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With an historic Presidential re-election just completed, we wanted to treat you to a little Trivia Quiz (created by our Production Intern Maggie Barrett and featured as part of our recent “Night in Old Shanghai” benefit in Honolulu)
Can you guess at least three things? They were both from Hawaii is a give away. Try to think of three other things. Here’s the second slide to help you.
Regarding Answer B: Questioning President Obama’s American citizenship may be politically motivated, but for Li Ling-Ai and many other Chinese Americans it was a part of daily life during the days of the discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Laws. Read more about it HERE.
Regarding Answer A: Li Ling-Ai and Rey Scott showed a rough cut of KUKAN to Presdeint Roosevelt at a private White House Screening late at night on January 1, 1941 — 5 days before FDR’s famous Four Freedoms Speech, 6 months before KUKAN would open in theaters and almost a year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. To see proof of the White House visit, make a tax-deductible pledge to FINDING KUKAN on Kickstarter and view “Backers Only” exclusive videos and photos from the documentary.
When I first made contact with Rey Scott’s granddaughter Michelle Scott and filled her in a little about the story behind KUKAN, she felt a need to transfer that story into paint and shared with me a vision she had for creating a whole room of paintings dedicated to her grandfather and KUKAN. It seemed like a far-fetched dream back then. So I was more than a little excited to go to Atlanta to witness the opening of Michelle’s solo show — THE KUKAN SERIES. Michelle hadn’t shared any images of the new work with me, so I wasn’t prepared for the visual sweep and emotional power of the work. It literally brought me to tears. Here are a few choice pieces from the show. WARNING — these photos do not do the pieces justice. The real pieces have an almost three-dimensional quality that allows the viewer to enter into the scene and experience a little of Rey Scott and Li Ling-Ai’s world back in the late 30’s.
The 36“X36” piece that Michelle created exclusively for our Kickstarter fundraising drive is displayed right in the front window of 2Rules Fine Art in Marietta. Casual strollers walking down the sidewalk can’t help but be pulled in to find out with the imagery is all about. For close up details of this painting go to our Kickstarter home page.
The KUKAN Series contains a few gorgeous tributes to Li Ling-Ai the Chinese American author who was the uncredited co-producer of KUKAN with Rey Scott.
The work below contains images of Li Ling-Ai from three different decades and three different locations (the old Honolulu Academy of Art, Beijing China, and New York City)
There are also fabulous pieces that provide a visual montage of the China witnessed through Rey Scott’s camera. He took both stills and 16mm color movies. Some of his old cameras are on display too with the original stills.
Rey Scott traveled all the way to Tibet and filmed some of the first color footage of prayer rituals there.
Michelle’s take on the original KUKAN lobby cards for the United Artists version of the film.
Rey Scott also filmed the famous Burma Road as it was being built.
A reminder of the British influence in Hong Kong which fell to the Japanese in 1941.
A whole movie could be made just about the baby giant panda bear that Rey Scott brought from Chengtu to the Chicago Zoo. Originally christened “Li Ling-Ai” by the foreing journalists in Chungking, it was later named Mei Lan when it was identified as a boy panda bear.
There are many more gems in this show. But the emotional highlight for me was being able to see the first two portraits of Rey Scott and Li Ling-Ai that Michelle did. I first saw them on her website before we even knew each other and before she even knew who Ling-Ai was. This was the first time I was able to see them both in person. Since the pieces had been sold to different collectors several years ago, this was also the first time they were reunited in the same room for quite some time — a symbol of hope for me as I continue to seek funding to finish FINDING KUKAN.
If you are in the Atlanta area make an effort to see this historic show — up only until October 26, 2012
Well to offset my terrible experience of having my cameras and jewelry ripped off, let’s talk about one of the lucky things that have happened lately. The new FINDING KUKAN teaser has inspired several amazing women to volunteer their talents to help develop the film! All amazing creative professionals in their own right, Pamela Tong, Magnolia Barrett, and Debra Zeleznik recently gathered at my house to talk about how to get the film to the next step. We were guided by the great research volunteer Notre Dame student Camille Muth did for us.
Right now our most immediate need is to raise funding to complete the film. So we are planning a KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN to begin in OCTOBER. Why Kickstarter you might ask?
#1. IT WORKS. Crowdfunding– it’s what PBS and NPR have been doing for years — the phone in fund drive format where you get a nice little gift and mention on the show for making your donation at a particular time. Kickstarter (administered by Amazon) is just an online way of doing it and is structured so that independent creative types can have a ready made platform to launch their own crowdfunding campaigns. Check out a couple of amazing documentary campaigns here and here.
#2. GRANTS ARE GONE. Well not totally. I’ve been lucky enough to get a couple of small grants in the past and will continue to write onerous grant applications to try to capture what little funding is still available to documentaries — my Executive Producer Kimberlee Bassford pointed out that it’s easier to get into Yale University than it is to get most major film grants. Even directors with several major PBS documentary series under their belts are finding it hard to make films with the traditional funding available in this tight economy.
#3. IT’S FUN. To learn more about Kickstarter I’ve donated to a couple of projects myself. Donating makes you part of a team and gets you emotionally invested in someone else’s creative project. It’s energizing and inspiring to be part of a group effort to create something of lasting value. Plus there are some fun premiums you can get for donating.
Do you have any experience with Kickstarter or other fundraising efforts? Can you give us some pointers on how to run a successful fundraising campaign? Do you have an idea for a great premium to give to future donors? Don’t be shy! We need all the help we can get. Please let us hear from you!