The editor Todd Thoenig had a major job, which was supposed to end on Monday but kept extending until the end of the week, so we ended up working four hours on Thursday and ten hours on Friday. In the middle of which, I ran to the East Village to pick up printed material and had lunch at a noodle stall where I sat at a communal table next to two Chinese professors and got their take on Taiwan. (Apparently, the Chinese are taught to believe that the Taiwanese want to take over China. Interesting that that’s the threat presented, not that Taiwan wants to separate. But once again, the ROC is conflated with Taiwan and the Taiwanese.)
We ended up with a five minute promo video, which at midnight I was still wanting to tweak but we had to stop. Something about the momentum of the ending and emotional pitch isn’t right but maybe I can figure this out before going to San Jose. It’s pretty good though and it gives an idea of all the elements in the film – animation, archival footage, interviews with Peng Ming Min, Annette Lu and Linda Arrigo, as well as the family road trip with my dad bursting into tears over everything.
I arrived at Cambridge in the afternoon the next day to find Chia-Chun Chung and Herbert Chang, the energetic leaders of FAPA-YPG in Boston, setting up at the Community Arts Center. It’s a spacious and cheery two adjoining rooms but the room with the pull-down screen was bursting with sunlight, so it was decided to project the film on a clear space high up in the other room. People would have to crane their necks a bit but at least the projection would be visible. Food was set up in the sunny room, with chairs along the perimeter, but we decided to keep the room open and not set up a formal screening area with chairs in rows. In hindsight, this might not have been the best idea. It was a little awkward when people first started to arrive as everyone gravitated to the chairs and huddled like a row of trepidatious Taiwanese wall flowers. But when more people arrived and the chairs were all taken up, mingling was impossible to avoid and things got a bit more convivial. I met several Harvard Law students and a young filmmaker who had just made a short documentary on the trapped Chilean miners. Everyone seemed smart, concerned and aware of Taiwan issues. Most were either in college or recent graduates. Most also seem to be transplants from Taiwan, unlike in New York, which seems to have more American-born Taiwanese. I heard just as much Mandarin in the room as English.
There were a few of the older generation there, most of them members of the Taiwanese Association of America (TAA) in Boston, which had also sent out an announcement about the event. Chia-Chun later said that there was much concern in the community about younger people picking up the struggle. I met a very supportive older couple – C.Y. and Shaohung Wang – who apparently had helped another documentary filmmaker, Chen Lihkuei, with her documentary Dear Taiwan. I had mentioned that I was looking for members of the Green Team Video Collective and C.Y. said that he knows two people who might have been involved.
I helped Chia-Chun and Herbert clean up and then we went to a fantastic little coffee shop called Dwelltime. Besides Taiwanese hip hop, Herbert seems to know quite a bit about coffee. The evening ended with dinner with more FAPA-YPG folk at a Chinese restaurant in Malden.
It was really a lovely day with some fantastic people. We received $720 in donations and can afford to pay for more editing. I think some more donations will probably come through the mail and it was great to spread the word about the film.Thanks FAPA and TAA in Boston, hope to see you soon!