Two weekends ago, Chris and I made the trip to the big apple to attend the 2011 Asian American International Film Festival where Suite Suite Chinatown was making one of its last tour stops at the Museum of Chinese in America. Making the trip with us were several Toronto-based directors – Aram Siu Wai Collier, Lillian Chan, Lesley Chan, Serena Lee and Joyce Wong. This was my fourth time seeing this special presentation and I was pleasantly surprised to be treated to a whole new version with the filmmakers participating in the music soundtrack along with music producer/composer Arthur Yeung and Toronto-based musician John Poon. The presentation began with animator Lillian putting on a different hat as songstress extraordinaire, followed a soulful track sung by Serena, harmonica accompaniment by Aram, Cantonese-English broken dialogue between Lesley and Serena and of course, electronic beats and guitar harmonies by Arthur and John. The highlight of this show was the engaging Q&A which followed with questions about the meaning of Chinatown, the differences between Chinatowns around the world and what this work means to each filmmaker. The best part was when a Chinese man in his 70s told us how growing up in a Chinatown in Boston was nothing like the Chinatown the filmmakers created – not only did he find this version of Chinatown refreshing, he also recommended that we show it to more seniors in other places!
Of course a trip to NYC – or any trip with RA for that matter – would not be complete without food and more food. After Suite Suite Chinatown, we had a spicy dinner The Grand Sichuan with everyone including friends Chi-hui Yang, Gerry Balasta and Ron Lu & Joe Kim from Philly Asian American Film Festival. Following a few more screenings on Sunday (Quattro Hong Kong 2 for me and Wedding Palace for Chris), we finished off the trip by having twice-fried sweet and spicy chicken wings at Kyochon. A sweet end to a sweet trip.