My first mini-documentary “The Durian Man” co-produced with Chinese journalist John Zongmin Chow was aired on The United Nation’s official YouTube channel.
This story of a unique durian retailer in New York City is part of UNTV’s news magazine program “21st Century”, hosted by former BBC World News anchor Daljit Dhaliwal.
We spent about 3 weeks in Fall 2013 for filming, but and the production and process of finding a suitable publisher took almost forever until we met with UNTV producers.
It was my first attempt to tell story through video, and it was a fruitful journey. Now I’m contemplating on my second mini-documentary.
This experimental short video is one of my earliest attempts to tell stories with visual. It is a class project of NYU Studio 20 MA program in 2013. We were required to produce stories about underreported issues or people. I wanted to tell the story of my wife, who quit her job as the news presenter of Malaysia’s most watched Mandarin evening TV news, and followed me to New York when I won the Fulbright scholarship to do my master’s degree. Although she was allowed to work full time in the US, it was tougher for her to settle down in this new environment. I went to school, worked on my study and met new friends, but she had to figure out what to do and where to rebuild her social network. Of course later her friendly, warm and direct-to-the-point personality won her much more friendship than I.
One of her first social circle was the spouses of other international students at NYU whom she met in some activities organized by the school for such community. Both of us then realized there is a large community of international student spouses who sacrifice their career and personal achievements to support their better halves. Usually they are the ones that manage the household and other errants so their partners can focus on the studies.
I interviewed 2 couples from Taiwan and Shang Hai respectively. I filmed each of them separate from his/her spouse and tried to create a ‘virtual dialogue’ between them, and the result was out of my expectation!
The whole project, from beginning to end, took only 3 days using an entry-level videocam to film and Adobe Premiere to edit. The message I got from the 2 couples? Love Conquers All!