Tag Archives: Asian Arts Initiative

Q & A with Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang; New Film MY VOICE, MY LIFE screens at #PAAFF15 on Nov. 22 at Asian Arts Initiative

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Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang’s newest film, My Voice, My Life, will screen at the Philiadelphia Asian American Film Festival on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015 at  4:30 PM  at the Asian Arts Initiative: 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia 19107
General Admission: $8
Students (with student ID), Children and Seniors Admission: $6
Seats are limited.
BUY NOW

My Voice, My Life follows an unlikely group of misfit students from four Hong Kong middle and high schools cast in a musical theater performance. From low self-esteem to blindness, each student confronts unique personal challenges in the process of developing his or her character.

This moving and insightful film chronicles the trials and tribulations of this group of underprivileged students as they go through six months of vigorous training to produce a musical. A life-affirming journey of self-discovery and growth, the stories of these young people will challenge every parent, teacher and policymaker to reflect on our way of nurturing the young.

Brought together to sing, dance and act, the students question their own abilities and balk at the spotlight. Teachers and administrators question whether this ragtag band will be able to work together, much less put on a successful musical. But Nick Ho, director of the production, holds onto hope that his tough love approach will unite the students and bring out their inner performers.

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The L plus H Creations Foundation presents My Voice, My Life in association with the Lee Hysan Foundation. The film is 91 minutes in Cantonese with English subtitles.

Filmmaker Ruby Yang.
Filmmaker Ruby Yang

Ruby took time out of her busy schedule to answers some questions via email from Hong Kong.

Lia: What inspired you to make My Voice, My Life?
Ruby: My first documentary, Citizen Hong Kong, was filmed during the return of Hong Kong (to China) in 1997. I always wanted to do another documentary about the young people in Hong Kong.

In 2013, L Plus H Creations Foundation (a social enterprise that improves the lives of underprivileged youth through art) asked me to make a documentary about their inaugural musical. I saw their first rehearsal and noticed a young man named Tsz Nok. He’s one of four visually impaired students being selected to take part. I was very moved by his singing and later found out that he lost his sight one year ago. I thought it would be a good story about inclusion as well as witnessing the transformative power of arts to build confidence for these marginalized youth.

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Lia: What motivates you as an artist and as a filmmaker?
Ruby: Good human stories.

I think all my films are about identity, marginalized groups and social changes affecting people’s lives. If you look at the children being affected by HIV/AIDS or the farmer who studies environmental law to save his village, you see a common thread emerging – the human spirit and it’s about humanity.

Lia: After living in the U.S. for such a long time, what has it been like to be back in Hong Kong?
Ruby: Hong Kong has become quite political in the last couple of years – high pressure and intense. There is a lot of tension between mainland Chinese and Hong Kong born Chinese.

People are media savvy. At the same time they are also bombarded with negative news. My husband and I moved to Beijing in 2004, lived in China for eight years before moving to Hong Kong. It took me a while to adjust to the freedoms in Hong Kong.

Lia: What has it been like working in China? Have there been restrictions or challenges?
Ruby: In Hong Kong, as long as one gets the permission from the person or place to shoot you just shoot – but in China that’s not the case. Even with the person’s permission, you might not be able to continue shooting because you might be touching on a sensitive topic, which can be stopped at any time.

Lia: Which of the subjects in My Voice, My Life do you relate to most?
Ruby: I related to all of them in different ways. They are rebellious, having short attention span, unable to communicate with their parents, lacking self-confidence, feeling excluded … I think we all share that kind of experience.

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Lia: What was it like for you as a young Chinese American female filmmaker early in your career?
Ruby: It was tough. There weren’t many opportunities for Asian Americans in film business. As a foreign born, it was even harder. It was crucial that during the early 80s, CAAM (formerly NAATA), New York Asian CineVision and Visual Communications in L.A. helped champion the voices of Asian Americans in the mainstream media. As Asian Americans, we have traveled a long journey; the struggle is still on going.

Lia: Did you have mentors when you were first honing your craft?
Ruby: Yes, I am blessed with many mentors in my career. That is so important. Now I am mentoring young documentary filmmakers in Hong Kong and China.

Lia: How did winning an Oscar in the Documentary Short category for The Blood of Yingzhou District in 2006 change your life, your career and your outlook on life?
Ruby: As a documentary filmmaker, you always want to be low-key and be professionally invisible. Winning an Oscar proves to be a problem in China. I am no longer invisible.

Lia: How was My Voice, My Life received in Hong Kong?
Ruby: It made about 6 million Hong Kong dollars (about $700,000 U.S.), which makes it one of the few top-grossing documentaries in Hong Kong. There were over 500 screenings booked by high schools and organizations since the release of the film in October 2014. Many local celebrities have endorsed the film, which brought the attention to the issues discussed in the film to the general audience.

Lia: What have been the top three projects that you have worked on and why?
Ruby: The Warriors of Qiugang documents a group of Chinese villagers that organized to put an end to the poisoning of their land and water. Public participation is beginning to take shape in China but Chinese citizens are facing huge battles ahead.

The Blood of Yingzhou District: HIV/AIDS issue was a taboo subject in China when we started our AIDS public awareness work there in 2004. A lot has changed for the better 10 years after.

Citizen Hong Kong, which explored identity issues of Hong Kong born Chinese. Now (Hong Kong’s) political future is very much on the minds of many Hong Kongers.

Lia: Is there a reason that you gravitate toward documentary filmmaking versus narrative filmmaking?
Ruby: I like documentaries because they bring me to different real-life situations. What’s better than just experiencing life and talking to people about their lives?

Lia: What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?
Ruby: Be curious, patient and draw inspiration from life.

Ruby Yang is a noted Chinese American filmmaker whose work in documentary and dramatic film has earned her an Academy Award, two Academy Award nominations and numerous other international awards, including an Emmy, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Award and the Global Health Council Media Award.

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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, which will screen at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in Examiner.com, FebOne1960.com BlogJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Other Articles:
Hide and Seek starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits screens at the 2015 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF15) in Women’s Shorts Program at Asian Arts Initiative on Nov. 21
World Premiere of PALI ROAD at 2015 Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) on Nov. 16 & 21st
AsAmNews.com: Actor Tzi Ma Rides ‘Hell On Wheels’ to New Heights
Q and A with Jason Tobin, star of Dax Phelan’s JASMINE
Q & A with Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang; New Film MY VOICE, MY LIFE screens at #PAAFF15 on Nov. 22 at Asian Arts Initiative
Ed Moy’s Animated Short UP IN THE CLOUDS has East Coast premiere screening at PAAFF15 on Nov. 20
Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival Announces 8th Annual Festival Lineup
Gotta Dance Star André De Shields receives 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University
AsAmNews.com: Partying with George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, Michael K. Lee and the cast of ‘Allegiance’ on opening night
George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, Michael K. Lee and more at the first preview of Broadway’s Allegiance; opens Nov. 8
GOTTA DANCE stars André De Shields, Stefanie Powers, Lori Tan Chinn, Lillias White step out for ON YOUR FEET!
Tiger Morse by Mark Shaw: Jet Set Style Quest, 1962, on view at The Liz O’Brien Gallery through Dec. 18
Joel de la Fuente, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Alexa Davalos, Luke Kleintank, Rufus Sewell, DJ Qualls and More at ‘The Man in The High Castle’ New York Series Premiere
Darren Criss, Jenna Ushkowitz, Ann Harada, Kristin Chenoweth, Karen Ziemba, Jon Cryer and More celebrate Great Writers at Dramatists Guild Fund’s 2015 Gala
Greg Watanabe makes Broadway Debut as Mike Masaoka in ‘Allegiance’ 
AsAmNews.com: Q & A with Arthur Dong, Award-winning Filmmaker and Author, Gay Icon, Distinguished Professor of Film
Film Lab Screening of ‪#‎72HrSO‬ Films at Time Warner Theater & Panel Discussion of Mass Media Constructions of Beauty 
AsAmNews.com: Creating an Asian American presence on Wikipedia, one WikiAPA Edit-a-thon at a time 
AsAmNews.com: The King and I’s Special Performance Benefits The Actors Fund 
Playbill.com: Hugs, Laughs and Photobombs By Tony Winners! Go Backstage at the Special Actors Fund Performance of The King and I
Broadwayworld.com: Photo Flash: Phylicia Rashad, Andre De Shields & More Original Cast Members from THE WIZ Reunite in Central Park! 
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Cast Reunion featured in BLACK BELT MAGAZINE August/September 2015
Drumhead Magazine: Living Colour Drummer Will Calhoun, Photos by Lia Chang 
AsAmNews.com: AAPI Heritage Month: My Grandmother’s Detention on Angel Island 
Crafting a Career

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

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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 lia@liachangphotography.com

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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 lia@liachangphotography.com.

Ed Moy’s Animated Short UP IN THE CLOUDS has East Coast premiere screening at PAAFF15 on Nov. 20

Up in the Clouds Poster
Up in the Clouds, a delightful animated short written and directed by Ed Moy, and featuring the voices of Katherine Park (Red Dress) and Raymond Ma (The Muppets, Horrible Bosses 2, and Lethal Weapon 4), will have its East Coast premiere screening as an Official Selection of The 2015 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF15) on Friday, November 20th at 5:00pm,  in the Animation Shorts Program at Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Click here to RSVP.

Katherine Sui Fun Cheung in pilot's gear kickstarting propeller c1930's. Photo courtesy of Dottie
Katherine Sui Fun Cheung in pilot’s gear kickstarting propeller c1930’s. Photo courtesy of Dottie Leschenko.

Produced by Ed Moy and Timothy Tau, the inspiration for Up in the Clouds is Chinese aviatrix Katherine Sui Fun Cheung, who became one of the first Chinese women pilots to earn a license to fly in the United States.

Cheung is honored with a plaque at LAX’s Flight Path as the first licensed Asian Aviatrix in the United States, recognized with a plaque at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, Disney’s Soarin’ over California and in the Smithsonian.

Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen
Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen

Up in the Clouds was originally conceived as black and white animatic style sketches illustrating Katherine’s story of falling in love with flying while learning to drive a car with her dad next to a dusty airfield in Los Angeles.

Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen
Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen

Ruby Chen’s hand drawn illustrations features 1920’s period cars and planes in a cartoon style meets modern anime caricature, which visual effects editor Chris Trinh animated with motion and movement.

Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen
Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen

Additional production credits include David Cu (sound and music editor), Nicole Echegoyen (graphic artist) and Birdie Sawyer (trailer video editor). Additional funding was provided by executive producer Tau for the color illustrations, and by Moy for the colorized cartoon.

Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen
Up in the Clouds. Illustrated by Ruby Chen

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.

Moy is currently working on an Aviatrix documentary film and web series project about Chinese women aviators of the 1930s. He was also 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. http://www.aviatrixmovie.org

Katherine Park (daughter)
Born in Framingham Massachusetts, Katherine Park is an actor, alternative singer-songwriter, photographer, cosplay cover model, and teacher.  Like Katherine Sui Fun Chung, she grew up studying music at the conservatory level. She was lead vocalist for indie rock darlings The Jumblies before impressing San Francisco casting director Nina Henninger, and director Evan Cecil, who casted her as comic book heroine Giselle Grey in Image Comic’s comic book series Carbon Grey.  She has also appeared on HBO, Investigation Discovery, The Biography Channel, Hulu, My TV New England, and Amazon. Park performs at music festivals in San Francisco, including ULUV 2013, and the Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration. She will portray the young Katherine Sui Fun Chung in the upcoming documentary film and web series: Aviatrix. www.katherinepark.com  @katherinepark

Raymond Ma (father)
Raymond Ma On House, M.D. Raymond Ma portrayed Nicole’s biological father Wu Zheng in the Season 5 episode “Birthmarks.”
Ma has had featured roles in Dharma & Greg, Old School, Starsky & Hutch, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Boston Legal, Crash and The Muppets.  He will portray Katherine Sui Fun Cheung’s father Harry Cheung in the upcoming Aviatrix documentary film and web series.

David Cu (editor, sound editor)
David Cu is a  composer, sound designer, and editor for film, television, games, and more. He studied at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media.

Katherine Park and Ed Moy on the red carpet at the 2015 San Jose International Short Film Festival on October 23, 2015. Photo courtesy of Ed Moy
Katherine Park and Ed Moy on the red carpet at the 2015 San Jose International Short Film Festival on October 23, 2015. Photo courtesy of Ed Moy

Up in the Clouds has screened at the 2015 Catalina Film Festival,  2015 San Jose International Short Film Festival, 2015 Miami Independent Film Festival, 2015 Hollyshorts – 
Monthly Screening Series and 2015 Asians On Film – Best Animation Summer Quarter.

Up in the Clouds on Facebook

This FREE shorts program at #PAAFF15 offers a diverse selection of animated shorts that stretch the limits of the imagination. Animaton styles include CGI, watercolor, ink, and claymation.

Full Slate:
Eggs | Tomofumi Inoue
Zodiac Run | Gabriel Silva
Think Ink | Wally Chung
Up in the Clouds | Ed Moy
Waiting | Will Kim
Junk Girl | Mohammed Zare
Click here for more information.
Click here for a map to the Asian Arts Initiative.

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF) is the first and only event of its kind in Philadelphia, bringing in audience members from all over the region and Asian American filmmakers, actors, and leaders, from around the world. The festival also hosts numerous screenings year-round independently and in partnership with regional arts and community organizations.

PAAFF’s parent organization, Philadelphia Asian American Film & Filmmakers, is a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 to showcase films by and about Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans for the city of Philadelphia and Greater Philadelphia region. Their mission is to present captivating programs that engage, inspire, and connect our community both to one another and the non-Asian mainstream.

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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, which will screen at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in Examiner.com, FebOne1960.com BlogJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Other Articles:
Hide and Seek starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits screens at the 2015 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF15) in Women’s Shorts Program at Asian Arts Initiative on Nov. 21
World Premiere of PALI ROAD at 2015 Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) on Nov. 16 & 21st
AsAmNews.com: Actor Tzi Ma Rides ‘Hell On Wheels’ to New Heights
Q and A with Jason Tobin, star of Dax Phelan’s JASMINE
Q & A with Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang; New Film MY VOICE, MY LIFE screens at #PAAFF15 on Nov. 22 at Asian Arts Initiative
Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival Announces 8th Annual Festival Lineup
Gotta Dance Star André De Shields receives 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University
AsAmNews.com: Partying with George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, Michael K. Lee and the cast of ‘Allegiance’ on opening night
George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, Michael K. Lee and more at the first preview of Broadway’s Allegiance; opens Nov. 8
GOTTA DANCE stars André De Shields, Stefanie Powers, Lori Tan Chinn, Lillias White step out for ON YOUR FEET!
Tiger Morse by Mark Shaw: Jet Set Style Quest, 1962, on view at The Liz O’Brien Gallery through Dec. 18
Joel de la Fuente, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Alexa Davalos, Luke Kleintank, Rufus Sewell, DJ Qualls and More at ‘The Man in The High Castle’ New York Series Premiere
Darren Criss, Jenna Ushkowitz, Ann Harada, Kristin Chenoweth, Karen Ziemba, Jon Cryer and More celebrate Great Writers at Dramatists Guild Fund’s 2015 Gala
Greg Watanabe makes Broadway Debut as Mike Masaoka in ‘Allegiance’ 
AsAmNews.com: Q & A with Arthur Dong, Award-winning Filmmaker and Author, Gay Icon, Distinguished Professor of Film
Film Lab Screening of ‪#‎72HrSO‬ Films at Time Warner Theater & Panel Discussion of Mass Media Constructions of Beauty 
AsAmNews.com: Creating an Asian American presence on Wikipedia, one WikiAPA Edit-a-thon at a time 
AsAmNews.com: The King and I’s Special Performance Benefits The Actors Fund 
Playbill.com: Hugs, Laughs and Photobombs By Tony Winners! Go Backstage at the Special Actors Fund Performance of The King and I
Broadwayworld.com: Photo Flash: Phylicia Rashad, Andre De Shields & More Original Cast Members from THE WIZ Reunite in Central Park! 
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Cast Reunion featured in BLACK BELT MAGAZINE August/September 2015
Drumhead Magazine: Living Colour Drummer Will Calhoun, Photos by Lia Chang 
AsAmNews.com: AAPI Heritage Month: My Grandmother’s Detention on Angel Island 
Crafting a Career

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

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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 lia@liachangphotography.com

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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 lia@liachangphotography.com.