A frog, a seamstress and a factory king all collide in this tragic love story.
Starring ELAINE KAO, TIM CHIOU, with TZI MA
Directed by KEVIN LAU, written by KEVIN LAU & NYSSA CHOW, produced by JAVIAN LE & AMANDA GARQUE, co-produced by LEONARD WU, director of photography CAMERON DUNCAN, editor MICHAEL LOUIS HILL, production designer RAYNA SAVROSA, original music by CHRISTOPHER WONG, costume designer HEATHER CHAFFEE, hair & make-up by STEPHANIE BRAVO, casting by STEPHANIE JO WU, sound designer PAUL SMITH
For a complete credit list, click here.
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MUSIC FROM THE FILM
- MADE IN CHINATOWN will be part of an exhibition at the Columbia College's Glass Curtain Gallery in Chicago, IL from Oct. 23 through Dec. 12
- Director Kevin Lau has been selected as one of four fellows for Sony Pictures Television's inaugural Diverse Directors Program (link)
- MADE IN CHINATOWN will be screened and taught in courses at Emerson College and UCLA this fall
- Columbia University Film Festival - WINNER SimonSays Entertainment Award for Innovative Filmmaking, IFP Audience Award
- Woodstock Film Festival - Nominated for Best Student Short
- NBCUniversal Shortcuts Competition - WINNER Best Short, Best Writing, Best Actor (Tim Chiou)
- San Diego Asian Film Festival
- Asians on Film Festival - WINNER Best Director, Best Actress (Elaine Kao), Best Ensemble Cast, Best Original Score
- Kustendorf Int'l Film and Music Festival
- Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
- Indianapolis International Film Festival
- New York Asian American International Film Festival
... and more to come!
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
MADE IN CHINATOWN's beginnings were seeded eight years ago while I was rummaging through my parent's old things. My father emigrated to the States from Hong Kong in the late-60s and settled for the time being in Silverlake, CA. My mother emigrated, too, at about the same time with her family to Chula Vista, just outside of San Diego. That was all that I knew about their arrival to America. I grew up in a rigid household that held onto the traditional cultural proclivities of work over talk, sweat over tears. So it came as a shock when I discovered two faded photographs of my mother and father when they first arrived to America. They were hip. Hong Kong hip. My dad, with slicked over hair, thick rimmed glasses, held a cigarette in one hand and a Canon camera in the other. My mom with a half-beehive do and now sought-after vintage sweater, laughed like a schoolgirl with a never forgotten friend. It was a sight unseen. And changed my understanding of them forever.
I soon began to ask questions, sneaking one in here and there, until it became a conversation -- we talked about what it was like to leave their entire life behind to come to America. My father was a successful accountant who had to segue into a career as a cook. My mom was a librarian who didn't even want to come. The transition, to say the least, was difficult culturally, socially and economically.
And from that, the story for MADE IN CHINATOWN was sparked. It gestated and grew over several years, always in the back of my thoughts, amorphous but collecting momentum. I knew I always wanted to write an immigrant story that dealt with the sacrifices and consequences of chasing the American dream. I knew I always wanted to write a story that centered on universal themes and emotions that just so happened to focus on the Asian-American experience. I knew I always wanted to set it in another era, to allow myself the freedom to romanticize the Asian-American experience, to give it a sense of familiar nostalgia so that it would feel fresh but oddly recognizable. I wanted to help create a place for Asian-American lore in the landscape of American narrative, to help say we've been around for quite a while in this country and we have stories to tell too.
And above all else, I knew I wanted to recreate that freshness and excitement I felt when I discovered those old photographs of my parents--there's absolutely nothing like experiencing familiar things through a new lens that can forever change our perception of the world.
-- Kevin Lau, May 2013
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