Posts tagged china

Midnight Bites Finds A New Audience

It has been a year since we launched our satirical cooking show Midnight Bites, and it seems audiences aren’t getting tired of the taste. We’ve clocked up over 300,000 hits on the platform toutiao.com since relaunching some episodes last week. With the branded Screw Chocolate and tie-in episode out in time for Christmas, and new episodes lined up for next year, it’s not hard to see why the show continues to be a success.

Starring newcomer Nic Xu as a talented chef and dark dreamer, Midnight Bites presents a cynical view of the modern world, with a deliciously biting wit.

“I think the show resonates with people because it is about saying the things that you would never dare to say yourself,” explains creator and showrunner Luo Tong. “He expresses the things that you’ve been thinking, whether they be about fighting against some injustice you see, or having the guts to talk to the girl you like, or just cursing out your boss when you think they’re taking advantage. He doesn’t put up with things he doesn’t have to.”

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The show is certainly different, with each episode combining a different dish with a twisted monologue on what’s wrong with the world. We’ve seen the Biter (as Nic’s character is known) rail against everything, from more serious issues like those who mistreat their pets or harm vulnerable people in society, to lighter stuff like calmly wondering why people get so angry in rush hour traffic (and if you’ve ever wondered how to cook a meal on the hot engine of a car, be sure to check out that episode.) The food has been no less eclectic, ranging from homemade hamburgers to pig brains. So what’s in store for fans in the future?

“The style of the show is pretty unique, and we’ll continue to explore that,” says Luo Tong. “There will be new food and new themes. Maybe something about relationships, and helping to empower people…but I don’t want to give too much away!”

You can watch all the episodes to date on our Toutiao channel and on Vimeo.

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Chasing The Six

Work continues on The Six, the new feature documentary from LPDocs, directed by Arthur Jones. The film traces the lives of the Chinese passengers on Titanic, six of whom survived before disappearing completely from the history books as anti-Chinese sentiment stirred up prejudicial immigration laws for the first half of the twentieth century. Arthur follows historian and frequent collaborator Steven Schwankert (The Poseidon Project) as he travels the globe to uncover the lost stories of Lee Bing, Fang Lang, Chang Chip, Ah Lam, Chung Foo and Ling Hee, and finally give them their place in history.

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It has been a year since Arthur and Steven traced the son of one survivor to Wisconsin, USA. Further clues led them to a remote village in Guangzhou, China. Meanwhile, at our base in Shanghai, the research team have been trawling through old archives in search of clues about The Six, and have been asking tough questions about the immigration policies which made life so difficult for Chinese migrants to Europe and North America as recently as 60 years ago.
Research of this nature is littered with obstacles. Chinese genealogy is notoriously difficult, particularly in English language documents such as shipping records, where names are often inconsistently transcribed. But there are a surprising amount of documents which have survived in archives around the world. The most exciting recent development has been the discovery of a new batch of records which tell us exactly what happened to the six upon arrival in New York aboard the rescue ship Carpathia. After months of speculation about the immediate aftermath of the accident, we are now able to verify why they were aboard Titanic, and where they were headed for the next few years.

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We find threads of the six in USA, Canada and UK, all countries which offered their own Chinese Exclusions Acts. Perhaps the most pernicious of the bunch was UK, where post-war anti-immigrant sentiment saw thousands of settled Chinese men forcibly deported. For many, this meant leaving behind British wives and children, most of whom never knew what had happened to their husbands and fathers (you can read more about the impact of these deportations on Liverpool families from Yvonne Foley at the Half and Half Project)

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Researcher Matthew Baren took a trip to London’s Limehouse earlier this month to visit various listed addresses of one survivor. Like Liverpool, London’s dockland areas became a home for the first Chinese migrant workers in UK, with Limehouse becoming the countries first Chinatown and the basis of pulp hysteria Fu Manchu. Much of the docklands area has been repurposed for housing and the Canary Wharf financial district, and today’s Limehouse retains little of what stood 100 years ago. Gone are the boarding houses which were home to Chinese seamen. But the streets on which the six and so many others lived are still there.
The next stop on our journey in making The Six is Bangkok, where Arthur and producer Julia Cheng will follow up their success at GZDoc in 2015 with a trip to documentary industry event Asian Side of the Doc. Be sure to check out our updated trailer for the film, available on our online channels.

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