Anita Chang's Creative Capital project "Tongues of Heaven" premieres at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

May 04 2013 - May 11 2013


Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF)
CGV Cinemas 2: 621 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA




Film and Video

“You already know the importance of saving a language. The main point is that you must start doing it. You know the reason, but not the motivation to save it. This is where I’m confused. You can also say I’m waiting for that something,” admits Anchi Chen, one of the youth collaborators for TONGUES OF HEAVEN, a one-hour digital documentary. Set in Taiwan and Hawai’i, territories where languages of the Austronesian family are spoken, this experimental documentary focuses on the questions, desires and challenges of young indigenous peoples to learn the languages of their forebears — languages that are facing extinction. Using digital video as the primary medium of expression, four young indigenous women from divergent backgrounds together collaborate and exchange ideas to consider the impact of language on identity and culture. With 96% of the world’s population speaking only 4% of the world’s languages, the young filmmakers ask, what does it mean to speak your mother tongue in this age of language homogenization? To put it another way, what do you lose when you lose your native language? These are just some of the questions that these women, with camera in hand, ask themselves, their families and peers.

     Employing a filmmaking strategy honed over a decade beginning with her 2002 Film Festival offering SHE WANTS TO TALK TO YOU, award-winning documentary filmmaker Anita Chang places the camera in the hands of her documentary subjects, workshopping her young charges in basic documentary filmmaking techniques including camera operation, lighting, and sound recording. Then, standing by as mediator and mentor, the four women (Shinlan Yu and Anchi Chen from Taiwan; and Kainoa Kaupu and Hau’oli Waiau from Hawai’i) conduct spoken word workshops and interviews with family, friends and fellow collaborators. Reuniting in Hawai’i to review the footage shot give the foursome renewed motivation to learn their native language, and to utilize their newly-gained filmmaking skills to facilitate that ongoing mission of cultural recovery. In a sense, TONGUES OF HEAVEN is director Chang’s motivation as well — in fact, a mission of empowerment and sharing through cinema. We anxiously await her next stop.

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