The DC APA Film Festival is presenting screenings of Ursula Liang’s Award winning documentary 9-Man on Friday, December 12th and Saturday, December 13th at 7:30 pm, at George Mason Arlington Campus – Founders Hall Auditorium, 3351 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201.
Tickets are $12 online before Dec 12, and $15 at the Door. Click here to purchase tickets.
Latest Accolade: 9-Man Wins Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary (AAAFF) from the Austin Asian American Film Festival.
I caught Ursula Liang’s 9-Man at a packed screening at the DOC NYC Festival at SVA Theater in New York on November 15, 2014, and it was worth the wait. By chance, I found myself in line behind 9-Man players Paul Chin and Patrick “2E” Chin, two brothers featured in the film, who joined Liang onstage after the screening for a Q & A.
A consummate storyteller, Liang’s documentary filmmaking debut with 9-Man is first rate –a thrilling fast paced ride that introduces the audience to the isolated and exceptionally athletic Chinese-American sport (Volleyball), that’s much more than a pastime.
Liang’s brother played 9-Man, and her intimate knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport is evident in her celebration of the athleticism of Chinese American men, portrayed in a way that I have rarely witnessed on screen. 9-Man also features a comprehensive look at the history of discrimination against Chinese Americans in the United States. I laughed, I cried, and I look forward to sharing the film with many others once it is released on DVD.
Since the 1930’s, young men have played this gritty, streetball game competitively in the alleys and parking lots of Chinatown. When the community was a Bachelor Society (men outnumbered women 4-to-1) at a time when anti-Chinese sentiment and laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act forced Chinese restaurant workers and laundrymen to socialize exclusively amongst themselves, nine-man offered both escape and fraternity for men who were separated from their families in China and facing extreme discrimination and distrust. Today, some 80 years later, nine-man is a lasting connection to Chinatown for a community of men who know a different, more integrated America and it’s a game that has grown exponentially in athleticism. Nine-man punctuates each summer with a vibrant, aggressive, exhausting bragging-rights tournament that unites thousands of Chinese-Americans and maintains traditional rules and customs. 9-Man introduces the history of the game and a diverse cast of modern-day characters — from 6’7″ Olympian Kevin Wong to a 91-year-old pioneer — combining vérité footage and interviews with never before seen archival footage and photos sourced directly from the community. Pivoting between oil-spotted Chinatown parking lots and jellyfish-filled banquet scenes, the film captures the spirit of nine-man as players not only battle for a championship but fight to preserve a sport that holds so much history.
Click below for my photo slideshow of Liang’s 9-Man screening at the DOC NYC Festival at SVA Theater in New York on November 15, 2014.
URSULA LIANG (Director, Producer, Director of Photography) is a journalist who has told stories in a wide range of media. A former staff editor at T: The New York Times Style Magazine; and writer/reporter at ESPN The Magazine. Liang was a host of the radio program Asia Pacific Forum on WBAI, associate producer for the Emmy-nominated documentary, “Wo Ai Ni Mommy”, producer for the Emmy-nominated Asian American TV show “Stir”, and sports editor for the Asian-American magazine, Hyphen. She recently produced for Fuel’s “UFC Countdown”, FX’s “UFC Primetime” and the independent documentary “Fighting Foster”. Liang grew up in Newton, MA and lives in The Bronx, NY. Her brother played 9-Man. www.9-man.com
TRAILER: Click Here
Special Thanks to the following organizations for supporting and promoting these screenings:
1882 Project Foundation
Chinese Youth Club of Washington DC
Organization of Chinese Americans – Washington DC
Chinese Americans Citizens Alliance
MVP/SixPak Volleyball Team
KOMO Enterprises, LLC
DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival
What the critics are saying:
“…a thoroughly enjoyable story, with endearing characters, [that explores] some really tough and sensitive race issues that most people wouldn’t dare touch.” -Malika Zouhali-Worrall, director, “Call Me Kuchu”
“…this film gutted me. I was at the edge of my seat, really WITH every character. Loving them, routing for them, on their journey.” -Ariel Schudson, Sinamatic Salve-ation
“9-Man is a surprisingly funny, sharp and nuanced conversation about contemporary Asian Americana. -Jenn Fang, Reappropriate
Other articles by Lia Chang:
Nov. 15: Ursula Liang’s Documentary 9-Man Screens in DOC NYC Festival at SVA Theater
Ursula Liang’s Documentary 9-Man, Makes West Coast Premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
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Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.
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