2009 Program Detail »

Closing Night: Children of Invention

Closing Night: Children of Invention

Children of Invention

Children of Invention

Directed by: Tze Chun
Runtime: 86 min
Year: 2009
Country: USA
Language(s): English, Cantonese & Mandarin w/ English subtitles
Website: Official Site

Director Tze Chun and Producer Mynette Louie scheduled for attendance
Q&A to follow each screening.
A reception will be held in the Second Floor Gallery of the Goethe-Institut following the screening.

One of the best-reviewed films on the indie film festival circuit this year, Tze Chun’s feature film debut, Children of Invention, finally comes to D.C. Recipient of numerous awards and accolades, this heartwarming family drama about economic hardship and the pursuit of the American dream could not resonate more with these current times.

It tells the story of struggling single mom Elaine and her two young children, Raymond, 10, and Tina, 7, and their persistence despite all the odds. Already evicted and living illegally in an unfinished condo, Elaine is soon drawn into the shady world of pyramid schemes. Meanwhile, her children look for new and inventive ways to pass the time at home while their mother is out trying to earn a living.

One day Elaine disappears and Raymond is forced to look out for his little sister. Soon, what little money and food they have is gone and they plot out several ways to survive. Not letting disappointment or failure linger, these children persist onward, even under such harrowing circumstances as financial collapse and the disappearance of their mother. Played by charming newcomers, these young actors give honest portrayals, free of affectation or artifice.

It is hard to think of a more timely film given the economic chaos of the past year. Without being overtly political or didactic, the film, set in Boston, focuses intimately on the struggles of one immigrant family looking for their share of the American dream. With its quiet moments of gentleness and with writing that is both subtle and profound, the story of this family will linger long after the lights come up.
—Tad Doyle

Awards and Recognitions: George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award, Official Selection 2009 Sundance Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize Newport International Film Festival

CHILDREN OF INVENTION HD Trailer #1 from Children of Invention on Vimeo.

Preceded by:



Directed by: Maura Milan
Runtime: 5 min
Year: 2008
Country: Australia

2009 DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival – Best Narrative Short

An bankruptcy attorney phoenix with a crocodile is not the only danger these Australian Filipino children face. An atmospheric reflection on nature and family.


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