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The ultimate intersection between East and West, Chinatown is where immigrant communities made a home, and where their host countries came face to face with the new arrivals – and with the culture, traditions and, of course, food, they brought with them. Much of the non-Chinese world’s understanding of China comes from the Chinatowns that are essential neighbourhoods in cities around the globe. In Suite Suite Chinatown, the very idea of Chinatown is subject to examination. A multi-genre cinematic vision, first premiering at The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, the project turns to seven artistically diverse, award-winning Chinese-Canadian filmmakers and asks them to answer the question, “What is your Chinatown?”
While segments of Suite Suite Chinatown are attributed to individual filmmakers, the project’s distinct perspective and overall vision was mined by the entire collaborative. In these videos the disposable and the frivolous reveal a greater, but perhaps unintended, meaning. They represent the concerns of history, family, legacy and culture, but in a distinctly material (and North American) way. Unified by a nostalgic concern for Chinatown’s past, present and future, these artists’ vision of Chinatown is mediated through memories and materials, rather than a more traditional representational view of what Chinatown is or isn’t.
Directors: Lesley Loksi Chan, Lillian Chan, Aram Siu Wai Collier, Heather Keung, Serena Lee, Howie Shia, and Joyce Wong.
Howie Shia and Lillian Chan’s Chinatown Overture is an organic animation that alludes to a changing and literally “fluid” Chinatown, while their Lipsynch animations observe the diversity of Chinese culture and language.
Serena Lee's Pretty Lucky is a saturated collision of YouTube and karaoke videos with folk art traditions that together are both endearing and tacky.
Heather Keung's Auntie and Uncles are brooding and boisterous, re-scanned home-move tributes to family characters familiar to us all.
Elizabeth Street, by Lesley Loksi Chan, features a lone image of Toronto's original Chinatown and comments on our abilities to turn history on and off.
Aram Siu Wai Collier's neo-noir Plastic Future spins the space and values of Chinatown from a new perspective.
Joyce Wong's excitingly inclusive HOW TO PARTY will have audiences stomping their feet.
Falling Line (aka Arthur Yeung) creates music for film/video soundtracks and live performances, including dance, projections and art installations. Yeung studied Electroacoustic composition at Concordia University and Queen's University, and has been awarded with the ReelWorld Film Festival's Trailblazer (2013) for contributions to the Canadian film industry, recognition by Istvan Anhalt Electroacoustics (2000) for excellence in composition and more.
Figalo is John Poon and Tim Shia, musicians that have recorded, performed and written for and with Elizabeth Shepherd, Kid Koala, Sesame Street, Disney, the NFB, CBC, LEO37, the Worst Pop Band Ever, Rich Underhill, Goh Nakamura and many more. For Suite Suite Chinatown they will be joined by special guests including the lovely and talented Lillian Chan.
The ultimate intersection between East and West, Chinatown is where immigrant communities made a home, and where their host countries came face to face with the new arrivals.
A multi-genre cinematic vision, Suite Suite Chinatown turns to seven artistically diverse, award-winning Chinese-Canadian to answer the question: “What is your Chinatown?”
Accompanied by a special cast of live musicians assembled specially for China Now including Falling Line and Figalo (featuring members of the Worst Pop Band Ever), Suite Suite Chinatown is not simply a series of films: It’s an experience of a world where anything is possible and the unexpected becomes expected.
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