She Wants to Talk to You

29 mins  16mm  color  2001

Available versions: 1) English, 2) Devanagari subs, 3) Chinese subs


PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/WRITER/CAMERA/SOUND/EDITOR  Anita Chang
FEATURING  Tsering Maya Gurung, Monika Rasali, Sushma Sada, Vinita Shrestha, Chandani Thapa, Jana Thapa, Phulam Yonjan
ADDITIONAL CINEMATOGRAPHY  Gibbs Chapman, Anjali Sundaram
ILLUSTRATION  Shaila George
ORIGINAL SONG & PERFORMANCE  Vinita Shrestha
INSTRUMENTATION  Tsering Maya Gurung, Scott Tsuchitani
ADDITIONAL VOCALS  Tsering Maya Gurung
FUNDERS Film Arts Foundation-Katmandu Artist Residency, KQED Peter J. Owens Filmmaker Award

A co-production with KQED-TV in San Francisco

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In October of 1999 in Kathmandu, Nepal, after befriending an Asian American filmmaker, three 13-year old Nepali girls, Monika Rasali, Sushma Sada and Vinita Shrestha, bravely take the unique opportunity to share their ideas about being girls in Nepal. The also speak candidly about marriage, friendship, love, loneliness, their dreams, and god. These recordings provide a complex and poignant framework for three Nepali women living in the U.S. to reflect on their own struggle, exile and quest for liberation.

She Wants to Talk to You is a result of these conversations and collaboration with these girls and women of diverse caste, the filmmaker’s own personal observations and reflections while living in Kathmandu, and research with UNICEF experts and academics in the field of women’s roles in developing nations. The film offers rare insight into the lives of girls in and women from a society steeped in patriarchy and tradition, and at the same time, suggests ways to improve the life quality and opportunities that they desire. While She Wants to Talk to You is a film that closely speaks to young girls and women (especially to young girls of color, who rarely see positive images of themselves), it also provokes introspection about the nature of happiness and oppression, human relations and intimacy.

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Artist Statement
This film was important to me not only because of the subject matter, but because it was initiated by the three Nepali girls who I met while I was an artist-in-resident in Kathmandu. I had originally asked them if they wanted to make a film with me, and excitedly, they came up with the idea of making an all-girl musical, ala Hindi musicals. However, as they began writing the script, they realized the repercussions of their singing and dancing on film. “Good girls” just don’t do that in Nepal. This realization lead to passionate discussions of what it was like to be girls in Nepal and, finally to the girls’ expressing their desire to make their ideas known. For once, they felt their feelings and experiences were valid and worth being told. Making this film was the promise I made to them.

To learn more about the residency experience and Nepali filmmaking, you can read my essay “The World Through Fresh Eyes: Reflections on the SF-Kathmandu Residency” and Carina Frantz’s essay “A Passage to Nepal” published in Release Print here.

Chang consistently demonstrates her sophistication through her penetrating and inquisitive films, most especially Mommy, What’s Wrong? (1997), and She Wants to Talk to You (2001). The thoroughness of her work strives to reveal the intricacies of complex issues such as: identity, mother/daughter relationships, and concepts of ‘foreignness’ or cultural displacement. Her cinematic competence is beautifully displayed in the nuances of her filmmaking. Her provocative questioning, coupled with compelling compositions, operates as an effective rhetorical strategy. Chang is clearly on the cutting-edge of (documentary) filmmaking practices, by employing her sophisticated critical sensibilities and creative compositions. – Professor Aaron Kerner, San Francisco State University

For eight years local filmmaker and teacher Anita Chang has been making intimate, provocative documentaries exploring the political and emotional aspects of place and belonging. Investigating her familial relationships and, in turns, a wide community of Bay Area immigrants and transplants and an eclectic group of Nepalese women, Anita’s films combine experimental techniques with a deep commitment to her subjects’ stories and ways of telling them. Evoking the transience of being through the ephemerality of her medium, her films turn fragility into strength and displacement into a deeper form of rootedness. – Irina Leimbacher, The Spaces She Inhabits: An Evening of Films by Anita Chang, San Francisco Cinematheque, October 2002

Exhibitions
Clarion Performing Arts Center, San Francisco 2023 / Voice of America Satellite Broadcast, Washington DC, 2008-2009 / National Museum of Women in the Arts’ Festival of Film & Media Arts, Washington DC 2007 / Rubin Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY 2006 / Barcelona Contemporary Culture Center, Barcelona, Spain 2005 / New Asia Cinema – Women Talk, Women Directors, Amherst Five Colleges, MA 2004 / The Girl’s Project Film & Video Festival, Albany Institute of History and Art, NY 2004 / Amsterdam Cinemasia, The Netherlands 2004 / The American Effect, Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC 2003 / Women Make Waves Festival & National Tour, Taiwan 2003 / CHINE(S) – VideoArt & Experimental Cinema from China & Taiwan, Light Cone Paris, France 2003 / Museum of Fine Arts Houston 2003 / World Affairs Council, San Francisco 2003 / U. of California Riverside Film Festival 2003 / San Francisco State U. Visual Anthropology Dept. 2003 / Madison Cinematheque, U. of Wisconsin 2003 / Taipei Artist Village, Taiwan 2003 / Bay Area Now 3, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco 2003 / Hawaii International Film Festival 2002 / The Substation Gallery, Singapore 2002 / San Diego Asian American Film Festival 2002 / CinemaTexas Film Festival, Austin 2002 / The Spaces She Inhabits: An Evening of Films by Anita Chang, SF Cinematheque 2002 / Kearny Street Workshop, San Francisco 2002 / United Nations Association Film Festival, Stanford U. 2002 / Cinemanila International Film Festival, Philippines 2002 / NY Int’l Asian American Film Festival 2002 / Ann Arbor Film Festival (Isabella Liddell Art Award) 2002 / Kerala Int’l Film Festival, India 2002 / Athens Int’l Film Festival, OH 2002 / Women in the Director’s Chair, Chicago 2002 / U. of California Berkeley Visual Anthropology Dept. 2002 / Dallas Asian American Film Festival 2002 / U. of California Berkeley Women of Color Film Festival, Pacific Film Archives 2002 / KQED Public TV Broadcast 2002-2005 / Film Arts Festival of Independent Cinema 2001 / Kathmandu South Asian Documentary 2001

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