Children of Invention
|Children of Invention|
|Directed by||Tze Chun|
|Produced by||Mynette Louie
|Written by||Tze Chun|
|Starring||Cindy Cheung (actress)
|Music by||T. Griffin|
|Editing by||Anna Boden|
|Running time||86 minutes|
Children of Invention is an American independent feature film written and directed by Tze Chun. It premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, screened at more than 50 film festivals, and won 17 festival awards including 8 Grand Jury or Best Narrative Feature prizes. The film was released theatrically in eight U.S. cities beginning February 2010, on Video-on-Demand in June 2010, and on DVD in August 2010.
The first half of the movie centers around Elaine Cheng (played by Cindy Cheung), a single mother and immigrant living in the Boston suburbs and the life she provides for her two children (played by Michael Chen and Crystal Chiu). As a way to cope and entertain themselves, the kids invent things. The mother is drawn to pyramid schemes as a way to get ahead and repeatedly loses money. Eventually her two young children are left to fend for themselves when their mother is arrested by the police. The film is loosely based on Tze Chun's own childhood, as well as his Sundance 2007 short film, Windowbreaker.
The film was very well received by critics, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice, New York Post, Variety, LA Weekly, USA Today, Chicago Reader, Film Threat, and The Boston Globe. It was named one of the Top 13 Films of 2009 by Hammer to Nail, and one of the best undistributed films of 2009 by several critics including IFC's Alison Willmore. In 2010, the year of its commercial release, it made several more "best films of the year" lists including the list by Turner Classic Movies' blog. The film also won the following 17 festival awards:
- Grand Jury Prize, Best Narrative Feature - Independent Film Festival of Boston
- Grand Jury Prize, Best Narrative Feature - Newport International Film Festival
- Grand Jury Prize, Best Narrative Feature - Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
- Grand Jury Prize, Best Film - San Diego Asian Film Festival
- Best Narrative Feature - San Diego Asian Film Festival
- Best Narrative Feature - Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival
- Outstanding International Feature - ReelWorld Film Festival
- Best of Festival - Roxbury Film Festival
- Special Jury Prize, Best Narrative Feature - Sarasota Film Festival
- Special Jury Award - San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival
- Special Jury Prize, Acting Ensemble - Nashville Film Festival
- Special Jury Prize, New Talent to Watch in Acting - Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
- Special Jury Prize, Emotional Storytelling - Indie Memphis Film Festival
- Honorable Mention, Editing - Woodstock Film Festival
- George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award - DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival
- Puma Emerging Filmmaker Award - Hawaii International Film Festival
- Visionary Award - Austin Asian American Film Festival
Tze Chun and the film's producer Mynette Louie were named in Ted Hope's list of "21 Great Free Thinkers of Indie Film" for their DIY festival/DVD distribution strategy. The film debuted theatrically in Boston on February 26, 2010, and in New York and Los Angeles on March 12, 2010, followed by additional theatrical engagements in other cities. It was released on Video-on-Demand beginning in June 2010, and on DVD on August 10, 2010.
- Brian Brooks (2009-01-08). "Tze Chun, "Children of Invention": Pyramid Schemes, Herbalife and Collaboration". IndieWIRE. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- Jonathan L. Knapp. "Children of Invention". San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- Ty Bur (2009-01-22). "Difficult times, past and present". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- Michael Tully (2009-04-08). "A Conversation With Tze Chun". Hammer to Nail. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- Ted Hope (2009-12-28). "21 Great Free Thinkers of Indie Film". The Wrap. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- Official website
- Children of Invention at allmovie
- Children of Invention at Box Office Mojo
- Children of Invention at the Internet Movie Database
- Children of Invention at Metacritic
- Children of Invention at Rotten Tomatoes
- Sundance Channel Interview with Tze Chun, Cindy Cheung, Michael Chen, and Crystal Chiu
- Ningin Interview with Tze Chun
- Park City Record article about film's pyramid scheme theme