• We had a crazy fast development/pre/shoot/post schedule. Tze finished the first draft of the script in March of 2008, we got financing in April, shot in July and August (in seven different cities/towns in three different states--NY, MA, NJ), edited in
September and submitted to Sundance in October. It can happen!
• Our two child leads, Michael and Crystal, were two unknowns who had previously been cast as featured extras in TRANSFORMERS 2. They were supposed to play a brother and sister innocently eating ice cream as a Transformer suddenly crashes somewhere in China. But their scene was cut just before it was supposed to shoot. We think their parents were happy to have them cast in a movie where they don't get
vaporized. We auditioned over 250 kids in open casting calls and schools in New York City and surrounding areas before we found them.
• Tze’s mother, Ai Cheng, who played the mother in his 2007 Sundance short WINDOWBREAKER, acts in this film too. Tze’s little sister plays one of the people getting pitched in the pyramid scheme montage.
• The film was written while Tze was a staff writer on Darren Star's short-lived primetime ABC Drama "Cashmere Mafia," starring Lucy Liu.
• CHILDREN OF INVENTION is a film of many “firsts”:
>> It’s Tze’s first feature as writer-director.
>> It’s the feature film debut for actor Michael Chen, age 10, and the acting debut for Crystal Chiu, age 8.
>> It’s Mynette Louie’s first feature as lead producer. She previously co-produced MUTUAL APPRECIATION.
>> It’s Chris Teague’s first feature as cinematographer. He previously shot three Sundance shorts (MAN, THE SECOND LINE, and SALT KISS).
>> It’s the first narrative feature financed by Impact Partners, whose members have funded Academy Award-winning documentaries such as BORN INTO BROTHELS and FREEHELD, and Emmy winner GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB.
• T. Griffin, who was a Sundance '08 composer lab fellow, scored the film. He previously scored the award-winning documentary A WALK INTO THE SEA: DANNY WILLIAMS AND THE WARHOL FACTORY, which won the Teddy (Best Doc) at Berlin in 2007.
• Susan Shopmaker, a veteran New York casting director who cast AFTERSCHOOL, GREAT WORLD OF SOUND, and SHORTBUS, cast the film.
• Anna Boden, co-writer/co-director/producer/editor of HALF NELSON and SUGAR, edited the film. We cut it in her living room. Anna also edited WINDOWBREAKER, Tze’s short film on which CHILDREN OF INVENTION is based. Tze and Anna did a trade in 2006 – she edited his short film, and he painted the poster for HALF NELSON.
• Tze continued to paint portraits to pay the bills through post-production.
• The film has screened at over 50 film festivals and won 17 festival awards, including 8 Grand Jury or Best Narrative Feature prizes.
• The film was released theatrically in 8 cities from February to June 2010: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Bergenfield NJ, Vancouver, Chicago, Gainseville FL, and New Orleans
• The film was released on Cable Video-on-Demand in June 2010 by Film Movement and on DVD on August 10, 2010 by IndieBlitz.
• Tze and Mynette were named by Ted Hope on his "21 Brave Thinkers of Truly Free Film" list for their hybrid distribution strategies.