About this project
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
- Core77: New Design Documentary on Chinese Typography
- UnRavel: This week in languages: June 9, 2017
- Shopping Design: Interview with the director (in Chinese)
- Morisawa: News from type.center/tw (in Chinese)
- HK01: Taiwanese documentary about typography (in Chinese)
Urban Nomad Film Festival: The Big Nomad Prize (in Chinese)
Panel discussion with the Hanzi team (in Chinese)
- ICLP: Some ICLPers are involved in this film project (in Chinese)
- Documentary Crowdfunding: How To Reach $10,000 In Two Weeks On Kickstarter
- Newsdog: New Design Documentary on Chinese Typography
- Vision Times: An Informative Documentary Featuring Chinese Typography
- Speaking of China: What's Your Chinese Name Story
- The Central News Agency (CNA): A Chinese Documentary Across Three Continents (in Chinese)
- New Taipei City Government: Hanzi special screening in FuZhong15 (in Chinese)
- FuZhong15: Hanzi Special Screening photo (in Chinese)
- Global View CATV: (Video)1060628 Global View News (in Chinese)
- China Times: A Documentary directed by Mu-Ming Tsai (in Chinese)
- Taiwan Business News: Featuring 18 interviewees on Chinese typography (in Chinese)
- China Daily News: Hanzi in FuZhong15 (in Chinese)
- NVW TV: A New Perspective on Chinese Typography (in Chinese)
- Pchome Online News: A Chinese Documentary Across Three Continents (in Chinese)
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!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (45 days)