portrayed the mothers, while Rosalind Chao, Tamlyn Tomita, Lauren Tom, and Ming-Na Wen played the daughters.

Nov. 27, 2022 | 2 pm |
The Arch: Lisa Lu’s first Hollywood role was as a bar girl in China Doll (1958). Frustrated with typecasting, Lu travelled to Hong Kong for The Arch, portraying a woman in 1700s China confined by rules of chastity. The film was made by one of Hong Kong’s earliest female directors, Tang Shu Shuen, and considered the region’s first art film to reach international audiences. Mixing naturalism with techniques like freeze frames and double exposures, the black-and white film was co-edited by Les Blank and co-photographed by Satyajit Ray’s frequent cinematographer Subrata Mitra. The Arch launched Lu’s distinguished acting career in Asia, which then thrived transnationally in America (The Last Emperor, The Joy Luck Club, Crazy Rich Asians).

Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl: After her breakthrough appearance in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987), Joan Chen was offered parts that mainly exploited her ethnic allure. She recalled, “If I didn’t leave Hollywood, I would have never directed Xiu Xiu”—and leave she did to direct and co-write Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl. The independently produced film centered on a young girl relocated to the countryside during China’s Cultural Revolution. Exquisitely shot on location in Tibet, Xiu Xiu won seven Golden Horse Awards, including director and writer nods for Chen.

Special guest: Post-screening conversation with writer/director Joan Chen.

Nov. 27, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
The Last Emperor: In 2015, #OscarsSoWhite went viral and fueled a movement that exposed the decades-long scarcity of Academy Award nominations for people of color in acting categories. In the Oscars’ 94-year history, only three Best Picture winners featured mostly Asian casts, and none of these received any acting nominations: Parasite (2019), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), and The Last Emperor, which won nine of nine nominations. This presentation of The Last Emperor not only celebrates the breathtaking imagination of director Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic vison of China, but also gives audiences a chance to reconsider the Academy’s omission of honors for its brilliant cast.

Special guest: Post-screening conversation with writer/director Joan Chen.

General admission tickets for the museum’s exhibitions are $25 for adults, $19 for seniors (age 62+), and $15 for students. Admission for visitors ages 17 and younger, and for California residents with an EBT card is free.

COVID PROTOCOL
Visitors are required to follow all current COVID-19 public health guidelines by the state of California and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in place at the time of their visit.

ABOUT THE ACADEMY MUSEUM
The Academy Museum is the largest institution in the United States devoted to the arts, sciences, and artists of moviemaking. The museum advances the understanding, celebration, and preservation of cinema through inclusive and accessible exhibitions, screenings, programs, initiatives, and collections. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum’s campus contains the restored and revitalized historic Saban Building—formerly known as the May Company building (1939)—and a soaring spherical addition. Together, these buildings contain 50,000 square feet of exhibition spaces, two state-of-the-art theaters, Shirley Temple Education Studio, and beautiful public spaces that are free and open to the public. These include: The Walt Disney Company Piazza and the Academy Museum Grand Lobby, which houses the Spielberg Family Gallery, Academy Museum Store, and Fanny’s restaurant and café. The Academy Museum exhibition galleries will be open seven days a week, with hours Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 6pm and Friday and Saturday from 10am to 8pm.

Academy Museum film programming supported by the Richard Roth Foundation.

Academy Museum film programming generously funded by the Richard Roth Foundation. Donors to the Academy Museum’s fund in support of Asian American Pacific Islander programming include Esther S. M. Chui-Chao, Julia and Ken Gouw, and Dr. Peter Lam Kin Ngok of Media Asia Group Holdings Limited.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, an award-winning filmmaker, and a photo activist and documentarian, who lifts up and amplifies BIPOC communities and artists and the institutions that support them. Bev’s Girl Films collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is the co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia is also the host and Executive Producer of BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG, a new Arts and Entertainment program that airs on Sundays at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996.

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. Her short film, When the World Was Young recently garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. 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. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2022 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, unless otherwise indicated. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at backstagepasswithliachang@gmail.com.

Nov. 4-27: Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Spotlights Chinese Representation in Hollywood During Cinema’s First Century Film Series Curated by Oscar®-Nominated Filmmaker Arthur Dong

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is presenting Hollywood Chinese: The First 100 Years, Nov. 4–27. The film series both critiques and celebrates Hollywood’s depictions of the Chinese and presents groundbreaking Chinese and Chinese American artists who navigated industry challenges from the beginning of film history to now. Curated by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong, Hollywood Chinese takes a wide look at practices and depictions from the past and what we can learn from them today.

Jack Soo, Nancy Kwan, Miyoshi Umeki, James Shigeta on a lobby card of FLOWER DRUM SONG.

This series includes screenings, as well as a number of double features, taking place throughout the month of November. Each will be shown in the museum’s Ted Mann Theater.

November’s Oscar® Sundays are also programmed as part of the series Hollywood Chinese: The First 100 Years, guest programmed by Arthur Dong.

TOP: Joan Chen, James Hong, Nancy Kwan, Ang Lee, Christopher Lee.
MIDDLE: Luise Rainer, James Shigeta, Amy Tan, B.D. Wong, Wayne Wang.
BOTTOM: Tsai Chin, David Henry Hwang, Lisa Lu, Justin Lin, Turhan Bey.

• Nov. 4, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Hollywood Chinese – Arthur Dong & Jacqueline Stewart in conversation
• Nov. 5, 2022 | 2 pm | Daughter of the Dragon with King of Chinatown-Introduction by Anna Wong (AMW’s niece)
• Nov. 5, 2022 | 7:30 pm |Big Trouble in Little China with Black Widow – In person – Q & A with James Hong, Dennis Dun and Peter Kwong
• Nov. 6, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Lost Horizon
• Nov. 11, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Walk Like a Dragon with Enter the Dragon – In Conversation: Nancy Kwan, friend/colleague to James Shigeta & Bruce Lee
• Nov. 12, 2022 | 2 pm | Six Early Films, 1900–1929
• Nov. 12, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Tong-Man with Year of the Dragon – In person: Dennis Dun
• Nov. 13, 2022 | 7:30pm | 7 Faces of Dr. Lao
• Nov. 18, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Gay Night: M. Butterfly with The Wedding Banquet – Introduction by Andrew Ahn (Spa, Fire Island)
• Nov. 19, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Sand Pebbles
• Nov. 25, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Flower Drum Song –In person: Nancy Kwang, Irene Tsu
• Nov. 26, 2022 | 3 pm | Our Gang: Baby Blues with Charlie Chan in Honolulu – In person: Margie Chun Moon, original Charle Chan kid
• Nov. 26, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Joy Luck Club -Special guests TBA
• Nov. 27, 2022 | 2 pm | The Arch with Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl – In person: Joan Chen
• Nov. 27, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Last Emperor – In person: Joan Chen

SCREENING DETAILS

Nov. 4, 2022 | 7: 30 pm |
Hollywood Chinese: With a treasure trove of clips from over 90 films, Hollywood Chinese traces the American film industry’s representation of the Chinese during its first 100 years. Scenes ranging from the first feature film made by Chinese Americans in 1917 to breakout Oscar wins are interwoven with interviews of Chinese and Chinese American artists who reveal stories of working in Hollywood. White actors, such as Luise Rainer and Christopher Lee, recall their yellowface performances to explain the now-controversial practice. Hollywood Chinese, produced and directed by series Guest Programmer Arthur Dong, is a fitting roadmap to embark on the upcoming film series.

Nov. 5, 2022 | 2 pm |
Daughter of the Dragon: After Anna May Wong’s breakthrough romantic role in The Toll of the Sea (1922), Hollywood relegated her
to mostly stereotypical villainous parts, including the sadistic daughter of the evil Fu Manchu in Daughter of the Dragon. Wong stars opposite silent film idol Sessue Hayakawa, both in their first sound film, with both speaking standard English at a time before Hollywood latched on to the common practice of directing Asian characters to deliver dialogue in overblown, accented broken English.

King of Chinatown: Under contract with Paramount, Anna May Wong embarked on a series of films upon which she exercised more input, starting with Daughter of Shanghai (1938), about which Wong declared, “We have the sympathetic parts for a change.” King of Chinatown casts Wong as a prominent Chinese American doctor
raising funds for the Red Cross in war-torn China, inspired by the real-life Chinese American physician Dr. Margaret Chung. This fictionalized crime drama features Korean American actor Philip Ahn as Wong’s romantic interest, playing a lawyer out to expose corruption in the underbelly of Chinatown.


Nov. 5, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
Big Trouble in Little China: James Hong gives a show stopping performance as sorcerer Lo Pan in this cult favorite. Directed by horror-meister John Carpenter, Big Trouble in Little China takes a supernatural spin on Hollywood’s Chinatown tropes, populating the neighborhood with mystical beings Kurt Russell plays an antihero, but he’s not the typical white savior—he’s an outsider who’s clueless without his Chinese American friend Wang Chi, portrayed with modest aplomb by Dennis Dun Veteran actor Victor Wong offers crusty comic relief as a sorcerer-cum-tour bus driver. Special guests: James Hong and Peter Kwong in conversation following the Big Trouble in Little China screening.

Black Widow: With over 500 acting credits to his name, including scene-stealing performances in Chinatown (1974), Blade Runner (1982), and Kung Fu Panda (2008), James Hong counts Black Widow as one of his favorites. In this crime drama centered on the case of a murderess, Hong first appears mid-point a sa drug addicted investigator. For the role, the actor drew upon his improvisation training and bi-cultural background: “I just say the lines that are in my head, and of course what’s in my head is cussing out in Chinese to Debra Winger—all patterned after all those Chinese people who came to my dad’s herb store in Minnesota.”

Nov. 6, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
Lost Horizon: This Frank Capra-directed classic is emblematic of how Hollywood constructed paradise—by way of China. The Oscarwinning art direction presents an opulent Shangri-La, yet the story is predicated on the subjugation of the Chinese by white saviors and colonialist, missionary ideals. The National Film Registry considered the film differently, however, when in 2016 it honored the film as “an emotional respite to an American public seeking escape from the Depression and yearning for their own personal utopias.” Lost Horizon received seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and produced wins for Film Editing (Stephen Goosson) and Art Direction (Gene Havlick, Gene Milford).

Nov. 11, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
Walk Like a Dragon: James Shigeta was a Japanese American singer whom Hollywood studios recruited to shape into a leading man— even casting him opposite white lovers. In the western Walk Like a Dragon, Shigeta portrays a Chinese immigrant who defies racism in 1870s California, winning a shoot-out against Mel Tormé and winning the girl, a formerly enslaved Chinese woman (Nobu McCarthy) who was previously saved by Jack Lord’s character Linc Bartlett. Lead roles for Shigeta diminished after Flower Drum Song (1961) as theHollywood studio system faded—but that didn’t stop Shigeta from working, including as the iconic Joseph Takagi in Die Hard (1988).

Pre-screening conversation with Nancy Kwan where she will discuss working with James Shigeta and Bruce Lee.

Enter the Dragon: Martial arts films were popular with Chinese audiences since the 1920s but it took Bruce Lee’s star power for the genre to catch fire worldwide. Born in San Francisco, Lee ignited his movie career in Hong Kong, experienced a frustrating career in the United States, and returned to Hong Kong where he directed and starred in hit films that caught the attention of Warner Bros. This all culminated with Lee’s seminal blockbuster, Enter the Dragon. “For Asian Americans, Bruce Lee wasn’t just exciting and cool. He was somebody who very deeply moved us, because he was us.”—Nancy Wang Yuen, media scholar

Nov. 12, 2022 | 2 pm |
Six Early Films, 1900-1929: For much of the history of Hollywood filmmaking, movies often portrayed Chinese as the “other” in a “them vs. us” hierarchy. Early movies, in particular, exploited this dichotomy, illustrated by the now-absurd—but no less damning—examples in this program. Yet, this era also saw productions from pioneering- Chinese American filmmakers who aspired to elevate onscreen representations of themselves. The films are as follows: Massacre of the Christians by the Chinese, The Heathen Chinese and the Sunday School Teachers, That Chink at Golden Gulch, The Curse of Quon Gwon, Lotus Blossom, and The Letter.

Special guests: Family members of filmmaker James B. Leong will join us for a post-screening conversation.

Nov. 12, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
The Tong-Man: Japan-born silent screen idol Sessue Hayakawa produced and starred as the titular Tong-Man. Ostensibly a love story set in San Francisco Chinatown, the film’s infusion of lurid hatchet murders and opium tong wars sparked the first legal action known to be filed by the Chinese American community against Hollywood’s depiction of the Chinese. The effort failed, and instead created free publicity and soaring box office receipts. Ironically, the film was supposed to be Hayakawa’s path away from racialized Hollywood typecasting.

Year of the Dragon: With a screenplay co-written by Oliver Stone and director Michael Cimino, this violent vision of 1980s New York Chinatown gang wars triggered nationwide protests by the Asian American community for its racist and sexist portrayals. Bowing to pressure, distributors added a disclaimer denying any intent to denigrate Asian Americans. No yellowfaced white actors were used, but Asian American cast members were caught in a controversial crossfire. The film, ultimately, was a box office flop.

Nov. 13, 2022 | 7:30pm |
7 Faces of Dr. Lao: Tony Randall portrays multiple identities in George Pal’s fantasy set in 1800s Arizona. The title character, Dr. Lao, features Randall in yellowface as he cunningly switches between broken and codespeak English to challenge corruption and intolerant attitudes. Artist and sculptor Wah Ming Chang served on the team that created the film’s Oscar-nominated special visual effects (Jim Danforth received the nomination for this achievement). Chang was also on the team responsible for the Oscar-winning visual effects in The Time Machine (1960). An honorary Oscar was awarded to William Tuttle for his makeup work on 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, yellowface included.

Nov. 18 | 7:30 pm |

M. Butterfly: A cross-dressing Peking opera performer-cum-spyand a delusional French diplomat are unlikely lovers in David Henry Hwang’s explosive re-visioning of East/West sexual dynamics in M. Butterfly.  Based on Hwang’s Tony Award-winning play set during China’s Cultural Revolution, John Lone and Jeremy Irons portray two men who convolute Western ideals of femininity and masculinity, where the East is submissive and the West is dominant, and where Asian men are feminized and more desirable as female than as male. David Cronenberg directed this richly designed production, which was inspired by a true story.

The Wedding Banquet: Before Ang Lee directed his heartrending examination ofrepressed homosexuality in the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain (2005), he directed The Wedding Banquet, a playful comedy of manners involving a gay Chinese American New Yorker and his white boyfriend who fake a heterosexual
marriage to quell nagging parents. The scheme sets the stage for lighthearted explorations of family, self-identity, cultural values, and sexual politics. The US/Taiwan co-production earned an Academy Award nomination for Best International Feature Film, propelling Lee’s career worldwide.

Nov. 19, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
The Sand Pebbles: Robert Wise’s follow-up to The Sound of Music (1965) netted eight Oscar nominations, including a Best Supporting Actor mention for Mako’s endearing portrait of a Chinese coolie. Hong Kong and Taiwan provide the locations for this widescreen spectacle—an exotic 1920s China in revolutionary turmoil, where Chinese women are prostitutes and Chinese men are ruthless, where colonialism and missionaries are the norms, and the leading man is always a white savior. The Sand Pebbles kickstarted Mako’s distinguished career in film, stage, and television, and as co-founder of the nation’s leading Asian American theater group, the East West Players, in Los Angeles. Fellow founders James Hong and Beulah Quo also appear in The Sand Pebbles.

Nov. 25, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
Flower Drum Song: Flower Drum Song represents a Hollywood milestone for Chinese American representation with its all-dancing, allsinging, and almost all-Asian cast, headlined by James Shigeta, Oscar-winner Miyoshi Umeki, Jack Soo, Benson Fong, Patrick Adiarte, and Nancy Kwan in her follow-up to The World of Suzie Wong (1960); Juanita Hall reprised her yellowfaced Broadway portrayal of Madame Liang. This lavish romantic comedy gave many Americans their first look at Chinatown beyond tourist facades and was later inducted into the National Film Registry for its stories of immigration and cultural assimilation. The musical, with joyful tunes by Rodgers and Hammerstein, earned five Oscar nominations for art direction, cinematography, and costumes, as well as its music scoring, and sound. Hermes Pan choreographed the lively routines.

Special guest: Post-screening conversation with actress Nancy Kwan

Nov. 26, 2022 | 3 pm | O
Our Gang: Baby Blues: “Every 4th child is born Chinese.” This questionable Almanac factoid ignites Our Gang member Mickey’s fears that his unborn sibling will end up being Chinese. What’s he afraid of? Perhaps he’ll learn something from Eddie and Jennifer Lee, two veteran Hollywood movie extras who portray the parents of a boy rescued from racist bullies by the kids in Our Gang. The Lees’ real-life daughters, Faye and Margie, appeared as Charlie Chan’s kids in Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1939). Anti-Asian violence, racial slurs, Confucianism, and white saviorism: it’s all packed into this ten-minute short that, in the end, is a call for tolerance.

Charlie Chan in Honolulu: Just one of over forty films in the popular Charlie Chan detective franchise, Charlie Chan in Honolulu emphasizes family, with the plot bookended by the birth of a grandchild. A raucous family meal with Chan’s kids opens the film, pushing the patriarch to command, “Save football tactics for gridiron!” Audience members who cringe at the sight of yellowfaced white actors might want to wear blinders and earplugs when Sidney Toler appears as Chan, replete with slanted eyes and dubious aphorisms, in order to enjoy some spirited scenes with Victor Sen Yung and Layne Tom Jr. as his all-American sons.

Nov. 26, 2022 | 7:30 pm |

The Joy Luck Club: In the history of Hollywood studio films, only a handful have centered on contemporary Chinese American characters and cast with mostly Asian actors: Flower Drum Song (1961), The Joy Luck Club (1993), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), The Farewell (2019), and Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022). Based on Amy Tan’s novel about mother/daughter relationships, The Joy Luck Club was guided by Tan as co-producer and co-writer and Janet Yang as executive producer, with auteur Wayne Wang directing what became his pivot into main-stream studio filmmaking. Hiring white performers in yellowface was off-limits, and the film boasts an ensemble cast of trailblazing Asian American actors from two generations: veteran actresses Tsai Chin, Kieu Chinh, Lisa Lu, and France Nuyen portrayed the mothers, while Rosalind Chao, Tamlyn Tomita, Lauren Tom, and Ming-Na Wen played the daughters.

Nov. 27, 2022 | 2 pm |
The Arch: Lisa Lu’s first Hollywood role was as a bar girl in China Doll (1958). Frustrated with typecasting, Lu travelled to Hong Kong for The Arch, portraying a woman in 1700s China confined by rules of chastity. The film was made by one of Hong Kong’s earliest female directors, Tang Shu Shuen, and considered the region’s first art film to reach international audiences. Mixing naturalism with techniques like freeze frames and double exposures, the black-and white film was co-edited by Les Blank and co-photographed by Satyajit Ray’s frequent cinematographer Subrata Mitra. The Arch launched Lu’s distinguished acting career in Asia, which then thrived transnationally in America (The Last Emperor, The Joy Luck Club, Crazy Rich Asians).

Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl: After her breakthrough appearance in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987), Joan Chen was offered parts that mainly exploited her ethnic allure. She recalled, “If I didn’t leave Hollywood, I would have never directed Xiu Xiu”—and leave she did to direct and co-write Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl. The independently produced film centered on a young girl relocated to the countryside during China’s Cultural Revolution. Exquisitely shot on location in Tibet, Xiu Xiu won seven Golden Horse Awards, including director and writer nods for Chen.

Special guest: Post-screening conversation with writer/director Joan Chen.

Nov. 27, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
The Last Emperor: In 2015, #OscarsSoWhite went viral and fueled a movement that exposed the decades-long scarcity of Academy Award nominations for people of color in acting categories. In the Oscars’ 94-year history, only three Best Picture winners featured mostly Asian casts, and none of these received any acting nominations: Parasite (2019), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), and The Last Emperor, which won nine of nine nominations. This presentation of The Last Emperor not only celebrates the breathtaking imagination of director Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic vison of China, but also gives audiences a chance to reconsider the Academy’s omission of honors for its brilliant cast.

Special guest: Post-screening conversation with writer/director Joan Chen.

TICKETS Tickets to the Academy Museum are available only through advance online reservations via the Academy Museum’s website and mobile app.

Film screening tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors (age 62+), and $5 for students and children (age 17-). Matinees are $5 for all. Ticket prices for Academy Museum members are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for students, children, and matinee-goers.

General admission tickets for the museum’s exhibitions are $25 for adults, $19 for seniors (age 62+), and $15 for students. Admission for visitors ages 17 and younger, and for California residents with an EBT card is free.

COVID PROTOCOL
Visitors are required to follow all current COVID-19 public health guidelines by the state of California and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in place at the time of their visit.

ABOUT THE ACADEMY MUSEUM
The Academy Museum is the largest institution in the United States devoted to the arts, sciences, and artists of moviemaking. The museum advances the understanding, celebration, and preservation of cinema through inclusive and accessible exhibitions, screenings, programs, initiatives, and collections. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum’s campus contains the restored and revitalized historic Saban Building—formerly known as the May Company building (1939)—and a soaring spherical addition. Together, these buildings contain 50,000 square feet of exhibition spaces, two state-of-the-art theaters, Shirley Temple Education Studio, and beautiful public spaces that are free and open to the public. These include: The Walt Disney Company Piazza and the Academy Museum Grand Lobby, which houses the Spielberg Family Gallery, Academy Museum Store, and Fanny’s restaurant and café. The Academy Museum exhibition galleries will be open seven days a week, with hours Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 6pm and Friday and Saturday from 10am to 8pm.

Academy Museum film programming supported by the Richard Roth Foundation.

Academy Museum film programming generously funded by the Richard Roth Foundation. Donors to the Academy Museum’s fund in support of Asian American Pacific Islander programming include Esther S. M. Chui-Chao, Julia and Ken Gouw, and Dr. Peter Lam Kin Ngok of Media Asia Group Holdings Limited.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, activist and an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia is also the host and Executive Producer of BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG, a new Arts and Entertainment program that airs on Sundays at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996.

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. Her short film, When the World Was Young recently garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. 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. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2022 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, unless otherwise indicated. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at backstagepasswithliachang@gmail.com.

Nov. 4-27: Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Spotlights Chinese Representation in Hollywood During Cinema’s First Century Film Series Curated by Oscar®-Nominated Filmmaker Arthur Dong

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will present Hollywood Chinese: The First 100 Years, Nov. 4–27. The film series both critiques and celebrates Hollywood’s depictions of the Chinese and presents groundbreaking Chinese and Chinese American artists who navigated industry challenges from the beginning of film history to now. Curated by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong, Hollywood Chinese takes a wide look at practices and depictions from the past and what we can learn from them today.

Jack Soo, Nancy Kwan, Miyoshi Umeki, James Shigeta on a lobby card of FLOWER DRUM SONG.

This series includes screenings, as well as a number of double features, taking place throughout the month of November. Each will be shown in the museum’s Ted Mann Theater.

November’s Oscar® Sundays are also programmed as part of the series Hollywood Chinese: The First 100 Years, guest programmed by Arthur Dong.

• Nov. 4, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Hollywood Chinese
• Nov. 5, 2022 | 2 pm | Daughter of the Dragon with King of Chinatown
• Nov. 5, 2022 | 7:30 pm |Big Trouble in Little China with Black Widow
• Nov. 6, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Lost Horizon
• Nov. 11, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Walk Like a Dragon with Enter the Dragon
• Nov. 12, 2022 | 2 pm | Six Early Films, 1900–1929
• Nov. 12, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Tong-Man with Year of the Dragon
• Nov. 13, 2022 | 7:30pm | 7 Faces of Dr. Lao
• Nov. 18, 2022 | 7:30 pm | M. Butterfly with The Wedding Banquet
• Nov. 19, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Sand Pebbles
• Nov. 25, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Flower Drum Song
• Nov. 26, 2022 | 3 pm | Our Gang: Baby Blues with Charlie Chan in Honolulu
• Nov. 26, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Joy Luck Club
• Nov. 27, 2022 | 2 pm | The Arch with Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl
• Nov. 27, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Last Emperor

SCREENING DETAILS

Nov. 4, 2022 | 7: 30 pm |
Hollywood Chinese: With a treasure trove of clips from over 90 films, Hollywood Chinese traces the American film industry’s representation of the Chinese during its first 100 years. Scenes ranging from the first feature film made by Chinese Americans in 1917 to breakout Oscar wins are interwoven with interviews of Chinese and Chinese American artists who reveal stories of working in Hollywood. White actors, such as Luise Rainer and Christopher Lee, recall their yellowface performances to explain the now-controversial practice. Hollywood Chinese, produced and directed by series Guest Programmer Arthur Dong, is a fitting roadmap to embark on the upcoming film series.

Nov. 5, 2022 | 2 pm |
Daughter of the Dragon: After Anna May Wong’s breakthrough romantic role in The Toll of the Sea (1922), Hollywood relegated her
to mostly stereotypical villainous parts, including the sadistic daughter of the evil Fu Manchu in Daughter of the Dragon. Wong stars opposite silent film idol Sessue Hayakawa, both in their first sound film, with both speaking standard English at a time before Hollywood latched on to the common practice of directing Asian characters to deliver dialogue in overblown, accented broken English.

King of Chinatown: Under contract with Paramount, Anna May Wong embarked on a series of films upon which she exercised more input, starting with Daughter of Shanghai (1938), about which Wong declared, “We have the sympathetic parts for a change.” King of Chinatown casts Wong as a prominent Chinese American doctor
raising funds for the Red Cross in war-torn China, inspired by the real-life Chinese American physician Dr. Margaret Chung. This fictionalized crime drama features Korean American actor Philip Ahn as Wong’s romantic interest, playing a lawyer out to expose corruption in the underbelly of Chinatown.

Nov. 5, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
Big Trouble in Little China: James Hong gives a show stopping performance as sorcerer Lo Pan in this cult favorite. Directed by horror-meister John Carpenter, Big Trouble in Little China takes a supernatural spin on Hollywood’s Chinatown tropes, populating the neighborhood with mystical beings Kurt Russell plays an antihero, but he’s not the typical white savior—he’s an outsider who’s clueless without his Chinese American friend Wang Chi, portrayed with modest aplomb by Dennis Dun Veteran actor Victor Wong offers crusty comic relief as a sorcerer-cum-tour bus driver. Special guests: James Hong and Peter Kwong in conversation following the Big Trouble in Little China screening.

Black Widow: With over 500 acting credits to his name, including scene-stealing performances in Chinatown (1974), Blade Runner (1982), and Kung Fu Panda (2008), James Hong counts Black Widow as one of his favorites. In this crime drama centered on the case of a murderess, Hong first appears mid-point a sa drug addicted investigator. For the role, the actor drew upon his improvisation training and bi-cultural background: “I just say the lines that are in my head, and of course what’s in my head is cussing out in Chinese to Debra Winger—all patterned after all those Chinese people who came to my dad’s herb store in Minnesota.”

Nov. 6, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
Lost Horizon: This Frank Capra-directed classic is emblematic of how Hollywood constructed paradise—by way of China. The Oscarwinning art direction presents an opulent Shangri-La, yet the story is predicated on the subjugation of the Chinese by white saviors and colonialist, missionary ideals. The National Film Registry considered the film differently, however, when in 2016 it honored the film as “an emotional respite to an American public seeking escape from the Depression and yearning for their own personal utopias.” Lost Horizon received seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and produced wins for Film Editing (Stephen Goosson) and Art Direction (Gene Havlick, Gene Milford).

Nov. 11, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
Walk Like a Dragon: James Shigeta was a Japanese American singer whom Hollywood studios recruited to shape into a leading man— even casting him opposite white lovers. In the western Walk Like a Dragon, Shigeta portrays a Chinese immigrant who defies racism in 1870s California, winning a shoot-out against Mel Tormé and winning the girl, a formerly enslaved Chinese woman (Nobu McCarthy) who was previously saved by Jack Lord’s character Linc Bartlett. Lead roles for Shigeta diminished after Flower Drum Song (1961) as theHollywood studio system faded—but that didn’t stop Shigeta from working, including as the iconic Joseph Takagi in Die Hard (1988).

Pre-screening conversation with Nancy Kwan where she will discuss working with James Shigeta and Bruce Lee.

Enter the Dragon: Martial arts films were popular with Chinese audiences since the 1920s but it took Bruce Lee’s star power for the genre to catch fire worldwide. Born in San Francisco, Lee ignited his movie career in Hong Kong, experienced a frustrating career in the United States, and returned to Hong Kong where he directed and starred in hit films that caught the attention of Warner Bros. This all culminated with Lee’s seminal blockbuster, Enter the Dragon. “For Asian Americans, Bruce Lee wasn’t just exciting and cool. He was somebody who very deeply moved us, because he was us.”—Nancy Wang Yuen, media scholar

Nov. 12, 2022 | 2 pm |
Six Early Films, 1900-1929: For much of the history of Hollywood filmmaking, movies often portrayed Chinese as the “other” in a “them vs. us” hierarchy. Early movies, in particular, exploited this dichotomy, illustrated by the now-absurd—but no less damning—examples in this program. Yet, this era also saw productions from pioneering- Chinese American filmmakers who aspired to elevate onscreen representations of themselves. The films are as follows: Massacre of the Christians by the Chinese, The Heathen Chinese and the Sunday School Teachers, That Chink at Golden Gulch, The Curse of Quon Gwon, Lotus Blossom, and The Letter.

Special guests: Family members of filmmaker James B. Leong will join us for a post-screening conversation.

Nov. 12, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
The Tong-Man: Japan-born silent screen idol Sessue Hayakawa produced and starred as the titular Tong-Man. Ostensibly a love story set in San Francisco Chinatown, the film’s infusion of lurid hatchet murders and opium tong wars sparked the first legal action known to be filed by the Chinese American community against Hollywood’s depiction of the Chinese. The effort failed, and instead created free publicity and soaring box office receipts. Ironically, the film was supposed to be Hayakawa’s path away from racialized Hollywood typecasting.

Year of the Dragon: With a screenplay co-written by Oliver Stone and director Michael Cimino, this violent vision of 1980s New York Chinatown gang wars triggered nationwide protests by the Asian American community for its racist and sexist portrayals. Bowing to pressure, distributors added a disclaimer denying any intent to denigrate Asian Americans. No yellowfaced white actors were used, but Asian American cast members were caught in a controversial crossfire. The film, ultimately, was a box office flop.

Nov. 13, 2022 | 7:30pm |
7 Faces of Dr. Lao: Tony Randall portrays multiple identities in George Pal’s fantasy set in 1800s Arizona. The title character, Dr. Lao, features Randall in yellowface as he cunningly switches between broken and codespeak English to challenge corruption and intolerant attitudes. Artist and sculptor Wah Ming Chang served on the team that created the film’s Oscar-nominated special visual effects (Jim Danforth received the nomination for this achievement). Chang was also on the team responsible for the Oscar-winning visual effects in The Time Machine (1960). An honorary Oscar was awarded to William Tuttle for his makeup work on 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, yellowface included.

Nov. 18 | 7:30 pm |

M. Butterfly: A cross-dressing Peking opera performer-cum-spyand a delusional French diplomat are unlikely lovers in David Henry Hwang’s explosive re-visioning of East/West sexual dynamics in M. Butterfly.  Based on Hwang’s Tony Award-winning play set during China’s Cultural Revolution, John Lone and Jeremy Irons portray two men who convolute Western ideals of femininity and masculinity, where the East is submissive and the West is dominant, and where Asian men are feminized and more desirable as female than as male. David Cronenberg directed this richly designed production, which was inspired by a true story.

The Wedding Banquet: Before Ang Lee directed his heartrending examination ofrepressed homosexuality in the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain (2005), he directed The Wedding Banquet, a playful comedy of manners involving a gay Chinese American New Yorker and his white boyfriend who fake a heterosexual
marriage to quell nagging parents. The scheme sets the stage for lighthearted explorations of family, self-identity, cultural values, and sexual politics. The US/Taiwan co-production earned an Academy Award nomination for Best International Feature Film, propelling Lee’s career worldwide.

Nov. 19, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
The Sand Pebbles: Robert Wise’s follow-up to The Sound of Music (1965) netted eight Oscar nominations, including a Best Supporting Actor mention for Mako’s endearing portrait of a Chinese coolie. Hong Kong and Taiwan provide the locations for this widescreen spectacle—an exotic 1920s China in revolutionary turmoil, where Chinese women are prostitutes and Chinese men are ruthless, where colonialism and missionaries are the norms, and the leading man is always a white savior. The Sand Pebbles kickstarted Mako’s distinguished career in film, stage, and television, and as co-founder of the nation’s leading Asian American theater group, the East West Players, in Los Angeles. Fellow founders James Hong and Beulah Quo also appear in The Sand Pebbles.

Nov. 25, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
Flower Drum Song: Flower Drum Song represents a Hollywood milestone for Chinese American representation with its all-dancing, allsinging, and almost all-Asian cast, headlined by James Shigeta, Oscar-winner Miyoshi Umeki, Jack Soo, Benson Fong, Patrick Adiarte, and Nancy Kwan in her follow-up to The World of Suzie Wong (1960); Juanita Hall reprised her yellowfaced Broadway portrayal of Madame Liang. This lavish romantic comedy gave many Americans their first look at Chinatown beyond tourist facades and was later inducted into the National Film Registry for its stories of immigration and cultural assimilation. The musical, with joyful tunes by Rodgers and Hammerstein, earned five Oscar nominations for art direction, cinematography, and costumes, as well as its music scoring, and sound. Hermes Pan choreographed the lively routines.

Special guest: Post-screening conversation with actress Nancy Kwan

Nov. 26, 2022 | 3 pm | O
Our Gang: Baby Blues: “Every 4th child is born Chinese.” This questionable Almanac factoid ignites Our Gang member Mickey’s fears that his unborn sibling will end up being Chinese. What’s he afraid of? Perhaps he’ll learn something from Eddie and Jennifer Lee, two veteran Hollywood movie extras who portray the parents of a boy rescued from racist bullies by the kids in Our Gang. The Lees’ real-life daughters, Faye and Margie, appeared as Charlie Chan’s kids in Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1939). Anti-Asian violence, racial slurs, Confucianism, and white saviorism: it’s all packed into this ten-minute short that, in the end, is a call for tolerance.

Charlie Chan in Honolulu: Just one of over forty films in the popular Charlie Chan detective franchise, Charlie Chan in Honolulu emphasizes family, with the plot bookended by the birth of a grandchild. A raucous family meal with Chan’s kids opens the film, pushing the patriarch to command, “Save football tactics for gridiron!” Audience members who cringe at the sight of yellowfaced white actors might want to wear blinders and earplugs when Sidney Toler appears as Chan, replete with slanted eyes and dubious aphorisms, in order to enjoy some spirited scenes with Victor Sen Yung and Layne Tom Jr. as his all-American sons.

Nov. 26, 2022 | 7:30 pm |

The Joy Luck Club: In the history of Hollywood studio films, only a handful have centered on contemporary Chinese American characters and cast with mostly Asian actors: Flower Drum Song (1961), The Joy Luck Club (1993), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), The Farewell (2019), and Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022). Based on Amy Tan’s novel about mother/daughter relationships, The Joy Luck Club was guided by Tan as co-producer and co-writer and Janet Yang as executive producer, with auteur Wayne Wang directing what became his pivot into main-stream studio filmmaking. Hiring white performers in yellowface was off-limits, and the film boasts an ensemble cast of trailblazing Asian American actors from two generations: veteran actresses Tsai Chin, Kieu Chinh, Lisa Lu, and France Nuyen portrayed the mothers, while Rosalind Chao, Tamlyn Tomita, Lauren Tom, and Ming-Na Wen played the daughters.

Nov. 27, 2022 | 2 pm |
The Arch: Lisa Lu’s first Hollywood role was as a bar girl in China Doll (1958). Frustrated with typecasting, Lu travelled to Hong Kong for The Arch, portraying a woman in 1700s China confined by rules of chastity. The film was made by one of Hong Kong’s earliest female directors, Tang Shu Shuen, and considered the region’s first art film to reach international audiences. Mixing naturalism with techniques like freeze frames and double exposures, the black-and white film was co-edited by Les Blank and co-photographed by Satyajit Ray’s frequent cinematographer Subrata Mitra. The Arch launched Lu’s distinguished acting career in Asia, which then thrived transnationally in America (The Last Emperor, The Joy Luck Club, Crazy Rich Asians).

Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl: After her breakthrough appearance in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987), Joan Chen was offered parts that mainly exploited her ethnic allure. She recalled, “If I didn’t leave Hollywood, I would have never directed Xiu Xiu”—and leave she did to direct and co-write Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl. The independently produced film centered on a young girl relocated to the countryside during China’s Cultural Revolution. Exquisitely shot on location in Tibet, Xiu Xiu won seven Golden Horse Awards, including director and writer nods for Chen.

Special guest: Post-screening conversation with writer/director Joan Chen.

Nov. 27, 2022 | 7:30 pm |
The Last Emperor: In 2015, #OscarsSoWhite went viral and fueled a movement that exposed the decades-long scarcity of Academy Award nominations for people of color in acting categories. In the Oscars’ 94-year history, only three Best Picture winners featured mostly Asian casts, and none of these received any acting nominations: Parasite (2019), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), and The Last Emperor, which won nine of nine nominations. This presentation of The Last Emperor not only celebrates the breathtaking imagination of director Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic vison of China, but also gives audiences a chance to reconsider the Academy’s omission of honors for its brilliant cast.

TICKETS Tickets to the Academy Museum are available only through advance online reservations via the Academy Museum’s website and mobile app.

Film screening tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors (age 62+), and $5 for students and children (age 17-). Matinees are $5 for all. Ticket prices for Academy Museum members are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for students, children, and matinee-goers.

General admission tickets for the museum’s exhibitions are $25 for adults, $19 for seniors (age 62+), and $15 for students. Admission for visitors ages 17 and younger, and for California residents with an EBT card is free.

COVID PROTOCOL
Visitors are required to follow all current COVID-19 public health guidelines by the state of California and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in place at the time of their visit.

ABOUT THE ACADEMY MUSEUM
The Academy Museum is the largest institution in the United States devoted to the arts, sciences, and artists of moviemaking. The museum advances the understanding, celebration, and preservation of cinema through inclusive and accessible exhibitions, screenings, programs, initiatives, and collections. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum’s campus contains the restored and revitalized historic Saban Building—formerly known as the May Company building (1939)—and a soaring spherical addition. Together, these buildings contain 50,000 square feet of exhibition spaces, two state-of-the-art theaters, Shirley Temple Education Studio, and beautiful public spaces that are free and open to the public. These include: The Walt Disney Company Piazza and the Academy Museum Grand Lobby, which houses the Spielberg Family Gallery, Academy Museum Store, and Fanny’s restaurant and café. The Academy Museum exhibition galleries will be open seven days a week, with hours Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 6pm and Friday and Saturday from 10am to 8pm.

Academy Museum film programming supported by the Richard Roth Foundation.

Academy Museum film programming generously funded by the Richard Roth Foundation. Donors to the Academy Museum’s fund in support of Asian American Pacific Islander programming include Esther S. M. Chui-Chao, Julia and Ken Gouw, and Dr. Peter Lam Kin Ngok of Media Asia Group Holdings Limited.

Ben Klein and Violet Columbus’ Documentary THE EXILES Wins 2022 Sundance U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary

Christine Choy in THE EXILES. Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute
Christine Choy in THE EXILES. Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute

Ben Klein and Violet Columbus’ The Exiles, which tracks down three exiled dissidents from the Tiananmen Square massacre, in order to find closure on an abandoned film Christine Choy began shooting with Renee Tajima-Peña in 1989, has won the 2022 Sundance U.S. Grand Jury Prize in the Documentary category. 

Brash and opinionated, Christine Choy is a documentarian, cinematographer, professor, and quintessential New Yorker whose films and teaching have influenced a generation of artists. In 1989 she and Renee Tajima-Peña started to film the leaders of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests who escaped to political exile following the June 4 massacre. Though they never finished that project, Choy now travels with the old footage to Taiwan, Maryland, and Paris in order to share it with the dissidents who have never been able to return home.

In their debut feature, directors Violet Columbus and Ben Klein follow Choy, deftly moving between her original footage of Chinese exiles in the immediate, traumatic aftermath of Tiananmen and the present day’s clear-eyed realization that the past 30-plus years have not fulfilled their hopes and dreams for their country and themselves. Driven by the iconoclastic voice of Choy and illuminated by the power of film to both traverse and destroy the experience of time, The Exiles brings modern history and the struggle for democracy to human scale by considering the individual costs of a life dedicated to self-expression.

Suzanne Joe Kai Nominated for 2022 Writers Guild Award for Documentary Screenplay for LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES

Suzanne Joe Kai. Photo by Steven Khan
Suzanne Joe Kai. Photo by Steven Khan

Suzanne Joe Kai, the producer, director and writer of the Award-winning documentary,  Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres, has been nominated for a 2022 Writers Guild Award for Documentary Screenplay. 

Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) and Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) recently announced nominations for outstanding achievement in screenwriting during 2021. Winners will be honored at a joint 2022 Writers Guild Awards virtual ceremony on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Click here for a list of all the nominations.

For director Suzanne, this is her third act in her life as a feature director, as she is now over 65 years+, and the film took over 10 years in the making.  The result is an incredible portrait of an Asian American journalist who was instrumental in the careers of many iconic music legends.  It was no secret that every rock/pop/soul music act of the 70’s yearned to be on the cover of the revolutionary Rolling Stone magazine and be interviewed by Ben Fong-Torres. Executive produced by Oscar® winning Freida Lee Mock, Oscar® nominated Bryn Mooser,  award winning Doug Blush and the late Tony Hsieh, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES shows us how the legendary Rolling Stone magazine writer and music editor, defined the cultural zeitgeist of the ’60s and ’70s. Featuring incredible archival footage and intimate interviews with Ben Fong-Torres, Cameron Crowe, Annie Leibovitz, Carlos Santana, Elton John, Steve Martin, Bob Weir, Quincy Jones, Marvin Gaye and more, this film brings us the personal story of this legendary journalist.

The current award tally includes the 2021 Newport Beach Film Festival Award for Best Music Documentary, the 2021 San Diego Asian Film Festival Audience Award for Best Feature Film and the 2021 Critics Choice Documentary Honor for Most Compelling Living Subject in a Documentary for Ben Fong-Torres.

About the Film

LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES

The lights, the crowds, the music! Ben Fong-Torres covered it all at Rolling Stone as its legendary writer and first music editor. Ben’s life is an epic sweep through the world of rock and roll. The American-born son of Chinese immigrants, Ben grew up in Chinatown with only a radio to the outside world. Driven by a passion for music and writing, his groundbreaking work helped define American culture. He became a voice of a generation which changed America forever.

““Like A Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres” is a must-see for every journalist, for any music fan, and for anyone who’s ever doubted their chances of success” -The Playlist

“If you don’t already know Ben Fong-Torres for his groundbreaking work in 1960s music journalism, buckle up.” -Town & Country

“What a masterpiece. Grade A+!”Jackie DeShannon – KLOS FM

“Not to be missed!”Vogue Magazine  

World Premiere – 2021 Tribeca Film Festival – Documentary Competition

Official Selection – 37th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Official Selection – 44th Mill Valley Film Festival

Official Selection – 30th Heartland International Film Festival Official Selection – 22nd Newport Beach Film Festival

Official Selection – 22nd San Diego Asian Film Festival  

Website: Likearollingstonemovie.com

Ben Fong-Torres at The Tribeca Film Festival at The Battery in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang
Ben Fong-Torres attends the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

Suzanne Joe Kai received two Emmy® Award nominations and was named Best Woman News Reporter while a broadcast journalist at San Francisco’s NBC affiliate KRON-TV. She worked at KCBS Radio (CBS) and television stations KTVU (FOX), KGO (ABC), KGUN (ABC), and RottenTomatoes.com. Kai holds a master’s in documentary film from Stanford University.

Ben Fong-Torres attends the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

Ben Fong-Torres was born in Alameda, California, in 1945, and raised in Oakland’s Chinatown, where his parents owned a restaurant. He attended San Francisco State College from 1962 through 1966, majored in Radio-TV-Film and served as a reporter and editor of the campus daily. He began writing for Rolling Stone magazine in 1968, in its eighth issue. He had a full-time job at another publication: Pacific Telephone’s employee magazine. By night, he was a volunteer editor at East West, a bilingual Chinatown newspaper. In May, 1969, Ben joined Rolling Stone as news editor. His interview subjects included Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, the Jackson 5, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, the Grateful Dead, Ike & Tina Turner, Santana, Diane Keaton, and Steve Martin. The Ray Charles interview won the Deems Taylor Award for Magazine Writing in 1974.

Ben Fong-Torres attends the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

Ben was also a weekend DJ on KSAN, a pioneer FM rock station, from 1970 to 1980. He wrote and narrated a syndicated radio special, San Francisco: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been, which won a Billboard Award for Broadcast Excellence. He was the host of KQED-FM’s live, weekly arts show, Fog City Radio, and in 2016 created Moonalice Radio, an online station for the jam band. He programs the music and does a DJ show, 9 to 12 am and pm.

Dianne Fong-Torres and her husband, Ben Fong-Torres in a clip from the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The Battery in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

Ben has co-anchored KTVU-TV’s coverage of the Chinese New Year parades since the Year of the Ox – or 1997. He and co-anchor Julie Haener have won five Emmys. Also on television, Ben did profiles on Evening Magazine in 1977, and, in 1982, went to China as scriptwriter for a special, Cycling Through China. His most unique TV credit was his 1993 appearance on “Wheel of Fortune”. Over three nights, he won some $99,000 in cash and fabulous prizes. He also appeared on the nationally syndicated “Your Big Break” in spring of 2000, doing an impersonation of Bob Dylan. Ben left Rolling Stone in 1981 and has since written for dozens of magazines, including Esquire, GQ (where he was pop music columnist for three years), Parade, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, Travel & Leisure, American Film, TV Guide, Harper’s Bazaar, Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter. He wrote the main biographies for People magazine’s tributes to Jerry Garcia and Frank Sinatra. In 1983, Fong-Torres joined the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was a feature writer and radio columnist until 1992, when he left to write his memoirs, The Rice Room: From Number Two Son to Rock and Roll, published in 1994 by Hyperion (and in softcover by Plume/Dutton), which reached the San Francisco Chronicle’s best-sellers list. Ben wrote the main text for The Motown Album: The Sound of Young America (St. Martin’s Press). In 1991, he published Hickory Wind: The Life and Times of Gram Parsons (Pocket/Simon & Schuster). The book was nominated for the Ralph J. Gleason Book Award, and St. Martin’s Press published an updated version of it in fall of 1998. In 1993, on completion of The Rice Room, Ben joined Gavin, the San Francisco-based trade weekly for the radio and recording industries, as managing editor. He vacated that post in late 1997 to work on The Hits Just Keep On Coming: The History of Top 40 Radio, which was published by Miller Freeman Books in fall of 1998. In 1999, Ben published Not Fade Away: A Backstage Pass to 20 Years of Rock & Roll, which was followed by a second collection, Becoming Almost Famous, in 2006. He wrote The Doors by the Doors (2007) and the Grateful Dead Scrapbook (2009). A book about the Eagles has been published in two editions. His 2013 book, Willin’: The Story of Little Feat, was released in an Audible version early in 2021, along with The Rice Room. Ben narrated both books. Fong-Torres is frequently called on to emcee community and fund-raising events, and to conduct on-stage interviews at events like South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and at the Mill Valley Film Festival. He is also known for his impressions of, among others, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. Both are featured in one song, “Rainy Day Bookstores,” on a CD entitled Stranger Than Fiction, featuring best-selling authors performing music. He is a real-life character in Almost Famous, the 2000 film by Cameron Crowe.  www.benfongtorres.com

Documentaries eligible for a Writers Guild Award featured an onscreen writing credit and were exhibited theatrically in Los Angeles or New York for one week during the eligibility period of March 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021. Theatrical documentaries must have been produced under the jurisdiction of the WGA or an affiliate Guild to be eligible for awards consideration. Feature films and documentaries that had a theatrical exhibition scheduled during the eligibility period but had to pivot to a streaming release due to the COVID-19 pandemic were also eligible for WGA Awards consideration. The Writers Guild Awards honor outstanding writing in film, television, new media, news (broadcast and digital), radio/audio, and promotional categories. The 2022 Writers Guild Awards (74th Annual) will be held on Sunday, March 20, 2022. For more information about the 2022 Writers Guild Awards, please visit www.wga.org or www.wgaeast.org.

The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) are labor unions representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The Guilds negotiate and administer contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of their members; conduct programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to writers; and present writers’ views to various bodies of government.

womenandhollywood.com: Tribeca 2021 Women Directors: Meet Suzanne Joe Kai – “Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres”

 
 
 
 
 
 
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 (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.
 
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2022 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  

HIDE AND SEEK and WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG Currently Screening in Online Component of Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest (SVAPFF) through Oct. 10

Hide and Seek and When the World Was Young, two award-winning short films written and directed by Garth Kravits and executive produced by Lia Chang of Bev’s Girl Films, are official selections of the seventh annual Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest (SVAPFF) and are currently screening online through October 10. This year’s theme is Asian. American. Amazing! svapfilmfest.org

The Online component of Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest (SVAPFF) features an outstanding selection of 50+ Asian American films with category themes: Amazing Stories, Current Social Issues, Experimental/Avant Garde, Family Sacrifices, Friendships/Relationships, Fun Package, Healing, Interesting Shorts, PG+, and the feature, “try harder!”. I plan on trying to watch all of them in the next few days.

The festival is excited to bring the best films from Asian American filmmakers. There are two filmmakers who meet our high standards twice over– Lia Chang, who produced When the World Was Young and Hide and Seek, and Marc Pomerleau, who directed Seeking Home and Empress Yee and the Magical History of Chinatown.

Lia Chang and Garth Kravits in HIDE AND SEEK.
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits in HIDE AND SEEK.

Hide and Seek and When the World Was Young, two short films written and directed by Garth Kravits and executive produced by Lia Chang of Bev’s Girl Films, are official selections of the seventh annual Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest (SVAPFF) and will screen online.

Lia Chang in HIDE AND SEEK
Lia Chang in HIDE AND SEEK

Hide and Seek stars Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, is co-written by Lia Chang and Garth Kravits and executive produced by Lia Chang/Bev’s Girl Films. Hide and Seek is a short film that speaks to the societal challenge that women, and especially women of color, endure every day. To look in the mirror and to hope to see a face other than your own. One that is closer to what magazines, television and movies define as beautiful or even normal. What face do you see when you look in the mirror? Hide and Seek is in the Current Social Issues lineup. Click here for tickets.

Jason Ma, Lia Chang and Virginia Wing in When the World Was Young. Photo by Garth Kravits

When the World Was Young stars Virginia Wing, Jason Ma and Lia Chang. The cast also features Jo Yang, Daniel Dunlow, Michelle Miller and Mark York. When siblings Benjamin and Audrey return home to confront their Mother’s memory loss, they discover a hidden key to her past.

Jason Ma, Virginia Wing and Lia Chang in WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG. Photo by Garth Kravits

Written and directed by Garth Kravits, the film is Executive Produced by Bev’s Girl Films, with producers Garth Kravits of Cut & Dry Films and Eric Elizaga. When the World Was Young features original compositions by Kristen Rosenfeld. Hair and makeup by Dorothy Bhadra. When the World Was Young is in the Friendships/Relationships lineup. Click here to purchase tickets.

Jo Yang, Garth Kravits, Virginia Wing, Jason Ma and Lia Chang attend Asian American Night of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 9, 2020. Photo by Alex Sanchez

To purchase tickets for the Online Festival, visit tinyurl.com/svapffvirtual and select your packages. Online tickets are $5.00 per package or $25 for a festival pass to see all the films.

Virginia Wing. Photo by Lia Chang

Virginia Wing (Virginia) is a Chinese-American actress whose ancestors came to the “Gold Mountain” from Canton (now Guangdong) in the mid-1800s, lured  by the Gold Rush and the building of the railroads. She is currently writing about growing up Southern in the Mississippi Delta, where she was born and raised. Professionally, she has run the gamut from opera, theatre, cabaret, TV, film, playwriting, directing and producing to script analysis. She modeled in her youth and is in the Breck Girl Hall of Fame. She was the model in the Mitsouko by Guerlain ad in the 60s, which won awards internationally. She was a nominee for Best Actress in the Hollywood NAACP Image Awards. She is most proud of this film because the characters did not have to have Chinese accents, did not have to speak Chinese or refer to themselves as being Chinese. They were not written as Exotic or Other, but as Americans who happen to be Chinese, caught up in a universal story. At last! Click on the  Performing Arts Legacy Website for more about Virginia Wing.

Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang

Jason Ma (Benjamin) is a son of an immigrant family, and a grateful descendant of a long line of those who were able to persist, overcome and succeed on their way to becoming Americans. He wrote book, music and lyrics for Gold Mountain and is the 2017 recipient of the ASCAP Foundation’s Cole Porter Award for his work as a composer/lyricist. Along with writing, he is an actor who has been seen on Broadway and Off-Broadway stages, in regional theaters and many international venues. Please visit: www.goldmountainthemusical.com

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and an award-winning filmmaker. She is the co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short indie films Hide and Seek (Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also a portrait and performing arts photographer and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia writes about arts and entertainment on her Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog. The Lia Chang theater portfolio collection, 1989-2011, is housed in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) collection located in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room and The Billy Rose Theatre Division of The New York Public Library. www.liachang.com

Jo Yang

Jo Yang (Amah) began her professional stage acting career in the Pacific Northwest and now lives and works in New York City. Recently she appeared as Sook Ja in New York Theatre Workshop’s production of “Endlings” before it was abruptly shut down by the pandemic in Mar 2020. She is grateful that the play had its world premiere and a full run at The American Repertory Theatre the year prior. Less than six degrees of separation bring Virginia Wing and Jo together on this project as they also worked with each other at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Festival. As well as theatre, Jo’s credits extend across the board, in film, tv, radio, commercials and print. She has recurring roles on “The Affair” and  “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, speaking Mandarin. Her Film/TV credits are listed here.

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

Garth Kravits is an actor, singer, musician, composer and award winning filmmaker, director and editor. Garth is currently in rehearsal for the new Off-Broadway musical, A Turtle on the Fence Post. He made his Broadway debut in the Tony award winning musical The Drowsy Chaperone and originated the role of Ritchie in the Broadway show Gettin’ the Band Back Together’. His Off-Broadway credits include Old Jews Telling Jokes, Toxic Audio and Smart Blonde. He has appeared regionally in Gettin’ The Band Back Together, Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play, and It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, (Bucks County Playhouse) Kravits has appeared on TV in “Mr. Robot,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” HBO’s “Divorce,” “30 Rock,” “The Blacklist,” “Nurse Jackie,” “The Carrie Diaries,” “Hostages” and in the new TV shows “The Hunters” (Amazon Prime) and “Tommy” (CBS).

Through the darkness of the pandemic and the current divisive hatred, a new sense of self-awareness, purpose and determination has emerged. Everyday heroes have taken the lead to bridge relations, cultures, histories and stories for better understanding, enlightenment, and compassion. They join the many unsung heroes throughout the history of the AAPI in America, whose contributions and cultural additions to society have largely gone unnoticed. The SVAPFF wishes to tell these stories and pay tribute to those Amazing Asian Americans and the next generation of innovators, creators, and contributors. We are Asian. We are American. We are Amazing!

Facebook: SVAPFilmFest

Instagram: svapfilmfest

Twitter: SVAPFilmFest

The Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest (formerly, San Jose J-Town FilmFest) is a celebration of the multi-ethnic community and rich history of Silicon Valley. An all volunteer-run effort by a diverse team of community members, the film festival showcases independent films primarily by Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) filmmakers and offers quality programming, giving the community a chance to interact with the creative talents behind these films.

The film festival is a project Contemporary Asian Theater Scene, fondly know as CATS. Founded over 20 years by three visionaries who realized that Asian American artists needed a voice. Dr. Jerry Hiura, Steve Yamaguma, Miki Hirabayashi created CATS with the dream of supporting, mentoring and, ultimately, presenting Asian American artists and cultural disciplines to the south bay.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 Lia Chang Multimedia, unless otherwise indicated. 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

 

Oct. 1: Bao Tran’s THE PAPER TIGERS to Screen as the 2021 Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest Opening Night Film; Highlights of the Hybrid Festival

The seventh annual Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest (SVAPFF) is being presented as a hybrid festival of in-person and virtual events with a selection of films screening live at the new AMC Dine-In Sunnyvale 12 on Friday, Oct. 1 and Saturday, Oct. 2. Sunnyvale 12 is located at 150 E. McKinley Ave, Sunnyvale, CA.

This year’s theme is Asian. American. Amazing! svapfilmfest.org

The SVAPFF Opening Night Fundraiser will feature a screening of The Paper Tigers at AMC Dine-In Sunnyvale 12 at 6:30pm, and will include a Q&A with the Director Bao Tran and Producer Al’n Duong, a bento dinner, and meet and greet. Sunnyvale 12 is located at 150 E. McKinley Ave, Sunnyvale, CA. Price is $65.  Click here for tickets.

The Paper Tigers – Three childhood kung fu prodigies have grown into washed-up, middle-aged men—now one kick away from pulling their hamstrings. But when their master is murdered, they must juggle their dead-end jobs, dad duties, and overcome old grudges to avenge his death. The cast features Alain Uy, Ron Yuan, Mykel Shannon Jenkins, Jae Suh Park, Joziah Lagonoy, Matthew Page, Ken Quitugua and Raymond Ma.

event_description_image_25519_1630857178_9145f.png Bao Tran (writer/director) Mentored early on by master action director Corey Yuen, Bao was instilled with an approach to action that doesn’t rely solely on spectacle, but also draws on story and character. Screen Anarchy praised his written-and-directed short BOOKIE for its “flawlessly realized world populated by entirely fleshed out and believable characters, driven by a compelling narrative and brought to sumptuous life.” His editing credits include CHO LON, one of Southeast Asia’s highest-budgeted action blockbusters, and JACKPOT, a heartfelt comedy selected as Vietnam’s official entry to the 2016 Oscars for Best Foreign Film. His first directorial feature THE PAPER TIGERS garnered praise from Collider as “an impressive feature debut with confident command of the narrative and action alike, it’s an absolutely lovely time at the movies.” Rotten Tomatoes ranked it both as the #1 Action Comedy of all time and one of the Top Ten Asian American Movies of all time with a Certified Fresh rating.

event_description_image_25519_1630857106_b4036.png Al’n Duong (Producer) is a Seattle based producer & consultant working in the film and gaming industry, currently developing documentary films in the worlds of politics, fashion, and professional sports. He harbored great passion for martial arts films and NBA basketball from a young age. After reaching the staggering height of 5 foot 7 inches, Al’n put all his energy into making backyard Kung Fu films in high school using home video cameras. He continued his education in Seattle at the University of Washington, focusing on postmodern cinema and martial arts films. Having started out in the camera department before transitioning to producing, Al’n brings a holistic knowledge in creative problem-solving and film set management – ensuring a productive, positive, and safe environment.

Saturday’s screenings will start at 10:00 am. Films include Try Harder, The Donut King, Reparations, and Amazing Local Filmmaker Shorts.

Shorts Program

There will also be live performances from the Grant Ave Follies Show and Asian Drag Queens Rice Rockettes. Saturday’s price per show is $20. Visit www.tinyurl.com/svapffLive

Grant Avenue Follies

Asian drag queens, Rice Rockettes

In addition, the Dr. Jerry Hiura Inspiration Award recipients will be shown in between screenings in their artistic interpretation of “What it Means to be AAPI”.

The online Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest will run from Oct. 1 – 10.

The Online film festival also features an outstanding selection of 50+ Asian American films with category themes: Amazing Stories, Current Social Issues, Experimental/Avant Garde, Family Sacrifices, Friendships/Relationships, Fun Package, Healing, Interesting Shorts, PG+, and the feature, “try harder!”

The festival is excited to bring the best films from Asian American filmmakers. There are two filmmakers who meet our high standards twice over– Lia Chang, who produced When the World Was Young and Hide and Seek, and Marc Pomerleau, who directed Seeking Home and Empress Yee and the Magical History of Chinatown.

Hide and Seek and When the World Was Young, two short films written and directed by Garth Kravits and executive produced by Lia Chang of Bev’s Girl Films, are official selections of the seventh annual Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest (SVAPFF) and will screen online.

Lia Chang and Garth Kravits in HIDE AND SEEK.
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits in HIDE AND SEEK.

Hide and Seek stars Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, is co-written by Lia Chang and Garth Kravits and executive produced by Lia Chang/Bev’s Girl Films. Hide and Seek is a short film that speaks to the societal challenge that women, and especially women of color, endure every day. To look in the mirror and to hope to see a face other than your own. One that is closer to what magazines, television and movies define as beautiful or even normal. What face do you see when you look in the mirror? Hide and Seek is in the Current Social Issues lineup. Click here for tickets.

Lia Chang in HIDE AND SEEK
Lia Chang in HIDE AND SEEK

When the World Was Young stars Virginia Wing, Jason Ma and Lia Chang. The cast also features Jo Yang, Daniel Dunlow, Michelle Miller and Mark York. When siblings Benjamin and Audrey return home to confront their Mother’s memory loss, they discover a hidden key to her past.

Jason Ma, Lia Chang and Virginia Wing in When the World Was Young. Photo by Garth Kravits

Written and directed by Garth Kravits, the film is Executive Produced by Bev’s Girl Films, with producers Garth Kravits of Cut & Dry Films and Eric Elizaga. Hair and makeup by Dorothy Bhadra. When the World Was Young is in the Friendships/Relationships lineup. Click here to purchase tickets.

Jason Ma, Virginia Wing and Lia Chang in WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG. Photo by Garth Kravits

To purchase tickets for the Online Festival, visit tinyurl.com/svapffvirtual and select your packages. Online tickets are $5.00 per package or $25 for a festival pass to see all the films.

Jo Yang, Garth Kravits, Virginia Wing, Jason Ma and Lia Chang attend Asian American Night of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 9, 2020. Photo by Alex Sanchez

HIDE AND SEEK and WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG are Official Selections of the 2021 Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest; Will Screen Online Oct. 1-10 

Through the darkness of the pandemic and the current divisive hatred, a new sense of self-awareness, purpose and determination has emerged. Everyday heroes have taken the lead to bridge relations, cultures, histories and stories for better understanding, enlightenment, and compassion. They join the many unsung heroes throughout the history of the AAPI in America, whose contributions and cultural additions to society have largely gone unnoticed. The SVAPFF wishes to tell these stories and pay tribute to those Amazing Asian Americans and the next generation of innovators, creators, and contributors. We are Asian. We are American. We are Amazing!

Covid requirements of the CDC, State of California, Santa Clara County and the AMC will be followed. Please plan to provide proof of Covid 10 vaccination at the time of registration or at check in at the theater.

Facebook: SVAPFilmFest

Instagram: svapfilmfest

Twitter: SVAPFilmFest

The Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest (formerly, San Jose J-Town FilmFest) is a celebration of the multi-ethnic community and rich history of Silicon Valley. An all volunteer-run effort by a diverse team of community members, the film festival showcases independent films primarily by Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) filmmakers and offers quality programming, giving the community a chance to interact with the creative talents behind these films.

The film festival is a project Contemporary Asian Theater Scene, fondly know as CATS. Founded over 20 years by three visionaries who realized that Asian American artists needed a voice. Dr. Jerry Hiura, Steve Yamaguma, Miki Hirabayashi created CATS with the dream of supporting, mentoring and, ultimately, presenting Asian American artists and cultural disciplines to the south bay.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and an award-winning filmmaker. She is the co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short indie films Hide and Seek (Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also a portrait and performing arts photographer and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia writes about arts and entertainment on her Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog. The Lia Chang theater portfolio collection, 1989-2011, is housed in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) collection located in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 Lia Chang Multimedia, unless otherwise indicated. 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

HIDE AND SEEK and WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG are Official Selections of the 2021 Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest; Will Screen Online Oct. 1-10


The seventh annual Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest (SVAPFF) is being presented as a hybrid festival of in-person and virtual events with a selection of films screening live at the new AMC Dine-In Sunnyvale Theatre on Friday, Oct. 1 and Saturday, Oct. 2. The Online festival will run from Oct. 1 – 10. This year’s theme is Asian. American. Amazing! svapfilmfest.org

The Online film festival also features an outstanding selection of 50+ Asian American films with category themes: Amazing Stories, Current Social Issues, Experimental/Avant Garde, Family Sacrifices, Friendships/Relationships, Fun Package, Healing, Interesting Shorts, PG+, and the feature, “try harder!”.

The festival is excited to bring the best films from Asian American filmmakers. There are two filmmakers who meet our high standards twice over– Lia Chang, who produced When the World Was Young and Hide and Seek, and Marc Pomerleau, who directed Seeking Home and Empress Yee and the Magical History of Chinatown.

Lia Chang and Garth Kravits in HIDE AND SEEK.
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits in HIDE AND SEEK.

Hide and Seek and When the World Was Young, two short films written and directed by Garth Kravits and executive produced by Lia Chang of Bev’s Girl Films, are official selections of the seventh annual Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest (SVAPFF) and will screen online.

Lia Chang in HIDE AND SEEK
Lia Chang in HIDE AND SEEK

Hide and Seek stars Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, is co-written by Lia Chang and Garth Kravits and executive produced by Lia Chang/Bev’s Girl Films. Hide and Seek is a short film that speaks to the societal challenge that women, and especially women of color, endure every day. To look in the mirror and to hope to see a face other than your own. One that is closer to what magazines, television and movies define as beautiful or even normal. What face do you see when you look in the mirror? Hide and Seek is in the Current Social Issues lineup. Click here for tickets.

Jason Ma, Lia Chang and Virginia Wing in When the World Was Young. Photo by Garth Kravits

When the World Was Young stars Virginia Wing, Jason Ma and Lia Chang. The cast also features Jo Yang, Daniel Dunlow, Michelle Miller and Mark York. When siblings Benjamin and Audrey return home to confront their Mother’s memory loss, they discover a hidden key to her past.

Jason Ma, Virginia Wing and Lia Chang in WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG. Photo by Garth Kravits

Written and directed by Garth Kravits, the film is Executive Produced by Bev’s Girl Films, with producers Garth Kravits of Cut & Dry Films and Eric Elizaga. When the World Was Young features original compositions by Kristen Rosenfeld. Hair and makeup by Dorothy Bhadra. When the World Was Young is in the Friendships/Relationships lineup. Click here to purchase tickets.

Jo Yang, Garth Kravits, Virginia Wing, Jason Ma and Lia Chang attend Asian American Night of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 9, 2020. Photo by Alex Sanchez

To purchase tickets for the Online Festival, visit tinyurl.com/svapffvirtual and select your packages. Online tickets are $5.00 per package or $25 for a festival pass to see all the films.

Virginia Wing. Photo by Lia Chang

Virginia Wing (Virginia) is a Chinese-American actress whose ancestors came to the “Gold Mountain” from Canton (now Guangdong) in the mid-1800s, lured  by the Gold Rush and the building of the railroads. She is currently writing about growing up Southern in the Mississippi Delta, where she was born and raised. Professionally, she has run the gamut from opera, theatre, cabaret, TV, film, playwriting, directing and producing to script analysis. She modeled in her youth and is in the Breck Girl Hall of Fame. She was the model in the Mitsouko by Guerlain ad in the 60s, which won awards internationally. She was a nominee for Best Actress in the Hollywood NAACP Image Awards. She is most proud of this film because the characters did not have to have Chinese accents, did not have to speak Chinese or refer to themselves as being Chinese. They were not written as Exotic or Other, but as Americans who happen to be Chinese, caught up in a universal story. At last! Click on the  Performing Arts Legacy Website for more about Virginia Wing.

Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang

Jason Ma (Benjamin) is a son of an immigrant family, and a grateful descendant of a long line of those who were able to persist, overcome and succeed on their way to becoming Americans. He wrote book, music and lyrics for Gold Mountain and is the 2017 recipient of the ASCAP Foundation’s Cole Porter Award for his work as a composer/lyricist. Along with writing, he is an actor who has been seen on Broadway and Off-Broadway stages, in regional theaters and many international venues. Please visit: www.goldmountainthemusical.com

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and an award-winning filmmaker. She is the co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short indie films Hide and Seek (Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also a portrait and performing arts photographer and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia writes about arts and entertainment on her Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog. The Lia Chang theater portfolio collection, 1989-2011, is housed in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) collection located in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room.

Jo Yang

Jo Yang (Amah) began her professional stage acting career in the Pacific Northwest and now lives and works in New York City. Recently she appeared as Sook Ja in New York Theatre Workshop’s production of “Endlings” before it was abruptly shut down by the pandemic in Mar 2020. She is grateful that the play had its world premiere and a full run at The American Repertory Theatre the year prior. Less than six degrees of separation bring Virginia Wing and Jo together on this project as they also worked with each other at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Festival. As well as theatre, Jo’s credits extend across the board, in film, tv, radio, commercials and print. She has recurring roles on “The Affair” and  “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, speaking Mandarin. Her Film/TV credits are listed here.

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

Garth Kravits is an actor, singer, musician, composer and award winning filmmaker, director and editor. Garth is currently in rehearsal for the new Off-Broadway musical, A Turtle on the Fence Post. He made his Broadway debut in the Tony award winning musical The Drowsy Chaperone and originated the role of Ritchie in the Broadway show Gettin’ the Band Back Together’. His Off-Broadway credits include Old Jews Telling Jokes, Toxic Audio and Smart Blonde. He has appeared regionally in Gettin’ The Band Back Together, Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play, and It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, (Bucks County Playhouse) Kravits has appeared on TV in “Mr. Robot,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” HBO’s “Divorce,” “30 Rock,” “The Blacklist,” “Nurse Jackie,” “The Carrie Diaries,” “Hostages” and in the new TV shows “The Hunters” (Amazon Prime) and “Tommy” (CBS).

The SVAPFF Opening Night Fundraiser will feature a screening of The Paper Tigers at AMC Dine-In Sunnyvale 12 at 6:30pm, and will include a Q&A with the Director Bao Tran and Producer Al’n Duong, a bento dinner, and meet and greet. Sunnyvale 12 is located at 150 E. McKinley Ave, Sunnyvale, CA. Price is $65.  Click here for tickets.

Shorts Program

Saturday’s screenings will start at 10:00 am. Films include Try Harder, The Donut King, Reparations, and Amazing Local Filmmaker Shorts.

Grant Avenue Follies

There will also be live performances from the Grant Ave Follies Show and Asian drag queens, Rice Rockettes. Saturday’s price per show is $20. Visit www.tinyurl.com/svapffLive

Asian drag queens, Rice Rockettes

In addition, the Dr. Jerry Hiura Inspiration Award recipients will be shown in between screenings in their artistic interpretation of “What it Means to be AAPI”.

Through the darkness of the pandemic and the current divisive hatred, a new sense of self-awareness, purpose and determination has emerged. Everyday heroes have taken the lead to bridge relations, cultures, histories and stories for better understanding, enlightenment, and compassion. They join the many unsung heroes throughout the history of the AAPI in America, whose contributions and cultural additions to society have largely gone unnoticed. The SVAPFF wishes to tell these stories and pay tribute to those Amazing Asian Americans and the next generation of innovators, creators, and contributors. We are Asian. We are American. We are Amazing!

Covid requirements of the CDC, State of California, Santa Clara County and the AMC will be followed. Please plan to provide proof of Covid 10 vaccination at the time of registration or at check in at the theater.

Facebook: SVAPFilmFest

Instagram: svapfilmfest

Twitter: SVAPFilmFest

The Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFest (formerly, San Jose J-Town FilmFest) is a celebration of the multi-ethnic community and rich history of Silicon Valley. An all volunteer-run effort by a diverse team of community members, the film festival showcases independent films primarily by Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) filmmakers and offers quality programming, giving the community a chance to interact with the creative talents behind these films.

The film festival is a project Contemporary Asian Theater Scene, fondly know as CATS. Founded over 20 years by three visionaries who realized that Asian American artists needed a voice. Dr. Jerry Hiura, Steve Yamaguma, Miki Hirabayashi created CATS with the dream of supporting, mentoring and, ultimately, presenting Asian American artists and cultural disciplines to the south bay.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 Lia Chang Multimedia, unless otherwise indicated. 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

Jul. 25: DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival’s Closing Night Film is Mallorie Ortega’s THE GIRL WHO LEFT HOME Starring Haven Everly, Emy Coligado, Paolo Montalban, Lora Nicolas, Liz Casasola, Russwin Francisco, DonMike H. Mendoza, Toni Katano and Mitch Poulos; Streams On Demand Jul. 15-25

The Girl Who Left Home is the Official Closing Night Film of DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival. If you are in the DC area, the live in-person screening is Sunday, July 25th, 5:30pm at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The Q&A will feature director Mallorie Ortega and cast members Emy Coligado, Haven Everly and Paolo Montalban. If you are not in the DC area, you can also stream the film online, from July 15 – 25th.

Stream online tickets

Closing Night Screening tickets

The Girl Who Left Home (formerly Nanay Ko) is a musical dramedy film about a Filipino-American who must put her dreams aside to keep her family restaurant from eviction. 

The cast features Haven Everly, Emy Coligado, Paolo Montalban, Liz Casasola, Lora Nicolas Olaes, Russwin Francisco, DonMike H. Mendoza, Toni Katano and Mitch Poulos.  

The production teams includes Mallorie Ortega (Director/ Writer/Producer/Lyricist), Angelo Santos, Russwin Francisco, Emy Coligado (Producers), Dylan Thai (Executive Producer), Cicero Oca (Co-producer), Matthew Halla (Director of Photography), Lindsay Armstrong, Katie Mcclellan (Editor), Alex Winkler (Composer), Steve Greist (Lyricist) and Diana Cha, Austin Sapp (Sound).

Life Imitates Art for Emy Coligado with Dream Role in Mallorie Ortega’s THE GIRL WHO LEFT HOME 

GirlWhoLeft.com Website

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 CactusThe Language LessonThe 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

Inside the Tribeca Film Festival’s World Premiere of Suzanne Joe Kai’s LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE & TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES; Now Streaming through Jun. 23

The Tribeca Film Festival is streaming “Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres” through June 23. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here. 

Last Sunday, my first film experience post-pandemic took place on a large scale, complete with temperature checks, oversized plastic lawn chairs set up in pods to adhere to social distancing rules, and a jumbo concert sized screen at The Battery in New York,  where I watched the Tribeca Film Festival’s World Premiere of “Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres”. 

Swag in the hospitality tent at The Tribeca Film Festival at The Battery in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
The hospitality tent at The Tribeca Film Festival at The Battery in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

It was great to catch up with my friend, Ben Fong-Torres, the subject of the documentary directed, produced and written by Suzanne Joe Kai. The film features exclusive interviews with Elton John, Carlos Santana, Steve Martin, Quincy Jones, Bob Weir, Cameron Crowe, Annie Leibovitz, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist David Felton, Holly George-Warren, Sarah Lazin, Laurel Gonsalves, and so many more.

Ben Fong-Torres and Publicist David Magdael at The Tribeca Film Festival at The Battery in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

The idea for the documentary was birthed over 10 years ago. Suzanne and Ben were having dinner one night when Suzanne mused, “You’re in everybody else’s documentary. Why isn’t there one about you?”

Kai shared, “I approached it as a rock and roll documentary, which it still is. Being a journalist myself, I blocked myself away from the world of books and movies. I didn’t want to get influenced. I went straight to the sources like the great Rolling Stone‘s people here- Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Felton. He gave me incredible insight as did so many others. I was very lucky.”
Dian-Aziza Ooka, Laurel Gonsalves, Ben Fong-Torres, and David Felton at the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival atThe Battery in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

“I started this 10-12 years ago, so I could get the early sources that worked alongside Ben. I blocked out all of that, and I focused in on the sources. Then I started to look at books, film and everywhere else. To my shock, Ben’s story was really missing. There’s a lot about Ben out there, but in terms of Ben’s real true life story, I felt it was missing. Then, that became a mission of mine to tell the true story of Ben.”

womenandhollywood.com: Tribeca 2021 Women Directors: Meet Suzanne Joe Kai – “Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres”

Rolling Stone music editor and journalist Ben Fong-Torres. Photo: Fred Morales, Jr.

Cara Cusumano, Festival Director and Vice President for Programming for The Tribeca Film Festival writes, “Soon after graduating from San Francisco State College, Ben Fong-Torres started writing for Rolling Stone in 1968. The next year, he was hired as an editor and writer. Fong-Torres’s cover stories on Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, and Jefferson Airplane helped to shape the way a country understood its counterculture, while Rolling Stone, under Fong-Torres’s guidance as a senior editor, became Rolling Stone.

Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary is much more than a time capsule of an era: it’s a portrait of someone who can’t be reduced to a profession. Fong-Torres walks us through his upbringing as the child of Chinese immigrants in the 1950s, his earliest interest in rock and soul as a way of belonging, and the remarkable career that followed. Through conversations with colleagues and friends like Annie Leibovitz, Cameron Crowe, and Steve Martin, as well as authentic recordings from Fong-Torres’s archives—including Elton John—we understand why Fong-Torres was the interviewer that most bands actually requested: he treated each musician with a deep admiration for their craft, and saw them as people rather than icons.”

Ben Fong-Torres at The Tribeca Film Festival at The Battery in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

The Playlist’s Andrew Bundy writes, “Ben Fong-Torres is one of the essential music journalists in history. The man behind key cover stories on seminal counterculture figures at the height of a creative revolution (i.e., Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, and Marvin Gaye), Fong-Torres, was the writer whom musical icons sought out. Growing up a Chinese immigrant in the 50s, rock ‘n roll and soul represented the sound of being heard for the future Rolling Stones editor, and, in the hands of director Suzanne Joe Kai, “Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres,” looks to be one of the most impassioned docs of the fest. Talking to contemporaries such as Cameron Crowe and Steve Martin, ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ explores art as an expression of everyday values, not simply a means to a stack of greenbacks.”

World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The Battery in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

It was a lovefest for Ben on the jumbo screen, and at the afterparty at The Diageo Cocktail Garden held at The View in Battery Park, sponsored by Don Julio Tequila. Below are highlights of the Q & A from Ben.

Ben Fong-Torres attends the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang
Q: Anything in particular really stand out for you?
Ben: I’m exhausted from all the hugging. That was a setup from Suzanne. She wanted a lot of hugging friendship. It was pre-pandemic so it was okay.
 
Surprises, yes. My associates and some of the musicians with whom I dealt, I really did not know. Cynthia Bowman said, “He probably doesn’t know about his power.” I did not. It was probably better that way. Just do your job and not worry about anything else.
 
Q: What advice do you have for budding music journalists for in conducting a great interview?
Ben: #1- find another field of work. I’m being your parent now. This will pay you nothing. But if you want to pursue it, in both music journalism and journalism in general, in conducting an interview, the first thing of course to do is research. There are so many more ways to do research now. Go out and find out about your subject. In that way, you’re showing her or him respect. That really breaks down some barriers that might exist between you, as a journalist, and them, as a story subject. Of course, preplan your questions, and then ignore them if the conversation takes you in a new and more interesting direction. Don’t be beholden to your research even though you are well equipped with it. Make it as much of a conversation as possible. Get all the details. What they are wearing. How they look. Look around the room, or the field or backstage area and take copious notes. There you are. You’ve begun a good interview situation.
 
Q: What do you think about the power of music right now in terms of critical politics?
Ben: Music has always been powerful, since before Rock and Roll. Even before the Folk movement. I think it goes back to church and other forms of music. In the 60’s, it became synonymous with protests and social activism. That has not changed. It is cyclical. it dips. it comes back. it dips. and now it’s actually more fierce than ever combining Rock and Roll, Hip Hop and other forms of music. Those early protest singers are still there and they still have a message for you. That will never die.
 
Q: People who read Rolling Stone back in the 60’s and 70’s, maybe their heart still remains in the music of that era. How difficult is it for you to stay up to date or current? You mentioned Hip Hop.
Ben: I’m basically retired from that gig. It’s not important for me to stay current except when I was writing a radio column, I’d flip up and down the dial and encounter all the contemporary as well as classic music. That reminded me of how vital the music stays. You don’t have to be a big fan of all forms of music but you can still appreciate the importance of music among all people of all ages.
 
Q: Who was your favorite person to mentor? Was it Cameron Crowe or another writer?
Ben: Wow. Favorite person to mentor. I never thought of myself as a mentor, first of all. I was his first editor and we have maintained our friendship obviously. No, he didn’t need me to teach him more than what any editor would have done, probably. He’s such a bright…, he’s still a kid really. He’s such a bright young man.
 
I’m always happy to talk to groups of journalism students and impart some of the lessons I’ve accumulated over several decades. No, I don’t have a single mentee and I never had a mentor of my own. Just role models and inspirations.
 
Check out my photo coverage of the afterparty below:
The View at Battery Park in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Diageo tequila brand Don Julio celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a campaign supporting bar and restaurant workers that includes giveaways of vouchers and charitable donations.

I collected a few “Don Julio Cincos,” from the “Automated Tequila Machine” at the afterparty.  

Don Julio Tequila was a sponsor of the afterparty for LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES in The Diageo Cocktail Garden at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021.  Photo by Lia Chang

Valued at $5, the vouchers have a QR code and PIN to redeem with payment app Venmo and the brand is urging people to spend at a bar or restaurant.

Lia Chang and the Automated Tequila Machine provided by Don Julio Tequila, a sponsor of the afterparty for LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES in The Diageo Cocktail Garden at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021.

And noshed on fish tacos, chicken sliders, beef sliders, flan and macarons.

David Felton, Laurel Gonsalves, Dian-Aziza Ooka, Ben Fong-Torres, Suzanne Joe Kai and Sarah Lazin attend the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival in The Diageo Cocktail Garden at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang
David Felton, Ben Fong-Torres and Joshua Feigenbaum attend the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival in The Diageo Cocktail Garden at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang
Sarah Lazin, Ben Fong-Torres and Holly George-Warren. Photo by Lia Chang
Karen Thorsen, Ben Fong-Torres and Douglas K. Dempsey attend the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival in The Diageo Cocktail Garden at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang
Yayoi Sakurai, Ben Fong-Torres and Joshua Feigenbaum attend the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival in The Diageo Cocktail Garden at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021.  Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang and Ben Fong-Torres attend the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival in The Diageo Cocktail Garden at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021.
Marilynn K. Yee, Ben Fong-Torres and David Magdael.
Marilynn K. Yee, Ben Fong-Torres and David Magdael.
Suzanne Joe Kai. Photo by Steven Khan

Suzanne Joe Kai received two Emmy® Award nominations and was named Best Woman News Reporter while a broadcast journalist at San Francisco’s NBC affiliate KRON-TV. She worked at KCBS Radio (CBS) and television stations KTVU (FOX), KGO (ABC), KGUN (ABC), and RottenTomatoes.com. Kai holds a master’s in documentary film from Stanford University.

Ben Fong-Torres attends the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

Ben Fong-Torres was born in Alameda, California, in 1945, and raised in Oakland’s Chinatown, where his parents owned a restaurant. He attended San Francisco State College from 1962 through 1966, majored in Radio-TV-Film and served as a reporter and editor of the campus daily.

He began writing for Rolling Stone magazine in 1968, in its eighth issue. He had a full-time job at another publication: Pacific Telephone’s employee magazine. By night, he was a volunteer editor at East West, a bilingual Chinatown newspaper. In May, 1969, Ben joined Rolling Stone as news editor. His interview subjects included Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, the Jackson 5, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, the Grateful Dead, Ike & Tina Turner, Santana, Diane Keaton, and Steve Martin. The Ray Charles interview won the Deems Taylor Award for Magazine Writing in 1974.

Ben Fong-Torres attends the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

Ben was also a weekend DJ on KSAN, a pioneer FM rock station, from 1970 to 1980. He wrote and narrated a syndicated radio special, San Francisco: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been, which won a Billboard Award for Broadcast Excellence. He was the host of KQED-FM’s live, weekly arts show, Fog City Radio, and in 2016 created Moonalice Radio, an online station for the jam band. He programs the music and does a DJ show, 9 to 12 am and pm.

Dianne Fong-Torres and her husband, Ben Fong-Torres in a clip from the World Premiere screening of Suzanne Joe Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The Battery in New York on June 13, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

Ben has co-anchored KTVU-TV’s coverage of the Chinese New Year parades since the Year of the Ox – or 1997. He and co-anchor Julie Haener have won five Emmys.

Also on television, Ben did profiles on Evening Magazine in 1977, and, in 1982, went to China as scriptwriter for a special, Cycling Through China. His most unique TV credit was his 1993 appearance on “Wheel of Fortune”. Over three nights, he won some $99,000 in cash and fabulous prizes. He also appeared on the nationally syndicated “Your Big Break” in spring of 2000, doing an impersonation of Bob Dylan.

Ben left Rolling Stone in 1981 and has since written for dozens of magazines, including Esquire, GQ (where he was pop music columnist for three years), Parade, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, Travel & Leisure, American Film, TV Guide, Harper’s Bazaar, Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter. He wrote the main biographies for People magazine’s tributes to Jerry Garcia and Frank Sinatra.

In 1983, Fong-Torres joined the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was a feature writer and radio columnist until 1992, when he left to write his memoirs, The Rice Room: From Number Two Son to Rock and Roll, published in 1994 by Hyperion (and in softcover by Plume/Dutton), which reached the San Francisco Chronicle’s best-sellers list.

Ben wrote the main text for The Motown Album: The Sound of Young America (St. Martin’s Press). In 1991, he published Hickory Wind: The Life and Times of Gram Parsons (Pocket/Simon & Schuster). The book was nominated for the Ralph J. Gleason Book Award, and St. Martin’s Press published an updated version of it in fall of 1998.

In 1993, on completion of The Rice Room, Ben joined Gavin, the San Francisco-based trade weekly for the radio and recording industries, as managing editor. He vacated that post in late 1997 to work on The Hits Just Keep On Coming: The History of Top 40 Radio, which was published by Miller Freeman Books in fall of 1998.

In 1999, Ben published Not Fade Away: A Backstage Pass to 20 Years of Rock & Roll, which was followed by a second collection, Becoming Almost Famous, in 2006. He wrote The Doors by the Doors (2007) and the Grateful Dead Scrapbook (2009). A book about the Eagles has been published in two editions. His 2013 book, Willin’: The Story of Little Feat, was released in an Audible version early in 2021, along with The Rice Room. Ben narrated both books.

Fong-Torres is frequently called on to emcee community and fund-raising events, and to conduct on-stage interviews at events like South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and at the Mill Valley Film Festival. He is also known for his impressions of, among others, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. Both are featured in one song, “Rainy Day Bookstores,” on a CD entitled Stranger Than Fiction, featuring best-selling authors performing music.

He is a real-life character in Almost Famous, the 2000 film by Cameron Crowe.  www.benfongtorres.com

The Knockturnal: On The Scene: Ben Fong-Torres Attends “Like a Rolling Stone” TFF After Party the playlist.net: “Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times Of Ben Fong-Torres”: Is A Must-See For Music Lovers [Tribeca Review]

Rolling Stone: 16 Movies We Can’t Wait to See at Tribeca 2021

kron4.com: Rock ‘n’ roll royalty: Ben Fong-Torres reflects on his career

vogue: Here Are 4 Documentaries Not to Miss at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival

prnewswire.com: ‘Almost Famous’ Expanded Soundtrack In A Limited-Edition Uber Box Set Released July 9 Via UMe

Lia Chang attends the afterparty for the World Premiere screening of Kai’s documentary, LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES at The Tribeca Film Festival at The View at Battery Park in New York on June 13, 2021.

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 (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

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