When people have a belief in you…
- The making of the documentary film “Tai Chi Club”
When a movie "Ace the Case: Manhattan Mystery” was released in August 26, 2016. I went to a theatre to see it because my Tai Chi sisters Georgia, Fumiyo, Violet and I were doing Tai Chi in Columbus Park, New York City in the movie - Wow, that 7 seconds on a big screen was the greatest feeling that went far beyond any explanation with words!
Since then, I had a dream that I’d love to see more Tai Chi on the big screen.
I began with the idea of thinking of our Tai Chi Club, which is about Tai Chi and Martial Arts with long history and fantastic people. Why shouldn’t I start to document all of the lives around me? So, a notebook and a small camera were always with me wherever I went…
One year passed without much progress, but a lot of failures in this complicated and difficult form of art. I started to doubt myself “Who the hell do you think you are?” “Film is like the Moon that not everyone can land on." “Is my dream just a dream that will never be a reality?” “Should I give up?”
I started to talk about this project with friends, people in the studio and a few friends who are indie, small documentary/film makers with film degrees... Every single person who I talked to, all similarly said to me: “You should do it”. “The history of Tai Chi in old days of New York city should be documented and not disappear like many other things that have disappeared in the city". All these encouraging words moved my heart, and the camera was in my hands again!
As a first time film maker, people who believed in me gave me the power to continue. Our very own Jane O'Mahony went ahead managed an Indiegogo campaign to rise some funds to help me financially. We raised $2000 by our friends, family and students! It’s a very tiny amount of money considering film making. But it was again, a very warm feeling of “believing in me” that fully filled my heart.
A real dreamer is the one who constantly works to achieve their dreams. So I continued learning and working on filming, and editing. Thanks to those old time New York video Masters who loved martial arts and Tai Chi, and they recorded a few hundred hours of videos about the Tai Chi Club in the 80’s, and 90’s. I looked through all these videos and selected some clips to be part of the documentary of the history of one of the oldest Tai Chi Club in America.
I’m so grateful that almost all documented scenes and interviews in this film were done in real time and naturally show the pure human love of nature! A big thank-you to whose who were involved!
It’s a truly exciting experience and a great challenge in managing the techniques in the making of my first documentary film. But the most important thing is that I’ve been on a journey, looking back at my life and the people around me with their extraordinary stories in their ordinary lives. They have always inspired me in many ways. I love them all deeply.
With a strong belief, nothing is impossible!
Thank you for believing in me!
Tina C Zhang