Ed Moy's two new films are on pioneering women, author Betty Lee Sung (L) and pilot Julie Wang (R). Source: Ed Moy
Filmmaker Ed Moy, based in Northern California, has taken a special interest in telling stories about Chinese and Chinese American women.
He is a former journalist who has been doing films since 2011. Moy's first documentary was "Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story" of an Asian American women aviatrix pioneer. Through this first project, he found inspiration for his future ones, including his two new films about an author, "Betty Lee Sung: Defiant Second Daughter" and pilot, "Flying Solo: Around the World with Julie Wang."
#AmyLieuPresents caught up with the filmmaker to learn more about the films on these pioneering women who broke barriers in their field. Teaser clips included below! The women share their journey, with Lee Sung raising four children while juggling a career in academia and Wang saying "you can do it."
What is the Betty Lee Sung film about?
"Defiant Second Daughter" is a documentary short film about Betty's life and accomplishments, including how she became the first Chinese American person to author an internationally published book "Mountain of Gold" about the Chinese American experience in America. She is considered a leading authority on the Chinese in America. She was a pioneer in the field of Asian American Studies and laid the foundation for the Asian American Studies curriculum at City College of New York in 1970.
Why did you call her the "defiant second daughter"?
Actually, "Defiant Second Daughter" is the title of Betty's memoir, which chronicles her first 90 years growing up in America, traveling to China during WWII, and returning to the United States to become an author, educator and teacher of Asian American studies.
Betty is the second daughter. She defied her dad who arranged for her to get married to someone she didn’t want to marry. Her memoir is about her life and how she was a defiant second daughter.
What is the Julie Wang film about?
"Flying Solo" is a documentary short film about airline pilot Julie Wang, who became the first Chinese person to fly solo around the world in 2016.
What kinds of stereotypes about women (particularly Chinese women and flying) do you think she is trying to break?
Julie has succeed in the field of aviation which has historically been dominated by men. I think her pursuit of becoming an airline pilot and flying solo around the world shows that women can be successful on equal terms to men. There really is no reason gender should keep a woman from flying.
How did you find the inspiration for these films? Where do you get your ideas for films from?
I am Chinese American. So I tend to tell stories about the Chinese American experience in America. I think many filmmaker that are of a particular ethnic descent will likely make films about their culture or experiences. In my case, some of my films tell stories of successful Chinese or Chinese Americans. But I am a filmmaker first and foremost so I gravitate to stories that inspire me or interest me.
I made a documentary, "Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story" a few years ago and as part of my research for a more detailed docu-series about Chinese women pilots in aviation history, I found out about Julie's solo flight around the world. I wanted to include her in an expanded "Aviatrix" docu-series project, but ended up making a documentary short film instead.
Betty Lee Sung, was referred to me during my research for historians who could speak about growing up in the 1930-40s in America as a Chinese American citizen. Originally, her story was to be part of the expanded "Aviatrix" docu-series project. But ultimately, I found her story to be interesting on its own and created a documentary short film instead.
All of my Chinese American women projects originated from my research for the original "Aviatrix" documentary. There are many more great stories of Chinese American women pilots that deserve to be told, but I have not secured enough funding to make a docu-series project happen, yet.
Where can we find more information about the films?
You can find my original film "Aviatrix" online.
"Flying Solo" and "Defiant Second Daughter" will premiere at the Chinese American Mid-Autumn Film Festival in Manhattan, Chinatown on September, 29 2018.
Betty's books are on Amazon.
I plan to release both the new films online once we have premiered at film festivals. There maybe a few more free public screenings at libraries or museums in the near future.