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Hanzi is a documentary exploring international design, visual culture and identity through the lens of modern Chinese typography.
Hanzi is a documentary exploring international design, visual culture and identity through the lens of modern Chinese typography.
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469 backers pledged $18,783 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$18,783

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About the film:

We are the team behind Design & Thinking and Maker, both successfully funded on Kickstarter, fulfilled on time, and went on to inspire audiences worldwide. We’d like your help to finish our next documentary - Hanzi, a documentary exploring international design, visual culture and identity through the lens of modern Chinese typography.

Chinese is one of the oldest and most used languages in the world, yet it is perceived as difficult to learn. Furthermore, there has been a lack of discussion on Chinese typography and its transition into the digital era compared to its western counterparts. Recently there has been a renaissance and reviewing of Chinese characters in Asia and internationally, with typography and lettering books often topping the best selling books, and more and more typographical courses and workshops being held in the cities. We think that’s worth exploring to the discussion of design and cultural identity. 

Collaborating with filmmakers from New York, Hong Kong, London and Taipei, Hanzi includes interviews from ShaoLan, founder and creator of Chineasy in London; Akira Kobayashi, a Japanese renowned Roman font designer; Sammy Or, a veteran Chinese font designer based in Hong Kong; also Ri Xing Type Foundry, the last traditional Chinese letterpress type foundry in the world and more, gathering some of the most important figures and insight in the current Chinese education and typography field. 

This film is not just about Chinese characters, we wanted to keep the ideas and messages applicable to all languages and cultures. Exploring universal subjects such as "How does language shape identity? What role does handwriting play in the digital age?”, Hanzi encourages audiences around the world to revisit and rethink their own culture, language and identity.

(Please see the press links at the bottom.)

About the team:

Since 2012, we have been extremely lucky to work on two documentaries that have created impact globally, Design & Thinking and Maker. Both films were crowdfunded on Kickstarter, distributed independently, and have gone to screen at schools and organizations all around the world, including Google, Twitter and Harvard University.

Our audiences have shared with us how much the films meant to them, like a designer finally being able to explain her job to her parents, or a teacher telling us how the films have bought inspiration to her students. Thus, after two innovation themed documentaries, we felt like it was time to turn the lens towards our own culture and explore what perspective we could offer to the world.

Based in Asia and also constantly aware of what's happening around the world, we set out to make a film that's not just about Chinese typography. With our multicultural background, we’re grateful to have these interviewees coming from diverse fields and countries, to help us put together a broad view of what a language can present. 

Through making this film, we’ve gained a new perspective towards our own language and identity, and we hope audiences of any cultural background can have as much insight and reflection towards their own language and culture as we have.

  • Director: Mu-Ming Tsai
  • Producers: Mu-Ming Tsai, Iris Lai
  • Editors: Iris Lai, Emily Hsiang
  • Advisor: Yu Hsiu Yang

How can you help? 

By working with filmmakers around the world, we’ve finished shooting in New York, Hong Kong, London and Taipei, gathering a wealth of informative interviews and interesting footage, and we’ve been editing these materials since then to tell an insightful story.

Currently we’re in the final phase of post-production, polishing the film with color correction, sound mixing and graphic design. Then we will need to move into the distribution phase where film festival submissions, promotion and marketing expenses will also require a significant amount of funds.

Your support will help cover these expenses and increase the production value of the final product; ultimately assisting in spreading the important insights of language, culture and identity to a larger audience.

How can we thank you?

Notes on $200 pledge: 
We’re very excited to present this unique type stamp set to our backers! The type is from Ri Xing Type Foundry - the last traditional Chinese letterpress type foundry in the world.
You can pick one from the four options:
(A) Type Stamp "字": Zi - which means “Word, Type, or Font”
(B) Type Stamp "漢字電影": Han Zi Dian Yin - which means “Hanzi The Movie”
(C) Customize your name in Chinese: Get a stamp of your Chinese name! If you don’t have a Chinese name, you can check out this website or message us and we’ll pick one for you.
(D) Other custom characters: If you have other specific Chinese characters in mind that you want to make into type stamp, let us know! You can pick up to four words.

Interviewees from the film: (in alphabetical order) 

  • Akira Kobayashi: Japanese renowned Roman font designer
  • Ash Henson: Co-founder of Outlier Linguistics 
  • Ally Cheng: Font Designer in Arphic Technology Co., Ltd
  • Amanda Bogan: Student Of The ICLP learning program at National Taiwan University
  • Edwina Lee: SCM Manager of Arphic Technology Co., Ltd
  • Grace Yang: CEO of Arphic Technology Co., Ltd 
  • Gorong Tseng: Font Designer in justfont
  • Ji-jie Ko: Co-author of "A Chinese Font Walk" 
  • Jiguan Chang: Owner of Ri Xing Type Foundry 
  • Joe Chang: Graphic/font designer  
  • Jong-yi Yeh: Founder of Oval Design 
  • Judy Lee: Head of font design of Arphic Technology Co., Ltd 
  • Kenzi Itakura & Shu Kanbayashi: Signage Artisans from Japan
  • Michael Yeh: CEO/Founder of justfont
  • Nikhil Sonnad: Reporter at Quartz 
  • Sammy Or: Font Designer 
  • ShaoLan Hsueh: CEO/Founder of Chineasy 
  • Winston Su: Community Manager of justfont

Press links:

Contact us:

Website: hanzithemovie.com 
Email: hanzithemovie@gmail.com 
Facebook: @hanzithemovie

Risks and challenges

Since Hanzi is in the final phase of post-production, we have full confidence in delivering the movie. The main risk might be whether we can generate enough funding for team members to concentrate on its post-production and distribution plan to maximize the potential and reach of the film.

As with our previous Kickstarter-funded "Design & Thinking" and "Maker" project, we are very good with deadlines and delivery while making the best film we can. Our distribution plan involves several film festival submissions, and some of them require premiere status, which might affect the reward delivery dates. If a delay is necessary, we’ll definitely inform our backers in advance.

Thanks for supporting us to bring this important and exciting project to fruition. We can’t accomplish this without you!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Our heartfelt gratitude

    Thanks for your support and we’ll list your name on the Hanzi website. You’ll receive updates from us on the project.
    (This applies to all the rewards)

    Includes:
    • A Thank You credit on our website
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    19 backers
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    Watch the movie

    Receive a full HD film download of Hanzi exclusively before its public launch.

    Includes:
    • HD file of Hanzi
    • A Thank You credit on our website
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    271 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Three docs digital bundle

    Receive full HD downloads for our three documentaries - Design & Thinking, Maker, and Hanzi.
    (Please see below for the included rewards)

    Includes:
    • HD files of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • HD file of Hanzi
    • A Thank You credit on our website
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    100 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Hanzi DVD

    Receive a DVD of Hanzi exclusively before public launch. You’ll get the digital copy in February 2018, so you can watch the film while waiting for the DVD.
    (Please see below for the included rewards)

    Includes:
    • DVD of Hanzi
    • HD file of Hanzi
    • HD files of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • Movie fan pin
    • A Thank You credit on our website
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    38 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Hanzi T-shirt

    Receive a movie T-shirt of Hanzi. You can pick the size from XS to XL. You’ll get the digital copy in February 2018, and receive the T-shirt and DVD at the same time in April.
    (Please see below for the included rewards)

    Includes:
    • Movie T-shirt of Hanzi
    • DVD of Hanzi
    • HD file of Hanzi
    • HD files of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • Movie fan pin
    • A Thank You credit on our website
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    11 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Three docs DVD bundle

    Receive digital HD files and DVDs of three documentaries, plus the movie T-shirt and the movie fan pin. You’ll get the digital copy in February 2018, and receive the rest of them in April.
    (Please see below for the included rewards)

    Includes:
    • DVD of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • DVD of Hanzi
    • HD files of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • HD file of Hanzi
    • Movie T-shirt of Hanzi
    • Movie fan pin
    • A Thank You credit on our website
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Type stamp set

    We’re very excited to present this unique type stamp set to our backers! The type is from Ri Xing Type Fundry - the last traditional Chinese letterpress type foundry in the world.
    You can pick one from the four options:”Zi”, “Han Zi Dian Yin”, your name in Chinese, and other custom characters. Please see the instructions on the left.
    (Please see below for the included rewards)

    Includes:
    • Type stamp set
    • DVD of Hanzi
    • DVD of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • HD file of Hanzi
    • HD files of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • Movie T-shirt of Hanzi
    • Movie fan pin
    • A Thank You credit on our website
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 10 backers
    $
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    For Educators

    All of the above + the Educational DVD of Hanzi, which comes with a limited public performance license that allows classroom use, on-campus screenings, creative meet-ups, and other non-commercial showings.
    (Please see below for the included rewards)

    Includes:
    • Educational DVD of Hanzi
    • HD file of Hanzi
    • DVD of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • HD files of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • Type stamp set
    • Movie T-shirt of Hanzi
    • Movie fan pin
    • A Thank You credit on our website
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    3 backers
    $
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Host your screening

    All of the above + host one Fundraiser Screening, which you may charge admission fees, after our premiere screening.
    (Please see below for the included rewards)

    Includes:
    • Hanzi fundraiser screening license
    • HD file of Hanzi
    • DVD of Hanzi
    • HD files of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • DVD of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • Type stamp set
    • Movie T-shirt of Hanzi
    • Movie fan pin
    • A Thank You credit on our website
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
    $
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Up to 3 screenings

    You can host your own Fundraiser Screening up to 3 times after our premiere screening. You may charge admission fees for these screenings.
    (Please see below for the included rewards)

    Includes:
    • Hanzi fundraiser screening license
    • HD file of Hanzi
    • DVD of Hanzi
    • HD files of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • DVD of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • Type stamp set
    • Movie T-shirt of Hanzi
    • Movie fan pin
    • A Thank You credit on our website
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Executive Producer

    We’ll list you as an “Executive Producer" credit of Hanzi, and you can host one fundraiser screening.
    (Please see below for the included rewards)

    Includes:
    • “Executive Producer" credit of Hanzi
    • Hanzi fundraiser screening license
    • HD file of Hanzi
    • DVD of Hanzi
    • HD files of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • DVD of Design & Thinking and Maker
    • Type stamp set
    • Movie T-shirt of Hanzi
    • Movie fan pin
    • A Thank You credit on our website
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
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Funding period

- (45 days)