UpDate: Iron Road Screening

Boston Screening of

Iron Road


Thursday, May 15, 2014

7:00 pm

The Modern Theatre at Suffolk University

525 Washington St.

Boston, MA  02111


A story of disguise and forbidden love, set against the building of the railroad


Dir. David Wu | Canada | 2009 | 95 min | Drama

Starring Peter O’Toole, Sam Neill, Sun Li, Luke MacFarlane, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Kenneth Mitchell, Gau Yun Xiang. Producers, Raymond Massey, Anne Tait,Arnie Zipursky, Barry Pearson


Iron Road follows the journey of Little Tiger (Sun Li), a child whose quest for her long-lost father takes her from a fireworks factory in China to a remote construction camp in the Rockies. Lured by the myth of ‘Gum San’ – Gold Mountain – she and her countrymen travels to Canada by the thousands to do the back-breaking work of blasting through the mountains to lay track. She soon learns that railroads only bring fortune to the few and that every mile of track is purchased with fear and death. As treachery and prejudice threaten her, Little Tiger must use her wits and courage to fulfill her quest and honor her friends who died in this foreign land.


This screening honors the 145th anniversary of the joining of the Transcontinental Railroad.  A conversation with Ronald Eng Young, grandson of a Chinese railroad worker, follows the screening.



$8 General Admission

$5 Students with ID

Free for AARW & CHSNE Members

Free for Suffolk Students & Faculty with ID

Purchase tickets at: www.baaff.org/iron-road


Presented by the Boston Asian American Film Festival

Co-presented by the Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE), Rosenberg Institute for East Asian Studies/Suffolk University, and Bridgewater State University


APA May Round Up

It’s almost May! And that means its almost Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! What’s good this month?



  1. The Smithsonian APA Center has things going on, of course. I’m most excited to  commemorate the completion of the transcontinental railroad May 10 by joining their APA Wikipedia edit-a-thon because I like my secondary research. If you’re more on the content creation than the content curation side of things, maybe you’ll be more interested in joining A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America. Same day, but you record a snapshot of your APA reality and it becomes part of a larger curated exhibit.
  2. The #WeNeedDiverseBooks group is hosting social medical events May 1, 2, and 3 to talk about why we need diverse books. They cover a range of diverse identities and embodiments beyond APA (i.e. why its so important to have deaf characters in books), but it’s great timing, no? Head to their Tumblr to coordinate your content with theirs across Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook.
  3. Less than 3% of historic sites represent diversity of American history. You can help save one! Huntington Beach, CA is deciding what to do with a group of Japanese American pioneer buildings, including the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission.


In Boston

  1. Watch Boston’s only female Taiko drum corps at the Brookline Matsuri Festival on Saturday May 10. The Genki Spark aims to promote and support the voice and visibility of Asian women while advocating respect for all. In addition to their performance, you can expect several other taiko groups, plenty of food, and kid friendly activities. This is definitely the “heritage” part of the month.
  2. Watch Iron Road with the Boston Asian American Film Festival. It’s the story of a  poor but feisty Chinese woman, disguised as a boy, joins the railroad crew in the Rocky Mountains to search for her long-lost father, and falls in love with the son of the railroad tycoon. If an Asian woman falling in love with a white man who’s part of the community exploiting her people sounds problematic, there’s only one way to confirm– watching it. (That’s actually a terrible argument.) Time and place TBA.


In Other Places

  1. The LA Asian Film Festival is May 1-11, 2014. As usual, there’s a mix of domestic and international films meant to remember, honor, inspire, and entertain.


Get pumped.


A Wicked Local Story– The Chinese American Minute Man

When I think Lexington, I think of the crazily dedicated guys dressing up and reenacting revolutionary battles, you know, like the battle of Lexington. Not that I went to watch them, but I pictured a field of Benjamin Franklin reenactors running at each other with fake muskets and blunted bayonets. So I totally admit, when I saw a headline for a Chinese American reenactor my first though was “Hey, I wonder if I  know him? Because then the only Minute Man I know would be an Asian American one!”


Mourn the day, I do not know Henry Liu. Still, his story on PRI is a pretty cute story about a history buff who dresses up like a colonial captain. Here’s a guy who thought that a group of guys playing colonial dress up wouldn’t want him because a Chinese guy wouldn’t look very historical. But then they totally did! Because inclusion shouldn’t be a big deal.

The 5th Anniversary Edition of BAAFF

That’s the Boston Asian American Film Festival. I’ve always had fun at BAAFF, when I’ve been able to go, but it always felt like a cool, home-grown, local-as-all-hell kind of an event. So you can imagine my shock when I went to the website to check out this year’s line up and saw…

1) A drawing by Tak Toyishima, the man behind Secret Asian Man!

2) A special appearance by Ang Lee!


What? I might just have to find a way to be in Boston that weekend, to see how crazy this festival has grown. Check out the full lineup here.

And Now I Wish I Were in Boston

The MFA has a new exhibit up showcasing photographs by Arab women, speaking to the lives of Arab women. As we stand in a sea of bloody images coming out of Egypt and Syria, and on the brink of the possibility of war, let us take the time to remember that we are talking about societies full of human beings full of stories and histories and dreams.



Bullet Revisited #3. 2012. By Lalla Assia Essaydi.


The show, She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers From Iran and the Arab World, opens at the Museum of Fine Arts on Tuesday and runs through Jan. 12, 2014. You can also check out some of the photos on theweek.com.

BAAFF Schedule is Up

The Boston Asian American Film Festival has its schedule and trailers up for this month’s festival! The festival is always a good time, reflecting a pretty wide range of Asian American cinematic voices, from purely entertainment to locally produced to slightly political. Last year, I think a Wong Fu Productions popped up in the shorts category. Plus, it’s a real community event, so a lot of the same faces show up at multiple screenings, which gives a good opportunity for film buffs to compare the different films with each other, or to catch up on what you missed (and then go stream them from somewhere).

If I were in town, I would watch the documentary on Pui Chan, at least. Old, friendly kung fu masters? I’m down:


Props to all of the people cited in the Boston Globe’s article on digital storytelling— Giles Li, Pratna Kem, Sophia Kim, and Chu Huang!

The article’s all about the ways that the videos being made in Boston’s Asian American community not only address important issues of (mis)representation of Asian Americans in the media, but also the ways in which video-making has proven to be an important avenue for young people to get involved in self-expression.

Two of the videos mentioned in the article can be found in earlier posts here (Giles Li, The First Draft of Yao Ming’s Retirement Speech) and here (Pratna Kem, Wear I Fit). The third video mentioned, I Can’t Let Go by Chu Huang is below. You’re famous!