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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.

Video: BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang – Asian American Artists Taking Center Stage in New York and Beyond

Lia Chang, co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, has launched her latest venture, BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, an Arts and Entertainment program produced weekly at the studios of MNN.org.

Arthur Dong and Lia Chang at the opening reception of HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: The First 100 Years at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in LA on Nov. 4, 2022. Photo by Tami 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.

The tenth episode of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, executive produced and hosted by Lia, aired on November 13 at 6:30 pm (EST) on FIOS 34, RCN 83, and Spectrum 56/1996. If you miss the episode, it is archived on my youtube channel.

Watch below:

On this edition of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, I’ll be shining the spotlight on my Asian American colleagues taking centerstage.

Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong has curated a terrific film series presented by The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Hollywood Chinese: The First 100 Years. Screenings of all 27 films in the series take place at the museum’s state of the art Ted Mann Theater in Los Angeles through Nov. 27.

The film series both critiques and celebrates Hollywood’s depictions of the Chinese, and presents groundbreaking Chinese American artists who navigated industry challenges from the beginning of film history to now.

On the opening weekend, I flew to LA to celebrate the 15th anniversary since the release of Arthur Dong’s Hollywood Chinese documentary, and it was screened as the kick-off of the 27-film series.

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.

I watched a double bill of Anna May Wong in Daughter of the Dragon and King of Chinatown and then reconnected with my Big Trouble in Little China cast mates James Hong, Peter Kwong, Dennis Dun and Gerald Okamura at a screening of the film, followed by Q & A.

Irene Tsu, Joycelyne Lew, Peter Kwong, Rhonda Wong, James Hong, Dennis Dun, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, Arthur Dong. Photo by Tami Chang

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

Click here to purchase Hollywood  Chinese:The Chinese in American Feature Films.

Saturday evening served as a tribute to James Hong, which you can watch on my episode airing on Nov. 20.

Featured on the show:

Patrick Chen’s award winning short film, A Father’s Son, starring Tzi Ma, Ronny Chieng, Perry Yung and Kathleen Kwan.

Henry Chang, Wing Lee, Ronny Chieng, Patrick Chen and Lia Chang attend the New York Shorts International Film Festival at Cinema Village in New York on Oct. 26, 2022.
Henry Chang, Wing Lee, Ronny Chieng, Patrick Chen and Lia Chang attend the New York Shorts International Film Festival at Cinema Village in New York on Oct. 26, 2022.

Director Patrick Chen Receives 2022 NYSIFF Special Mention and 2022 QWFF Best Director for a Narrative Short Nomination; Queens World Film Festival will Screen A FATHER’S SON at MOMI on Nov. 4

Yilong Liu’s Good Enemy at Minetta Lane Theatre – through Nov. 27

Ryan Spahn, Ron Domingo, Chay Yew, Francis Jue, Yilong Liu, Geena Quintos, Jeena Yi, Tim Liu, Alec Silver, Emilia LaPenta – Producer of New Play Development and Commissions for Audible Theater. Photo by Lia Chang

Audible, Inc.’s production of Yilong Liu’s Good Enemy, directed by Chay Yew and featuring Francis Jue, Ron Domingo, Tim Liu, Geena Quintos, Alec Silver, Ryan Spahn and Jeena Yi.

A father learns that closing the door to his past means shutting his daughter out in Good Enemy, Yilong Liu’s haunting and hopeful new play. When Howard (Francis Jue) makes a surprise cross-country trip to visit his college-age, Tik Tok-loving daughter, he’s forced to confront the realities of their relationship and the rift between them—a rift caused by Howard’s refusal to face memories of his life as a young man in China. In a smart, thrilling story that deftly weaves two generations and two continents amidst sweeping social changes, Good Enemy explores the power of human connections…affirming that no one lives an “ordinary” life, no matter how hard they might try.

Performances at Minetta Lane Theatre through Nov. 27. Tickets from $35 for Good Enemy are on sale now at www.Audible.com/MinettaLane.

Audible Theater is proud to collaborate with TodayTix to offer $20 mobile rush tickets beginning at 10am each performance day. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis exclusively through the TodayTix app.

Opening Night of Yilong Liu’s GOOD ENEMY

Ryan Spahn, Ron Domingo, Chay Yew, Francis Jue, Yilong Liu, Geena Quintos, Jeena Yi, Tim Liu, Alec Silver, Emilia LaPenta – Producer of New Play Development and Commissions for Audible Theater. Photo by Lia Chang
Ryan Spahn, Ron Domingo, Chay Yew, Francis Jue, Yilong Liu, Geena Quintos, Jeena Yi, Tim Liu, Alec Silver, Emilia LaPenta – Producer of New Play Development and Commissions for Audible Theater. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwrights Horizons’ hosted a special AAPI night for Mia Chung’s Catch as Catch Can, directed by Daniel Aukin, which has performances through November 20.

Set deep in blue-collar New England, Catch as Catch Can centers on the Phelans and the Lavecchias as they welcome home a recently-engaged prodigal son-setting off an evolving crisis that reshapes their lives, and the play itself.

Cindy Cheung and Jon Norman Schneider in Playwrights Horizons' production of Mia Chung's CATCH AS CATCH CAN. Photo by Joan Marcus
Cindy Cheung and Jon Norman Schneider in Playwrights Horizons’ production of Mia Chung’s CATCH AS CATCH CAN. Photo by Joan Marcus

In this surprising, theatrically demanding work, actors double in roles of father and daughter, mothers and sons. As the families gather for the holidays, the weight of familial expectations bears down on the younger generation; such community pressure and the very meaning of family finds heightened expression in a theatrical high-wire act, as the actors acrobatically play across gender, generation, and race.

Rob Yang and Cindy Cheung in Playwrights Horizons’ production of Mia Chung’s CATCH AS CATCH CAN. Photo by Joan Marcus
Jon Norman Schneider, Cindy Cheung, Rob Yang. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast includes Cindy Cheung (Playwrights: Log Cabin; The Civilians’ The Great Immensity) as father Lon Lavecchia and daughter Daniela Lavecchia; Jon Norman Schneider (Awake and Sing!, The Oldest Boy) as mother Roberta Lavecchia and son Robbie Lavecchia; and Rob Yang (Succession, American Rust) as mother Theresa Phelan and son Tim Phelan.

Amaterasu Za is presenting Chushingura – 47 Ronin, adapted and directed by Ako Dachs, The production will be performed mainly in Japanese with English subtitles. Chushingura – 47 Ronin has been extended through November 13 at the A.R.T./New York Mezzanine Theater, 502 W. 53rd Street.

Chushingura – 47 Ronin is based on one of the most enduring stories in Japan. Portraying real events that took place in 1702-1703 during Japan’s Shogun-led Edo period, this sprawling story of honor, betrayal, clan loyalty, sacrifice, justice, and revenge has been told and retold in hundreds of ways in Japanese books, plays, movies, television dramas, and animated series. This new stage adaptation is  performed mainly in Japanese with some English and supertitles translation throughout.

The cast includes Ako (FX’s “Shogun.” Off Broadway: God Said This -Lortel nom.), Yoshi Amao (TV: “Shogun,” “Mr. Robot.”), Saori Goda, (NBC’s “Love Your Selfie”), Tatsuo Ichikawa (Apple TV+, “We Crashed”), Rina Maejima (A Chorus Line), Jun Suenaga (Film: Mother’s Day), Yasu Suzuki (Film: College Road Trip. NETFLIX’s “Daredevil”), Hiroko Yonekura (Regional: Avenue Q), and Minami Yoshimura (Regional: Godspell).

For more information about Amaterasu Za, please visit www.AmaterasuZa.org

Noah Diaz’s You Will Get Sick, directed by Sam Pinkleton and starring Daniel K. Isaac, Linda Lavin, Marinda Anderson, Nate Miller and Ryan Landani Sanchez. Performances at the Laura Pell Theater through Dec. 13.

Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap at Oklahoma City Rep through Nov. 20

James Aaron Oh and Brian Kim McCormick. Photo by Edward T. Morris

First Look: Brian Kim McCormick, Jenelle Chu, William Langan, and James Aaron Oh in Oklahoma City Repertory Theater‘s Oklahoma Premiere of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP; Performances through Nov. 20 

Lloyd Suh’s The Far Country at Atlantic Theater Company – Nov. 17-Jan. 1
Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is presenting the world premiere production of The Far Country, an Atlantic commissioned play by Guggenheim fellow Lloyd Suh, directed by Obie Award winner Eric Ting.

The Far Country features Ben Chase (Mondo Tragic), Jinn S. Kim (Race, Religion & Politics), Whit K. Lee (Assassins), Christopher Liam Moore (All The Way), Shannon Tyo (The Chinese Lady), Amy Kim Waschke (Off-Broadway debut), and Eric Yang (Legacy).

The Far Country begins performances on Thursday, November 17th, and will open Monday, December 5th, for a limited engagement through Sunday, January 1st, 2023 Off-Broadway at the Linda Gross Theater (336 West 20th Street).

An intimate epic that follows an unlikely family’s journey from rural Taishan to the wild west of California in the wake of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Schedule:
Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7pm, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm.
Monday evening performance on 12/26 at 7pm.
Wednesday matinee performance on 12/7, 12/21 & 12/28 at 2pm.
No Sunday evening performance on 12/11.
No performance on Saturday, 12/24 and Sunday, 12/25.

Tickets:
Regular tickets begin at $75. Order online at atlantictheater.org or by calling AudienceView at 646-989-7996.

Atlantic is committed to connecting deeply and authentically with audiences from a broad range of economic backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, and perspectives. Its access ticket initiative makes $25 tickets available to every preview performance in the 2022|2023 season. Access tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis via Atlantic’s website beginning 2 weeks prior to the first performance of each Atlantic Theater Company 2022|2023 production. $25 access tickets for The Far Country are on sale now.

Shannon Tyo, Whit K. Lee, Ben Chase, Jinn S. Kim, Christopher Liam Moore, Amy Kim Waschke and Eric Yang Set for Atlantic Theater Company’s World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE FAR COUNTRY, Nov. 17-Jan. 1

Phil Wong, Sumi Yu, Lawrence-Michael C. Arias, Nick Nakashima, Katrina Lauren McGraw, Brandon Leland, Naima Alakham, Alia Hodge, and Lucca Troutman Set for TheatreWorks Silicon Valley‘s LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS 

Thom Sesma in Classic Stage Company’s A Man of No Importance

Ken Leung in Will Arbery’s Evanston Salt Costs Climbing In previews

KPOP- Eddy Lee, Lina Lee, Kate Mina Lin, Jully Lee, Woo Sung Hyun ( kevin woo ), Zachary Noah Piser, Jinwoo Jung

Vichet Chum’s BALD SISTERS at Steppenwolf in Chicago – Dec. 1-Jan. 15, 2023 

The cast of BALD SISTERS includes, Francesca Fernandez McKenzie,
Jennifer Lim, Coburn Goss, Wai Ching Ho and Nima Rakhshanifar.

Rehearsals are underway for Steppenwolf’s world premiere of BALD SISTERS, written by Vichet Chum, directed by Jesca Prudencio. The next show in their new in-the-round Ensemble Theater in Chicago, BALD SISTERS invites you to get up close and personal with all the family drama—and comedy. The cast includes Francesca Fernandez McKenzie, Jennifer Lim, Coburn Goss, Wai Ching Ho and Nima Rakhshanifar.  FF10 online to get $10 off TICKETS to any preview or regular public performances.  Click here for more information regarding discounted tickets. Steppenwolf Theatre Company is located at 1650 N Halsted Ave, Chicago, IL 60614.

RECENTLY STAGED PRODUCTIONS

R.A. Shiomi’s Fire in the New World

Gregory Yang as Sam Shikaze and Anna Hashizume as Yumiko Alexander. Photo by LKBachman

Full Circle Theater presented the World Premiere of Fire in the New World, written and directed by Full Circle Co-Artistic Director R.A. Shiomi, at Park Square Theatre’s Proscenium Stage through Nov. 6.

The World Premiere was the third installment of Shiomi’s noir-style detective comedies featuring Sam Shikaze, the hard-boiled private eye who fights crime in Vancouver’s Japantown and beyond in the years after WWII. This time, Sam is up against a big time developer intent on bulldozing his community. But Sam is also hired to find the developer’s missing Japanese American wife. The play is a smart and fun detective comedy chock full of social commentary and sly intrigue.

The cast includes Gregory (Greg) Yang (he/him) as Sam Shikaze, Brian Joyce (he/him) as Jonathan Webster, Anna Hashizume (she/her) as Yumiko Alexander, Alice McGlave (she/her) as Rosie Ohara, Joe Allen (he/they) as Roderic Alexander, Keivin Vang (he/him), Song Kim (he/him) as Mas Matsumoto and Alec Berchem (he/him) as Tom Williams.

Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone at The Guthrie
In October, The Guthrie Theater presented Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, with original music by Shane Rettig and directed by Mina Morita on the Wurtele Thrust Stage at 818 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN.

Hyunmin Rhee, Rebecca Hirota, Eric Sharp, Viet Vo, and Emjoy Gavino in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at The Guthrie Theater. Photo: Dan Norman

Part history play and part memoir, Nguyen’s irreverent, whip-smart comedy uses flashbacks and bursts of rap music to share a human-centered view of the Vietnam War and its aftermath. When Saigon falls in 1975, Vietnamese refugees Quang (Hyunmin Rhee) and Tong (Emjoy Gavino) find themselves living in the land of “cheeseburgers, waffle fries and cholesterol” (aka America) — an intoxicating adventure that leads them to question their futures, both together and in their new country.

The cast of Vietgone features Emjoy Gavino (Guthrie: A Christmas Carol) as Tong/Ensemble, Rebecca Hirota (Guthrie: debut) as Thu/Huong/Ensemble, Hyunmin Rhee (Guthrie: debut) as Quang, Eric Sharp as Nhan/Khue/Ensemble (Guthrie: A Christmas Carol, As You Like It) and Viet Vo (Guthrie: debut) as Playwright/Bobby/Giai/Ensemble.

Viet Vo, Eric Sharp, Hyunmin Rhee in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at The Guthrie Theater. Photo: Dan Norman

Jiehae Park’s peerless

Sasha Diamond, Benny Wayne Sully, Shannon Tyo in Jiehae Park’s peerless. Photo: James Leynse

PRIMARY STAGES and 59E59 Theaters, in association with Jamie deRoy, is presenting peerless, by Jiehae Park (Hannah and the Dread Gazebo) and directed by Margot Bordelon (… what the end will be). peerless played a limited run at 59E59’s Theater A (59 E 59th Street) through Nov. 6.

The cast of peerless features Marié Botha as “Dirty Girl/Preppy Girl,” Anthony Cason as “BF,” Sasha Diamond as “M,” Benny Wayne Sully as “D/Brother” and Shannon Tyo as “L.”

A darkly comedic twist on Shakespeare’s Macbeth set in the cutthroat world of elite college admissions, Jiehae Park’s clever and incisive adaptation, peerless, is a comedy…until it’s not.

This new version of the classic story centers on M and L, twin Asian-American siblings who have given up everything to get into The College. When another classmate claims what they feel is rightfully “their spot,” the twins decide they have only one option: murder.

Shannon Tyo, Sasha Diamond, Marié Botha, Anthony Cason, and Benny Wayne Sully in Jiehae Park’s “peerless” at 59E59 Theaters 

COST OF LIVING

David Zayas, Katy Sullivan, Kara Young and Gregg Mozgala. Photo by Zachary Maxwell Stertz

Manhattan Theatre Club extended the Broadway premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cost of Living, written by Martyna Majok (Sanctuary City, Ironbound) and directed by Obie Award winner Jo Bonney, at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre through November 6.

Cost of Living‘s cast features acclaimed original stars Gregg Mozgala (Lucille Lortel Award winner for his performance) and Katy Sullivan (Theatre World Award winner for her performance), who reunite for the Broadway production; Tony Award nominee Kara Young (Clyde’s, The New Englanders at MTC); and David Zayas (“Dexter,” Anna in the Tropics).

Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, Martyna Majok’s powerhouse play receives its Broadway premiere after a celebrated run at MTC’s Stage I. Hailed by The New York Times as “gripping, immensely haunting and exquisitely attuned,” this insightful, intriguing work is about the forces that bring people together, the complexity of caring and being cared for, and the ways we all need each other in this world. Kara Young and David Zayas join acclaimed original stars Gregg Mozgala and Katy Sullivan in this production, again directed by Obie Award winner Jo Bonney.

Jason Ma, Francesca Fernandez McKenzie, Jojo Gonzalez, Eileen Rivera, Nelson T. Eusebio III, Valérie Thérèse Bart, Lia Chang. Photo by Rani O’Brien

Kansas City Repertory Theatre production of Twelfth Night – chatting with Nelson Eusebio, composer Jason Ma, Jojo Gonzalez.

KCRep’s TWELFTH NIGHT Featuring Jojo Gonzalez, Francesca Fernandez McKenzie, Brandon Jones, Vanessa Severo, Eileen Rivera, Freddy Acevedo, Jimmy Kieffer, Darrington Clark, Sam Cordes, Manon Halliburton, and Chelsea Rolfes

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, 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, 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.

CAMBODIA TOWN FILM FESTIVAL presents Arthur Dong’s THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR, September 16-20

CAMBODIA TOWN FILM FESTIVAL is presenting encore screenings of The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, produced and directed by Arthur Dong, September 16-20, 2020.

Showcasing the best in Cambodian cinema from around the world, this year’s festival is a free virtual forum, including films and special events. Filmmaker Arthur Dong will be a featured panelist for Stories We Didn’t Learn in School, streaming September 20, 6:30pm PST.

Click here to order tickets.

The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor chronicles the life, times and murder of Dr. Ngor, who remains the only Asian male to have won an Academy Award® for best supporting actor. When the Chinese-Cambodian doctor was forced into labor camps by the Khmer Rouge, little did he know he would escape four years of torture and be called upon to recreate his experiences in a film that propelled him into the glamorous world of Hollywood. And little did anyone know that some twenty years later, Dr. Ngor would be gunned down in a Los Angeles Chinatown alley. How could it be that he would survive the tyranny of the Khmer Rouge, only to be murdered by gang-bangers in America?

Join filmmaker Arthur Dong for the CTFF panel Stories We Didn’t Learn in School, streaming September 20, 6:30pm PST:

Featuring a discussion with filmmakers Chris Lockett (Until They’re Gone), Arthur Dong (The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor), James Taing (Ghost Mountain), and Rithy Hanh (In The Life of Music). Join us as we discuss the stories that weren’t taught in schools. Hosted by Shawna Lesseur.

Lia Chang

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

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

SF Chinatown Community Film Festival has been postponed

Due to new concerns in the Bay Area regarding COVID-19, the  inaugural San Francisco Chinatown Community Film Festival featuring works by Asian American filmmakers at Clarion Performing Arts Center,  scheduled for March 20-22, has been postponed.

The festival was set to screen four of our films along with works by Elaine Mae Woo, Arthur Dong, Rick Quan, Crystal Kwok and Felicia Lowe. We’ll let you know when The Festival has been rescheduled.

Stay safe and healthy.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

SF Chinatown Community Film Festival To Screen Films by Felicia Lowe, Arthur Dong, Lia Chang, Garth Kravits, Elaine Mae Woo, Rick Quan and Crystal Kwok, March 20-22

Bev’s Girl Films is delighted to be included in the inaugural San Francisco Chinatown Community Film Festival featuring works by Asian American filmmakers at Clarion Performing Arts Center, 2 Waverly Place, San Francisco, CA 94108, from Friday, March 20 – Sunday, March 22, 2020.

Over the course of three days, the filmmakers who will be showcased include Elaine Mae Woo, Arthur Dong, Rick Quan, Crystal Kwok, Lia Chang, Garth Kravits and Felicia Lowe. Q & A’s  with the filmmakers will follow the screening.

Four Bev’s Girl Films shorts will be screened on Sunday, March 22 at 3pm.  I’ll be participating in a Q & A following the screenings with writer/director Garth Kravits, and my castmates Virginia Wing and Jason Ma.

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

Tickets are $12 at Eventbrite.com. Students $5 at the door. Each ticket is good for the day of the festival. VIP tickets are $200 with two passes for the entire festival.

Below is the full lineup.
Friday, March 20, 2020
5:30 pm
Doors Open – Guzheng music during seating

6:00 pm “Anna May Wong ~ Frosted Yellow Willows” Q & A with filmmaker Elaine Mae Woo.

With disarming sensuality and commanding presence, Anna May Wong defined the role of the ‘Dragon Lady’.  Narrated by Nancy Kwan,  “Anna May Wong ~Frosted Yellow Willows: Her Life, Times, and Legend” is a story about the first Chinese American woman who endured many hardships and heartaches to become an international film star. From humble beginnings in a Chinese laundry, she went on to star in pictures such as Technicolorʼs Toll of the Sea (1922),  E.A. Dupontʼs Piccadilly (1929) and Josef von Sternbergʼs Shanghai Express (1932) with Marlene Dietrich. Never one to rest on her laurels, Anna would utilize her fame to aid her country and the country of her ancestors during times of war. Her body of work in film, radio, stage and television established her as a true pioneer of early cinema and the performing arts both in Hollywood and internationally.

DIRECTOR STATEMENT
In the early 1990s, a well known director at a reception following the screening of a Kurosawa film brought Anna May Wong to Elaine Mae Wooʼs attention. Elaine admitted that she knew nothing about Anna. The director shook his head, said a couple of words and then walked away. It was at this point that Elaine swore that she would learn about Anna before she would ever see this director again. This is how the making of “Anna May Wong ~Frosted Yellow Willows: Her Life, Times and Legend” and Elaine’s first film began.
Nearly ten years in the making, this biographical documentary film was finally presented its world premiere at Italy’s famous Le Giornate del Cinema Muto – Pordenone Silent Film Festival in late 2007.

7:30 pm
The Chinatown Films of Arthur Dong: “Forbidden City, USA,” “Hollywood Chinese,” “Sewing Woman,” and “Living Music for Golden Mountains.”
Synopsis:
For the past 40 years, San Francisco native Arthur Dong has been a pioneer in the production of groundbreaking documentaries about the history and life in Chinatown, covering topics such as immigration, the bachelor society, sewing factories, Cantonese musical traditions, World War II nightclubs, and Hollywood’s mis-representations and stereotypes. To mark the inaugural Chinatown Community Film Festival, select scenes from his Chinatown-themed films will be screened, to be followed by an intimate on-stage conversation with the Oscar-nominated filmmaker and Felicia Lowe. www.deepfocusproductions.com

9:00 pm Welcome wine reception to thank sponsors.

Saturday, March 21, 2020
5:30 pm Doors Open – Guzheng music during seating

6:00 pm “Dorothy Toy Story”. Filmmaker, Rick Quan Q & A with Cynthia Yee, dancer.

7:00 pm “The Mistress” Filmmaker Crystal Kwok
Q & A with Crystal Kwok. Mimi Chin will talk about her Experiences as the former owner of Dragon A-GoGo and Gentlemen clubs.

Sunday March 22, 2020
2:30 pm Doors Open – Guzheng music during seating

3:00 pm “Hide and Seek” features Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, 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?

Rom-Com Gone Wrong is a new comedy short produced by Bev’s Girl Films and Cut & Dry Films. Written and directed by Garth Kravits, the films stars Lia Chang, Eric Elizaga and Brian Kim.

A romantic encounter, ten years in the making.

Official Selection of Disorient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon and 10th Annual Queens World Film Festival.

Bev’s Girl Films presents Belongingness, a new short film starring Isabela Sanchez and Lia Chang.

Written, directed and edited by Cut & Dry Films’ Garth Kravits, Belongingness follows a young girl’s search for identity and a sense of belonging, which comes from an expected source. Original Score by John Tyler Kent. Official Selection of the Asian Film Festival.

Bev’s Girl Films presents WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG, starring 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. Hair and makeup by Dorothy Bhadra.

I’ll be participating in a Q & A following the screenings with writer/director Garth Kravits, and my castmates Virginia Wing and Jason Ma.

Click here for cast and creative team bios.

4:30 pm “Chinatown” Filmmaker Felicia Lowe

Chinatown” takes you inside the tumultuous and inspiring history to witness how the past and present live together inSan Francisco’s oldest neighborhood. Through a vivid mixture of personal recollections, archival photos, poetry and narration, “Chinatown” recalls the days when the neighborhood was shut out from society, a distinct ghetto and a refuge for new immigrants. Winner of EMMY for “Best Cultural Documentary.”

7:00 pm “Chinese Couplets”.  Filmmaker Felicia Lowe

Part memoir, part history, part investigation, the filmmaker’s search for answers about her mother’s emigration to America during the Chinese Exclusion era reveals the often painful price paid by immigrants who abandoned their personal identity, the burden of silence they passed on to their offspring and the intergenerational strife between immigrants and their American born children.
www.chinesecouplets.com
Q & A with Filmmaker Felicia Lowe.

For more information on The Festival, Click on Clarionmusic.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

San Francisco Chinatown Community Film Festival To Screen Films by Elaine Mae Woo, Arthur Dong, Rick Quan, Crystal Kwok, Lia Chang, Garth Kravits and Felicia Lowe, March 20-22

Bev’s Girl Films is delighted to be included in the inaugural San Francisco Chinatown Community Film Festival featuring works by Asian American filmmakers at Clarion Performing Arts Center, 2 Waverly Place, San Francisco, CA 94108, from Friday, March 20 – Sunday, March 22, 2020.

Over the course of three days, the filmmakers who will be showcased include Elaine Mae Woo, Arthur Dong, Rick Quan, Crystal Kwok, Lia Chang, Garth Kravits and Felicia Lowe. Q & A’s  with the filmmakers will follow the screening.

Four Bev’s Girl Films shorts will be screened on Sunday, March 22 at 3pm.  I’ll be participating in a Q & A following the screenings with writer/director Garth Kravits, and my castmates Virginia Wing and Jason Ma.

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

Tickets are $12 at Eventbrite.com. Students $5 at the door. Each ticket is good for the day of the festival. VIP tickets are $200 with two passes for the entire festival.

Below is the full lineup.
Friday, March 20, 2020
5:30 pm
Doors Open – Guzheng music during seating

6:00 pm “Anna May Wong ~ Frosted Yellow Willows” Q & A with filmmaker Elaine Mae Woo.

With disarming sensuality and commanding presence, Anna May Wong defined the role of the ‘Dragon Lady’.  Narrated by Nancy Kwan,  “Anna May Wong ~Frosted Yellow Willows: Her Life, Times, and Legend” is a story about the first Chinese American woman who endured many hardships and heartaches to become an international film star. From humble beginnings in a Chinese laundry, she went on to star in pictures such as Technicolorʼs Toll of the Sea (1922),  E.A. Dupontʼs Piccadilly (1929) and Josef von Sternbergʼs Shanghai Express (1932) with Marlene Dietrich. Never one to rest on her laurels, Anna would utilize her fame to aid her country and the country of her ancestors during times of war. Her body of work in film, radio, stage and television established her as a true pioneer of early cinema and the performing arts both in Hollywood and internationally.

DIRECTOR STATEMENT

In the early 1990s, a well known director at a reception following the screening of a Kurosawa film brought Anna May Wong to Elaine Mae Wooʼs attention. Elaine admitted that she knew nothing about Anna. The director shook his head, said a couple of words and then walked away. It was at this point that Elaine swore that she would learn about Anna before she would ever see this director again. This is how the making of “Anna May Wong ~Frosted Yellow Willows: Her Life, Times and Legend” and Elaine’s first film began.
Nearly ten years in the making, this biographical documentary film was finally presented its world premiere at Italy’s famous Le Giornate del Cinema Muto – Pordenone Silent Film Festival in late 2007.

7:30 pm
The Chinatown Films of Arthur Dong: “Forbidden City, USA,” “Hollywood Chinese,” “Sewing Woman,” and “Living Music for Golden Mountains.”
Synopsis:
For the past 40 years, San Francisco native Arthur Dong has been a pioneer in the production of groundbreaking documentaries about the history and life in Chinatown, covering topics such as immigration, the bachelor society, sewing factories, Cantonese musical traditions, World War II nightclubs, and Hollywood’s mis-representations and stereotypes. To mark the inaugural Chinatown Community Film Festival, select scenes from his Chinatown-themed films will be screened, to be followed by an intimate on-stage conversation with the Oscar-nominated filmmaker and Felicia Lowe. www.deepfocusproductions.com

9:00 pm Welcome wine reception to thank sponsors.

Saturday, March 21, 2020
5:30 pm Doors Open – Guzheng music during seating

6:00 pm “Dorothy Toy Story”. Filmmaker, Rick Quan Q & A with Cynthia Yee, dancer.

7:00 pm “The Mistress” Filmmaker Crystal Kwok
Q & A with Crystal Kwok. Mimi Chin will talk about her Experiences as the former owner of Dragon A-GoGo and Gentlemen clubs.


Sunday March 22, 2020

2:30 pm Doors Open – Guzheng music during seating

3:00 pm “Hide and Seek” features Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, 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?

Rom-Com Gone Wrong is a new comedy short produced by Bev’s Girl Films and Cut & Dry Films. Written and directed by Garth Kravits, the films stars Lia Chang, Eric Elizaga and Brian Kim.

A romantic encounter, ten years in the making.

Official Selection of Disorient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon and 10th Annual Queens World Film Festival.

Bev’s Girl Films presents Belongingness, a new short film starring Isabela Sanchez and Lia Chang.

Written, directed and edited by Cut & Dry Films’ Garth Kravits, Belongingness follows a young girl’s search for identity and a sense of belonging, which comes from an expected source. Original Score by John Tyler Kent. Official Selection of the Asian Film Festival.

Bev’s Girl Films presents WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG, starring 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. Hair and makeup by Dorothy Bhadra.

I’ll be participating in a Q & A following the screenings with writer/director Garth Kravits, and my castmates Virginia Wing and Jason Ma.

Click here for cast and creative team bios.

4:30 pm “Chinatown” Filmmaker Felicia Lowe

Chinatown” takes you inside the tumultuous and inspiring history to witness how the past and present live together inSan Francisco’s oldest neighborhood. Through a vivid mixture of personal recollections, archival photos, poetry and narration, “Chinatown” recalls the days when the neighborhood was shut out from society, a distinct ghetto and a refuge for new immigrants. Winner of EMMY for “Best Cultural Documentary.”

“Chinese Couplets”.  Filmmaker Felicia Lowe

Part memoir, part history, part investigation, the filmmaker’s search for answers about her mother’s emigration to America during the Chinese Exclusion era reveals the often painful price paid by immigrants who abandoned their personal identity, the burden of silence they passed on to their offspring and the intergenerational strife between immigrants and their American born children.
www.chinesecouplets.com
Q & A with Filmmaker Felicia Lowe.

For more information on The Festival, Click on Clarionmusic.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

PRI.org: Ang Lee and George Takei signed the letter, but here’s who wrote it

Award-winning author and filmmaker Arthur Dong. Photo by Lia Chang
Award-winning author and filmmaker Arthur Dong. Photo by Lia Chang

PRI.org: Ang Lee and George Takei signed the letter, but here’s who wrote it

“The heavily circulated letter was signed by 25 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including director Ang Lee, actors Sandra Oh and George Takei. It was a protest of the tone-deaf Asian jokes at this year’s Oscars ceremony — but it wasn’t meant to be an open letter.

“It was a private message to our friends and our colleagues in the organization,” says Freida Lee Mock, the chair of the Academy’s Documentary Executive Committee, who penned the first draft.

But none of the signatories seem too bothered that it was leaked to the press, first reported by Variety and then rebounding around the Internet earlier this week. It wasn’t until the letter became public that CEO Dawn Hudson issued a swift apology. And it wasn’t until George Takei called the apology “patronizing” and “a bland, corporate response” that Hudson scheduled a future meeting with these 25 members to show them that the Academy leaders were serious about these issues.

This was the first time in recent history that a grassroots collaboration like this amongst Asian Americans has happened within the Academy. The organization is divided into branches based on craft — for actors, directors, executives, etc. — and for the most part, members work within their lanes. Long-time Academy members Mock and documentarian Arthur Dong have been involved in numerous campaigns for documentary films. They successfully lobbied for the documentary branch of the Academy and Mock was voted the first governor. Dong joined her in a leadership position soon after. In the ’90s, when there was an attempt to get rid of the Academy Award for Documentary Short, they helped rally people like Steven Spielberg to get the decision unanimously overturned.

But they’ve never had to band together by ethnicity, because before this year’s Oscars ceremony, there was no need.

Moments after Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs took the stage to speak about the importance of diversity at this year’s ceremony, Oscars host Chris Rock brought out three Asian American children to make a child labor joke. Later in the night, presenter Sasha Baron Cohen delighted in cracking an Asian penis joke.”

“It hit me in gut,” says Dong, now a film professor at Loyola Marymount University. He was watching the Oscars with his 11-year-old son. “I just thought, ‘This is our organization. We understand the process and how decisions are made, so how could this have happened?'”

Click here to read the full article.

C-SPAN Broadcast: Arthur Dong Receives 2015 American Book Award for “Forbidden City, USA”

Award-winning author and filmmaker Arthur Dong received the American Book Award from poet/playwright Genny Lim at the 36th Annual American Book Awards ceremony at the San Francisco Jazz Center on October 25, 2015.

Arthur Dong receives the American Book Award from poet/playwright Genny Lim at the 36th Annual American Book Awards ceremony at the San Francisco Jazz Center on October 25, 2015. Photo by Lorraine Dong
Arthur Dong receives the American Book Award from poet/playwright Genny Lim at the 36th Annual American Book Awards ceremony at the San Francisco Jazz Center on October 25, 2015. Photo by Lorraine Dong

Click to watch the broadcast.

Winner of the 2015 American Book Award, “Forbidden City, USA: Chinatown Nightclubs 1936-1970”,  captures the magic and glamour of the Chinatown nightclub scene, which peaked in San Francisco during World War II. Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong spent thirty years interviewing the entertainers from this era, collecting hundreds of rare images and objects. The result is a sexy and insightful exploration of a time when Asian Americans pushed against exploitation and racism—as well as expectations from within their own community—to pursue their dreams of working in show business. The book is now available in a deluxe hardcover edition. Click here to purchase the book.

Arthur Dong shows off the new hardcover edition of Forbidden City, USA: Chinatown Nightclubs, 1936-1970. Photo by Lia ChangArthur Dong shows off the new hardcover edition of Forbidden City, USA: Chinatown Nightclubs, 1936-1970. Photo by Lia Chang

Read more and view photo excerpts  of the book here.

Dong’s new documentary The Killings Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor will be featured in the prestigious UCLA Film and Television Archive Documentary Spotlight in March and the CNEX Hong Kong Documentary Tour where it will be programmed along with his other films as part of their Director in Focus series.

Poster_The Killing Fields of Dr Haing S Ngor_HiRez_DeepFocus Productions, Inc

Dr. Haing S. Ngor, the only Asian to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar,for the heartrending role of Cambodian photographer Dith Pran in Roland Joffé’s 1984 film THE KILLING FIELDS. Though he continued acting, Ngor retrained the spotlight on Cambodia, traveling worldwide to speak out against Pol Pot’s regime and the Vietnamese occupation of his country that followed. He became such a powerful voice that specters of conspiracy still haunt his untimely 1996 death. Veteran doc-maker Arthur Dong unspools Ngor’s phenomenal life with original animation, rare archival material and newly shot footage inspired by his autobiography Survival in the Killing Fields. Following the screening, join director Arthur Dong at the Centerpiece Reception.

Arthur Dong. Photo courtesy of Deepfocus Productions
Arthur Dong. Photo courtesy of Deepfocus Productions

In October, Dong was honored as an icon in the Gay community for LGBT History Month, joining 31 other icons whose incredible achievements were highlighted here. He’s also got a  new job as a Distinguished Professor in Film, a newly created position at Loyola Marymount University, one of the top ten film schools in the country.

Below are excerpts of my interview with Dong on his recent trip to the East Coast. We talked about the American Book Award, the new hardcover edition, what it is like to be a father, his “iconic “ status, his new job, his love of teaching documentary filmmaking, showing the film in Cambodia, and his latest projects  – a documentary about master tap dancers from the golden age of tap and a remount of his Forbidden City U.S.A. exhibition, commissioned by the Japanese American National Museum for 2018.

Chang: What does it mean to you to receive The American Book Award for Forbidden City, USA: Chinatown Nightclubs, 1936-1970?
Dong: 
Unbeknownst to me, my distributor submitted the book to the American Book Awards. This is an award that is given by other authors. It is from your peers. It looks at the full spectrum of diversity in our country and the writers, and awards books that exemplify that diversity. It is a very coveted award among authors because it is from authors. I wrote the book out of passion. I wrote the book because I wanted to do it. I wanted it out there. I wanted to be able to share all of this memorabilia that I collected, and all these great stories that weren’t in the film, Forbidden City, U.S.A. That was really the purpose. I love the stuff so much; I thought other people might love it too. I got a call one day from one of the board members, Genny Lim, who asked if she could reach me somehow. I worked with her before in the past but hadn’t been in contact with her for a long time. She was contacting me to tell me that they had selected the book for an American Book Award.

ForbiddenCity-Jacket#D67EE9Chang: Why did you choose to publish the book in a hardcover edition?
Dong: 
It was my original vision to have it in hardcover because the story is so glorious and glamorous and magical that I wanted it to be the best it could be. Unfortunately at the time we needed the book and we didn’t have the budget to print a hardcover edition of time the book in America, because it was too expensive. We had an exhibit opening so we needed the books in time for the exhibit. We stuck to an American publisher that was able to deliver paperbacks in time for the exhibit. I was very pleased with the book. People love it. I think it is beautiful in its own way, but there is something about the tangible qualities of a hardcover. It is solid. I’m ecstatic because it is what I wanted from the very beginning. It was my first book and I wanted it to be perfect. I enhanced some of the coloring in the book. There were some issues with the printing here that were not detrimental. 
I was also able to add new items to the book- the only color photo taken of a show in the 1940’s, a shot of choreographer Walt Biggerstaff’s original studio where he taught all of the chorus girls in the 1930’s. I was able to put the award on the cover. The book retails for $35 and can be purchased here.

Chang: How does it feel to be an icon?
Dong: Iconic I guess. October 11th is National Coming Out Day and October is LGBT History Month, which annually celebrates and recognizes the notable achievements of LGBT people throughout time. Every day they designate an icon for the day.
 
It’s not something I’ve ever worked for or strived for or think about. I knew about this a few months ago when they were compiling. The month of October is 31 days, so there are 31 icons. They selected me to be one of the icons and they asked me to send some photos and a bio. I did and forgot about it. The day before, they alerted me that my day was coming up tomorrow. It’s really quite an honor. Some other icons are Angelina Jolie, Mick Jagger, Lady Gaga, Evan Wolfson, the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, a group favoring same-sex marriage in the United States. There are a lot of terrific people on the list so I am honored to be a part of that.

Dong at the Cambodia premiere, The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, August 21, 2015, Major Cineplex Phnom Penh. Facebook/HaingNgorDocumentary Photo courtesy of US Embassy Phnom Penh
Dong at the Cambodia premiere, The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, August 21, 2015, Major Cineplex Phnom Penh. Facebook/HaingNgorDocumentary Photo courtesy of US Embassy Phnom Penh

Chang: What drew you to the story of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, the subject of your latest documentary?
Dong: The initial draw was an article in 2010. The article was covering the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Phnom Penh. The first witness they called on the stand was Kang Kek Iew, or “Duch”. He was the director of the Tuol Sleng interrogation center, aka the torture center, the big torture center where it is estimated that over 200,000 people were executed there. Out of the blue, on the witness stand at this tribunal which was covered by the international press because he was the first key witness and the first person being put on trial, I am paraphrasing what he said, “Yes, Dr. Ngor was killed because he appeared in The Killing Fields.”

Prior to that, when Dr. Ngor was murdered in ’96 and the Los Angeles murder trial happened in 1998, three hoodlums were convicted of robbery and murder. But then Duch, some eleven years later, makes this statement to the whole wide world. It opened up a lot of questions about the murder. It opened up a lot of questions about the trial. It opened up questions about the Khmer Rouge, even though at that time, they were taken down out of power. I read the article and it reminded me about Dr. Ngor, who I knew about but never met. I knew about him because of his film career. I got intrigued by the story. I picked up his book, Survival in the Killing Fields, which is about 500 pages long. It was a fascinating autobiography where he wrote about his life in context to Cambodia, which is the kind of films that I like. There are always two parallel tracks to the story. There’s the larger political social story, but always embodied within a person’s life, and how a person’s life is carried through these political/social movements. That’s how he wrote his book and that’s what got me started.

Screening of “The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor,” International House, October 22, 2015, New York. (L-R) Wayne Ngor, Dr. Ngor's nephew and narrator of the film, casting director Pat Golden, director Arthur Dong and Sophia Ngor, Dr. Ngor’s niece and film subject. Photo by Lia Chang
Screening of “The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor,” International House, October 22, 2015, New York. (L-R) Wayne Ngor, Dr. Ngor’s nephew and narrator of the film, casting director Pat Golden, director Arthur Dong and Sophia Ngor, Dr. Ngor’s niece and film subject. Photo by Lia Chang

Chang: You had the opportunity to screen the film in Cambodia. Was this your first time there and how did this come about?
Dong:
 It was the second time. The first time I went there was for research for ten days in 2012 before I really began making the film. The US State Department, the US embassy in Phnom Penh heard about this film and felt that it was an important story for the people of Cambodia. It was important for the Embassy’s work in terms of acknowledging the history that occurred there. It also ties in their history with our history through Dr. Ngor’s story, because he came to America and became a citizen here.

They said, “We’ve never done this before, but we’d like to produce a tour of the film, a four city tour in Cambodia.” That’s what happened. It was amazing. They were working in a country, although it was a democracy, that had pretty tight controls over media in Cambodia. We had to create a Khmer version to show in the villages. We were going to do subtitles, which would have been much simpler. If you are going to be showing this in the villages, which we wanted to do, many people can’t read. They are not educated enough to read, so you are going to have to dub the whole film. Luckily, we worked with an organization, Bophana, that went the whole nine yards. They auditioned actors, they got the right voices. They synced it up so it didn’t look too loosey-goosey with their lips. They did a beautiful job. So now I have a Khmer version. Click here for a sneak peek of the Khmer dubbed version of the film, which also has English subtitles.

Salute to the national anthem, at the Cambodia premiere, "The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor," August 21, 2015, Major Cineplex Phnom Penh. Facebook/HaingNgorDocumentary Photo courtesy of US Embassy Phnom Penh
Salute to the national anthem, at the Cambodia premiere, The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, August 21, 2015, Major Cineplex Phnom Penh. Facebook/HaingNgorDocumentary Photo courtesy of US Embassy Phnom Penh

Chang: What did it feel like to bring your movie to a place where these atrocities occurred?
Dong: I was nervous. The first showing was a gala in the most modern theater in Cambodia. It was semi-formal and they invited dignitaries, artists, and cultural leaders. It was official and supported by the Embassy, the State Department as well as the Cambodian government.

I was nervous because, here I am a non-Cambodian telling a story about their country, their culture and their history. I remember when the film first started showing. I always sit in the back of the audience to try and feel the audience. Some of the historical material started showing and I thought they are going to be really bored because they’ve seen all of this. They know all of this. This is a full audience, they were totally quiet. What I am told they were crying and spellbound.

Outdoor community screening at Haing Ngor Smao Kgney Primary School in Dr. Ngor's hometown, Samrong Yong, Takeo Province. Facebook/HaingNgorDocumentary Photo courtesy of US Embassy Phnom Penh
Outdoor community screening at Haing Ngor Smao Kgney Primary School in Dr. Ngor’s hometown, Samrong Yong, Takeo Province.
Facebook/HaingNgorDocumentary Photo courtesy of US Embassy Phnom Penh

What I learned from the tour is that although we here in America may have seen some of this material, know the story or know this history, many people in Cambodia don’t. It is a part of history that the government does not endorse in terms of being taught in schools. It is not taught in schools widely. What might be generally known is people that something bad happened 40 years ago, it was led by somebody called Pol Pot, who was a communist, and a lot of people died. In terms of the nuances of the political situation, it is not widely taught or discussed. For many people who were watching this film in the villages and in the cities, this may have been  the first time they’ve heard about it. And for some of those people who lived through it and survived, the first time they’ve seen their experience on film, and in this way. It was exhilarating. People were really grateful to have this put on screen.

During the Q & A’s, the question I always got was what is your background? Are You Cambodian? In other words, why are you, a non-Cambodian, telling this story?

I’ve been told that the question comes from the doubt that a non-Cambodian would be able to tell their story so authentically. The best compliment I got was when several Cambodian filmmakers and a lot of Cambodians came up to me after the screenings and said they were surprised that I am not Cambodian because it is so sensitive, so real, and so authentic to their voice and story. They were very grateful for that. That is one of the things that I had to be careful about, being an outsider telling the story.

Director Arthur Dong (center) screened The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor and coached film students at Pour un Sourire d'Enfant - Cambodia. PSE educates and houses disadvantaged kids from the dump-site in Stung Meanchey, Phnom Penh. Media production is one of their vocational training programs; it's a three year program and the only "film school" in Cambodia. Facebook/HaingNgorDocumentary Photo courtesy of US Embassy Phnom Penh
Dong (center) screened The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor and coached film students at Pour un Sourire d’Enfant – Cambodia. PSE educates and houses disadvantaged kids from the dump-site in Stung Meanchey, Phnom Penh. Media production is one of their vocational training programs; it’s a three year program and the only “film school” in Cambodia. Facebook/HaingNgorDocumentary Photo courtesy of US Embassy Phnom Penh

Chang: What is your new job?
Dong: My official title is Distinguished Professor in Film, a newly created position at Loyola Marymount University, which is one of the top ten film schools in the country according to the Hollywood Reporter.

I had been teaching documentary film for some 30 years:  weeklong workshops, master classes, or just one-day seminars, because I just love what I do and I love sharing what I’ve learned about what I do. It is a thrill to see people excited about the craft because I’m excited about it. I actually taught at Loyola as an adjunct off-and-on whenever I was able to commit to a full semester, but that kind of commitment is hard to make when I’m out there producing a film. Early this year, they called me for a serious talk. They wanted me to help them with developing an MFA documentary program, a graduate program just for documentaries. What an extraordinary prospect I thought. We spent a few months working out a situation where I can take on this opportunity but also continue my work  as an independent filmmaker, which is of course exactly what they wanted: a working filmmaker. It ended up a win-win situation. So since April, I’ve been visiting universities across the country that have these types of programs and learning from them. How I can take the best from the best and put that into a two-year program at this university that really wants this to happen? Loyola is fully behind it. We have a new president that is excited about it. A dean that is definitely behind it – It’s his priority to have a documentary program in this department. And, there’s funding. The whole thing is not what I ever imagined to be doing in my life. It is quite a challenge, and an honor, to have the privilege to help shape and nurture a new generation.

Arthur Dong and his son Reed Dong-Gee at MoCA in New York on July 25, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Dong and his son Reed Dong-Gee at MOCA in New York on July 25, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Chang: Speaking of nurturing, how have you handled being a father to your son, Reed?
Dong: It’s crazy. It’s like no other experience I have ever had. I wouldn’t recommend being a parent to everybody. Especially my filmmaking friends. If there is a place in your life to have a child, there’s no substitution. The relationship that is cultivated by being a parent, and being responsible for another life, is daunting and fulfilling. You hear parents say that being a parent is the hardest job in the world and you get absolutely no training. It’s true. Who get’s trained to be a parent?

Chang: What is your latest filmmaking project?
Dong: 20 years ago, my friend Rusty Frank and I received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to interview 30 master tap dancers from the golden age of tap dancing, which is about from the turn of the 20th century up to the 1950’s or so. We traveled around the country with this grant, filming and interviewing tap masters like Ruby Keeler, Ann Miller, Fayard Nicholas and Cholly Atkins, and getting their stories. Talking about how they began tap dancing, how tap dancing began in this country and their role in vaudeville, in film, TV or the Broadway stage. They are wonderful heartfelt stories about being in America in the  beginning of the 20th Century; and what it meant to be a woman; what it meant to be African American; what it meant to be Asian American.

Dorothy Toy, Dancer. Pictured on the right, l-r: Larry Chan, Dorothy Toy, Paul Wing. Photo courtesy of Deepfocus Productions, Inc.
Dorothy Toy, Dancer. Pictured on the right, l-r: Larry Chan, Dorothy Toy, Paul Wing. Photo courtesy of Deepfocus Productions, Inc.

We hear stories from Dorothy Toy and Paul Wing who we also interviewed. Collectively, they told us this really fascinating tapestry of American stories. And because they are tap dancers, they are happy people. They are joyous people. And they’re rhythmic people, and they’re fun people. Rusty and I got these interviews in the can luckily, because soon after, they started leaving us. All but five of them are still with us today. After we got the interviews in the can, both of us got busy. Finally a few months ago, we both said to each other, “I think we have a window of time to start working on this again.” We also got another small grant to start working on it as well. For the past month, Rusty and I have been reliving these interviews. They are hilarious and so fun, but they are also very relevant to issues of today – of gender and equality and racial issues. They still resonate to what’s going on in this country today.

Caption: On the left is a headdress worn by dancer Barbara Yung during the 1940s at Andy Wong's Chinese Sky Room nightclub. Ms Yung is pictured on the right wearing the actual piece during the era. The costume is one of Arthur’s recent acquisitions that will be on display in his 2018 exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum. Photo courtesy of DeepFocus Productions, Inc.
Caption: On the left is a headdress worn by dancer Barbara Yung during the 1940s at Andy Wong’s Chinese Sky Room nightclub. Ms Yung is pictured on the right wearing the actual piece during the era. The costume is one of Arthur’s recent acquisitions that will be on display in his 2018 exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum. Photo courtesy of DeepFocus Productions, Inc.

This year has been pretty special with lots of surprises. The Japanese American National Museum has commissioned me to remount the Forbidden City, U.S.A. exhibition at their museum in 2018. In San Francisco, we had 1500 square feet, which felt really tight, but I am getting 6000 square feet. Dorothy Toy just shipped me about fifteen of her costumes including ballroom shoes, tap shoes, accessories from the 1940’s until her last days in the 1970’s. And Dorothy Toy – is Dorothy Takahashi Toy, so her story specifically resonates in that environment. Although the exhibition is about a Pan Asian experience. For example, you have Koreans and Filipinos as well. Because it is the Japanese American Museum, and Dorothy Toy was one of its biggest stars, its wonderful that we have all these costumes from her career. She shipped them in her original traveling cases that she took on the road. We’ve been gathering other costumes since we have the space now. It is part of a largest series. The first program of that series I’m in is being curated by George Takei. So I’m following George Takei.

Curator/Filmmaker Arthur Dong gives George Takei a private tour of his exhibition Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection, at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles on October 23, 2009. © Lia Chang
Curator/Filmmaker Arthur Dong gives George Takei a private tour of his exhibition Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection, at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles on October 23, 2009. © Lia Chang

The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, winner of the BEST DOCUMENTARY AUDIENCE AWARD at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, builds on ARTHUR DONG’S 30-year track record of creating compelling documentaries that focus on personal stories to examine moments of history, social prejudice, and public policy concerns. As a film student at San Francisco State University, Arthur Dong produced Sewing Woman, his Academy Award nominated short documentary in 1984. The film focused on his mother’s immigration to America from China. Instead of finding an outside distributor for the film, Dong then started his own company, DeepFocus Productions, and serves as its producer, director and writer. His trilogy of films that investigate anti-gay prejudice were released in the DVD collection, “Stories from the War on Homosexuality,” and features Family Fundamentals, Licensed to Kill and Coming Out Under Fire. His films about Chinese Americans were released in the follow-up collection, “Stories from Chinese America,” and include Sewing Woman, Forbidden City, U.S.A. and Hollywood Chinese.

His films have screened theatrically in the U.S., selected for festivals worldwide like Sundance, Toronto, and Berlin, and broadcast globally. Arthur’s film awards include an Oscar® nomination, three Sundance awards, the Peabody, five Emmy nominations, the Berlin Film Festival’s Teddy Award, Taiwan’s Golden Horse Award, and two GLAAD Media awards. He has been named a Guggenheim Fellow in Film and twice selected for the Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship. He has served on the boards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Film Independent, Outfest, and the National Film Preservation Board at the Library of Congress.

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

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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