WENHWA TSAO

 

312-208-9498

wenhwatsao@gmail.com

www.novastudio.org

www.wenhwatsao.com

 

EDUCATION

2011    American Film Institute, Directing Workshop for Women, Los Angeles, CA           

1990    Virginia Commonwealth University, MFA, Photography & Film, Richmond, VA

1987    University of Oregon, BA, Photography & Film, Eugene, OR                     

1984    Tainan University of Technology, Fellow in Arts/Crafts, Tainan, Taiwan, Rep. of China   

 

FILMOGRAPHY

FEATURE LENGTH SCRIPT

Monkey King (Feature, HD, Drama, Development)                                        2016-Present

  • Young homeless teen finds safe harbor after he befriend with a Blind Piano teacher in a low income housing community.  Step by step the Piano Teacher coax the delinquent teen to read and appreciate the beauty of prose by asking him to be her eyes and reads her books of fantastical Chinese Folk Tales.   At the end the teacher also learns from the student to let go of her bitter past and takes brave leap to change her life.

 

Snakehead (Feature, Writer, Development)                                                     2009-Present

  • Beautiful Chinese acrobat, a victim of human trafficking, struggles to escape the Snakehead crime syndicate and her life of forced prostitution before her adolescent daughter comes of age and suffers the same fate.

    • 2010     Best Dramatic Feature Script, Indie Producer

    • 2010     Finalist, George Lindsey UNA Film Festival

    • 2010     1st Place, Las Vegas International Film Festival

    • 2009     2nd Place, Dramatic Script, Woods Hole International Festival

    • 2009     Canada International Film Festival: Finalist

    • 2009     Write Brother Screenplay Competition Finalist

    • 2009     Cinema City International Film Festival                                           

 

SHORT FILM - FICTION

Poppy’s Journey to the East (App Book – Development)                                2016-Present

  • Eight-year-old Poppy wants to find her birth mother and father in China, in the eve of Chinese New Year she hops on her Papier-Maché dragon and flies to China with her paper lantern and butterfly kite, leaving the safety of her adopted mom’s home in America.  Poppy gets so lost in the vast land her determination to find her way home to be with her “real mommy” helps her find her finds her way home.

 

Nova (7 minutes, HD, Sci-Fi – Post Production)                                            2009-Present

  • NOVA is a short film investigates the building of genetically modified and scientifically improve human and its ethical impact.  Jin, an ailing old geneticist and biochemist, created the heroin of the story Nova to serve his personal need, a daughter to love him.  

 

Towing (14 minutes, HD, Drama, Director)                                                               2012   

  • A recently discharged soldier struggling to make the adjustment to civilian life by supporting her family as a tow truck driver.  One night, after helping out at a horrible accident, she encounters a States Attorney, on the side of the road after he has hit a beautiful dog.  When Red tries to ask him to take responsibility for his actions she is confronted with death yet again. 

 

Dumplings (5 minutes, HD, Drama, Director)                                                            2009

  • In Dumplings, a mother says goodbye to her adopted Asian daughter who is leaving on a journey to find her maternal mother. As the daughter leaving becomes a reality, the mother learns that the right thing to do is send her daughter on her way with total support instead of holding her back.

 

Arithmetic Lesson (15 minutes, DV, Drama, Director)                                               2009

  • ARITHMETIC LESSON takes a hard look at the often oversimplified phenomenon of child abuse as it tells the story of a seven-year-old Chinese American girl’s sexually and physical abuse by her live-in maid.  A young child does not know the harm or implications of sexual and physical abuse, and to Gracie, Ah-San gives the attention her parents are unable to provide.  There is no simple way to explain the effects that sexual and physical abuse have on a vulnerable young child.  Ah San’s presence in Gracie’s life is a confused blend of pain, shame, and companionship.

 

Wonton (12 minutes, shot 24p DV, Drama, Director)                                    2005

  • WONTON is a story about a young Chinese woman and her witty escape during an Immigration Customs Enforcement raid of the US restaurant where she is illegally employed.  Not only does Grace get away, she helps Armando, an underage Salvadorian dishwasher, to avoid the fate of the other illegal workers, who are subjected to humiliating treatment, capture, and possible deportation. The film gives a glimpse into the microcosm of life in a Chinese restaurant in US, and through a simple story, magnifies the need for human beings to have the right to pursue a better life.

 

SHORT FILM - DOCUMENTARY

Exercise with Ching Yung (8 mins, Super-8 & mini-DV, documentary, Director)     2003

  • EXERCISE WITH CHING YUNG is an experimental documentary film that presents the filmmaker’s retired father who likes to exhibit his own creation of Tai Chi in public and sings Karaoke with his friends.  This film explores the internal struggle of being the daughter of an old-fashioned Chinese father, whose lifelong wish has been to have a son to carry on his family name.  The film examines the father-daughter relationship and investigates the daughter’s struggle with whether and how to fulfill her father’s expectations.

 

Pei Pei’s Wedding (8 minutes, Hi-8, Documentary, Director)                                    1999

  • PEI PEI’S WEDDING is a home-style documentary film about the filmmaker’s sister Pei Pei on the day before, the day of her wedding and the associated ritual.  Pei Pei lives in Taiwan.  She is very happy with her life.  She has no problem with a woman’s role in society there, which is very different than Pei Pei’s filmmaker sister’s point of view.  It is a film about trans-culture, the blend and separation of East and West which, at times, may evoke laughter.  Rich with lots of interesting rituals and food in the film, this film satisfies both mind and spirit.

 

Fung Tsao Theories (5 minutes, Supper-8mm film, Documentary, Director) 1997

  • FUNG TSAO THEORIES is a funny and loving film about the filmmaker’s Chinese mother’s philosophy of life.  In making this film, Wenhwa attempted to preserve the memories of her family, who live over 10,000 miles away, on film. All footage was shot in Taiwan with super-8mm reversal film then transferred and edited on video. 

 

SHORT FILM - EXPERIMENTAL

Disunion with the Union of Suffering (5 mins, 16mm, Experimental, Director)          2004

  • Disunion with the Union of Suffering illustrates and applauds the complex design of the human form – from cells to flesh – and celebrates the amazing cognitive ability each human possesses to transfer perceptions.  Using images of cells, anatomy, and butterfly metamorphosis, the film creates an atlas of the subconscious mind.  The vivacious score and staccato rhythm of vibrant, single-frame images alert us to the working of our own eyes and ears.

 

Against Filial Piety (5 minutes, 16mm, Experimental, Director)                                 2002

  • Against Filial Piety ponders one of the oldest Chinese beliefs; the gravest offense of filial piety is not to have offspring to carry on the family name and blood.  The film also relates to feelings of failure in not being able to fulfill the filial responsibility.  This five minute, single framed, 16mm experimental film includes the word “barren” from 34 different written languages, which were extracted from dictionaries.  The individual word or symbol disintegrates as it being enlarged to resemble landscapes or graphic shapes.  The colorful technical drawing s of human anatomy and the cycle of childbirth are combined and contrasted against the monotone enlargement of Xerox copies of the word “barren” which breaks up and converges throughout the progression of film. 

 

FEATURE LENGTH FILM

Cola for Tea (90 minutes, 16mm, Drama, Director)                                                   2000

 

AWARDS & HONORS

2017 - 2018    

    Fulbright Review Committee – The Institute of International Education (IIE)requested that I serve on the National Screening Committee for        the past two years, where I am one of the jurors vetting the Fulbright U.S. Student applications and nominating candidates for study in the      field of Filmmaking.

2016    University Film and Video Association Teaching Excellence Award

2016    Excellence in Teaching Award, Columbia College Chicago

2014    Distinguish Alumni Award, Tainan University of Technology, R.O.C.

2012    TOWING (short film)

Nancy Malone Directing Award, American Film Institute         

Award of Merit: Short Film, The Accolade Competition

Winner, Best Short Film Competition, University Film & Video Association

2011    TOWING (short film)

Directing Workshop for Women, America Film Institute          

Grant, Community Arts Program, City of Chicago                    

Grant, IAS Artist Project in Media Arts, Illinois Arts Council

Grant, Faculty Development, Columbia College Chicago 

2010    ARITHMETIC LESSON (short film)

Winner, Shortcuts Competition, Illinois Film Office

2010    SNAKEHEAD (feature length script)

Winner, Best Dramatic Feature Script, Cinema City Online Film Festival     

Winner, Best Dramatic Feature Script, Indie Producer                       

2009    SNAKEHEAD (feature length script)

1st Place, Feature Length Screenplay Competition, Las Vegas Film Festival

2nd Place, Feature Length Screenplay Competition (Drama), Woods Hole Film Festival

2009    ARITHMETIC LESSON (short film)

Award, Best Supporting Actress, Stepping Stone Film Festival                                

Winner, Best Drama, Griffon International Film Festival                              

Winner, Short Film Contest, Drama category, 7th Annual iP (Indie Producer)

Award of Excellence (Short Film), Indie Fest                  

Award, Short Drama, IP – Indie Producer              

2008    SNAKEHEAD (feature length script)

                IFP New York Film Week (Emerging Narrative)

                Award, Kodak Faculty Scholar                                                  

                Fellowship, Illinois Arts Council                                                       

 

FILM FESTIVAL (JURIED) & INVITATIONAL SCREENING

2018    Nova (short Sci-fi film)

Trieste Science + Fiction Festival, Trieste, Italy

Chicago International Genre Film Festival, Chicago, IL
Wasteland Film Festival, Edwards, CA

Chicago Park District & the Chicago Onscreen Local Film Festival

                Windy City International Film Festival

Toronto Short Film Festival, Toronto, Canada

Juggernaut Sci-Fi and Fantasy Film Festival, Chicago, IL

Chicago Feminist Film Festival, Chicago, IL

 

2017    Nova (short sci-fi film)

        Roma Cinema DOC, Rome, Italy

                Sci-Fi Underground, Munich, Germany

2016    Solo Screening

Beijing Film Academy Forum - Film Presentation, Beijing, China

Portfolio Presentation, Wheaton, IL

Cultural Studies Colloquium Presentation, Chicago, IL

 

2013    TOWING (short fiction film)

Dallas Videofest, Dallas, TX

Naperville Independent Film Festival, Naperville, IL

Long Island Film Festival, Long Island, NY

La Femme Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA

Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival, New York, NY

Golden Door International Film Festival, Jersey City, NY

South Dakota Film Festival, Aberdeen, SD

Beyond the Bonds: LA Main Library Short Film Screening, Los Angeles, CA

Beyond the Bonds: Culture Center of Taipei Economic & Cultural Office, Santa Ana, CA

Provincetown International Film Festival, Provincetown, MA                                 
Woods Hole Film Festival, Woods Hole, MA                                                           

Fallbrook International Film Festival, Fallbrook, CA                                    

Cleveland International Film Festival, Cleveland, OH                                   
River Bend Film Festival, South Bend, IN                                                                
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA                                      
GI Film Festival, Washington DC                                                                             
Sacramento Film Festival, Sacramento, CA                                                               
Gasparilla International Film Festival, FL                                                      
Fort Myers Film Festival, Fort Myers, FL                                                                 
Fresno Film Festival, Fresno, CA                                                                  
Capital City Film Festival, Washington DC                                                               
Riverside International Film Festival, Riverside, CA                                     
Oceanside Intl Film Festival, Oceanside, CA                                     

George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, Florence, AL                                                   

Charleston International Film Festival, Charleston, SC                                              

San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, San Luis Obispo, CA                          

DC Independent Film Festival, Washington DC        

 

2013    DUMPLINGS (short fiction film)

        Thomson Reuters Asian Affinity Network, Webcast

 

2013    FUNG TSAO THEORIES & EXERCISE WITH CHIN YUNG (experimental film)

Construction exhibition at A+D Gallery, Chicago, IL

 

2012    TOWING (short fiction film)

New Horizon International Film Festival, Tehran, Iran                                              

Canterbury Short Film Festival, Australia, New Zealand                                           

International Film Festival Antigua & Barbuda, Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda

Montreal World Film Fest, Montreal, Canada                        

Las Vegas International Film Festival, Las Vegas, NV                                             

East Lansing Film Festival, East Lansing, IL                                                             

Napa Valley Film Festival, CA

 

2012    ARITHMETIC LESSON (short fiction film)

Short Notice Season 3, Asian TV and Filmfest, LA, CA                              

                                                           

2011    ARITHMETIC LESSON (short fiction film)

Pacific Community Television, California Film Foundation, CA                               

Skagway Film Festival, Skagway, AK                                                                      

 

2010    ARITHMETIC LESSON (short fiction film)

Chicago International Film Festival, IL                                                                      

River's Edge International Film Festival - Paducah Film Society, KY           

 

2010    DUMPLINGS (short fiction film)

Anchorage International Film Festival, AK                                                   

12th Seoul International Youth Film Festival, Korea 

                       

2010    ARITHMETIC LESSON (short fiction film)

Urban Suburban Film Festival, PA                                                                

Newport Beach Film Festival, Newport Beach, CA

Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, Niagara Falls, NY                                                     

Los Anglos Women’s Film Festival, CA                   

                                   

2009    ARITHMETIC LESSON (short fiction film)

The Stepping Stone International Film Festival                                                          

Flatland Film Festival, Lubbock, TX                                                             

Gold Lion Film Festival, Swaziland, Africa                                                               

La Femme Film Festival, LA, CA                                                                  

Palm Spring International Short Film Festival, Palm Spring, CA                  

The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, LA, CA                                 

Asian American International Film Festival, New York, NY            

Asian American Showcase, Chicago, IL                                                        

Central Florida Film Festival, FL                                                                   

VC FILFEST: The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, LA, CA         

Griffon International Film Festival, MO                                                        

M.A.L.I. Women’s Film & Performance Arts Festival, TX                          

14th annual Asian American Showcase, Chicago, IL                        

Best of Video Fest Tour, TX                                                                         

New Beijing International Film Week, Beijing, China                                   

Dallas Video Festival, Dallas, TX                                                                              

Festival De Cannes – Short Film Corner, Cannes, France     

                                   

2007    WONTON (short fiction film)

Tiburon International Film Festival, Tiburon, CA

Slippery Rock PA Festival of Films, Slippery Rock, PA      

                                   

2006    WONTON (short fiction film)

Montreal World Film Festival, Montreal, Canada

Santa Fe Film Festival, Santa Fe, NM                                               

Austin Asian Film Festival, Austin, TX                                                                    

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, FL                                                         

Oxnard Independent Film Festival, Oxnard, CA                                           

San Diego Asian Film Festival, San Diego, CA                                            

Palm Spring International Short Film Festival, Palm Spring, CA      

Tahoe/Reno International Film Festival, Incline Village, NE                         

Chicago Asian Showcase, Chicago, IL                                                          

DC Independent Film Festival, Washington DC                                                        

VC FILFEST: The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA       

Women of Color Film Festival, Berkeley, CA                                                           

San Francisco Women's Film Festival, San Francisco, CA   

                       

2006    NUMBER ONE: THE HELEN FUNG DARE STORY (short documentary film)

Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Vancouver Canada              

                                   

2005    WONTON (short fiction film)

ALTER-NATIVE 13 International Short Film Festival, Targu-Mures, Romania      

Chicago International Film Festival, Chicago, IL                                           

Chicago International Reel Shorts Film Festival, Chicago, IL                        

Short Film Festival, Quito, Ecuador                                                                           

Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Vancouver, Canada                                                 

Dim Sum: Sampling Contemporary Chinese Culture Festival, Toronto, Canada       

Mediation: Curated Film & Video Festival, Sun Yet-Sen University, China 

Women in the Director’s Chair International Film & Video Festival, Chicago, IL

Women of Color Film Festival, Berkeley, CA                                   

Hearts and Minds Independent Film Festival, Wilmington, DE         

 

2005    DISUNION of the UNION with SUFFERING (short experimental film)

         Octaedro Quito Short Film Festival, Ecuador

           

2004    EXERCISE WITH CHING YUNG (short documentary film))

Cinema De Balie, Amsterdam, Netherlands                                                               

Women in Film/New England Screening, DE

Reel Venus Film Festival, New York, NY                                                    

Squeaky Wheel Global Super-8mm Film Festival, Buffalo, NY                   

The Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival, Victoria, Canada                          

 

2003    AGAINST FILIAL PIETy (short experimental film)

Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival, Toronto, Canada                                                  

Starting from Scratch – Cinema De Balie, Amsterdam, Netherlands                         

25th Annual Films de Femmes International Film Festival at Creteil, France

High Falls Film Festival, Rochester, NY                                                       

Madcat Film Festival, San Francisco, CA      

Women of Color Film Festival, Berkeley, CA                                               

Asian Film Festival of Dallas, TX                                                                             

Asian American Film Fest, Dallas, TX                                                                      

Asian American Showcase, Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL               

Three River Film Festival, Pittsburgh, PA     

Women in the Director’s Chair International Film & Video Festival, Chicago, IL     

 

2002    PEI PEI’S WEDDING (short documentary film)

Guadalajara Filmfest, Guadalajara, Mexico                                                                

Asian American Showcase, Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL

Three River Film Festival, Pittsburgh, PA                 

San Diego Asian American Film Festival, San Diego, CA                            

Bumbershoot Arts Festival, The 1 Reel Film Festival, Seattle, WA               

University of Chicago Doc Films Center / Sinister Luck Ensemble, Chicago, IL

Chicago Cultural Center, Asian American Heritage month, Chicago, IL       

Humboldt International Short Film Festival, Arcata, CA                               

New York XFest International Film and Video Festival, New York, NY     

Chicago Underground Film Festival, Chicago, IL                                         

Women’s Work Festival, Pittsburgh, PA                                                       

Chicago Ear and Eye Control, Experimental Jazz & Film Experience, Chicago, IL

Women Warrior Festival, Chicago, IL                                                           

Columbia College Chicago Women’s History Month Film Screening, Chicago, IL

Women of Color Film Festival, Berkeley, CA

Women in the Director’s Chair International Film & Video Festival, Chicago, IL

 

2002    COLA FOR TEA (feature length film)

7th Annual Chicago Asian American Film Festival, Chicago, IL      

 

2001    FUNG TSAO THEORIES (short documentary film)

Madcat Film Festival, San Francisco, CA

Squeaky Wheel Global Super-8mm Film Festival, Buffalo, NY

           

1999    FUNG TSAO THEORIES (short documentary film)

Atlanta Film Festival, Atlanta, GA                                                                 

Sedona International Film Festival, Sedona, AZ                    

                       

1998    FUNG TSAO THEORIES (short documentary film)

Splice This! Super-8mm Film Festival, Toronto, Canada                                          

San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, San Francisco, CA

Mill Valley Film Festival, Mill Valley, CA                                                    

    

Tel 312-208-9498

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