New York, NY – CHILDREN OF INVENTION, a feature film written and directed by Tze Chun, will have its Manhattan premiere at the 32nd Asian American International Film Festival, the oldest Asian American film festival in the United States. The film will screen as the Centerpiece at the School of Visual Arts Theatre in Chelsea. CHILDREN OF INVENTION was shot in New York, and had its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. One of the most awarded films of this year, it recently won Grand Jury Prizes for Best Narrative Feature at the Independent Film Festival Boston, Newport Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, as well as Special Jury Prizes at the Sarasota, Nashville, and San Francisco International Asian American Film Festivals.
In CHILDREN OF INVENTION, two young children living outside Boston are left to fend for themselves when their hardworking mother gets embroiled in a pyramid scheme and disappears. The film is Chun's debut feature and is loosely based on his own Sundance 2007 short film, WINDOWBREAKER, which earned him a spot on Filmmaker Magazine's annual "25 New Faces of Independent Film" list.
The film also takes inspiration from Chun’s own childhood in Boston’s suburbs. Says Chun, “When I was little, my sister and I followed my mother to countless pyramid seminars. The film is a personal story about the world I grew up in – a subculture of immigrant and working class Americans trying to get-rich-quick in order to get themselves out of a financial hole. I didn't foresee the current financial crisis. But with the economy the way it is now, it seems like everyone's living through some version of what the family in the film goes through.”
The film stars Cindy Cheung (LADY IN THE WATER) and newcomers Michael Chen, age 10, and Crystal Chiu, age 8. It was produced by Mynette Louie, who co-produced MUTUAL APPRECIATION; shot by Chris Teague, who lensed three Sundance shorts; edited by Anna Boden, who co-wrote/directed, produced, and edited HALF NELSON and SUGAR; scored by T. Griffin, who scored Berlin Teddy Award winner A WALK INTO THE SEA and was a 2008 fellow of the Sundance Composer's Lab; and cast by veteran New York casting director Susan Shopmaker (AFTERSCHOOL, GREAT WORLD OF SOUND, SHORTBUS).
CHILDREN OF INVENTION was financed by Sasquatch Films and Impact Partners. It is the first narrative film to be financed by Impact Partners, whose partners have funded socially conscious documentaries such as Oscar winners BORN INTO BROTHELS and FREEHELD, and Emmy winner GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB.
The Boston Phoenix calls the film “powerfully moving and rigorously intelligent.” The Boston Globe’s Ty Burr said the film is a “deeply felt drama.” Spout’s Karina Longworth said the film is “an edge-of-your-seat family drama, pushed beyond the constraints of its micro-budget by two heartbreaking child actor performances.” Filmmaker Magazine’s Scott Macaulay said, “Referencing both the mortgage meltdown and Ponzi schemes, the film finds delicate moments of beauty and grace as its child heroes are forced to make their own way.” AsianWeek's Philip W. Chung said the film "brings to mind the best of the Italian Neo-Realists’ work....a worthy artistic accomplishment." And Hammer to Nail's Michael Tully recently wrote that the film "marks the emergence of a refreshing new voice in the cluttered indie landscape."
The filmmakers have been capitalizing on the film’s critical acclaim and press attention to pioneer self-distribution strategies including selling DVDs while the film plays on the festival circuit. “No distribution offer out of Sundance made financial sense to our investors, so we decided to use a hybrid self-distribution approach— selling DVDs at our festival screenings and from our site while thinking of our festival run as a part of our theatrical run,” says producer Mynette Louie. “Audiences consume media in very different ways than they used to, so we’re trying to adapt our thinking about how to distribute films now. So far it's been very successful. We hope that other filmmakers will be able to use us as a case study in the future.”
The filmmakers say that their gross receipts to date have exceeded the typical distributor advance offered to independent films like CHILDREN OF INVENTION. They plan to share data and tips with other filmmakers on their website, www.childrenofinvention.com, as they move forward in their DIY experiment.
Writer-director Tze Chun, stars Cindy Cheung and Crystal Chiu, and other cast and crew will be in attendance at the AAIFF screening.
AAIFF screening times are:
Sat, 7/25, 7:45pm
SVA Theater, 333 West 23rd Street, New York City
** Followed by reception at 310 Lounge (310 Bowery) **
Buy tickets: https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/7417645
For more information on the film, visit: www.childrenofinvention.com
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