Every Day Is a Holiday


I’m showing a ten minute clip from Every Day Is a Holiday and speaking on a panel this Saturday night, May 26. Other filmmakers and musicians are showing their work as well! Hope you can join me.

An Asian American Film Thing
Saturday, May 26, 9:30pm-11pm
21A Clinton St.

Doors: 9:00pm
Show: 9:30pm
Tickets: $8 adv / $10 door

Please join me for the Black Maria Film Festival’s Hudson County Movie Tour – 2018.
Free Screening of Every Day Is a Holiday
Secaucus Public Library
1379 Paterson Plank Rd., Secaucus, NJ
Sunday afternoon, April 8th, 2018 at 1:00PM

Featuring the award-winning film, “Every Day is a Holiday”
Special guest – filmmaker Theresa Loong will be joining for a talk & Q & A
Students and teachers are welcome to attend – Admission is free

These programs are made possible through the generous support of the Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs and Tourism

It’s been hard to talk since my dad passed away on March 19. Here are remarks I made at the funeral mass.

Sometimes, there are no words. There are no words to convey this sense of loss. I turn to prayer, poetry, memory and to you. But I will try.

Dad loved seeing us come home. He has a special silly welcome song for us – “Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!” waving his hands in the air, saying that he was so happy to see us. He would wait for us, sometimes for hours, sitting by the window. The reason, in addition to him truly wanting to see us, was that as a child my dad didn’t live with his father. One day, his father came to visit him, but my dad missed his visit, because he was away.

Dad was very loyal like that, and he had his stories. He let me follow him around when I made the documentary. In turn, he would talk to me when I was home, saying that I was his captive audience. He loved to talk, especially to the neighbors, so much so, that my mom said he got glued to the chair.

Dad was social glue. Over the years, he would ask me to make phone calls for him. He said it was easier for me to dial the phone. Through that, I was able to meet some of his friends from all over the country and all over the world.

Before we knew him, my dad loved playing soccer, and he loved watching it. I grew up with the Italian and Spanish sportcasters shouting goooallll long before that became a meme. We grew up playing soccer here.

He really taught me the value of kindness and love and I am grateful to see so many friends here today. He also had a lot of wisdom, reminding me to practice deep breathing exercises.

Daddy had quite a sense of humor – some of it off-color, so perhaps we can talk at lunch. He loved eating mangosteens while out traveling and the stinky durian fruit. We had some good adventures together and as a family, the most unique family trip to the prison camps in Japan.

He told me a story at when he was at the prison camp in Hitachi, a shell fell nearby and exploded. A big American cook fell on him and almost killed him. His theory from war: “No matter how big you are, you are just as scared as I am.”

Dad had a breadth and depth of knowledge about the world. He was learning Spanish over the past few years. It was fun to talk to him and compare cognates in Italian and Spanish. His favorite phrase was to tell other Spanish speakers (and sometimes even to people he knew didn’t speak Spanish) Vaya con Dios. Simply put, it means Go with God. A farewell and a benediction. Vaya con Dios, Daddy. Que le vaya bien.

Click Here to Launch the Archive of the Chat with Panelists: Ex-POW Dr. Paul Loong, Ex-POW, Eddie Fung, Professor Judy Yung, Director Theresa Loong and other special guests!

Every Day Is a Holiday - rough cut

I am showing a rough cut at the Chen Dance Center on Dec. 28, 2010. Optional dinner in Chinatown afterward at Old Sichuan; other possible activities include a visit to Apotheke or Winnie’s. Please do stop by if you can. Otherwise, here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 

Reception at 6:30pm 

Screening starts at 7:00pm (one hour)

Q&A following screening
Chen Dance Center 
70 Mulberry St, 2nd Floor 
New York, NY 10013
Free to the public; suggested donation 

Please RSVP by calling (212) 349-0126
“Every Day Is a Holiday” is made possible with generous assistance from the Chen Dance Center and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund.

When not working on documentaries, talking bears, and digital media, I think up quirky projects. One of my latest projects is creating a music video, set to a song I heard in Phys Ed class called “Chicken Fat.” I adapted the song into a two-minute version, collaborating with artists from The FilmShop, as well as my new friend Katrina Gregorius. Hope you like it!

Also known as “The Youth Fitness Song,” “Chicken Fat” was composed by Meredith Willson and sung by Robert Preston for President Kennedy’s Physical Fitness Program. Recordings of this song were sent to school districts throughout the United States to accompany the official U.S. Physical Fitness program of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.

Thank you, Director,Vinti Bhatnagar; Editor, Graham Meriwether; Puppeteer and Editor, Kate Cook; Archival Editor, Sally O’Grady; Actor, CK; Animator, Katrina Gregorius. Thanks to: Shelldon the Tortoise, Geoff Green, Archive.org

It was a busy June and has been an even busier July, but I wanted to share some notes from a conversation between Sheila Nevins and Geoffrey Gilmore. The discussion happened on April 25 as part of the Tribeca Film Festival.

Geoffrey noted that Sheila has been called the “Medici of TV” or the “Dominatrix of Docs.” She used to work at NY’s Channel 13 and has a theater background. She likes to see TV as theater, and says, “Curtains Up!” when she turns on the TV. Sheila mentioned that she gets bored easily, which she repeated in a recent article in the NYTimes called, “The Force Behind HBO’s Documentaries.”

HBO Documentary Film Stats:
Acquire – about 15%
Produce in-house – about 70%
Finishing funds – about 15%

Sheila said that if your film (she calls them “docus”) could be on free tv, HBO won’t take it. I would like to know if other people agree.

Here’s how HBO rates its programs in order of importance:
1 Movies
2 Series
3 HBO movies
4 Sports Docs
5 Fights
6 Docs

If you send your work to HBO, they should get back to you within four weeks. Sheila suggested contacting her associate, Lisa Heller, VP of Documentary Programming, at extension 5303.

Another fact about Sheila:
Sheila Nevins participates in a web site called Women on the Web . There are other high-powered women “of a certain age” who write for the site regularly, including Liz Smith, Whoopi Goldberg and Joan Ganz Cooney. Sheila said that the site is like a hobby, “like needlepoint.” I think (and hope) wowOwow will evolve, especially since I received an online questionnaire asking me what I liked about the site and if I would be ok with a wowOwow online store.