Documentary | 32 minutes | USA 2016
Produced and Directed by: James Q. Chan
Producer: Corey Tong
Director of Photography: Jeff den Broeder
Editor: Michael Palmieri
Assistant Editor: Donal Mosher
Sound Design: Jeremiah Moore
Associate Producer: Penelope Wong
Researcher: Dorothy Quock
Graphic Design: James DiRito
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 compromise 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.
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)
Additional funding provided by:
Chi-hui Yang is a film curator and educator based in New York. Yang sits on the selection committee for MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight, and is the president of the board of directors of the Flaherty Film Seminar. From 2000 to 2010, he was the Director and Programmer of the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, the largest showcase of its kind in the US. Yang is also the programmer of Cinema Asian America on Comcast On-Demand, a Visiting Scholar at New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute, and an adjunct professor at Hunter College and Columbia University. His current educational projects include Asian Americans in NY: Film and Literature, an NEH-funded summer institute for K-12 educators to be held in July 2015; the Oberhausen Seminar, a week-long examination of contemporary artists cinema held at the Oberhausen Film Festival in Germany; and a mentorship/public programming initiative examining race, experimental forms, and the work of American artists of color.
Melanie Y. Ide is a Principal at Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc., a multi-disciplinary, international planning and design firm with active projects in over twenty countries. Melanie is currently designing exhibitions for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (Smithsonian Inst.) in Washington, D.C., recently opened Pacific Hall at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu, and is helping to plan a new modern and contemporary art museum in the Middle East/North Africa region. Her built work, which has spanned natural history, cultural history, art, science and technology, has garnered over three dozen awards and has been featured in numerous publications. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and Hawaii, Melanie has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Parsons The New School for Design and is an architect now based in New York.
Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman are among the few directors, writers, and producers in the independent film world traversing non-fiction and scripted narrative. Between them, they have garnered Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In addition, they have had career retrospectives at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London and at the Taipei International Film Festival in Taiwan. Their films include The Times of Harvey Milk; Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt; The Celluloid Closet; Paragraph 175; HOWL; Lovelace; Battle of amfAR.
Friedman began his career in the editing rooms of landmark films as Raging Bull and The Exorcist. His distinguished career as film editor most recently includes work on the short documentary Kings Point, one of 2013 Academy Award nominees. Friedman has taught in the graduate film program at Stanford University and at California College of the Arts. Epstein currently is a professor and Chair of the Film Program at California College of the Arts. He currently serves on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors and the Sundance Institute Board of Trustees.