She Wants to Talk to You
SHE WANTS TO TALK TO YOU is a filmic triptych consisting
of "The Meeting," "The Conversation," and "The Song." Thoughts
about intimacy echo throughout the piece as intercutting
shots containing the recollections of the female foreigner,
accompanied by images of dark, deep red close-ups of preparations
for a worshipping.
"The Meeting" begins with questions and
comments from a Nepali girl who befriends an Asian-American
female foreigner, revealing their class, age and foreigner/native
status. Intercut with textured images of the dirt path that
links their living quarters, the hand of the foreigner reaches
towards a black iron gate, opens and closes the gate and
walks away. Along with these images, we hear the Nepali
girl's voice: Why did you come in Nepal? Are you coming
again back to Nepal? I think when you go to your country,
you'll forget us. You are so lucky that your parents let
you go in every country. Who cooks for you? You won't feel
afraid when you sit alone in your room? Do you want to be
The second triptych, "The Conversation,"
documents the discussions held by Monika Rasali, Sushma
Sada and Vinita Shrestha in English on sexism, marriage,
love, loneliness, their dreams and God, including their
response to a question I posed, which was if they had 2
minutes on a national radio spot, what would they say to
the boys in Nepal. These interviews are juxtaposed with
interviews of a multi-caste, multi-generational group of
Nepali women who are currently residing in the U.S. to reflect
the stories of numerous women around the world, who continue
to seek refuge in countries that allow for more freedom
Finally, using live action and colorful
paper cut-out animation, "The Song" consists of a song,
written and performed in Nepali by Vinita Shrestha, which
describes a tragic love story of a person who leaves a loved
one behind. This film is 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
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 are valid and worth being told.
Making this film is the promise I made to
them. Very few films give voice and expression to the Nepali
women and girls, who daily, experience second-class citizen
status. That said, this film intends to offer some of these
women a space for articulation, solidarity and creativity,
without once again, reifying the victim status of Asian
women and girls.
Finally, captivated by my friendship with
these girls and the environment surrounding me, I decided
to incorporate my own recent preoccupation with the nature
of human intimacy into this film. I began to think about
the ways in which intimacy is created and exhibited in the
U.S. and in Nepal. What does it mean that not many Nepali
households have a telephone? Or that dead bodies are burned
in public? That one has to learn to move about in darkness?
More personally, why do I crave an intimacy in the U.S.
that I find myself in awe of and frightened of in Nepal,
ANITA CHANG (Producer/Director/Writer/Camera in Nepal/Sound
Design/ Editor) is a San Francisco-based filmmaker whose
works have screened nationally and internationally, won
awards, and been broadcast on public television. One
Hundred Eggs a Minute (23 min., 16mm, b/w, 1996) was
shown on Northwest Airlines' Independents in Flight program.
This is a program which showcases independent short films
on national and international flight. Other works include
Imagining Place (35 min.,16mm, color, 1999), which
received the New Visions Award at the LA Asian Film Festival,
Unboxed (18 min., video, color,1999), Mommy, What's
Wrong? (23 min., 16mm, color, 1997), Video Letter
to the President (7 min., video, color, 1996), and Spofford
Alley (4 min., s-8mm/ video, 1994). Her works are distributed
by Berkeley's UC Extension Center for Media, National Asian
American Telecommunications Assoc. and Third World Newsreel.
CHANG received her BA in American Studies
and English from Tufts University, and MFA in Cinema from
San Francisco State University. She is primarily interested
in engaging film as a tool for exploring themes and telling
personal stories in a manner that accentuate the complexities
of the subjects' inner and outer worlds. Her films are politically
motivated, but always, aesthetically based. By working with
the surface of the filmic medium (e.g. hand-processing),
manipulating time and rhythm (e.g., optical-printing), and
using sound in unconventional ways, she is always discovering
ways to experiment with content and form that brings the
"real life" moving image genre to another level of interpretation
and audience experience.
In affiliation with the Film Arts Foundation,
she recently completed a 3 month artist-in-residency at
the Academy of Audio-Visual Arts in Kathmandu, Nepal, where
she taught an intensive 8-week course in "Alternative Techniques
in Documentary Production." She has taught super-8 and 16mm
film production, experimental cinema and curatorial management
courses at San Francisco State University for the past 4
years, and guest lectured at colleges such as the SF Art
Institute, Massachusetts College of Art and UMass-Boston.
She has also taught at SF Unified School District's School
of the Arts, SF University High School, Yerba Buena Center
for the Arts' Youth Ambassador Program, the SF Conservation
Corp, a federally funded community and environmental development
program for youth, and at the Film Arts Foundation through
their STAND program for first-time directors from under-represented
backgrounds, and general seminar workshops.
CHANG has spent more than 10 years working
with youth ages 11 to 18, from various ethnic and class
backgrounds in capacities ranging from counselor, educator
to advocate. She is currently Education Director at TILT
(Teaching Intermedia Literacy Tools), a grassroots organization
which brings media literacy education and media production
to youth in public schools and after school programs.
SHAILA GEORGE (Co-Animator) is a
NY-based illustrator. She is Indian-Malaysian and has been
living in the U.S. for 15 years. She freelances as a Set
Designer for Japanese and European music videos, and is
an In-house Designer for a NY-based stationary company.
ANJALI SUNDARAM (Cinematographer)
is a SF-based filmmaker and cinematographer. She has worked
on numerous independent 16mm and 35mm film productions for
directors such as Jon Moritsugu, Lynn Hershman, Susanna
Donvan, and Janelle Rodriguez.
CHARULATA PRASADA (Consultant) is
an Indian-born Canadian currently living and working in
Nepal. She is working with the UNICEF-Meena Communication
Intitiative, a multimedia package aimed to create awareness,
generate discussion among children and adults on the status
of the girl, and to remove discrimination.