Tag Archive for: Chinese

DEGANZ member Jack Woon wore many hats while making new TVNZ docuseries Sik Fan Lah! as writer, director, and editor.

The titular Cantonese phrase translates to “It’s time to eat!”, announcing not only that food is ready but that it’s time to come together to share a meal. The six-episode show celebrates Chinese cuisine and its strong link to how Chinese identity is formed in modern-day New Zealand. The show takes viewers up and down the country to share various dishes and stories that define much of Kiwi-Chinese culture and identity. The diversity of meals shared reflects the myriad histories, origins, and languages of the Pan-Asian community here in Aotearoa. The show celebrates these differences, highlighting that there is no one definition of Chinese food and identity.

In an interview with The Spinoff, Jack discussed the importance of authentically representing Asian experience in Aotearoa by balancing trauma and joy. He confides that it was a deliberate decision to create such a celebratory show to represent Chinese New Zealanders positively.

Congratulations, Jack and the team, on this labour of love!

Watch Sik Fan Lah! on TVNZ+ now.

Meng is a new, bilingual documentary co-directed and co-produced by Steven Chow (DEGANZ) and Julie Zhu (DEGANZ) and edited by fellow member Josh Yong. It highlights how titular subject Meng Foon’s mahi in the NZ Human Rights Commission offers “a particular kind of hope.” His fluency in both Cantonese and Te Reo Māori lead many to call him a symbolic bridge between Māori and Chinese (or tauiwi) communities.

The insightful documentary follows the former Gisborne mayor and current Race Relations Commissioner through a year in his life. Audiences gain insights into how he navigates the public role at a national level after 18 years in local politics. Meng displays unfaltering determination to promote the rights of tāngata whenua as he engages with human rights issues and racism.

While focusing on his professional career, the documentary does not shy away from his personal ups, downs, and transformations.

Meng premieres at 8:30 pm, Monday 12 September, on Whakaata Māori and will be available online on MĀORI+. The documentary was made with funding from Te Māngai Pāho and NZ On Air.

Watch the trailer

Well done to our member Becky Kuek, who has just been announced as a recipient of the very first Every Voice initiative, run by NZ On Air, Screen Australia, and Tik Tok. Becky has received funding for her 10-part scripted comedy series Long x Xia, which she will be co-writing and co-directing alongside Gwen Lin.

Long x Xia follows Ruby and CJ (a.k.a Long and Xia), two cousins who find themselves embracing the vigilante life after hijacking a live lobster from a Chinese restaurant.

Every Voice is aimed at supporting “diverse and distinct creators” to create innovative content exclusively for the platform TikTok. Four teams from New Zealand have been chosen and three from Australia. Each team receives up to AUD $50,000 to cover development and production costs for their projects. In addition to this funding, recipients like Becky will participate in virtual workshops to develop their storytelling skills, and learn how to create the best content for TikTok.

Amie Mills, Head of Funding for NZ On Air says they are “thrilled to support each of the talented emerging creative teams to tell their unique stories, in their own voices, in authentic and exciting new ways.”

Lee Naimo, Screen Australia’s Head of Online, sees exciting potential in supporting the development of these projects; “These distinct scripted and documentary series all reflect one of the greatest strengths of TikTok – that it is a platform for creators to connect with audiences and build their online communities.”

Edited by DEGANZ member Chia Chi Hsu, web series Inked is a milestone in Aotearoa’s television history — our first funded Chinese bilingual drama. That may seem surprising given that Chinese have been in New Zealand since the 1860s, the first non-European and Pacific Island immigrants to arrive. Although Inked reflects the lives of more recent Chinese immigrants, it speaks to generations of Asian New Zealanders.

The eight-episode series follows Jiayue, a 1.5 generation pharmacy student secretly apprenticing at a tattoo studio while she struggles to connect with her unhappy father. Technically, Inked contains four dialects of Chinese: Mandarin, Cantonese, Nankinese and Shanghainese. It has subtitles in both English and Simplified Chinese.

Chia cut the web series while completing a DEGANZ Drama Editor Attachment with editor Dan Kircher. When we spoke to Chia about her attachment, she said, “Bit by bit, what I had picked up from the attachment, I was able to apply them directly to what I was working on: from how to organise a project for a drama, how to tackle the notes, to tactfully dealing with tricky situations.”

Chia was part of a diverse, Asian-led cast and crew. Playwright Renee Liang, who had a small cameo, wrote on why Inked is significant for Aotearoa and what it was like behind the scenes.

According to Renee, “There is comedy throughout, but the observations in Inked – especially of the complex negotiation of family relationships when those involved are trying not to fall into the gaps between cultures – are insightful, deep and above all, real.”

The series debuted as a single package on Prime in late September. It is now available to stream on Neon and Sky Go.