Director Zero Chou on “Spider Lilies” and the Evolution of Taiwanese Queer Cinema

Zero Chou is the director of Spider Lilies, a compelling psychodrama released in 2007 that explores Taiwan’s online culture in the early 21st century. It remains influential to this day as one of the earliest queer films in Taiwan. Winner of the 2007 Teddy Award for Best/Gay Lesbian Feature Film, Spider Lilies was streamed at The Austin Asian American Film Festival (AAAFF) in a virtual, six-film series celebrating the past and present of queer Taiwanese cinema available September 4-13, 2020…

Taiwanese Cha Cha Cha: Judie Yang on Language, Culture, & Family

Judie Yang is a polyglot: she can speak English, Mandarin, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Spanish. Although she doesn’t always introduce herself as a polyglot, language has always been a huge part of her identity and is a common theme that runs through all her films, including Taiwanese Cha Cha Cha, a narrative short-film now playing at the Austin Asian American Film Festival. Taiwanese Cha Cha Cha explores the connections between language, culture, and family in Taiwan as it follows a young woman…

Between the Notes: Jordan Hwang brings the Taipei Music Academy & Festival to Austin Asian American Film Festival

The film begins with the universal cues of an orchestral warm up: a retrieved violin bow, the tell-tale crisp sleeves and cuff links of performance attire, the scrambling annotations, the conductor’s swelling flourish. This could be anywhere, until we catch glimpses of something cheerfully familiar, locating us in the heart of Taiwan: the interior of a double-decker bus (equipped with karaoke screens), a cup of bubble tea.  Hwang’s recent documentary Between the Notes, now playing…

We interviewed “The Half of It” writer & director Alice Wu

  FEATURE PHOTO OF ALICE WU BY K.C. BAILEY When Netflix dropped its trailer for The Half of It almost a month ago, it rocked the internet. People quickly attached themselves to the film’s universally relatable main character Ellie Chu. Ellie is a shy and smart student who devotes her screen time to helping her best guy friend, Paul Munsky, win over Aster Flores, the hottest girl at their high school. Though The Half of It begins with a seemingly conventional premise, it quickly subverses…

An Interview with Eva Lou, Madeleine Editions

Editor's Note: Something we consider often is how language informs how we define and experience an ethnic or national identity. We wonder about the merits of raising bilingual, or even trilingual, children, and whether our mother tongues will ever find a place in communities that do not recognize them. Our contributors have discussed loss and mourning of such languages, but also learning and discovery. With language as vehicles in mind, Taiwanese American writer Eva Lou launched Madeleine Editions,…

An Interview with Juliana and Wayne, Co-directors of the Piedmont Chamber Music Festival

Pianist Juliana Han and violinist Wayne Lee are the husband and wife co-directors of the Piedmont Chamber Music Festival in the Bay Area, California. Our editorial director Anna Wu caught up with them to chat about the festival, the Formosa Quartet, and their journeys as musicians. * * * Anna Wu: Hi Juliana and Wayne! Thanks for joining us today. Could you guys tell us a little bit about the Piedmont Chamber Music Festival? What inspired you to start it? Wayne Lee: The Piedmont Chamber…

An Interview with Cynthia Cheng, the Co-Organizer of Family Style Zine: An AAPI Food Anthology

  Our own Andrea “Chuey” Chu, co-editor of TaiwaneseAmerican.org and Chrysanthemum: Voices of the Taiwanese Diaspora, interviews Cynthia Cheng, co-organizer of Family Style Zine and contributor for Chrysanthemum. Family Style Zine: An AAPI Food Anthology is an anthology promoting education on the diverse histories of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) food. The zine features illustration and writings from 31 AAPI creators sharing the stories behind 20 dishes that shed light on the…

Chris Pang: Upcoming Crazy Rich Asian and Certified Haiku Hottie

When actor Chris Pang was a kid growing up in Melbourne, Australia, he remembers he and his mother would act out wuxia stories in their backyard. His mom would be the Grandmaster, and he would be her student, but inevitably then the bad guys would poison the Grandmaster, and he'd have to fight to avenge her. "I loved that," he says. "That's probably how I learned how to tell stories, not just on the page but through action and role-play." Pang, who will soon be seen in the highly-anticipated…

A Canon of Our Own: Q&A with Michelle Kuo, Author of Reading with Patrick

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1050"] Author Michelle Kuo with her parents[/caption] I profess that I have been a bit of a book snob lately. I am reading 50 books in my 10 weeks of summer; 20 of which should have a focus on social justice, and 15 of which should be by or about Asian Americans. The more these categories overlap, the greedier I become. I have been desperately craving something for me, something that helps me navigate everything this world has become with the body I have.…

An Interview with Justine Ker: A Taiwanese American Journey to Miss Louisiana

I recently sat down for a chat with Justine Ker, who was crowned Miss Louisiana in 2016 and placed in the top 15 during the 2017 Miss America Pageant. She also represents the first Taiwanese or Asian American to represent Louisiana on the national stage, a worthy accomplishment within our Taiwanese American community. Soon after she won her title, Justine and I had previously discussed trying to coordinate a sit-down interview, but our schedules didn't coincide. A few months later, however,…