News and Events

When you see mountain, it is mountain
When you see ocean, it is ocean

When you see mountain, it is not mountain
When you see ocean, it is not ocean

When you see mountain, it is mountain again
When you see ocean, it is ocean again

~ ~ ~

The ROOT TONGUE web app launches on International Mother Language Day February 21, 2016! A big thanks to our fearless Interactive Producer Michella Rivera-Gravage, our magical design studio Otherwise Co., and our development team the ever-brilliant Jessica Yazbeck and whip-smart Marisa Wilson. We invite you to join us at in testing the beta prototype for mobile devices! And we appreciate your feedback to make it better.


ROOT TONGUE was made possible because of the generous support from family, friends and key funders Creative Capital, National Geographic All Roads, University of California Humanities Institute for Research in the Arts, Porter College, UCSC Film & Digital Media, North American Taiwanese Women’s Association, Taiwanese United Fund, Big Ideas@Berkeley and Indiegogo donors.

We are currently raising funds for interface/content translation, direct video uploads, user profiles, and desktop optimization, and your tax-deductible donation, however big or small, can help make this happen! To make a contribution, visit Fractured Atlas. Please help spread the word~Thank you!


“Altered States for a Critical Cosmopolitanism” was recently published in the book collection Teaching Transnational Cinema. “This collection of essays offers a pioneering analysis of the political and conceptual complexities of teaching transnational cinema in university classrooms around the world.” Check here for publisher’s details.


Guidings a 4-channel video installation
featuring Lori (Herbalist), Charlene (Artifact/Art Handler), Biagio (Earthquake Sensitive), Maggie (Caretaker)

What are our internal sensory-moral barometers to ecological shifts produced by climate change? Do we still have access to them? And if so, how are they taking form?

Saturday, April 16, 4-8pm @ Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Public Square Ecology Think Tank Project, 701 Mission Street, San Francisco


Attention educator friends! My streaming distributor Kanopy is offering a 10% off of a 1 or 3 year streaming license for Tongues of Heaven. Offer expires Oct. 30, 2015. Use promo code TOH2015 here.


Honored that my first movie One Hundred Eggs Minute was included in a two-week curriculum built to help K-12 educators from around the nation build stronger teaching tools for their diverse student bodies, sponsored by the 2015 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for School Teachers “Asian Americans In New York: Film and Literature.”


A San Francisco-grown reunion! On August 8, 2015, Greta Snider, Valerie Soe, Lynne Sachs and I presented on the panel “Tangible Wreckage: Memory, Resistance and Reclamation in the Work of Four Documentary Filmmakers” at the Visible Evidence XXII Conference on Documentary Film and Media in Toronto.


Tongues of Heaven premiered on the east coast at the infamous Maysles Documentary Center in NYC, Friday, August 14th at 7:30pm w/Q&A! Founded in 2005 by the ground-breaking documentarian Albert Maysles, who recently passed on March 5th this year, their mission is: Through our cinema and education programs we engage diverse communities in creative self-expression, communicating ideas and advocating needs. Tickets here.


Just returned from the 13th International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics where Tongues of Heaven screened and I presented “Tongues of Heaven/Root Tongue, a Transmedia Documentary Web Platform: Design, Ethics and Social Participation in the Digital Age” at the July 23rd Satellite event, New Advances in Taiwan Indigenous Language Revitalization/臺灣原住民族語復振的新里程 at Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.

Presented the Tongues of Heaven/Root Tongue platform design at the Cultures in Disarray: Destruction/Reconstruction Conference at King’s College in London on June 11, 2015. Distinguished keynote speakers were Elisabetta Lazzaro from Université Libre de Bruxelles, Peter Dahlgren from Lund University and Nick Couldry from London School of Economics.


SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies University of London presented Joyful Life/樂生 on June 10th. It was great to engage with the SOAS audience again!

On May 19th at University of California Santa Cruz, I gave the talk “Designing Practices in Cross-disciplinary Collaborations and Identities: A Case Study of the Transmedia Documentary Project Tongues of Heaven/Root Tongue” along with other LASER speakers Daniel Press “What is Recycling Good For? The Case of American Paper Today,” Roger Linington “Where Do Medicines Come From? In Search of Therapeutics From the World’s Oceans,” and Kim Abeles “ and a galleryofsolutions.”

IAS-LASER poster-May-2015-draft2-white

Tongues of Heaven screened May 1, 2015 at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa as part of the inaugural Interdisciplinary Austronesian Connections Symposium. Afterwards, I delivered the paper “Image and Sound: Austronesian Linkages and Affinities in the Film ‘Tongues of Heaven’.”


2014 Taiwan tour of Tongues of Heaven began November 17th with a special screening/forum held at National Dong Hwa University with students in the Department of Indigenous Languages and Communications in conversation with co-directors Anchi Chen, Anita Chang, Shinlan Yu and her mother Hedy.


The tour continued to National Chung Hsing University hosted by documentary scholar Kuei-Fen Chiu in Taichung.


Next stop is linguist Rik De Busser’s class at National Chengchi University on Language and World Civilization where a few students proudly share stories of why and how they learn and maintain their heritage languages.


It was wonderful to return to the Motion Picture Department at National Taiwan University of Arts where I taught for one year as a Fulbright fellow.


On December 12th, I joined filmmaker Futuru Tsai in a special event “Exchanging Reflections on Ethnographic Filming” at the Pacific History Association Biennial Conference: Reconnecting Pacific-Asia Histories/太平洋歷史學會雙年會at National Taitung University. Returning to Taipei, renowned documentary filmmaker and scholar Daw-Ming Lee hosted a screening of both 62 Years and 6500 Miles Between and Tongues of Heaven. He just published two new books!


Final stop is at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu, hosted by Professor Chih-Fan Chen. The discussion topic was “The Birth of a Documentary: Themes and Stories/一 部紀錄片的誕生:題材與故事.” I was honored to be in the company of Shang-Chu Tang/湯湘竹 and emerging filmmaker Sheng-Yi Chen/鄭勝奕 as we shared our personal and professional experiences.


The Summer Institute in Asian American Studies: Empire Reconsidered hosted a public screening and lively discussion of Tongues of Heaven, led by scholar Andy Wang, on July 30, 2014 at National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan.


It was my first time screening a movie at De Anza College in Cupertino, California and really appreciated students sharing their personal thoughts about the role of language in family relationships and identity formation. A big thank you to my hosts professor Karen Chow and IMPACT AAPI! IMPACT’s mission since 2008: We have initiatives to maximize positive academic achievement and cultural thriving focused on Asian Americans and Pacific Islander students.



San Francisco Bay Area Premiere Screenings! Come join us!


We are gearing up for a limited theatrical engagement in the SF Bay Area this October. This is the first (and only) theatrical poster made by local artist friend Andy Chou. Look out for it at the beloved Roxie theater!

Tongues Of Heaven Poster