| BIOS | CREDITS/QUESTIONS
"TAKE A LOOK: NEW YORK CITY CHINATOWN POST 9/11" captures
the thoughts and feelings of the residents of New York City's
Chinatown after the World Trade Center disaster of September
11, 2001. Speaking in their own language (Mandarin, Cantonese
and English), Chinatown merchants and residents describe the
impact of the disaster on their neighborhood, located only
10 blocks away from the former World Trade Center site. The
final series of U.S. flag imagery, underscored by a merchant's
singing, illustrate a community's self-discovery through disaster,
one of resounding patriotism mixed with commercial need.
was the first to cover the effects of September 11 on the
Chinese American community in New York City. It premiered
at the Museum of Modern Art as part of a exhibition of filmed
responses to September 11. Up to that time this community
had been given no media coverage in spite of the personal
and financial impact they suffered. It remains an important
cause for Asian American journalists and filmmakers to give
voice to their community despite barriers of language and
access to media.
AND DIRECTOR: KEVIN B. LEE
Kevin Lee is an independent filmmaker based in New York City.
His documenary "Take a Look: Chinatown, NYC Post 9/11"
showed the effects of 9/11 on the Chinatown community; it
was broadcast on PBS and played to film festivals across the
nation. Mr. Lee’s recent credits include "World Tourism
Center", a documentary short that explores the former
World Trade Center in its new incarnation as a major tourist
attraction; and "Banana" a 30 minute short about
a Chinese immigrant who thinks his son is literally a banana.
Mr. Lee is currently working on two feature-length scripts.
David Lei, Evergrand
Yan Fang Chen,
Fu Hing Clothing, Inc.
Eddy Chow, CL Lighting
Fu Mou Wen, CL
Lighting and Electric
Robin K.S. Tay
RUNNING TIME: 04:00
LANGUAGE: In Cantonese,
Mandarin and English with English subtitles.
Shot entirely on
location in New York's Chinatown.
KEVIN LEE ________________________________________________
Note: These interview
questions are posted on New York PBS Affiliate Thirteen's
REEL NEW YORK website: http://www.thirteen.org/reelnewyork7/film_w2_f4.html.
I include them to give some background on my own work and
views on independent film and video. -- KL
1) What inspired
you to make this piece?
The events of September
11 elicited massive media coverage of the New York City area
and how the lives of residents near the disaster area were
changed immensely. However, there was virtually no coverage
of the Chinatown community, located only 10 blocks away from
the World Trade Center; I could find no stories about how
they were affected and how they reacted as individuals and
as a community. My project was devoted to giving them a voice
and offering them an opportunity to express their experiences,
thoughts and feelings in their own words.
2) Do you have
any interesting/and or amusing behind-the-scenes stories about
the making of this particular work?
It was actually
not that easy to get people to talk. Most people we approached
were extremely camera-shy. Our strategy was to approach people
off-camera, talk to them for as long as half an hour to get
them comfortable with our presence and our project. However,
even after doing this only a third of our subjects were willing
to go on camera.
3) Is there a
relationship between your work as a video/filmmaker and life
in the New York metropolitan area?
In my current work
I am extremely interested in how people interact with their
environments, and I prefer "finding" my locations
and settings rather than imposing a pre-conceived scenario
on a given space. In this regard I have trained myself to
be attentive to my surroundings, wherever I happen to be.
And this has certainly led to a deep appreciation of this
city. I am currently involved in a project led by filmmaker
Jon Jost called "Worldview2002" (www.worldview2002.net)
which has allowed me to fully address these concerns.
4) What do you
think about the current state of independent video/filmmaking?
I think independent,
low-budget film and videomaking is more poised than ever to
fulfill its promise of revitalizing the state of American
cinema and visual art. Economically speaking, all signs point
to this mode of production as the way of the future. But generally
many artists aren't up to the challenge, because the constant
diversion of or preoccupation with commercial success distracts
from or limits their scope of vision.
5) How did you
fund this particular film/video, and what is your general
experience in seeking funding for your work?
on my own. Found volunteers through friends to help with interviewing,
translation and editing. Friends are the best thing to have
as a filmmaker-- not only are they willing to work for little
or nothing, but if they share your vision the work is all
the more easier. They're the key to a viable ultra-small budget
6) If viewers
are interested in obtaining copies of your work for rental
or purchase, whom should they contact and at what address
and phone number?
They may contact
Dan Fernandez at Third World Newsreel, 545 Eighth Avenue,
10th Floor New York, NY 10018 tel. 212-947-9277. Or they may
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.