Forever, Chinatown

Documentary | 32 minutes | USA 2016

 

Forever, Chinatown is a story of unknown, self-taught 81-year-old artist Frank Wong who has spent the past four decades recreating his fading memories by building romantic, extraordinarily detailed miniature models of the San Francisco Chinatown rooms of his youth.

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. In his bargain with immortality, Frank announces plans to cremate his exquisite works with him upon his death in order to ‘live inside them forever’ in his afterlife.

 

Produced and Directed by: James Q. Chan

Producer: Corey Tong

Director of Photography: Jeff den Broeder

Editor, Miniature Cinematography: Michael Palmieri

Assistant Editor: Donal Mosher

Original Music: Thomas Lauderdale and Pink Martini

Sound Design: Jeremiah Moore

Associate Producer: Penelope Wong

Researcher: Dorothy Quock

Graphic Design: James DiRito


fascinating...meticulous...
bringing 1940s Chinatown back to life in miniature
— Linda Poon (The Atlantic, CityLab)
2017_award_laurel_short_special_jury_prize_cinematography_OT.jpg
 

To purchase an educational video for your classroom, library, or community organization please visit our distributor, NEW DAY FILMS.

To stream the film for your classroom or community organization please visit our partner, KANOPY.

To host a screening and/or invite the filmmaker(s) to speak at your event, please drop us a line.


A beautiful love letter to Chinatown... heartbreaking, tender, evocative
— B. Ruby Rich (Professor, Film & Digital Media, UC Santa Cruz; Editor, Film Quarterly; Author, “New Queer Cinema”, “Chick Flicks”)
...lovely, rich...a complex portrait of a man and his memory”
— Sandip Roy (Journalist, NPR, Huffington Post; Author, "Don't Let Him Know")

 

Upcoming Screenings:

American Film Showcase (September 2017-2018)

 

Past Screenings:

National Public Television Broadcast , May- June 2017 (North America)

Asian American International Film Festival, New York

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival  *WINNER Jury Award Documentary Short, Best Cinematography*

Association of Asian American Studies Conference 2017

Camerimage Int'l Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, Poland *Nominee Best Short Doc*

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival    

Hawaii International Film Festival    

San Francisco Film Society Doc Stories    

Austin Asian Film Festival *WINNER Audience Award Best Short Doc*

Boston Asian American Film Festival *WINNER Audience Award Best Short Doc*

Santa Fe Indie Film Festival    

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival    

Hanoi Cinematheque, Vietnam

Rhode Island International FF    

Doc Edge (New Zealand) *Nominee Best Short Doc*

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival *World Premiere* 

CAAMfest, special work-in-progress screening


National Public Television Broadcast May - June 2017:

A co-production of GOOD MEDICINE PICTURE COMPANY and INDEPENDENT TELEVISION SERVICE (ITVS) presented in association with the CENTER FOR ASIAN AMERICAN MEDIA (CAAM), with funding provided by CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING (CPB)

 

Project Advisors: