The name Chang Wang should be familiar to China Insight readers. Wang was the recipient of the Council of Asian-Pacific Minnesotans’ Asian Pacific Leadership Award, the University of Minnesota “China 100” Distinguished Chinese Alumni Award, and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Diversity in Business Award in 2015.
He also has been a regular and consistent contributor to this publication since 2013. His articles – “Dancing with the Dragon” (November 2015-January 2016), “Doing Business with China and the Chinese People” (January-June 2015), “Last Lecture” (January and October 2014), “Living within Parallel Universes” (February and March 2016), “Luckiest Generations” (April-September 2016) to name a few – offer depth and insight into the Chinese psyche and social norms.
Not only is he a good writer, a practicing attorney, a law professor, a business manager, a published author, Wang has recently taken on another role – an actor! He played the part of a Chinese ambassador in a locally produced movie, “Domestics,” with understated panache.
Those of you who have had to deal with The People’s Republic of China’s officials will appreciate how well Wang handled his part.
Asked why and how he got involved in the movie, Wang said, “The filmmakers and I were connected by a mutual friend Jim Hilbert, a professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. The filmmakers caught the 2013 “Access to Democracy” interview I had with host Alan Miller on YouTube and offered me the role. I guess I was the guy they were looking for – a middle-aged, mean Chinese man with heavy accent. As you may know, I majored in filmmaking in college, and many of my friends are in the film and TV industries, so acting in a film is not uncharted territory for me. In fact, I found acting is much easier than lawyering!”
The movie was shot in 12 days and produced by human rights lawyers and award-winning filmmakers John Shulman and Jeanne-Marie Almonor. Shulman and Almonor’s goal was to “give voice” to groups targeted by big business and misguided government. The plot, in my untrained film critic opinion, tried to address too many social issues (school segregation, racism, corrupt government, anti-union sentiments, terrorism, biased media and, to a lesser degree, generational issues). The many flashbacks further hindered following the storyline.
BUT … as the filmmakers indicated at the June 26 Minneapolis screening, the movie is their way of speaking out for the various groups who cannot do so for themselves.
As of June, private screenings had taken place in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis. China Insight will include movie schedule when available. When in the cinemas, watch and draw your own conclusion.