Skip to main content

Free screening of film about China's first feminist

March 03, 2010

San Francisco Bay-area independent filmmaker Rae Chang discovered China’s first feminist Qiu Jin while flipping through the pages of a book about female Chinese writers.

“What caught my attention was that she was described as a 'radical feminist from China,' which came as a surprise as I didn't even know there were feminists in China, much less radical ones,” Chang said in an e-mail interview. “After doing more research on Qiu Jin, I thought more people should learn about her amazing life and that she'd make a great subject for a documentary.”

Chang, 37, and her husband Adam Tow, 34, produced the hour-long film "Autumn Gem," a documentary that details the life of Chinese revolutionary heroine and women’s rights activist Qiu Jin. The historic figure challenged traditional gender roles and demanded equal rights and opportunities for women during China’s last dynasty. The documentary stars former Chinese National Wushu Champion and Hollywood stunt actress Li Jing.

The couple produced the film for about $50,000, shooting the film in the United States and China. At one point, Chang quit her full-time job to devote all of her time to conducting research and writing the script. Chang and Tow, who were both born and raised in the United States, have seen different reactions to the documentary while traveling across the country promoting their film.

“Most people in the U.S. have never heard of her, and were surprised to learn about this person who was so ahead of her time and part of the extraordinary women's movement,” Chang said. “People from China knew about her story, although they were more familiar with her political revolutionary aspect and not so much on her women's rights activism.”

Chang, a graphic designer, is a 1994 graduate of U.C. Berkeley in art and anthropology. Tow, who runs his own technology consulting business, graduated from Stanford University in 1997 with a degree in symbolic systems. The film is narrated in English and contains Chinese dialogue and scholar commentary with English subtitles.

The filmmakers will be available during the Q&A session after the film screening.

What: Screening of "Autumn Gem," an independent film
When: March 27 at 2 p.m., Q&A with filmmakers will follow
Where: Lattie F. Coor Hall, room 170, Tempe campus
Admission: Free
Event Sponsors: School of International Letters and Cultures (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), Chinese Language Flagship Partner Program, Confucius Institute, Asian Pacific American Studies

Irene Hsiao,
ASU Chinese Language Flagship Partner Program
(480) 727-0879