News and Events

When you see mountain, it is mountain
When you see ocean, it is ocean

When you see mountain, it is not mountain
When you see ocean, it is not ocean

When you see mountain, it is mountain again
When you see ocean, it is ocean again

~ ~ ~

We would love your support! We are building Tongues of Heaven Interactive, an interactive documentary web platform designed to raise awareness about language endangerment and revival through the sharing of personal stories, insights and creative participation. After initial funds raised on Indiegogo and a grant from the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts, we will begin building a prototype for International Mother Language Day, February 21, 2015. Help us realize our full vision by making a tax-deductible donation here, thanks to our fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas. Please help spread the word~Thank you!

The Centre for Taiwan Studies at the School for Oriental and African Studies, University of London will screen Joyful Life on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 3-5pm (free, open to public) with Q&A session afterwards. I’m honored to engage the SOAS audiences once again! Details here.

I’ll be presenting at the Cultures in Disarray: Destruction / Reconstruction Conference at King’s College in London on Thursday, June 11th at 10:45am (free, open to public). Notable keynote speakers are Prof. Elisabetta Lazzaro, Université Libre de Bruxelles; Prof. Peter Dahlgren, Lund University; and Prof. Nick Couldry, London School of Economics. Details here.

IAS-LASER poster-May-2015-draft2-white

On May 19, 2015, I gave a LASER talk at UCSC, 6:45pm titled “Designing Practices in Cross-disciplinary Collaborations and Identities: A Case Study of the Transmedia Documentary Project Tongues of Heaven/RootTongue.”

A screening of Tongues of Heaven was held at the inaugural Interdisciplinary Austronesian Connections Symposium at University of Hawai’i at Mānoa on May 1, 2015.

To hear a recent interview, check out Anita Chang, Director of the Documentary Film “Tongues of Heaven” Talks with Host Jovelyn Richards, Cover to Cover Open Book, KPFA 94.1 Public Radio (10/29/14)

Come join us for the limited Bay Area theatrical engagement of Tongues of Heaven, beginning with its San Francisco premiere at Roxie Theater on October 8, 2014, 7-9pm, as part of the Bay Area Doc series! Followed by screenings at:

The New Parkway Theater’s Doc Night in Oakland on October 14, 7-9pm

Bluelight Cinemas in Cupertino on November 2, 3:30-5:30pm

Q&A sessions w/director follow each screening. DVDs will also be available for purchase at a discount. A BIG thank you to our co-presenters: CAAM, and NATWA.

Tongues Of Heaven Poster

A screening of Tongues of Heaven moderated by scholar Andy Wang took place at The Summer Institute in Asian American Studies: Empire Reconsidered at National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu Taiwan on July 30, 2014.


For the 11th Asian Cinema Studies Society Conference: Post-Asia Film, Media and Popular Culture (July 14-16) held at the University of Macau, Anita Chang presented the paper “Tongues of Heaven: Experiments in Cross-boundary Aesthetics in Digital Documentary” along with a screening of Tongues of Heaven.

The North American Taiwanese Women’s Association hosts a community seminar and screening of Tongues of Heaven on June 28, 2014 at the Taiwanese American Center in San Jose, CA.

Tongues of Heaven and 62 Years and 6500 Miles Between screened at The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London on January 23 & 24, 2014.


Anita Chang gave a talk at the Community Filmmaking and Cultural Diversity: Practice, Innovation and Policy conference at the British Film Institute Southbank on January 22, 2014.

Tongues of Heaven premiered at the 29th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on May 4, 2013, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Award in Documentary. A panel event “Reclaiming Language, Transmitting Culture” with Anita Chang, Hau’oli Waiau, Keo Woolford and Abe Ferrer was also held on May 5th.

Reclaiming Language Panel

All camerawork is personal to a certain extent. It is only when spectators become or are made aware of the personalized nature of the images they are seeing that they identify the author and perhaps identify with the author. There is added meaning to these images, as opposed to those images created through a hidden apparatus. They mean something to the person who is handling this technology and pointing at the world.more (Interview with Creative Capital, 4/25/13)

Set in Taiwan and Hawai’i, this experimental documentary explores young people and their relationship with heritage languages that are endangered or facing extinction. Conceived in part as a participatory community media project, the film’s larger concerns include the impact of language on identity and culture and the significance of marginalized languages in an increasingly homogenized world.

You already know the importance of saving a language. The main point is that you must start doing it. You know the reason, but not the motivation to save it. This is where I’m confused. I don’t have the motivation to do it. I’m wondering what would be the motivation. You can also say I’m waiting for that something. -Co-director An-Chi Chen


Headlands Resident Artist José Carlos Teixeira interviews Anita Chang on questions of language and identity in diaspora.

Hot off the press! — the latest issue of Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies. You can read my latest essay On the Communal Other: Collaborative Documentary Praxis in Joyful Life here.


In the company of fellow filmmakers Valerie Soe, Deann Borshay and Leo S. Chiang, Anita Chang presented at the roundtable discussion “Art, Activism, and the Role of Asian American Documentaries in the 21st Century Marketplace” lead by Larry Hashima at the Asian American Studies Association Conference on Consuming Asian America in New Orleans, Louisiana, May 18-21, 2011.


My works participated in Shadowshop, organized by Stephanie Syjuco, featuring hundreds of local Bay Area artists’ works for sale, at SFMOMA. Nov 2010—May 2011.

positions cover

positions: asia critique publishes Anita Chang’s essay “In the Realm of the Indigenous: Local, National and Global Articulations in ‘Fishing Luck,’” Duke University Press, Vol.17, No.3, 2009, pp. 643-653. An earlier version was published in the Taiwan Journal of Indigenous Studies, National Dong Hwa University, Vol.2, No.2, Summer 2009, pp. 97-114.


One Hundred Eggs a Minute joins 31 contemporary artists from the Bay Area and beyond to interrogate the phenomenon that is modern Chinese culture in the Chinese Culture Center’s Present Tense Biennial: Chinese Character exhibition. Presented in collaboration with Kearny Street Workshop and guest curated by Kevin B. Chen, program director for Intersection for the Arts, the exhibition features a wide array of media including photography, video, painting, animation, sculpture and installation art displayed at both the Center’s downtown San Francisco gallery and in a number of satellite storefront windows throughout Chinatown, May 2-Aug 23, 2009.


Anita Chang leads a discussion with filmmakers Jennifer Phang and Daisy Lin Shapiro on the panel “Diaspora in the Works of Chinese Female Filmmakers” at the 2009 Women Make Waves Film Festival, Taipei, Taiwan.

:: :: ::

In honor of the recent passing of a very special mentor on April 10, 2009


by Deborah Digges

A certain time of day, later afternoon, the sun moved over,
cooler now. I like to sit and watch the shadows of my trees
on yellow lawn. Much better than the trees themselves.
A tree will take you in, flush riot of needles light burst, the white pine
grown through sycamore. My heart is pounding. Leaves
exhausting. Bigger than my hand. I could lay them over
my deads’ faces. And never understand why I was left alive
to brood as such far north on a back porch. How did I come here?
Summer’s short. The sun moves like a ghost ship.
My god, they’ll all come down, how many million, million.
Don’t think of it. Look at the shadows brimming light
that undulate a dark, soft specificity, a southern garden
early spring, mimosa, rhododendron. It’s where my birds
come from and soon will be returning, monarchs, seed spores,
western winds, my longing. I want to lie here till I’m blank
where shadows were, my hair fanned out and round here fallen.
Not that I want to die, only roll over, thrust my hands
into the earth and touch your shadow, Summer. Father.

:: :: ::

2009 Talks

Discussant, The Rosa Parks Story Screening, Ministry of Education Gender Equity, Curriculum and Instruction Team, National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan

Discussant, Too Bitter to Love & Night Owls, Women Make Waves Film Festival, Hualien, Taiwan

Lecturer, “Engaging Self and/with Environment,” Simulation: Artist Residencies & Creative Possibilities Lecture Series, Taipei National University of Arts, Taipei, Taiwan

Lecturer, 62 Years and 6500 Miles Between Screening, Taipei Stock Cultural Arts Center, Taipei, Taiwan

Moderator, Where Do We Come From? Who Are We? Where Are We Going?, 55th Annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York

Speaker, Joyful Life Screening, International Workshop & Symposium Regarding Hansen’s Disease, Shinjuang, Taiwan

2008 Talks

Panelist, Joyful Life Screening/Discussion, Fukuoka Asian Film Festival, Fukuoka, Japan

Speaker, First Nations Filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin’s Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, Iron Horse Film Festival, Hualien, Taiwan

Lecture, “Digital Filmmaking Intensive Workshop,” Pacific Voices, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawai‘i

Discussant, Films of Barbara Hammer, Women Make Waves Film Festival, National Dong Hwa University, Shoufeng, Taiwan

62 Years and 6500 Miles Between Screening/Lecture, “Stories of Migration: Transnational Documentary,” Film & Video Center, University of California, Irvine

2007 Talks

62 Years Screening/Lecture, Balike Indigenous Youth Hub, Hualien, Taiwan

Joyful Life Screening/Lecture, East Bay Taiwanese American Center, CA

Joyful Life Screening/Lecture, North American Taiwanese American Women’s Association, El Cerrito, CA

Lecture, “Under Experimentation: Post-colonial Visions,” Plural Life and Contemporary Cultural Studies, National Dong Hwa University, Shoufeng, Taiwan


民族/Ethnicity asks 24 young people in Hualien, Taiwan, to demonstrate a gesture, movement, or act that makes them feel their ethnicity. This multimedia installation prompts viewers to contemplate varied affective notions of ethnicity. Hweilan International Artist Workshop, Creative Culture Park, Hualien, Taiwan, Dec. 2006

2006 Talks

Lecture, “Did the Subaltern Speak?: The Making of Joyful Life,” Graduate Institute for Ethno-Taiwanese Development, National Dong Hwa University, Shoufeng, Taiwan

62 Years Screening/Lecture, Ethnic Literature course, Mills College, Oakland, CA

62 Years Screening/Lecture, North American Taiwanese Women’s Association National Convention, Houston, TX

62 Years Screening/Lecture, Asian American Culture course, San Francisco State University

Joyful Life documentary crew (l to r): Ruo-Ying Chen, Chong-Jia Chen, Anita Chang, Wen-Bin Chen, Jui-Chung Yao, Guan-Ye Chen

2005 Talks

Imagining Place Screening/Lecture, Roundtable at Bunun Tribal School, Yuli, Taiwan

Lecture, “Perpetual Outsider,” National Dong Hwa University, Shoufeng, Taiwan

62 Years Screening/Lecture, Documentary Production course, University of California, Santa Cruz

62 Years Screening/Lecture, Taiwanese-American Citizens League, Los Angeles, CA

62 Years Screening/Lecture, Television School of Communication, University of China, Beijing

62 Years Screening/Lecture, Tainan University of Arts, Tainan, Taiwan

62 Years Screening/Lecture, MFA Thesis course, San Francisco State University

2004 Talks

Lecture, “Filmic Subversions,” Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA

Lecture, “Too Experimental, Too Much Content,” Graduate Lecture Series, San Francisco Art Institute

Lecture, “Experiments in Ethnography,” Avant-Garde Cinema course, San Francisco State University


2003 Talks

Lecture, “New Modes of Cross-cultural Representation in U.S. Documentaries,” National Taiwan University of Arts, Panchiao, Taiwan

Speaker, “The Philosophy & Practice of Independent Filmmaking,” Women Make Waves Film/Video Festival, Taipei, Taiwan

Lecture, “Re-constructions of Childhood Memory,” Experimental Filmmaking course, California College of Arts & Crafts, San Francisco, CA

Participant, Mommy What’s Wrong? Screening, House, Home and Homeland in Diasporic and Exilic Cinemas with Hamid Naficy, University of California, Berkeley

Lecture, She Wants to Talk to You Screening, Visual Anthropology Dept., San Francisco State University

Lecture, Screening of Select Works, University of Wisconsin Cinematheque, Madison, WI

Lecture, Works Presentation, “Home Seeking Eye: Anita Chang in Conversation with Taiwanese Documentary Filmmakers,” Taipei Artist Village, Taipei, Taiwan


Open House at Taipei Artist Village, Taiwan, Jan. 2003

2002 Talks

Lecture, She Wants to Talk to You Screening, University of San Francisco

Lecture, Works Presentation, Meet the Faculty, San Francisco Art Institute

Works Presentation/Discussion, “The Spaces She Inhabits: An Evening of Films by Anita Chang,” Curated by Irina Leimbacher, San Francisco Cinematheque

Lecture, “Revealing the Political Through the Personal,” Kearny Street Workshop Featured Artist, San Francisco, CA

She Wants to Talk to You Screening/Lecture, Tufts University, Medford, MA

Lecture, Imagining Place Screening, Northbrook High School, Chicago, IL

Lecture, “Performative Documentary,” Visual Anthropology course, University of California, Berkeley

Speaker, “Women in Media,” Empowering Women of Color Conference, University of California, Berkeley

Comet Magazine, Number 3, Spring 2002

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