About This Project

My name is Vivienne Chen, and I am a freelance writer, amateur filmmaker, and student at Princeton University.

In March of 2012, I was awarded the Martin A. Dale Summer Award. The Dale scholarship gives financial support for Princeton sophomores to pursue summer projects that “provide important opportunities for personal growth, foster independence, creativity, and leadership skills, and broaden or deepen some area of special interest.”

This summer (June-July 2012), I’ve decided to use this project to create a short artistic film/documentary about the lives of gender-nonconforming people in Southeast Asia, known as kathoey or ladyboys. I will be documenting my travels around Thailand, primarily in Bangkok, recording the narratives of ladyboys and their journeys through understanding their bodies and their place in the world.

Despite this being an “independent” project, I simply cannot do this alone! If you are a Bangkok resident, fluent Thai speaker, filmmaker, ladyboy, or have any connections (however tangential they may be) to any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me at: viviennexchen [at] gmail.com. Check out my guidelines here.

You can also find me on Facebook or Twitter or through my website, VivienneChen.com.

THE THIRD GENDER: LADYBOY FILM PROJECT
Planned Trip Dates: June 8, 2012 – July 28, 2012 (60 days)

 Project Objectives

  • To make a short, artistic film/documentary (~30-45 minutes minimum) following the stories of several ladyboys.
  • To learn how to let people tell their story, rather than making this a film focused solely on the “social phenomenon” of ladyboy culture.
    • Ideally, this will be a narrative-driven work about their journeys through understanding their own bodies and their interactions with the world as a sexual minority—reflecting my own journey.
  • To keep a personal journal/diary where I take down my day-to-day discoveries, experiences, and understandings about my work.
    • As filmmakers/journalists/storytellers, we forget that our own story is often just as important as the stories we are telling. By keeping a record, I can reflect on my own journey and personal evolution through this process.

Duration: Within 60 days (June 9 – July 28), I will gather and collect most of my footage. I will begin editing and compiling during the last 14-20 days, while seeking additional footage as necessary. Editing will continue throughout the rest of my summer.

Locations: Bangkok, Thailand. Chiang Mai (1 week), Phuket (tentative)

Looking for: Ladyboys, Filmmakers, Translators, Couch-surfing hosts, etc.

Learn more in the links in the menu on how to help me and my own story.

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