Chihiro Wimbush

A Compassionate Lens on the World

Welcome!  I'm a creative media maker who is passionate about documenting and sharing stories that change how we view each other and the world we live in.

 

Q&A at the CAAMFest 2017 screening of The People's Hospital with Co-Director Jim Choi, Former SF Mayor Willie Brown, current SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin, and Producer Don Young.

Q&A at the CAAMFest 2017 screening of The People's Hospital with Co-Director Jim Choi, Former SF Mayor Willie Brown, current SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin, and Producer Don Young.

Documentary Short

Filming the opening of the new Chinese Hospital for The People's Hospital

Filming the opening of the new Chinese Hospital for The People's Hospital

THE PEOPLE'S HOSPITAL

Co-Director (with jim Choi), Co-Editor, Music Supervisor

TRT: 27 mins

World Premiere: CAAMFest 2017

Broadcast Premiere: San Francisco Public Television (KQED)

The People's Hospital documents the opening of the new Chinese Hospital in San Francisco's Chinatown, built on the grounds of the original 1925 hospital.  It tells the tale of how a people who were once denied access to healthcare, empowered themselves to provide for their own community.  It features interviews with hospital staff and patients then and now, as well as former SF Mayor Willie Brown and the last recorded interview with San Francisco political powerhouse and community activist, Rose Pak.  

The film premiered at CAAMFest 2017 at the Great Star Theater in Chinatown and on SF PBS station KQED on May 3, 2017 @ 7 pm.

THE PEOPLE'S HOSPITAL trailer : note created before most of production and post-production to raise awareness so only features initial interviews.

THE RIDE

Micheal Smith on the morning drive to his trial in THE RIDE.

Micheal Smith on the morning drive to his trial in THE RIDE.

Editor, Music Supervisor

Awards: Spirit of Bernal Award 2017

Festivals: CAAMFest, Doclands, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema, International Black Film Festival of Nashville

The Ride focuses on the intersection of three rides: the one taken by Michael Smith and his pregnant girlfriend on BART that ends with them thrown on the ground by BART police officers with guns drawn, the early morning drive where his lawyer, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi picks Michael up in East Oakland to bring him to trial, and the ride Michael is taken on by an unjust justice system.

The Ride premiered at CAAMFest and is traveling the doc film fest circuit to the inaugural Doclands film festival in Mill Valley and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, pairing with the new Steve James documentary Abacus for all screenings.

LIMINAL SPACE/CROSSINGS

Filming preparation for the LIMINAL SPACE/CROSSINGS installation

Filming preparation for the LIMINAL SPACE/CROSSINGS installation

Co-Director (with Jim Choi), Editor

TRT: 16 mins

Liminal Space/Crossings documents the artist Summer Mei-Ling Lee's installation of the same name, situated in San Francisco Chinatown's Ross Alley, commissioned by the Chinese Culture Center.  Featuring both a projection of the ocean onto urban concrete as well as a performance piece, Summer's creation both crosses and transcends issues of identity and immigration.  This short documentary is in development to become a longer half hour documentary that will expand to include more on Summer's background and her journey back to China.

TOUCHING THE UNTOUCHABLE

Filming monks and nuns blessing the Untouchable farm workers, Tamil Nadu, India

Producer/Director (with Meena Srinivasan), Cinematographer, Editor

TRT: 8 mins

Awards: Spirit of Bernal Award, 2nd Place Dan Eldon Activist Award

Screenings: My Hero Film Festival, Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema Festival, East Bay Meditation Center, San Quentin Prison

Streaming: Featured on Karmatube

A short film about the iconoclastic African-American Buddhist nun Pannavati and her journey to Tamil Nadu, India, after being asked for assistance by Gauthama Prabhu, leader of the Dalits, or “Untouchable” people there.  The Dalits have reached out to her because as an African-American woman who grew up in the Civil Rights era, she would understand what it means to be disenfranchised as a people, and what it takes to assist and empower them.  Together, they travel through Dalit colonies, trying to bring in desperately needed resources like water, food and education, and working to transform the Dalits own self-image, imposed from thousands of years of caste system oppression.

I shot this video with my wife Meena just a couple of weeks before we got married in Chennai!  

We also produced a discussion guide and curriculum to accompany the video with the idea of continuing the conversation beyond the film viewing and getting this into classrooms for teachers to share with their students. All ways to increase empathy and engagement and deepen impact for positive change. Find the link here: bit.ly/1akSqKg

DON'T LOSE YOUR SOUL

Director (with Jim Choi), Editor, Additional Camera

TRT: 27 mins

Festivals: Kansas City Film Festival CineJazz Showcase, LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival Jazz Cinema Showcase

Broadcast: KQED May 2013, PBS May 2014 (as part of the series Japanese American Lives hosted by Kristi Yamaguchi), Rebroadcast PBS May 2015

DONT LOSE YOUR SOUL is a half-hour documentary about Anthony Brown and Mark Izu, two of the founders of Asian American Jazz, fusing traditional Asian instrumentation with the freedom of jazz.  Tracking their story from their family origins to the roots of their musical collaboration, the film culminates in a live performance celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Asian American Jazz Festival, featuring a special appearance by George Yoshida, who brought the spirit of jazz inside the barbed wire fences of the internment camps back in the day. Music as an expression of freedom.

DLYS premiered at the Kansas City Film Festival’s CineJazz showcase and was broadcast locally in the Bay Area on KQED Public Television, then Comcast on Demand, before broadcasting nationally on PBS as part of the Japanese American Lives series hosted by Kristi Yamaguchi.

DON'T LOSE YOUR SOUL trailer (excerpt from film)v

MARTIN YAN: A Simple Life

Director (with Jim Choi), Editor

TRT: 10 mins

CAAMFeast 2014, Asian Art Museum

Broadcast: PBS Online

A short profile of celebrity chef Martin Yan of “Yan Can Cook” fame.  How do you get behind the image for a person who’s always on camera?  We discovered the secret was to show Martin, not simply as he’s known on set, but as a cook at home in his kitchen, making his morning breakfast.  As a result we got to see a different, more introspective side of the Martin Yan that normally fills the television screen.

THE TIME THAT LAND FORGOT

Producer/Director (with Jim Choi), Editor, Additional Camera

TRT: 9 mins

This short film was created to profile the artist Peter Tobey and his unique artistic work.  From inside an abandoned warehouse, deep in the misty wonderland of the Oregon wild, Tobey creates original art pieces from the children’s toy K’nex: floating pyramids and soaring, ticking grandfather clocks, mechanical works of genius from multi-colored plastic pieces.  The piece is an ode to both the wild exterior and interior spaces of Tobey’s creative world.  

BOKATOR: Revival of an Ancient Cambodian Martial Art

Co-Producer (with Mike Siv), Camera

TRT:  9 mins

Broadcast: New American Media

While in Cambodia filming a documentary feature about Cambodian baseball with director Mike Siv (yet to be released) we took a quick stop to visit a master of the ancient Cambodian martial art, Bokator, and shot a quick piece in two days spanning Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. 

FOOD FOR LIFE

Co-Editor, Sound

TRT: 32 mins

This extended short documentary chronicles the struggles of the Im family, a Korean immigrant family with two parents and four adult daughters, and the Korean restaurant they own, To Hyang, famous for its unique, high-quality food.  Originally planned as a series with host Al Cheng, a founder of the ROOTS program in Chinatown and food aficionado, the project morphed into a longer-form, one-off piece over time as the story deepened.  Cheng serves as our guide into the world of the family and their food and ultimately, their struggles to keep the restaurant, into which they have poured their finances, hearts and dreams, afloat.

Filming the Im family getting their fortune told at a temple high above the streets of Chinatown in San Francisco.  The first time a film crew was ever allowed to film there.

Filming the Im family getting their fortune told at a temple high above the streets of Chinatown in San Francisco.  The first time a film crew was ever allowed to film there.

O-Viewpoint

Director/Camera/Editor (with Jim Choi)

TRT: 19 mins

Chinese Culture Center

Broadcast: KTSF

A short documentary commissioned by the Chinese Culture Center as a sequel of sorts to RED THREAD (see below), part of a continuing series on Chinese artists living and working in America and their art work.  0-VIEWPOINT documents the making of Stella Zhang’s art installation of the same name, following Stella from home to studio to gallery as she creates her most challenging and provocative work to date while the curator Abby Chen, struggles to make sense of the art.  The ensuing tug-of-war spotlights the fraught process of collaboration, business and art.

RED THREAD

Director/Camera/Editor (with Jim Choi)

TRT: 18 mins

Chinese Culture Center

Broadcast: KTSF

This short documentary was the first in a series of pieces, produced by Chinese Culture Center highlighting the work of Chinese artists living in America.  The film tracks the work of Beili Liu as she painstakingly creates her installation piece, LURE, composed of hundreds of hanging discs of red thread.  This was the first documentary film I worked on, in the first of many collaborations with Jim Choi, and where I fell in love with the documentary film process.  Unlike the narrative film sets on which I sat around for hours, here things were unfolding every moment, and I jumped right in with filming and editing the film, learning as I went along.  I had so much fun, I’ve never looked back.

 

 

 

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