Congratulations to Hui Tong and Kelly Ng, who produced and directed Curtain Up!, on their DisOrient 2021 Award for Best Feature Documentary, announced tonight at the closing night ceremony of the Festival.In America, every child of immigrants has an assimilation story, but not all of them include an opportunity to premiere the kids’ adaptation of hit musical “Frozen,” and the struggles with identity that come with it.
For over ten years now, the PS 124 theater club in New York’s Chinatown has been the only Asian-American team to compete at the renowned Junior Theater Festival, a gathering of young thespians from across the world. It even earned the privilege of being one of a select few schools nationally to premiere the kids production of Frozen. As the kids gear up for the much-anticipated show, Curtain Up! follows their lives behind the scenes and the challenges that have surfaced.
What can theater help these children uncover about who they are? Which cultural stereotypes does these kids prove, and which do they debunk? What unexpected turns will these kids be confronted with, as they present their final elementary school performance, before graduating into middle schools?
Through rehearsals and time behind the scenes, the experience of growing up and the heartbreaks that come with it, this charming documentary tackles deep questions of identity and transitions from a kids-eye view and will leave an audience provoked. This charming documentary will also underscore – amidst high-pitched voices and youthful exuberance – how much we can learn from these nine- and ten-year-olds.
You can purchase a ticket for Curtain Up! until 11:59pm PST/2:59am EST and you can watch it Click here to purchase a ticket to watch the film.
Hui Tong – Director/Producer
Hui Tong is a documentary filmmaker from Beijing and currently based in Beijing. Six years ago he came to the U.S. for college and developed a strong interest in the intersection of history, arts, and identity. He has been making narrative and documentary shorts since high school, and in writing covered Asian American identity issues. Curtain Up! is his first feature-length documentary.
He has just finished his first book on the issue of identity, through the lenses of Asian American, Chinese American, mainland Chinese and overseas Chinese students.
Kelly is a journalist and documentary filmmaker from Singapore, drawn particularly to stories on minority communities, education and mental health. Her video and written stories have been published on, The Atlantic, NBC, and South China Morning Post, among others. She spent most of her journalism life in print before venturing into documentaries. Curtain Up! Is her filmmaking debut.
Kelly continues to work on documentaries outside her full-time job as a correspondent at Singapore’s The Business Times.