“Queens Ballroom” Documentary Shines Light on Chinese Culture in New York’s Flushing
Flushing, NY– The annual ITVS Summit, a grand gathering of filmmakers, recently became a hotbed of attention for the documentary project “Queens Ballroom.” The work, directed by Hansen Chenhui Lin and co-directed by producer Siyi Chen, focuses on middle-aged and elderly Chinese individuals in New York’s dance ballrooms, sparking strong interest from industry professionals and media both domestically and internationally.
Lin’s unique vision has brought him recognition and respect within the industry. With “Queens Ballroom,” he has transcended traditional storytelling, offering a fresh perspective on Chinese community life that resonates worldwide.
Among the projects supported by ITVS funds, most have been nominated for several international film festival awards. With robust production teams and powerful talent, the Summit hosted a gathering of the best in the industry. However, “Queens Ballroom” stood out with its unique artistic style amid fierce competition.
The documentary is of special interest as it focuses on the Chinese community in Flushing, New York, in the current social environment where anti-Asian incidents are rampant. The film offers a unique perspective on Chinese recreational life, portraying the personal spirit and passion for dance. “It’s not just about presenting the lives of middle-aged and elderly people in overseas Chinese circles, but also exploring topics like age, life, and desire that resonate with people worldwide,” said Lin, the director and producer.
Lin’s ability to stand out in a fiercely competitive field at the Summit speaks to his innovative approach and relentless pursuit of excellence. His works not only entertain but educate, reflecting a profound understanding of cultural nuances and human emotions.
In recent years, works focusing on the Chinese community, such as “Big Fight in Little Chinatown 2022, Free Chol Soo Lee 2022 ” have emerged frequently. Unlike others, “Queens Ballroom” downplays social issues and leans towards dramatic storytelling and nuanced emotional expression, discussing how the Asian community can positively impact society. Therefore, the societal influence of this film should not be underestimated.
The project is in the development stage but has already achieved notable market potential. In December 2022, it received a sponsorship of $10,000 from the New York State Council on the Arts.
Filmed in an unassuming industrial area in Flushing, New York, the colorful vibrancy of dance comes alive at night. Under the lens of Lin and co-director Chen, spirited dancers from diverse backgrounds exude unique brilliance. Dressed in elegant attire and dancing freely, most dancers are first-generation immigrants in their sixties and seventies, yet their passion for dance is palpable.
“We hope to use different ways of expression. Traditional documentaries often combine narration with realism, but we are exploring a fresher, more dramatic, and humorous approach,” said Lin. The visual style not only combines documentary realism but also blends narrative structures, offering an unusual angle on character stories.
Lin and co-director Chen have always hoped to share Chinese stories through an international lens. Lin’s short film “Chinatown, 2021” was selected for the largest New York International Documentary Festival during his study in the United States, gaining considerable exposure.
“Through years of exploration in photography and sociology, I’ve enriched my vision and can deeply analyze the emotions and needs of the Chinese community,” Lin said. He hopes that the documentary will serve as a bridge, allowing Chinese culture to engage in dialogue with the world. His determination and creativity not only reflect in the documentary but also contribute to telling the Chinese community’s stories.
Lin is currently fully committed to the production of “Queens Ballroom,” with plans to complete the work by 2028. Through this unique community story, he hopes to showcase the distinctive charm and genuine emotions of the Chinese community, allowing more people to delve into this special world hidden in the city’s corners.