As a young person growing up in Boston, I was embarrassed to be Chinese. To avoid being bullied at school, I learned to speak English without any kind of accent. The pressure to assimilate was great and in doing so, something was lost within myself. I felt empty and unfulfilled - disconnected from my family and friends. My Life In China is a film I had to make before I moved on with my life.
Through the process of making the film, I was able to rediscover myself. I have learned to accept and love who I am and where I come from. I’ve also developed a deeper respect and understanding for all the people who make America richly diverse and special. As a first generation Asian-American, it was a difficult decision to defy my parents' career wishes and pursue art. It was an even tougher one to try to make it as a documentary filmmaker. The journey has been long and tough - but completely satisfying. As a career freelancer, I've been lucky enough to find ways to get personal creative work done. I've discovered the power, privilege and responsibility that comes with being a documentary filmmaker.
I wanted to honor and acknowledge the sacrifice of my father and all of our ancestors. They provided us with the opportunity to get a good education so that we could have the freedom to chase our dreams. My Life in China is the result of my desire to tell my story in my authentic way.
It is because of the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship that My Life In China is possible, and my gratitude to them knows no bounds.
Since immigration remains a big issue today, My Life In China aims to build understanding and compassion for the immigrant/refugee experience. There are countless people still risking their lives in search of a better life. The least we can do is understand each other better. We're all mirrors of each other and our separate journeys are what connects us. Let us remind each other we're all human and let's work together to become more united in where we're going while never forgetting where we came from.
Peace and Love.
Welcome to the Director Statement page for My Life In China, a Chinese American Documentary directed by Kenneth Eng. An expression of artistic personal filmmaking, the film begs the question: What does it mean to be both Chinese and American?