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Asia LENS: Fall 2008
AEMS Documentary and Independent Film Series at the Spurlock Museum

Free and open to the public, each of these screenings will be introduced by a local scholar who will also lead a post-screening discussion. This series is a collaboration between AEMS and the Spurlock Museum.

All events are held at the Spurlock Museum's Knight Auditorium,
600 S. Gregory St., Urbana, IL 61801.


Click here for current information on the AsiaLENS Series.


Fall 2008 Calendar:

September 16, 2008, 7:00pm: Golden Venture: A Journey Into America's Immigration Nightmare, with Poshek Fu

October 21, 2008, 7:00pm: The Flute Player, with Judy Ledgerwood
In coordination with Arn Chorn-Pond's CAS/MillerComm Lecture, October 23

December 13, 2008, 10am-3:00pm: Celebrating Children in a World Community

Golden Venture: A Journey Into America's Immigration Nightmare

Directed by Peter Cohn, 2006, 70 minutes. In English and Chinese with English subtitles.

Poshek Fu (Professor of History, Cinema Studies, and East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Director of the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, UIUC) leads the discussion.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008, 7:00 pm
Spurlock Museum, Knight Auditorium

A trans-Pacific story launches our series, highlighting an issue that touches nearly everyone’s lives in some way: illegal immigration. Following the legal travails and eventual fates of a group of illegal Chinese immigrants shipwrecked on Long Island in 1993, Golden Venture gives us a window into the constant circulation of Chinese laborers to and from the U.S., showing both the attraction of sojourn in the U.S. and the sacrifice it entails.

Golden Venture film trailer

Golden Venture study guide

Golden Venture official website

Golden Venture
was reviewed by Poshek Fu in the Summer 2008 issue of AEMS News and Reviews (PDF download)

The Flute Player

Directed by Jocelyn Glatzer, 2003, 53 minutes. In English and Khmer with English subtitles.

Judy Ledgerwood (Associate Professor and Department Chair of Anthropology at Northern Illinois University) leads the discussion.

Tuesday, October 21, 7:00 pm
Spurlock Museum, Knight Auditorium

Nearly thirty years ago, Pol Pot overtook Cambodia and over one million perished in the Khmer Rouge's brutal "killing fields." Many others were forced into unspeakable acts in order to survive. Arn Chorn-Pond is one of these survivors. Now, after living in the United States for over 20 years, Arn is a musician and activist, traveling the country and giving lectures on human rights. He is also on a mission to reconcile the demons of his past. The Flute Player chronicles his return to Cambodia, where he has begun a master musician project to revive the traditional music that was lost under the Khmer Rouge. A complex and moving film, it reveals the history and tradition lost to Arn's generation. After the devastation of genocide, is healing possible? How can survivors find the means to speak and transcend their pain?

The Spurlock Museum will be hosting Arn Chorn-Pond for a CAS/MillerComm Lecture/Performance on October 23; he will also make appearances before Urbana High School students and U of I students. His visit to Champaign-Urbana is made possible with support from the Illinois Arts Council and the following U of I campus units: the Center for Advanced Studies, LAS Initiative for Global Studies, The School of Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics, and the School of Music.

Cambodian Living Arts, Arn Chorn-Pond's master musician project

The Flute Player web page on PBS's P.O.V. website. Includes extensive background information on Cambodian music and history, Arn Chorn-Pond, the film, and filmmaker Jocelyn Glatzer.

The Flute Player web page on The Center for Asian American Media's website (distributors of the DVD)

"The Flute Player Lesson Plan: Lost Childhoods: Exploring the Consequences of Collective Violence (Part 2),” the second in a three-part study guide created by Facing History and Ourselves, is available for download from either of the above websites.

Scholastic News: The Flute Player - a set of articles on Arn Chorn-Pond, the film The Flute Player, and Cambodia

Reviewed by Gavin Douglas in the Fall 2008 issue of AEMS News and Reviews (PDF download).

Reviewed by Merle Bertrand at Film Threat, June 15, 2003.

Audience Award, Documentary First Film, South by Southwest Film Festival
Emmy Award Nomination for Outstanding Cultural and Artistic Programming

Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival
IFP Los Angeles Film Festival
Seattle International Film Festival
National PBS Broadcast, POV

Comments from Urbana High School Students


Celebrating Children in a World Community: A Day of Activities and Film

Saturday, December 13, 2008
Spurlock Museum


In conjunction with the hands-on exhibit Children Just Like Me, the Spurlock Museum and AEMS are hosting an all-day family event, with games, music and crafts, community resource tables from local organizations, and three films for and about kids, shown throughout the day.


10:15 - Going to School in India, the first 3 of 9 short films. 2007. In English. Based on the 2005 children's book by Lisa Heydlauff.

10:45 - Families of Korea. 2001, 30 minutes. In English.

11:30 - Going to School in India, the second 3 of 9 short films.

12:00 - Time for School: The Global Education Crisis. 2003, 47 minutes. In English.

1:00 - Going to School in India, the third 3 of 9 short films.

1:30 - "What's It Like To Go to School in Asia?" Panel discussion with Sunny Jeong (Korean Cultural Center), Waunita Kinoshita (Urbana High School and Parkland College), and Indira Rajagopalan (Complex Director for University Apartments, UIUC)

2:45 - Back to School: The Ongoing Struggle to Educate the World's Children. 2006, 52 minutes. In English.

There are almost as many ways to learn as there are children, and the ways that children thrive and struggle in every environment imaginable are sensitively and sympathetically portrayed in these videos, introducing school life in Afghanistan, India, Japan, Korea, and other countries, in styles engaging and accessible to children.

Click on the links above for full descriptions. Going to School in India and Families of Korea are appropriate for children of all ages; Time for School and Back to School would be of more interest to older children and adults.

A panel of local educators with Asia expertise will discuss the films with parents and teachers.

Time for School
official website on PBS's Wide Angle. Includes extensive background information, photos, notes, a map, and other resources.

Back to School official website on PBS's Wide Angle. Includes extensive background information, photos, notes, a map, and other resources.

Going to School in India official website. Includes information on both the book and the film. You can download mini-books here!

Going to School in India trailer

Going to School, the non-profit organization that produced Going to School in India. Includes activities for kids as well as information for adults.

Going to School in India
was reviewed by Rachel Heilman in the Fall 2007 issue of AEMS News and Reviews (PDF download).
Going to School in India was reviewed by Smita Jain in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue of SPAN Magazine.

Time for School
2004 Cine Golden Eagle Award
2004 Gabriel Awards - Certificate of Merit Award

Back to School
2007 Cine Golden Eagle Award
2007 Gabriel Award
2006 Overseas Press Club, The Carl Spielvogel Award (Best International Reporting in the Broadcast Media Showing a Concern for the Human Condition) - Citation for Excellence

Going to School in India:
NAPPA Gold Award, 2007
Best of the Fest and Best International Short, Kids First Best Awards, Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival, 2006
Jury Award Best Family Film, Big Bear Lake International Film Festival, 2006
Best of the Fest, East Lansing Children's Film Festival, 2006
Parents' Choice Recommended award winnter, 2007

Families of Korea:
Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2002
NAPPA Silver Award, 2001
Dr. Toy's 10 Best Socially Responsible Products and 100 Best Children's Products, 2001, to Families of the World Series
Kids First! endorsement and All-Star
Parents' Choice approved


Last Updated November 7, 2008.

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