“One Tree Three Lives” Film Screening

Director Angie Chen with family

TECO-NY, in cooperation with the Asia Society in New York organized a screening of Angie Chen’s documentary on Saturday, November 10th, One Tree Three Lives, was showcased at Asia Society from 6:00 to 8:00pm.   The audience was able to speak to Hualing Nieh (via Skype) with a Q&A session. The evening ended with a wonderful reception which gave a chance to get up close with film director Angie Chen, and IWP Director Christopher Merrill.

Christopher Merrill, Angie Chen, La Frances Hui and Angie's high school classmate

One Tree Three Lives is a documentary that reveals the life and journey of the Chinese American novelist Hualing Nieh Engle.  Nieh is a Nobel Peace prize nominee and author of 23 books of fiction and non-fiction. Generations of writers in the Chinese Diaspora and beyond have been influenced by Engle.  This inspirational film has its sad times and funny times but it portrays  a woman of unusual charisma, integrity and determination, and a person in continual exile.  Throughout the film, one will see Nieh’s life traverse cultures, languages, and continents as a perpetual “outsider.”

The film chronicles the exciting life of Hualin Nieh Engle, the famous novelist and essayist, who founded the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa with her late husband, the poet Peter Engle.  Born in China, Nieh left for Taiwan in 1949 at the end of the Civil War between the Communists and Nationalists. S he eventually moved to Iowa in 1964 where she surrounded herself in a vibrant literary culture. In 1976, to honor their role in promoting exchange among international artists, 300 writers advanced the Engles for the Nobel Peace Prize.  The pair was officially nominated by US Ambassador at Large Averill Harriman, and Nieh also received Award for Fiction, American Book Award (1990), for Mulberry and Peach: Two Women of China.

Christopher Merrill and Angie Chen Skype with Hualing Nieh

Q&A Skype with Hualing Nieh

Additional background information:

Hualing Nieh Engle calls herself a tree, with roots in China, the trunk in Taiwan, and the many leaves in Iowa, USA. Born and raised in wartime China, she left Wuhan in 1949 for peace in Taipei, and then left for the United States in 1964, for love. Now 86 years old, Nieh has authored 24 books. Her memoir The Images of Three Lives and her novels The Lost Golden Cicada (1960) and Mulberry Green and Peach Pink (1976) have been particularly influential.

In 1967, Nieh founded the prestigious International Writing Program (IWP) in Iowa with her husband the poet Paul Engle (1908-91), who was the director of the renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop from 1941 to 1965. IWP is a unique conduit for the world’s literatures, connecting well-established writers from around the globe.

Angie Chen

Angie Chen has been making films since 1979. She was born in Shanghai, brought up in Hong Kong and Taiwan, received her MFA from UCLA, and lived in America for over more than a decade. She now resides in Hong Kong, working in the industry as director/producer, and teaching part-time in the Film Academy’s MFA Program at Baptist University. Her first short Der Besuch (The Visit, 1980), about her dying father, has been critically acclaimed and honored internationally in Los Angeles, Toronto, Caracas, Quebec, Seattle, New York and Hong Kong. She made three feature films in the ’80s, including My Name Ain’t Suzie, an award-winning Shaw Brothers picture about the quintessential bar girls in Hong Kong servicing U.S. sailors since the ’60s. She entered the commercial film business in the ’90s. Recently she has made a comeback to feature filmmaking and directed two feature-length documentaries, This Darling Life (2008), nominated for Best Documentary in the Taiwan Golden Horse Awards; and One Tree Three Lives (2012) world premiered in the 2012 Hong Kong International Film Festival.

Christopher Merrill’s books include four collections of poetry, Brilliant Water, Workbook, Fevers & Tides, and Watch Fire, for which he received the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; translations of Ales Debeljak’s Anxious Moments and The City and the Child; several edited volumes, among them, The Forgotten Language: Contemporary Poets and Nature and From the Faraway Nearby: Georgia O’Keeffe as Icon; and five books of nonfiction, The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War, Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain, The Grass of Another Country: A Journey Through the World of Soccer, The Old Bridge: The Third Balkan War and the Age of the Refugee, and Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars. His work has been translated into twenty-five languages. He has held the William H. Jenks Chair in Contemporary Letters at the College of the Holy Cross, and now directs the International Writing Program at The University of Iowa.

For the details about the film, please visit the official website at: http://www.onetreethreelives.com.

For more reviews, please follow www.facebook.com/AsianInNYFans.

Director Angie Chen's daughter and grand grand daughter

Director Angie Chen's long term friends came to support

La Frances Hui, Assistant Director, Cultural Programs & Film Curator of Asia Society hosted the Q&A

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