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“CHILDREN OF INVENTION” writer-director, Tze Chun

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Sunday, Jan. 18, 2:30 pm — Prospector Square Theatre, Park City]

When I was younger, my uncle told me about growing up in China during World War II, and, after a carpetbombing, seeing people emerge from a theater destroyed only seconds before. People were missing limbs, they were bleeding, searching for their friends or relatives or dates. I found it fascinating that people still went to the movies when there was the possibility that you might get blown up. Though I guess at that time you could probably have gotten blown up anywhere, so why not get blown up watching Groucho Marx (are the Marx brothers funny when translated into Chinese)? At least you’d die laughing or happy. Part of the reason I fell in love with cinema was that special, escapist theater experience. The world could be collapsing outside, or you could be going through the worst breakup of your life, but for those two hours, you were untouchable. You got to watch people fall in love, or learn something about themselves, or run from something that’s about-to-blow-up-in-like-10-seconds! I made my film Children of Invention for people who wanted that experience (not the blowing up stuff part, but the other things). Watching movies on a cellphone while switching trains, or in one corner of a laptop while checking e-mail, it takes all the joy out of it for me. The whole point of movies is that you don’t have to DO anything else. So when I write a script or frame up a shot, I guess I always want to assume that I’ll have some version of my audience’s undivided attention. Otherwise, I’d have to consider things like, “Well, let’s restate the premise again, just in case some pop-up obscured the screen.” I guess I’m old-fashioned. By the way, fellow filmmakers, with all the crap that’s hitting the fan right now with indie film financing and distribution, now we have to worry that our way of storytelling is DYING?… No, we’ll be alright. We always have been.

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