FOREVER, CHINATOWN: James Q. Chan, Corey Tong Interviews

28 Jul, 2017

“Forever, Chinatown”, masterfully directed by James Q. Chan and produced by both Chan and Corey Tong, takes the viewer inside the miniature world of unknown, self-taught 81-year-old Chinese-American artist artist Frank Wong. The 32 minute documentary film takes us into Wong’s memories recreated by small, three-dimensional miniature dioramas replicating what he recalls of the San Francisco Chinatown in which he grew up. The movie, which was beautifully shot took home the award for Best Cinematography at the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival this past April.

Watch our exclusive “Forever, Chinatown” interviews with filmmakers James Q. Chan and Corey Tong at LAAPFF this past April 2017 to learn about the making of the film:

Forever, Chinatown screening at the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

“Forever, Chinatown” screening at the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Photo by Cindy Maram

This film takes the journey of one individual and maps it to a rapidly changing urban neighborhood from 1940s to present day. A meditation on memory, community, and preserving one’s own legacy, Frank’s three-dimensional miniature dioramas become rare portals into a historic neighborhood and a window to the artist’s filtered and romanticized memories and emotional struggles.

Scene from "Forever, Chinatown" by Producer/Director James Q. Chan and Producer Corey Tong

Scene from “Forever, Chinatown” by Producer/Director James Q. Chan and Producer Corey Tong

Chan (producer/director) came across these miniatures one day while visiting a friend at the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum in San Francisco, CA: “Downstairs in the basement level were these miniatures that were sitting in the dark behind a locked room. And one room in particular was a single room occupancy [and] that miniature…connected me to my childhood.” Chan goes on to explain: “The unrefined Single Room Occupancy transported me viscerally back to my first makeshift bedroom in San Francisco: the hall closet of our studio apartment in the working-class Tenderloin district of my formative years.” Producer Corey Tong exclaims in our interview that [James] “was blown away, went and had lunch with Frank Wong, the artist, and then shortly after he called me” exclaiming “Corey, you should come down. Let’s look at the artwork. Let’s talk, because there’s a real interesting project here.”

Scene from "Forever, Chinatown" by Producer/Director James Q. Chan and Producer Corey Tong

Scene from “Forever, Chinatown” by Producer/Director James Q. Chan and Producer Corey Tong

Chan’s first meeting with Frank was over lunch, a meal that lasted over six hours filled with comfort food, laughter, and tears at the Pork Chop House, a local popular diner from the 1940s on Jackson Street. In “Forever, Chinatown”, Frank becomes the viewer’s guide as we journey back with him to his nostalgic visions of his youth vis a vis his artwork and present-day Chinatown. Visit the “Forever, Chinatown” website to learn more.

“Forever, Chinatown” will have its New York Premiere this Saturday, July 29th at the New York International Asian American Film Festival within the festival’s Changing Chinatown film program.

Details:
Asia Society
725 Park Ave, New York City, NY
2PM, Saturday July 29
Changing Chinatown Shorts Program
Corey Tong (producer) in person at New York screening.

*The film will also be featured in the American Film Showcase September 2017-2018.

Past screenings include:

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, April 2017 WINNER BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Boston Asian American Film

Festival 2016 *AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER BEST SHORT DOC* Austin Asian American Film Festival 2016

*AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER BEST SHORT DOC* Camerimage International Film Festival of the Art of

Cinematography 2016 *Nominee Best Short* San Francisco Film Society Doc Stories 2016 Philadelphia Asian

American Film Festival 2016 Hawaii International Film Festival 2016 Hanoi Cinematheque 2016 Rhode Island

International Film Festival 2016 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 2016 Santa Fe Independent Film Festival

2016 New Zealand DocEdge Film Festival 2016 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2016 *WORLD PREMIERE*

About the author

Cindy Maram

Cindy Maram is Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Dig In Magazine. She is an accredited film journalist for Cannes Film Festival in the South of France, Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival and CAAMFest, as well as fashion & style photographer/blogger for London Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week, professional sports photographer/writer and art critic. She is a writer, vlogger & social media community manager possessing a B.A from UC Davis and a M.A. in Mass Communications + Popular Culture Studies emphasis in Film/Marketing/Writing from Cal State Fullerton.

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