Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Ursula Liang’s 9-MAN among 2015 CAAMFest Award Winners; East Bay Premiere at The New Parkway Theater on March 22

Ursula Liang received the 2015 CAAMFest Documentary Award for 9-Man, which is having its East Bay premiere on Sunday, March 22nd at 7:30pm at The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland, CA 94612. Click here for tickets.

Congratulations to the 2015 CAAMFest Award Winners!

CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong with 2015 CAAMfest winners Elizabeth Lo, Tony Nguyen, Puja Maewal, Ravi Kapoor and Ursula Liang. Photo courtesy of CAAM

CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong with 2015 CAAMfest winners Elizabeth Lo, Tony Nguyen, Puja Maewal, Ravi Kapoor and Ursula Liang. Photo courtesy of CAAM

COMCAST NARRATIVE AWARD
Miss India America | Dir. Ravi Kapoor

DOCUMENTARY AWARD

9-Man | Dir. Ursula Liang

Special Jury Mention:
Tashi’s Turbine | Dir. Amitabh R. Joshi

APCA STUDENT FILM AWARD
Hotel 22 | Dir. Elizabeth Lo
Jaya | Dir. Puja Maewal

LONI DING AWARD
Giap’s Last Day at the Ironing Board Factory | Dir. Tony Nguyen

9-man

I caught Ursula Liang’s 9-Man at a packed screening at the DOC NYC Festival at SVA Theater in New York last November and loved it. 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.

9-Man filmmaker Ursula Liang, Paul Chin and Patrick "2E" Chin at the DOC NYC Festival at SVA Theater in New York on November 15, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

9-Man filmmaker Ursula Liang, Paul Chin and Patrick “2E” Chin at the DOC NYC Festival at SVA Theater in New York on November 15, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

A consummate storyteller, Liang’s documentary filmmaking debut with 9-Man is first ratea 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.

9-Man filmmaker Ursula Liang at the DOC NYC Festival at SVA Theater in New York on November 15, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

9-Man filmmaker Ursula Liang at the DOC NYC Festival at SVA Theater in New York on November 15, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

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

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

Related articles
CAAMFest Presents Ursula Liang’s Documentary 9-Man: Northern California Premiere at the Great Star Theatre on March 13; East Bay Premiere at The New Parkway Theater on March 22
Lia Chang Picks: Ursula Liang’s 9-Man Screens at George Mason Arlington Campus – Founders Hall Auditorium on December 12 & 13; Wins Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary (AAAFF)
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

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpgLia 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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Stephen Adly Guirgis’s BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY Starring Stephen McKinley Henderson, Victor Almanzar, Elizabeth Canavan, Rosal Colón, Liza Colón-Zayas, Michael Rispoli and Ron Cephas Jones, has performances through March 22 at Second Stage Theatre
Photos: “Swimming Awkward Moment,” the newest works by painter Arlan Huang at Trestle Gallery through March 27
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TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents Rajiv Joseph’s THE LAKE EFFECT Starring Adam Poss, Nilanjana Bose, Jason Bowen through March 29
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Save on Preview Tickets to Lincoln Center’s Revival of THE KING AND I Starring Kelli O’Hara, Ken Watanabe, Ruthie Ann Miles, Ashley Park, Conrad Ricamora, Paul Nakauchi and More
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Dallas Summer Musicals to Stage THE KING AND I Starring Rachel York, Alan Ariano, YoonJeong Seong, Tami Swartz and More at the Music Hall at Fair Park, 3/20-4/5
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Mar. 24: An Evening with Amy Tan at New-York Historical Society
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Apr. 13: THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE Original Cast Album Release Party at Joe’s Pub will feature André De Shields, Adam Chanler-Berat, Kevin Mambo, Kyle Beltran, Ken Barnett, Britton Smith, Akron Watson and Juson Williams
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Tony Award® Nominees Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed to star in Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ, helmed by Amy Morton, at Atlantic Theater Company, May 20-June 28
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Crafting a Career
Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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