James Q. Chan (Forever, Chinatown)

James Q. Chan is a San Francisco-based filmmaker who has collaborated on Emmy and Grammy-winning projects. His film mentorship/training began alongside two-time Academy-Award winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK, THE CELLULOID CLOSET). Producing credits with Epstein & Friedman include History Channel’s 10 DAYS THAT UNEXPECTEDLY CHANGED AMERICA (Emmy Award; 2006 Outstanding Non-Fiction Series), HOWL (Sundance 2010 Opening Night). Recent producing work include films about a child IT protégé :PUCK AND THE RIDDLE OF CODES (IDFA 2014; Dutch Television VPRO); father & son reconciliation ISTINMA (Best Short, 2014 American Indian Film Festival; Smithsonian Institute); U.S. immigration law effects on bi-national same-sex couples ENTRY DENIED (Jury Award, Best Short, 2012 Provincetown); love & equality RIGHT DOWN THE LINE (Bonnie Raitt, Grammy 2013). Prior to filmmaking, James worked as a SAG/AFTRA Union Talent Agent. His refugee/working class background, love for nature shows, and memories of his mother’s cooking shape his sensibilities in all of his stories.

James is a recipient of a Pacific Pioneer, San Francisco Foundation, California Humanities, Center for Asian American Media, and Independent Television Service documentary production grants for his directorial debut FOREVER, CHINATOWN (World Premiere, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival; Camerimage 2016).

About the Film

Filmmaker: James Q. Chan
Runtime: 31 minutes

Forever, Chinatown is a story of unknown, self-taught 81-year-old artist Frank Wong who has spent the past four decades recreating his fading memories by building romantic, extraordinarily detailed miniature models of the San Francisco Chinatown rooms of his youth. This film takes the journey of one individual and maps it to a rapidly changing urban neighborhood from 1940s to present day. A meditation on memory, community, and preserving one’s own legacy, Frank‘s three-dimensional miniature dioramas become rare portals into a historic neighborhood and a window to the artist’s filtered and romanticized memories and emotional struggles. In his bargain with immortality, Frank announces plans to cremate his exquisite works with him upon his death in order to ‘live inside them forever’ in his afterlife.