5 lessons & 9 questions about Chinatown
10 minutes, 2009

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You live somewhere, walk down the same street 50, 100, 10,000 times, each time taking in fragments, but never fully registering THE PLACE. Years, decades go by and you continue, unseeing, possibly unseen. 

A building comes down, and before the next one is up you ask yourself 'what used to be there?' You are only vaguely aware of the district's shifting patterns and the sense that, since the 19th century, wave after wave of inhabitants have moved through and transformed these alleyways, tenements, stoops and shops.

10 square blocks, past, present, future, time, light, movement, immigration, exclusion, gentrification, racism, history, China, America, 3 languages, 13 voices, 152 years, 17,820 frames, 9 minutes, 54 seconds, 9 questions, 5 lessons, Chinatown

commissioned by: MoCA/The Museum of Chinese in America for The Chinatown Film Project

written, directed, edited: Shelly Silver
producer: Karin Chien
voiceover: Lu Yu, Wai Ching Ho, Johnson Chong
research: Teri Chan, Nina Lam
translation: Jeremy Chien, Lu Yu
sound mix: Ian Stynes, Great City Productions
color correction: John Vladic, Deluxe New York
archival material: The National Archives, MoCA

selected screenings
MoCA/Museum of Chinese in America
Berlin International Film Festival Shorts Competition
Norweigian Short Film Festival
Flexfest, Florida Experimental Film/Video Festival
Parnu International Film Festival
Sarajevo Film Festival
Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival
Kunstfilmtag, Duesseldorf
International Short Film Festival Oberhausen
MiradasDoc, Canary Islands, Spain
VideoDumbo, NYC
L'alternativa, Barcelona, Spain
Stuttgarter Film Winter, Germany
Chicago Underground Film Festival
Lens Politica Film & Media Festival, Helsinki, Finland

prizes & awards
Dialogpreis, German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Media Arts Festival/EMAF
Prix Videoformes Ville de Clermont-Ferrand, VideoFormes
Best Experimental Video, Dallas VideoFest