Tag Archives: Asian American Filmmakers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virginia Wing. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Lia Chang

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

Jo Yang

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

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

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

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

Facebook: SVAPFilmFest

Instagram: svapfilmfest

Twitter: SVAPFilmFest

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shorts Program

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

Grant Avenue Follies

Asian drag queens, Rice Rockettes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook: SVAPFilmFest

Instagram: svapfilmfest

Twitter: SVAPFilmFest

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

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

Lia Chang

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virginia Wing. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Lia Chang

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

Jo Yang

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

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

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

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

Shorts Program

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

Grant Avenue Follies

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

Asian drag queens, Rice Rockettes

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

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

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

Facebook: SVAPFilmFest

Instagram: svapfilmfest

Twitter: SVAPFilmFest

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

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

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

DisOrient Asian American Film Festival: The role of Asian American filmmakers in supporting Black Lives Matter Panel Discussion Featuring Karen Ishizuka, Hisonni Mustafa, Ursula Liang, Daisy Truong and Tadashi Nakamura

(Left to Right) Karen Ishizuka, Hisonni Mustafa, Ursula Liang, Daisy Truong and Tadashi Nakamura

The DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon is  celebrating 16 years of uplifting Asian American and Pacific Islander stories and voices this year and is being held virtually from March 19-28, 2021. The curated program includes narrative and documentary films, livestreamed events and recorded Q&A’s to enrich your film experience.

(Left to Right) Karen Ishizuka, Tadashi Nakamura, Hisonni Mustafa, Ursula Liang, Daisy Truong

On Sunday, March 21 at 3pm PST/6pm EST, DisOrient is presenting a panel discussion on The role of Asian American filmmakers in supporting Black Lives Matter:  Moderated by DisOrient Founder Jason Mak. Panelists: Daisy Truong, Hisonni Mustafa, Karen Ishizuka, Tadashi Nakamura and Ursula Liang. Click here for tickets. Tickets required—“Pay what you can”.

Check out trailers of the films featured in the Festival below.

Check out the website for the full festival schedule, program, and film trailers. Facebook

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

Mar. 19-28: DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon Lineup 

Mar. 28: Disorient Asian American Film Festival Closing Night Film Q & A with Virginia Wing, Lia Chang, Jason Ma, Garth Kravits and Jo Yang for WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG, and Donald Young for COMING HOME AGAIN 

Mar. 19-28: DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon Lineup

The DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon is  celebrating 16 years of uplifting Asian American and Pacific Islander stories and voices this year and will be a held virtually from March 19-28, 2021. The curated program includes narrative and documentary films, livestreamed events and recorded Q&A’s to enrich your film experience. Check out the trailers below.

(Left to Right) Karen Ishizuka, Tadashi Nakamura, Hisonni Mustafa, Ursula Liang, Daisy Truong

The role of Asian American filmmakers in supporting Black Lives Matter: Saturday, March 21 @ 3:00pm PST. Tickets required—“Pay what you can”. Moderated by DisOrient Founder Jason Mak. Panelists: Daisy Truong, Hisonni Mustafa, Karen Ishizuka, Tadashi Nakamura and Ursula Liang. Click here for tickets.

2021 Filmmakers
2021 Filmmakers

Film Highlights: Opening Night film: The Girl Who Left Home: A live-action, musical feature film by writer/director/lyricist/producer Mallorie Ortega, and producer Angelo Santos. The film will be followed by two short films, Anna Anaka’s  Looking Back, and Joella Cabalu’s Ode to a Seafaring People. Livestreamed Q&A on Saturday, March 20 @ 4:00pm PST/7:00pm EST featuring Mallorie Ortega, Haven Everly, Emy Coligado, Paolo Montalban, Joella Cabalu and Anna Anaka.

Click here for tickets.

Haven Everly, Emy Coligado and Paolo Montalban in Mallorie Ortega’s THE GIRL WHO LEFT HOME.

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

Centerpiece film: Cane Fire: Pacific NW Premiere; Feature Documentary. Merging film history with the personal and political, filmmaker Anthony Banua-Simon offers an eye-opening look at the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. The film will be preceded by two short films, Where Smoke Rises and The Pākalā Kids. Livestreamed Q&A on Friday, March 26 @  6:30pm PST/9:30pm EST. Click here for tickets.

Closing Night Film: Coming Home AgainPNW Premiere. Feature film by Wayne Wang, based on a personal essay by Chang Rae Lee, and starring Justin Chon, Jackie Chung, and Christina July Kim.

Our film, When the World Was Young, directed by Garth Kravits and starring Virginia Wing, Jason Ma, Lia Chang and Jo Yang, will screen before Coming Home Again. Livestreamed Q&A on Sunday March 28 @ 4:00pm PST/7:00pm EST. Click here for tickets.

Other film highlights include: Water Like Fire: Mainland US premiere. Lovely, poetic, Hawaii-made indie film. Sansei Granddaughters’ Journey 5 artists honor their ancestors and the 120,000 people ofJapanese ancestry who were unjustly incarcerated during WWII. See You ThenFeature Narrative by award-winning filmmaker Mari Walker. After 15 years, Kris is finally ready to explain her transgender journey to college girlfriend Naomi (Lynn Chen). Screening with Kaye: This Life Around, the artistic journey of a musician rediscovering her music. Take Out GirlFeature film by award-winning director Hisonni Mustafa, with an Asian American hip-hop soundtrack; screening with the world premiere of Blue Lanterns. 4 shorts programs: Emerging Voices, Japanese American Voices Past and Present, Voices of Family, Raising Our Voices All-access passes ($48) and tickets for all films may be purchased online at www.disorientfilm.org. Check out the website for the full festival schedule, program, and film trailers. Facebook

Mar. 19-28: 16th Anniversary Disorient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon Lineup; Sneak Preview in February

The DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon is  celebrating 16 years of uplifting Asian American and Pacific Islander stories and voices this year and will be a held virtually from March 19-28, 2021. The curated program includes narrative and documentary films, livestreamed events and recorded Q&A’s to enrich your film experience.

DisOrient 2021 Sneak Preview

Down a Dark Stairwell

Down A Dark StairwellScreening February 27-28, 2021; Tickets required, $9. Click here for tickets. Livestreamed Q&A: Sunday, February 28 @ 3:00 PST. Moderated by DisOrient founder Jason Mak; with Director Ursula Liang and Documentarian and film editor JM Harper. Panel Discussion–Livestream. This content can only be viewed in authorized regions:Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii.

(Left to Right) Karen Ishizuka, Tadashi Nakamura, Hisonni Mustafa, Ursula Liang, Daisy Truong

The role of Asian American filmmakers in supporting Black Lives Matter: Saturday, March 21 @ 3:00pm PST. Tickets required—“Pay what you can”. Moderated by DisOrient Founder Jason Mak. Panelists: Daisy Truong, Hisonni Mustafa, Karen Ishizuka, Tadashi Nakamura and Ursula Liang. Click here for tickets.

Haven Everly, Emy Coligado and Paolo Montalban in Mallorie Ortega’s THE GIRL WHO LEFT HOME.

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

Film Highlights: Opening Night film: The Girl Who Left Home: A live-action, musical feature film by writer/director/lyricist/producer Mallorie Ortega, and producer Angelo Santos. The film will be followed by  two short films, Looking Back, and Ode to a Seafaring People. Livestreamed Q&A on Saturday, March 20 @ 4:00pm PST/7:00pm EST. Click here for tickets.

Centerpiece film: Cane Fire: Pacific NW Premiere; Feature Documentary. Merging film history with the personal and political, filmmaker Anthony Banua-Simon offers an eye-opening look at the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. The film will be preceded by two short films, Where Smoke Rises and The Pākalā Kids. Livestreamed Q&A on Friday, March 26 @  6:30pm PST/9:30pm EST. Click here for tickets.
Closing Night Film: Coming Home AgainPNW Premiere. Feature film by Wayne Wang, based on a personal essay by Chang Rae Lee, and starring Justin Chon, Jackie Chung, and Christina July Kim.

Our film, When the World Was Young, directed by Garth Kravits and starring Virginia Wing, Jason Ma, Lia Chang and Jo Yang, will screen before Coming Home Again. Livestreamed Q&A on Sunday March 28 @ 4:00pm PST/7:00pm EST. Click here for tickets.

Garth Kravits’ Short Film WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG Starring Virginia Wing, Jason Ma, Lia Chang and Jo Yang is an Official Selection of The 16th Annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon

Other film highlights include:

Water Like Fire: Mainland US premiere. Lovely, poetic, Hawaii-made indie film.

Sansei Granddaughters’ Journey 5 artists honor their ancestors and the 120,000 people ofJapanese ancestry who were unjustly incarcerated during WWII.

See You ThenFeature Narrative by award-winning filmmaker Mari Walker. After 15 years, Kris is finally ready to explain her transgender journey to college girlfriend Naomi (Lynn Chen). Screening with Kaye: This Life Around, the artistic journey of a musician rediscovering her music.

Take Out GirlFeature film by award-winning director Hisonni Mustafa, with an Asian American hip-hop soundtrack; screening with the world premiere of Blue Lanterns.

4 shorts programs: Emerging Voices, Japanese American Voices Past and Present, Voices of Family, Raising Our Voices

All-access passes ($48) and tickets for all films may be purchased online at www.disorientfilm.org. Check out the website for the full festival schedule, program, and film trailers.

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Ed Moy’s Documentary “Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story” Screens in New York on 8/4, 8/7 and in Marina del Rey on 8/14

Ed Moy’s documentary short Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story is an official selection of 2016 Long Beach International Film Festival and will have its East Coast premiere screening on Thursday, August 4, 2016,  at the newly remodeled Long Beach Cinema 4, 179 East Park Avenue, Long Beach, NY 11561, from 12:30-1:30pm preceded by Spirit of Iris.  

Spirit of isis and aviatrix

Spirit of Iris is the story of a trail blazing woman, who swam in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany and was in one of the earliest groups of women to ferry planes for the Air Transport Command in World War II.

A Q & A will follow the screenings. Click here to purchase tickets. View Map

On Sunday, Aug. 7th, the First Chinese Baptist Church is presenting a free screening of Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story in the New York City premiere at 4:00P.M., followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker, Ed Moy. The First Chinese Baptist Church is located at 21 Pell St. in New York.

On Sunday, Aug. 14th, a short version of the Aviatrix documentary  will screen in the 2016 Marina del Rey Film Festival at the Cinetransformer truck in the Marina at Jamaica Bay Inn during the festivals third shorts screening block, which begins at 4:00P.M. Director Ed Moy and Katherine’s daughter Dottie Leschenko will be in attendance for a Q&A after the end of the shorts film block. Limited to 90 seats. Tickets online.

aviatrixKatherine Sui Fun Cheung (1904-2003), was one of the nation’s first licensed Asian aviatrix and became a member of the “99 Club”, an exclusive club of women pilots that elected Amelia Earhart as president. Cheung was born in Enping, China and studied music at USC and LA Music Consevatory. After learning to fly, she participated in air shows and air races. But after an inexperienced pilot crashed her plane, she promised her dying father that she would give up flying. After World War II, she operated a flower shop with her husband. The Santa Monica Flying Museum honored her with a plaque in their Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame and she is recognized with a plaque along LAX Flight Path Walk of Fame as the first Chinese Aviatrix to earn a license to fly.  http://www.aviatrixmovie.org

Below is a Q & A with writer/producer Ed Moy.

Ninety-Nines Members Photo of Katherine Sui Fun Cheung with Ethel Sheehy courtesy of Dottie Leschenko.
Ninety-Nines Members Photo of Katherine Sui Fun Cheung with Ethel Sheehy courtesy of Dottie Leschenko.

Lia: Were Katherine Sui Fun Cheung’s accomplishments eclipsed by Amelia Earhart’s legend?
Ed: I would say that Amelia was obviously the most famous aviatrix of the 1930s. But what stands out about Katherine is she was a minority woman doing something that was seen as primarily a man’s sport at that time.

It should also be pointed out that Chinese women were still looked at as docile homemakers, who worked in the kitchen, raised kids, and took care of the house.

Katherine broke through all of those limiting traditional expectations during a period in history when gender equality and equal rights weren’t always given freely to minorities.

Daring young women such as Katherine and Bessie Coleman (the first female pilot of African American descent) were often seen as sideshow curiosities at air circuses and county fairs around the country.

In many ways, they are pioneers who deserve to be remembered for their roles in aviation history. Our goal is to share Katherine’s fun and adventurous story with a new generation that may not know about her accomplishments.

Katherine Sui Fun Cheung was not the only Chinese female to get her pilot license in the 1930s. There’s some confusion on who was the first though. The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum recognizes Katherine as the first Asian American aviatrix but others point to Hazel Ying Lee.

Although both Hazel and Katherine were licensed in 1932, according to various newspaper articles from that time period, Katherine got her license in March of 1932, whereas Hazel completed her training and got her license in October of 1932.

A number of other Chinese females also earned pilots license during the 1930s including Leah Hing, Rose Lok, Lee Ya-Ching and Hilda Yen.

There were also several Chinese women that learned to fly but were not licensed in the early years of aviation, including Anna Low in 1918 and Frances E. Lee, who died tragically falling from a plane in 1920.

We will feature a segment with Aviation historians and academics talking about these women and their accomplishments in our documentary and web series.

Biplane Katherine Sui Fun Cheung and Walter Chan with biplane photo courtesy of Dottie Leschenko.
Biplane
Katherine Sui Fun Cheung and Walter Chan with biplane photo courtesy of Dottie Leschenko.

Lia: In 1932, one percent of American pilots were female. What were some of the issues involved with Cheung being a pilot?
Ed: Around 1931, Katherine sought training through the Chinese Aeronautical School, which at that time had begun teaching young Chinese American men to become pilots so they could aid in the fight against Japanese invaders in China.

According to family and various news articles, Katherine was not allowed to train with them at first because she was a woman.

But she refused to take no for an answer and eventually paid for lessons from civilian instructors.

Once she got her license Katherine did participate in the local Chinese Flying club with the other men.

She was the only female member, although there was another young woman who came from a well-to-do family that helped finance the club’s activities.

Later, Katherine was invited to join the 99s, an exclusive all-women flying club, whose members included Amelia Earhart.

Lia: How did you discover Katherine’s story?
Ed: My first exposure to an Asian Aviatrix was actually in 2007.

I read about Hazel Ying Lee’s story at a Chinese History museum in Honolulu’s Chinatown.

I later wrote a piece for Asiance Magazine and 13 Minutes Magazine about Hazel after talking to filmmaker Alan H. Rosenberg, who had made a documentary about Hazel, entitled “A Brief Flight: Hazel Ying Lee and the women that flew pursuit.”

But it wasn’t until 2012, that I heard about Katherine’s story after East West Players created a Theatre for Youth production called “Taking Flight” written by Judy Soo Hoo.

I had written the original script for a short film about actor Keye Luke, which filmmaker Timothy Tau later turned into his award-winning short film, which spanned the 1930s-1940s film era.

Having developed an interest in that 1930s time period, when I heard about the “Taking Flight” production, it piqued my interest in Katherine’s story.

But I did not follow up again until October 2013 when I was tossing around ideas for a project with actress Katherine Park, who I originally had cast to play the young Katherine Sui Fun Cheung in dramatization scenes for the documentary.

Those dramatization scenes were later shelved in favor of turning it into the animated short film Up in the Clouds.

Lia: In 2004, Lucy Liu attempted to pitch a Katherine Sui Fun Cheung project to HBO with the family. How will yours finally tell Cheung’s story?
Ed: At a charity luncheon in 2004, Lucy Liu did have a brief meeting with family members.

According to grandson Alan Wong who was in attendance, Lucy spoke with Katherine’s granddaughter Judy Wong about pitching Katherine’s story to HBO.

However, no project was ever funded and Lucy moved onto other projects. Judy unfortunately passed away last year from cancer.

This was not the first attempt by filmmakers to tell Katherine’s story. Chinese actresses Luo Yan and Josephine Chien also attempted to create projects.

Hazel Ying Lee documentary filmmaker Alan H. Rosenberg had also proposed making a film about Katherine and several other Asian Aviatrix of that same era.

Lia: What’s the goal of your documentary?
Ed: Our primary project goal is to share Katherine’s story in a fun and entertaining way.

Our half-hour documentary film version will premiere at the 2016 Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival, and a longer form web series in the works.

I also plan to add additional footage and interviews to create a one-hour television broadcast version to submit for PBS and/or online content providers, along with making a limited edition DVD with bonus material, as well as a companion photo book with biographical information.

The end goal is to reach out to schools and museums with the web series and DVD in hopes that new audiences will find Katherine’s story an informative, inspiring and entertaining piece of Asian American history.

Katherine was a visionary who pursued her dreams with a passion and we want to honor that with a project that reflects her legacy as a pioneering aviatrix.

Edmund Moy (director, producer, writer)

Ed Moy is an award-winning journalist. His series of feature news articles about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training fundraising programs helped raise awareness for their mission while touching the lives of thousands of readers and earned him their National Print Media Award for Excellence in Journalism.

In addition to working on the Aviatrix documentary film and web series project about Chinese women aviators of the 1930, Moy  was co-writer on director Timothy Tau’s award-winning short film Keye Luke about the life of pioneering Asian American actor Keye Luke. It won an Audience Award at the 2014 Hollyshorts Film Festival and was nominated for Best Short Film at the 2013 Dragon*Con Short Film Fest.

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

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

Filmmaker Ed Moy on “Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story,” an Official Selection of the 2016 Long Beach International Film Festival Screening on August 4

Ed Moy’s documentary short Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story is an official selection of 2016 Long Beach International Film Festival and will have its East Coast premiere screening on Thursday, August 4, 2016,  at the newly remodeled Long Beach Cinema 4, 179 East Park Avenue, Long Beach, NY 11561, from 12:30-1:30pm preceded by Spirit of Iris.  

Spirit of isis and aviatrix

Spirit of Iris is the story of a trail blazing woman, who swam in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany and was in one of the earliest groups of women to ferry planes for the Air Transport Command in World War II.

A Q & A will follow the screenings. Click here to purchase tickets. View Map

aviatrixKatherine Sui Fun Cheung (1904-2003), was one of the nation’s first licensed Asian aviatrix and became a member of the “99 Club”, an exclusive club of women pilots that elected Amelia Earhart as president. Cheung was born in Enping, China and studied music at USC and LA Music Consevatory. After learning to fly, she participated in air shows and air races. But after an inexperienced pilot crashed her plane, she promised her dying father that she would give up flying. After World War II, she operated a flower shop with her husband. The Santa Monica Flying Museum honored her with a plaque in their Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame and she is recognized with a plaque along LAX Flight Path Walk of Fame as the first Chinese Aviatrix to earn a license to fly.  http://www.aviatrixmovie.org

Below is a Q & A with writer/producer Ed Moy.

Ninety-Nines Members Photo of Katherine Sui Fun Cheung with Ethel Sheehy courtesy of Dottie Leschenko.
Ninety-Nines Members Photo of Katherine Sui Fun Cheung with Ethel Sheehy courtesy of Dottie Leschenko.

Lia: Were Katherine Sui Fun Cheung’s accomplishments eclipsed by Amelia Earhart’s legend?
Ed: I would say that Amelia was obviously the most famous aviatrix of the 1930s. But what stands out about Katherine is she was a minority woman doing something that was seen as primarily a man’s sport at that time.

It should also be pointed out that Chinese women were still looked at as docile homemakers, who worked in the kitchen, raised kids, and took care of the house.

Katherine broke through all of those limiting traditional expectations during a period in history when gender equality and equal rights weren’t always given freely to minorities.

Daring young women such as Katherine and Bessie Coleman (the first female pilot of African American descent) were often seen as sideshow curiosities at air circuses and county fairs around the country.

In many ways, they are pioneers who deserve to be remembered for their roles in aviation history. Our goal is to share Katherine’s fun and adventurous story with a new generation that may not know about her accomplishments.

Katherine Sui Fun Cheung was not the only Chinese female to get her pilot license in the 1930s. There’s some confusion on who was the first though. The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum recognizes Katherine as the first Asian American aviatrix but others point to Hazel Ying Lee.

Although both Hazel and Katherine were licensed in 1932, according to various newspaper articles from that time period, Katherine got her license in March of 1932, whereas Hazel completed her training and got her license in October of 1932.

A number of other Chinese females also earned pilots license during the 1930s including Leah Hing, Rose Lok, Lee Ya-Ching and Hilda Yen.

There were also several Chinese women that learned to fly but were not licensed in the early years of aviation, including Anna Low in 1918 and Frances E. Lee, who died tragically falling from a plane in 1920.

We will feature a segment with Aviation historians and academics talking about these women and their accomplishments in our documentary and web series.

Biplane Katherine Sui Fun Cheung and Walter Chan with biplane photo courtesy of Dottie Leschenko.
Biplane
Katherine Sui Fun Cheung and Walter Chan with biplane photo courtesy of Dottie Leschenko.

Lia: In 1932, one percent of American pilots were female. What were some of the issues involved with Cheung being a pilot?
Ed: Around 1931, Katherine sought training through the Chinese Aeronautical School, which at that time had begun teaching young Chinese American men to become pilots so they could aid in the fight against Japanese invaders in China.

According to family and various news articles, Katherine was not allowed to train with them at first because she was a woman.

But she refused to take no for an answer and eventually paid for lessons from civilian instructors.

Once she got her license Katherine did participate in the local Chinese Flying club with the other men.

She was the only female member, although there was another young woman who came from a well-to-do family that helped finance the club’s activities.

Later, Katherine was invited to join the 99s, an exclusive all-women flying club, whose members included Amelia Earhart.

Lia: How did you discover Katherine’s story?
Ed: My first exposure to an Asian Aviatrix was actually in 2007.

I read about Hazel Ying Lee’s story at a Chinese History museum in Honolulu’s Chinatown.

I later wrote a piece for Asiance Magazine and 13 Minutes Magazine about Hazel after talking to filmmaker Alan H. Rosenberg, who had made a documentary about Hazel, entitled “A Brief Flight: Hazel Ying Lee and the women that flew pursuit.”

But it wasn’t until 2012, that I heard about Katherine’s story after East West Players created a Theatre for Youth production called “Taking Flight” written by Judy Soo Hoo.

I had written the original script for a short film about actor Keye Luke, which filmmaker Timothy Tau later turned into his award-winning short film, which spanned the 1930s-1940s film era.

Having developed an interest in that 1930s time period, when I heard about the “Taking Flight” production, it piqued my interest in Katherine’s story.

But I did not follow up again until October 2013 when I was tossing around ideas for a project with actress Katherine Park, who I originally had cast to play the young Katherine Sui Fun Cheung in dramatization scenes for the documentary.

Those dramatization scenes were later shelved in favor of turning it into the animated short film Up in the Clouds.

Lia: In 2004, Lucy Liu attempted to pitch a Katherine Sui Fun Cheung project to HBO with the family. How will yours finally tell Cheung’s story?
Ed: At a charity luncheon in 2004, Lucy Liu did have a brief meeting with family members.

According to grandson Alan Wong who was in attendance, Lucy spoke with Katherine’s granddaughter Judy Wong about pitching Katherine’s story to HBO.

However, no project was ever funded and Lucy moved onto other projects. Judy unfortunately passed away last year from cancer.

This was not the first attempt by filmmakers to tell Katherine’s story. Chinese actresses Luo Yan and Josephine Chien also attempted to create projects.

Hazel Ying Lee documentary filmmaker Alan H. Rosenberg had also proposed making a film about Katherine and several other Asian Aviatrix of that same era.

Lia: What’s the goal of your documentary?
Ed: Our primary project goal is to share Katherine’s story in a fun and entertaining way.

Our half-hour documentary film version will premiere at the 2016 Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival, and a longer form web series in the works.

I also plan to add additional footage and interviews to create a one-hour television broadcast version to submit for PBS and/or online content providers, along with making a limited edition DVD with bonus material, as well as a companion photo book with biographical information.

The end goal is to reach out to schools and museums with the web series and DVD in hopes that new audiences will find Katherine’s story an informative, inspiring and entertaining piece of Asian American history.

Katherine was a visionary who pursued her dreams with a passion and we want to honor that with a project that reflects her legacy as a pioneering aviatrix.

Edmund Moy (director, producer, writer)

Ed Moy is an award-winning journalist. His series of feature news articles about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training fundraising programs helped raise awareness for their mission while touching the lives of thousands of readers and earned him their National Print Media Award for Excellence in Journalism.

In addition to working on the Aviatrix documentary film and web series project about Chinese women aviators of the 1930, Moy  was co-writer on director Timothy Tau’s award-winning short film Keye Luke about the life of pioneering Asian American actor Keye Luke. It won an Audience Award at the 2014 Hollyshorts Film Festival and was nominated for Best Short Film at the 2013 Dragon*Con Short Film Fest.

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

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

Facebook Live Interviews: 2016 Katra Film Series – 2nd Round Finalists; 14 Films Compete for $2000 in Prizes on July 16

Lia Chang and Garth Kravits during Facebook live interview. Photo by Geoffrey Guerrero
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits during Facebook live interview. Photo by Geoffrey Guerrero

Bev’s Girl Films’ is thrilled that our debut short, HIDE AND SEEK, starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, is among the top 14 shorts which have screened since January in the Katra Film Series, to compete in the 2016 Katra Film Series – 2nd Round event on Saturday, July 16, 2016, for $2000 in prizes sponsored by Pond5, Moviemaker Magazine,  CreatorUp, Goze Zone, Socially Relevant Film Festival. Everyone who attends will be eligible for a $250 free headshot session with a photographer from City Headshots.

The Katra Film Series is NYC’s premier film series dedicated to the exhibition and promotion of quality independent cinema and innovative short-form videos. The winners of the 2nd Round – chosen by pair of industry judges and audience vote – advances to the 5th Annual Grand Finale Series in January 2017. Katra is located at 217 Bowery btw. Rivington and Prince St. in New York. The evening begins at 5pm. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

The 2nd round includes an international lineup of filmmakers from Israel, Japan, Georgia, Moldova, Ecuador and Greece, with diverse topics ranging from the Syrian Refugee crisis to the lives of plantation workers in Liberia to the inhumane treatment of animals and nature. The lineup also includes shorts with cast members from hit TV shows The Blacklist, The Americans, and Orange is the New Black.

Katra Founder and filmmaker Geoffrey Guerrero chatted with many of the filmmakers via Facebook Live. Check out the lineup and interviews below.

Screening Order:
6pm
People of Nowhere – directed by Lior Sperandeo
A short doc about the Syrian refugee crisis in Lesvos, Greece.

Hide and Seek – directed by Garth Kravits
A short film starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, that speaks to the societal challenge that women, and especially women of color, endure every day. Check out our Facebook Live interview with Geoffrey Guerrero, filmmaker and founder of Katra Film Series.

The Promise – directed by Alex Leu
When his fiancée is abducted by an evil warlord, a lone soldier struggles to save her before she is turned to the dark side.

The Bear – directed by Avtandil Chachibaia
A moral fable about a revenge-seeking bear who nobly forgives the humans for their wrongdoings.

Notes from Liberia – directed by Judd Ehrlich & Ryo Murakami
Tracing the journey of the late Japanese cinematographer Ryo Murakami to the Firestone Tire and Rubber Plantation in Liberia.

7pm
Emma Inspired – directed by Nicole Machon
Emma is a recent college grad, unsure of her next move in life.

The Exam – directed by William Speruzzi
A psychological thriller about a man whose promotion hinges on him taking a medical exam.

The Skull – directed by Graceann Dorse
It’s moving day, and the Gorden family must deal with a long forgotten family heirloom that has re-surfaced.

Other People’s People – directed by James Fauvell
An ensemble comedy about the intersecting and competing loves, lies and indiscretions of three couples in Brooklyn, NY.

8pm
White Privilege Frankenstein – directed by Chris Carfizzi & Ken Dashow
When an angry mob comes for Frankenstein’s Monster, Victor Frankenstein must find a way to get him off the hook.

Fortress – directed by Amir Arison
April and Kalev meet at an Italian restaurant after agreeing to go on their first on-line date.

47 Secrets to a Younger You – directed by Ryan Blackwell
A comedic webseries about working moms, everyday disasters and middle-aging not so gracefully.

Chocolate Cake – Benjamin Shweky
A nostalgic tale about a boy who doesn’t quite fit in. Instead, he finds all the company he needs in his mother’s delicious chocolate cake.

The Small Time – Created by Jack Canfora & Andrew Rein
A struggling literary agent, Ben Bernstein, tries to find the one writer who can be the next big thing.

Do you have a short film, web series, short doc, music video you’d like to submit? Katra is looking for short content of any genre/form no longer than 45 minutes in length. Visual art, experimental, animations are welcome! Submit via Film Freeway.

Geoffrey Guerrero, Lia Chang and Garth Kravits
Geoffrey Guerrero, Lia Chang and Garth Kravits

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

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

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

HIDE AND SEEK Starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits Among 14 Short Films Competing in 2016 Katra Film Series – 2nd Round in New York on July 16; Facebook Live Interviews with Finalists

Hide and Seek postcard

Lia Chang and Garth Kravits during Facebook live interview. Photo by Geoffrey Guerrero
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits during Facebook live interview. Photo by Geoffrey Guerrero

Bev’s Girl Films’ is thrilled that our debut short, HIDE AND SEEK, starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, is among the top 14 shorts which have screened since January in the Katra Film Series, to compete in the 2016 Katra Film Series – 2nd Round event on Saturday, July 16, 2016, for $1600 in prizes sponsored by Pond5, Moviemaker Magazine,  CreatorUp, Goze Zone, Socially Relevant Film Festival.

The Katra Film Series is NYC’s premier film series dedicated to the exhibition and promotion of quality independent cinema and innovative short-form videos. The winners of the 2nd Round – chosen by pair of industry judges and audience vote – advances to the 5th Annual Grand Finale Series in January 2017. Katra is located at 217 Bowery btw. Rivington and Prince St. in New York. The evening begins at 5pm. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

The 2nd round includes an international lineup of filmmakers from Israel, Japan, Georgia, Moldova, Ecuador and Greece, with diverse topics ranging from the Syrian Refugee crisis to the lives of plantation workers in Liberia to the inhumane treatment of animals and nature. The lineup also includes shorts with cast members from hit TV shows The Blacklist, The Americans, and Orange is the New Black.

LINEUP (not in order):

Hide and Seek – directed by Garth Kravits
A short film starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, that speaks to the societal challenge that women, and especially women of color, endure every day. Check out our Facebook Live interview with Geoffrey Guerrero, filmmaker and founder of Katra Film Series.

Notes from Liberia – directed by Judd Ehrlich & Ryo Murakami
Tracing the journey of the late Japanese cinematographer Ryo Murakami to the Firestone Tire and Rubber Plantation in Liberia.

Chocolate Cake – Benjamin Shweky
A nostalgic tale about a boy who doesn’t quite fit in. Instead, he finds all the company he needs in his mother’s delicious chocolate cake.

The Promise – directed by Alex Leu
When his fiancée is abducted by an evil warlord, a lone soldier struggles to save her before she is turned to the dark side.

The Exam – directed by William Speruzzi
A psychological thriller about a man whose promotion hinges on him taking a medical exam.

White Privilege Frankenstein – directed by Chris Carfizzi & Ken Dashow
When an angry mob comes for Frankenstein’s Monster, Victor Frankenstein must find a way to get him off the hook.

The Small Time – Created by Jack Canfora & Andrew Rein
A struggling literary agent, Ben Bernstein, tries to find the one writer who can be the next big thing.

The Bear – directed by Avtandil Chachibaia
A moral fable about a revenge-seeking bear who nobly forgives the humans for their wrongdoings.

Fortress – directed by Amir Arison
April and Kalev meet at an Italian restaurant after agreeing to go on their first on-line date.

Emma Inspired – directed by Nicole Machon
Emma is a recent college grad, unsure of her next move in life.

Other People’s People – directed by James Fauvell
An ensemble comedy about the intersecting and competing loves, lies and indiscretions of three couples in Brooklyn, NY.

People of Nowhere – directed by Lior Sperandeo
A short doc about the Syrian refugee crisis in Lesvos, Greece.

The Skull – directed by Graceann Dorse
It’s moving day, and the Gorden family must deal with a long forgotten family heirloom that has re-surfaced.

47 Secrets to a younger you – directed by Ryan Blackwell
A comedic webseries about working moms, everyday disasters and middle-aging not so gracefully.

Do you have a short film, web series, short doc, music video you’d like to submit? Katra is looking for short content of any genre/form no longer than 45 minutes in length. Visual art, experimental, animations are welcome! Submit via Film Freeway.

Geoffrey Guerrero, Lia Chang and Garth Kravits
Geoffrey Guerrero, Lia Chang and Garth Kravits

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

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

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