In 2018, for a third consecutive year, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF), Reel Youth, Out On Screen, and Love Intersections collaborated for a creative matchmaking project pairing aspiring youth filmmakers and “troublemaking” seniors. This resulted in a programmed series of short documentaries, Troublemakers 3.0, profiling veteran artists whose work spans generations.
Emerging multidisciplinary artist Jackson Wai Chung Tse (謝瑋聰) was matched with Paul Wong. After a mentorship program and a series of workshops, Tse’s Paul Wong: Breaking the Silence premiered at Vancity Theatre on August 13, 2018 as part of the 30th anniversary VQFF. Produced in Chinatown at Wong’s OCCUPYING CHINATOWN studio, this short documentary profiles his life work, history, and thoughts.
A child of the fifties, Wong comes from a family, class, and racial history based on colonial exploitation and rejection, where “you weren’t allowed.” He grew up surrounded by racism and oppression, and like generations of Chinese before him “were expected to be silent… to be model citizens… to assimilate—not to be radical artists, and certainly not to be out, proud, loud, and queer. With the silence already going on within, mainstream dominant culture values, and the segregated Chinese in isolated Chinatowns, there was no room for dissent.” Paul Wong’s role as an artist has been to “break that silence.”