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DOC TALK: Screening & Q&A with Tammy Cheung

The Certificate in Documentary Studies and the School of Media Studies invite you to attend a DocTalk with  Filmmaker and Festival Director Tammy Cheung on Monday, March 10 from 1-3:50 pm in Kellen Auditorium.

Tammy Cheung is Hong Kong’s leading documentary filmmaker.  She is also the founder of Hong Kong’s Chinese Documentary Festival.  She will screen and talk about two works; Speaking Up 2 (2007, 31 min), a delightful portrait of Chinese primary school students and the changing face of China, and Cheung Chau Diary (2013, 70 min), which showcases short films made by 25 young people who participated in a 10-day summer training session in documentary last year. Along with her partner and cinematographer, Augustine Lam, Cheung has made numerous feature-length documentaries that capture the changing culture, social issues, and ordinary people of Hong Kong today.  Lam will join her to discuss their work and their goals for educating a new generation of documentary filmmakers.

Cheung was born in Shanghai but moved to Hong Kong as a child.  Working as a prison guard and school teacher, she saved enough money to go to Montreal, Canada to study film after a chance viewing of Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence opened her eyes to the possibilities of film.  At Concordia University she was particularly inspired by the work of direct cinema pioneer Frederick Wiseman.  But disillusioned by students more interested in fame and fortune than social change, she invested her energy in founding Montreal’s Chinese International Film Festival and was its director from 1986 to l992.  Back in Hong Kong, she made her first documentary feature, Invisible Women (1999, 30 min), which examined the lives of three Indian women who came to Hong Kong as domestic workers.  In 2004, Cheung created Visible Record, a non-profit documentary production and distribution company, and in 2008, they hosted the first Chinese Documentary Film Festival, an annual event that has grown over time and presents the best new documentary work from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and mainland China.

Cheung’s prolific directorial output offers insights into neglected populations, key events, and societal issues including Hong Kong’s upheavals since its reunification with China in Speaking Up (2005) and the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake in After the Quake (2011). Apart from her own independent film productions, she has also served as a commercial film producer, film critic, teacher, and translator.  She is in New York this winter as an Asian Cultural Council Fellow and is currently shooting a new film in New York’s Chinatown community.