A Father’s Son is story-spinoff based on author Henry Chang’s crime novel series featuring NYPD Detective Jack Yu. Set in the early '90s when local street gangs terrorized Manhattan’s Chinatown, our story centers on Detective Jack Yu investigating the murder of a teenage boy involved in a turf war. Amidst the broad distrust and racial divide between the Chinatown community and NYPD, our lone lawman searches for a nondescript immigrant family to deliver a shattering message that also brings forth his own conflicted relationship with Jack’s father.
Since 2006, Henry Chang’s posters of his crime drama book series, Chinatown Beat, Year of The Dog, Red Jade, and Death Money were displayed at my two favorite NYC Chinatown restaurants: 69 Bayard and Wo Hop City. The posters caught my attention for years until I purchased his first book titled Chinatown Beat.
After reading the first installment, I became enamored with the fictional character Jack Yu, a NYPD Detective torn between justice and the injustice to his community. He was a born-and-bred New Yorker with a New Yawk accent trying to do good. It was the first time reading about a Chinese-American protagonist who wasn’t an American stereotype. Jack wasn’t a cook, waiter, deliveryman, an herbalist, railroad worker, opioid dealer, martial artist, monk or Manchu.
Positive Asian-American role models were invisible unless it was Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, or another martial art figure. Only little known-actor Dennis Gong Dun came close portraying a Chinese-American protagonist in Year of the Dragon as Herbert Kwong, and as Wang Chi in Big Trouble in Little China. But that was only around 1980s.
Today, thanks to organizations like Gold House and box-office hits like Crazy Rich Asians, there’s a genuine opportunity for good stories with tangible Asian-American characters. It’s been 13 years since the release of Chinatown Beat and I felt this was the right time to bring Jack Yu to light in our story, A Father’s Son.
I grew up watching Hong Kong '90s films. The three films I wrote and directed, Love Express, Confucius Plaza, and The Last Tip were inspired by Hong Kong’s cinematic style and natural realism -- which have been showcased at the Museum of Chinese in America and Comcast's Xfinity Lunar New Year collection.
With A Father’s Son I want to direct it as a film noir with reference to Johnnie To’s PTU (2003) and Election (2005). I want to exhibit the grittiness of New York’s Chinatown with the Cantonese essence that will simulate 1994.
The first step is to hire professional actors who can speak that dialect. The second is to collaborate with a cinematographer that can capture the vision. And lastly, location, location and location. A talented location manager and set designer will help us camouflage the slowly gentrifying 2019 NYC Chinatown into its 1994 iconic setting. In this Sinovision interview, Henry and I speak a bit about the change in Chinatown through the years with the cast of The Last Tip.
Producing a film can be challenging an expensive, especially one set in the early 1990s. We've enlisted help from as many talented individuals who could generously offer up their time and effort to make this project a reality. But favors do have their limits. That's why we need your help.
Every contribution will go towards the creation of A Father's Son in its entirety -- from pre-production to distribution. This includes reimbursing actors, crew members, editors, sound designers, composers, and all the many specialized roles needed to get this project off the ground, as well as film festival submission fees and network marketing.
Our hopes is that A Father’s Son will gain enough interest to have Henry Chang’s books developed into a network series. It’s a long shot but audiences are now hungering for diverse original shows. After nearly 2 decades, Henry Chang will finally get a chance to see his characters come to life.
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Risks and challenges
This isn't our first campaign and while we are confident in our abilities as creators, we recognize that there may be unforeseeable complications that may arise from production, scheduling, or health issues. Whatever they may be, we're committed to facing them head on and delivering a film you can be proud of having supported.
If you have any concerns, feel free to get in touch with us either here on Kickstarter, or through the links below. We're more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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