September 6, 2016
"Chinese in America" Film Series Comes to Chatham Square Library
September 6, 2016
Chatham Square Library, located in the heart of Chinatown, celebrates the diverse stories and experiences of those with Chinese heritage with our new Chinese in America Film Series. This series has two distinct goals: to give a voice to emerging independent filmmakers, and to rediscover lesser known films (with the help of the Library for Performing Arts archive) that deal with the experience of being Chinese in America in a variety of unique situations.
Our film series kicks off on Saturday, September 17 at 2 PM with the documentary Reunification (2015), directed by Alvin Tsang. "When his mother and two siblings first immigrated from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in the early 1980s, six-year-old Alvin was forced to stay behind with his working, and consequently absent, father. Spending the following three years often alone in an empty apartment, he longed for his family’s reunification. However, upon Alvin and his father’s arrival to America, that dream was utterly and permanently shattered under circumstances the filmmaker has yet to fully comprehend to this day." (Brandon Yu, Reunification website)
Director Alvin Tsang is a graduate of University of California, San Diego’s Visual Arts department. He serves as a video documentarian for the pioneering composer-singer-choreographer-filmmaker Meredith Monk and has created promos for several Michael Kors’s fashion collections. Tsang’s other films include the shorts Fish (2010) and Preservation (2011). Reunification is his first feature.
Coming up on October 15 is an exciting shorts program featuring two emerging filmmakers. First, Maya Yu Zhang will present her shorts M A R K E D and My Sister Swallowed the Zoo. My Sister Swallowed the Zoo investigates an ordinary phone call between a mother and daughter, taking the audience on an emotional journey. They speak frankly about the daughter's life choices, which the mother opposes, as well as the mother's newly adopted baby. The film explores hope and disappointment, adoption and replacement, freedom and captivity.
In M A R K E D, the filmmaker is inspired by the painful childhood memory of having her beauty mark removed, and she embarks on an exploration to unveil the myths and obsessions that surround beauty marks in Chinese culture.
Maya Yu Zhang was born and raised in an agricultural province called Henan in central China. She came to the United States five years ago to attend Bryn Mawr College and recently graduated as an independent major in film and media studies. My Sister Swallowed the Zoo is an award-winning short which has screened at Black Maria Film Festival, Anthology Film Archive, and Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.
Also presenting on October 15 is Patrick Chen, a writer and director from Queens. As a Chinese-American filmmaker surrounded by the immigrant lifestyle, he has converted his estranged nationality into stories of art and pictures. Chen's short film Love Express has recently screened at various festivals, and was awarded with the Community Award for his dedicated contribution at the Queens World Film Festival.
We will screen Chen's short film The Last Tip. From the director: "Anyone who has stopped by New York’s Chinatown must have come across 69 Bayard Restaurant Corp. It’s one of few restaurants that opens its door till 4am with décor dominated by dollar bills. When news hit the streets that 69 Bayard Restaurant Corp. was going to close its doors after 70 years, people started flocking in. They all showed their support by eating their favorite dish one last time. It was my intention to captivate losing an icon from Chinatown through a native’s eyes."
Be on the lookout for more programming for our Chinese in America Film Series at Chatham Square Library! Once again, our series kicks off on Saturday, September 17 at 2 PM with Alvin Tsang's documentary Reunification. Our second installment is Saturday, October 15 at 2 PM with Maya Yu Zhang's M A R K E D and My Sister Swallowed the Zoo, and Patrick Chen'sThe Last Tip. Thus far, all filmmakers will be in attendance for a Q&A! Don't miss it!
If you are interested in submitting your independent short, feature, or documentary that fits with the broad theme of the experience of being Chinese in America, please email me at DanaSagona@nypl.org.