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WHAT IS THE FILM?
CHINATOWN, a half-hour vérité style documentary film, takes an intimate look at D.C. Chinatown’s past, present and future through the untold stories of three Chinese immigrants remaining in the gentrified neighborhood.
WATCH THE TRAILER
WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT?
After a year of filming and six months of editing, the film is very close to finish. We have been able to complete shooting and rough cut editing with a small but talented team on a shoestring budget. Independent filmmaking means putting in 30-35 hours a week on a project we’re passionate about without getting paid. Fortunately there are organizations and individuals who understand the importance of independent media. To date I have invested my own money and earned critical support from Center for Social Media, Fudan Fuzhong Overseas Foundation, and individual donors for the development and production of the project.
Now Kickstarter provides a platform for us to connect with you. Our goal is to raise $6,000 completion funds so we can hire professionals to do finishing editing, color correction, audio mixing, motion graphics, and music composing for the film. It will allow us to put the finishing touches on the film and bring it to audiences around the world.
WHAT IS KICKSTARTER?
Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Since its launch on April 28, 2009, over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects. Backing a project is more than just giving money, it's supporting our dream to create something that we want to see exist in the world.
All-or-nothing funding is a core part of Kickstarter. Every project creator sets their project's funding goal and deadline. For example, our goal is $6,000 and we have until February 15, 2013 to reach that goal. Project creators keep 100% ownership of their work. Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected. In the US, pledges will be processed by Amazon Payments. The payment processing fees work out to roughly 3-5%. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers' credit cards are charged when time expires. In return, we've set unique incentives for your contribution and each dollar helps.
WHY THIS FILM SHOULD BE MADE?
The immigration history of Chinese Americans goes as far back as 1820. Chinatown is one of Washington’s oldest ethnic communities – the first documented Chinese resident of Washington, D.C. settled on Pennsylvania Avenue in 1851. The original Chinatown was relocated to H Street to make way for the Federal Triangle Project in 1931. The city's urban renewal and redevelopment plans in the 1970s displaced 13% of Chinatown residents. Wah Luck House was completed in 1982 to provide subsidized housing for displaced residents and low-income families. Today around 400 Chinese immigrants remain in Washington's Chinatown.
The film takes audiences into the private lives of the characters to explore the intricate cultural and social issues facing the community today, from language access, affordable housing, seniors services, to a lack of Chinese grocery stores. A year of filming has allowed us to document a mere fragment of Chinese American history, but we believe it will contribute to a better understanding of our collective past, present and future. The story is relevant to all of us because it's about immigrant experience and the American Dream.
In a more abstract sense, you are helping to bring the issues of gentrification, affordable housing, language access and senior services to the forefront of conversations at film festivals, theaters, museums, universities, broadcast television…everywhere we plan to show the film.
MEET THE CHARACTERS
Leung Yam Chum immigrated from Taishan in 1998 and has been the founder/president of Wah Luck House Tenants' Association since 2008.
Jia Ting Xu immigrated from Shanghai in 1992 and has been actively involved in organizing Wah Luck residents on a monthly grocery shopping trip to Falls Church, VA.
Raymond Wong immigrated from Hong Kong in 1968 and is the founder of Wong People Kungfu/Lion Dance group in Chinatown.
MEET THE TEAM
We are a diverse group of people who are passionate about independent filmmaking and experienced in the fields of research, production, post-production and distribution. Most of us are based in Washington, D.C. and we love our city.
- Yi Chen, Producer/Director/Editor
- Ian Cook, Camera
- Jon Adelman, Camera
- Kian McKellar, Camera
- Xuan Zhao, Camera
- Juliane Piecha, Location Sound
- Kristian Perry, Motion Graphics Artist
- Mary Belcher, Watercolor Artist
- Paul Oehlers, Music Composer
- Greg Conners, Colorist
- John Douglass, Advisor
- Gary Griffin, Advisor
- Esther Chow, Advisor
We want to express our sincere gratitude for the time and support these organizations have given to the project.
- AEPA Architects Engineers, PC
- American University School of Communication
- APA Legal Resource Center
- Asian & Pacific Islander Senior Center
- Center for Social Media
- Chinatown Community Church
- Chinatown Community Cultural Center
- Chinatown Service Center
- Chinese Americans Citizens Alliance
- Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
- Fudan Fuzhong Overseas Foundation
- Latino Economic Development Center
- Many Languages One Voice
- Mayor's Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
- OCA - Greater Washington DC Chapter
- Rho Psi Foundation
- Wah Luck House Tenants' Association
- Women in Film and Video, DC
- Wong People Kung Fu Association
IN THE NEWS
Risks and challenges
The project is at a stage to be handed over to our finishing editor, colorist, composer, and motion graphic artist. The challenge for me is to have a vision for these elements of the film so they will enhance the story, the emotion, and the look. I'll be working with talents that are top-notch in what they do. I will also turn to experienced filmmakers in the industry for advice. Therefore I'm confident the challenge will be overcome.
© 2013 Yi Chen, All Rights Reserved.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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