James Q. Chan
James Q. Chan is an Emmy-nominated documentary director and producer based in San Francisco.
His film training/mentorship began alongside two-time Academy-Award winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK, COMMON THREADS, THE CELLULOID CLOSET). Producing credits with Epstein & Friedman include History Channel’s 10 DAYS THAT UNEXPECTEDLY CHANGED AMERICA (Emmy® Award; Outstanding Non-Fiction Series), HOWL (Sundance Opening Night; National Board of Review Freedom of Expression Award). James’s producing credits include films about a self taught programming child prodigy :PUCK AND THE RIDDLE OF CODES (IDFA; Dutch Television VPRO); father & son reconciliation ISTINMA (Best Short, American Indian Film Festival; Smithsonian Native Showcase); U.S. immigration law impacts on bi-national same-sex couples ENTRY DENIED (Jury Award, Best Short, Provincetown); love and equality RIGHT DOWN THE LINE music video for Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy-Award winning album “Slipstream”. Prior to filmmaking, James worked as a SAG/AFTRA Talent Agent in San Francisco.
James received an Emmy® Award Nomination for his documentary FOREVER, CHINATOWN a meditation on memory and community seen through the lens of an aging artist’s miniature dioramas of his childhood Chinatown. The film received multiple festival audience and jury awards including Best Cinematography (Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival), a national public television broadcast on PBS/World Channel and was selected for the American Film Showcase, the premier film diplomacy program between US State Department and USC School of Cinematic Arts where James served as an envoy to Turkmenistan in 2018. James is the founder of Good Medicine Picture Company and is a recipient of a Certificate of Honor from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for his work in amplifying stories from the APA community, immigrant voices, and tenant struggles. His refugee and working class background, love for nature shows, memories of his mother’s cooking shape his sensibilities throughout all of his stories.
MORE ABOUT JAMES
Foundational Films: The Decalogue Series, The 400 Blows, Children of Men, The Times of Harvey Milk, Last Train Home
The Special Piece of Property in My Heart Film: Harold & Maude
First Job: babysitter
Childhood Ambition: Star Search contestant
Fondest Memory: year+ backpacking through India, Nepal, and South East Asia
Soundtracks: A Tribe Called Quest "People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm"; Trashcan Sinatras "Cake"; Cat Stevens "Tea for the Tillerman"
Inspirations: a good home-brewed cup of chai, my Mom's cooking, monsoon season, Krzysztof Kieślowski
Books: "Giovanni's Room" (James Baldwin), "Assata: An Autobiography" (Assata Shakur), "The God of Small Things" (Arundhati Roy)
Indulgence: Belgian Ales and Vietnamese food
Proudest Moment: coming-out to my brothers
Quote: "Walls turned sideways become bridges." (Angela Davis); "You can cut all the flowers but you can not keep Spring from coming." (Pablo Neruda); "First one to the top, reach back." (unknown source)
Three people (deceased or living) I'd like to cook dinner for: Carl Sagan, James Baldwin, Dolly Parton
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