Inclusion StatementThe film brings visibility to the perspective of a Thai older woman who has run her own business for 50+ years. The film also touches on cross-cultural and cross-generational family connection and kinship not often seen in the west.
About The Project
For many Asian American and immigrant histories, the journey begins with a mother.
YAI NIN is a documentary short film about a Thai businesswoman and family matriarch, Ninlawan Pinyo - the director Champ Ensminger's ‘yai,’ or grandmother. The film depicts her at her home in Chiang Mai, watching over her factory making Thai sausage, while interacting with her family in America through technology. She is a woman whose quiet success propelled a generation of children to study and live in the United States. She is the tether to an Asian American family's maternal culture.
While its form evokes our love of cinema’s depictions of Asian domestic life - Yasujiro Ozu and Hou Hsiao-hsien come to mind - YAI NIN's function runs deeper. The film aims to document the perspective of an empowered woman in Thailand’s increasingly patriarchal society, the beginnings of an immigrant family tree, and a maternal kinship shared by many Asian diasporic communities.
Where The Project Is Now
In December 2018, we worked with a local crew in Chiang Mai to film YAI NIN. With the footage currently in edit phase, the project is in need of finishing funds. We are well-connected with filmmakers and artists in Seattle’s commercial film industry through work experiences. This is the film community who we can trust to support our creative process in its many stages -- they only lack the financial support to come together. Funds from Seed & Spark will go towards supporting such artists - audio engineers, musicians, and colorists - who are pivotal to making YAI NIN ready for big and small screens.
Our Wish List
Contributions from Seed & Spark will go towards the following:
- Color: The footage of YAI NIN (shot expertly on Arri Amira by our DP, Liam Morgan) will be able to sing with a professional color grade.
- Audio Mix: A professional audio mix of the sound in YAI NIN (recorded by our Audio Engineer Alex Boyeson) will equip the film with theater-ready sound.
- Music Licensing: If we are shooting for the moon, the best music for this film will come from old recordings of Thai songs, and a track from the hit band Khruangbin. Licensing fees will be needed to have the perfect soundtrack for YAI NIN.
- Festival Entry Fees: The more we can spend on festival entry fees, the more screens YAI NIN will potentially play on!
Our goal is for YAI NIN to go through post-production in time for a festival run in 2020, and on-demand distribution after that. Our hope is to share Yai’s story with audiences while she can still make the long trip overseas to attend screenings. It is important to pay tribute to her generation - those that paved the way for the Asian American experience - while they are still here to share their stories with us.
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About This Team
Champ Ensminger (Director)
Champ Ensminger is a Thai American filmmaker born in Chiang Mai and raised in Spokane, Washington. After graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle with a degree in comparative literature and anthropology, he moved to New York City, where he worked at the video hosting site Vimeo and then as a freelancer and production assistant at the web agency m ss ng p eces. He returned to Chiang Mai in 2013, where he spent time as a volunteer and workshop instructor at Documentary Arts Asia, a nonprofit aimed at bringing agency and exposure to Asia-based media artists. He is currently part of the production team at World Famous in Seattle, creating content for brands like T-Mobile, Microsoft, and Amazon.
Liam Morgan (Cinematographer)
Liam Morgan is a cinematographer, director and visual artist based in Bangkok, Taipei and Canada. He has been working in the film industry for 15 years as a Director of Photography, Gaffer and Camera Operator.
With extensive experience in both film and digital image-capture using cameras of all sizes, he works on feature-films, TVC, documentary and music videos with names such as Angelina Jolie, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Michelle Yeoh. He has been a part of award-winning documentaries Ghost Fleet and Burma VJ. Brands such as Nike, Canon, GSK, Dove and Pantene are included in his past commercial work.
Alex Boyeson (Sound Engineer)
Alex Boyeson is a filmmaker and audio engineer based in Chiang Mai. Ranging from on-set audio recording, to studio sound design and music production, Alex's work in sound has featured on BBC, MTV, Discovery Network, and feature films.
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