Friday, February 03, 2012

Take 5 with "Awaken the Dragon"

Laura Chiang
As we gear up for the Oxford Film Festival 2012 to be held at the Malco Studio Theater on Feb. 9-12, 2012 and also at the Lyric Theater on Saturday, Feb. 11 as part of the Oxford Music Festival line-up where we will show music films, videos and a panel on music + film, we thought we might introduce you to some of the people behind the movies we can't wait to show you. For the full schedule and description of the films, visit

Meet Take 5 filmmaker, Laura Chiang of “Awaken the Dragon”

Q. 1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.

A:  My film introduces audiences to dragon boating, an internationally popular, yet virtually unknown sport.  I love it because it’s truly a team sport with no team hero.

Q. 2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?

A: Making Awaken the Dragon was an intense and surreal experience for me that I absolutely loved.  I made ATD as my thesis film in college, so from conception to final cut was about 5 months of work, balanced with a four other classes and a part-time job.  For the first time I traveled far just for a production, which was extremely exciting for me.  One small lesson that I learned was to always wear sunscreen: you can get sun poisoning in March in Arizona.

Q. 3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?

A: I graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Cinema and Photography (and History) in 2009.   As much as I love filmmaking, education is another strong passion that I have.  After graduating, I got my Masters in Childhood Education, moved to Memphis with my husband, and dove into teaching.  Fortunately, I have been able to balance teaching and several freelance photo and video jobs.  Since moving to Memphis, where the culture, social issues, and my perspectives are constantly changing, so many potential projects have jumped to mind.  I consider documentary filmmaking a form of education, so I am hoping to balance educating in the classroom and educating on the big screen as soon as I possibly can.

Q. 4: What's your dream distribution plan for the film?

A: I would love for the film to be available to students as teaching tool.  Not only does subject involve history and geography, but the fact that dragon boating is one of the only true team sports is extremely valuable.  I would love to have the film available for people to learn about new sports, new cultures, and new ways to be active and healthy!

Q. 5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?

A: I am hoping to continue showing audiences what I worked so hard on and my first accomplishment that I am truly proud of.  As a love of travel and exploration, I would love to show the film internationally.  I see the Oxford Film Festival not only as an opportunity to show my work, but as motivation for my to continue my filmmaking journey.

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