“Paper Angels” (1985) Film Screening at Clarion

Clarion Performing Arts Center hosts a special film screening of the 1985 American Playhouse television adaptation of Genny Lim’s Paper Angels (1985)

Join Genny Lim, playwright of award winning drama; co-author of Island: Poetry & History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, for a rare archival screening of the 1985 American Playhouse television adaptation of her 1980 play, Paper Angels.

Saturday, Jun 29, 2024, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Clarion Performing Arts Center, 2 Waverly Place, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA

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Paper Angels: Post-screening Q+A with Genny Lim at Clarion
Paper Angels: Post-screening Q+A with Genny Lim at Clarion
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Paper Angels (1985) Publicity Still
Paper Angels (1985) Publicity Still

Directed by John Lone, featuring an all-star cast, with searing performances by Victor Wong, Beulah Quo, James Hong, Joan Chen and Rosalind Chao and others.

“We were invisible on television, in films, and the mass media. Nobody looked like us.”


Breaking the Color Line in Hollywood: Beulah Ong Kwoh, Actor
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Beulah Quo as Chin Moo in “Paper Angels” (1985)
Beulah Quo as Chin Moo in “Paper Angels” (1985)
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Under Investigation - American Playhouse television adaptation of Paper Angels (1985)
Under Investigation – American Playhouse television adaptation of Paper Angels (1985)

Production Credits

  • Lindsay Law … Executive Producer
  • Phylis Geller … Executive Producer
  • Ricki Franklin … Producer
  • Marilyn Larson … Associate Producer
  • John Lone … Director
  • Genny Liu … Developed by
  • Genny Lim … Writer
  • Lucia Hwong … Music by
  • Michael Small … Theme Music by
  • William St. James … Announcer
  • Rosalind Chao … Cast, Ku Ling
  • Joan Chen … Cast, Mei Lai
  • Dennis Dun … Cast, Mr. Wong
  • Mike Genovese … Cast, Henderson
  • Robert Harper … Cast, the Inspector
  • James Hong … Cast, Fong
  • David Huang … Cast, Lum
  • Karen Huie … Cast, Miss Chan
  • Beulah Quo … Cast, Chin Moo
  • Tom Rosqui … Cast, the Warden
  • Kate Williamson … Cast, the Matron
  • Victor Wong … Cast, Chin Gung
  • Ping Wu … Cast, Lee
  • Grace Zabriskie … Cast, Miss Gregory


About “Paper Angels”

Paper Angels premiered on September 12, 1980 at the Asian American Theater Company. In 1982, the New Federal Theatre in New York produced the play. That same year, Lim founded her own production company, Paper Angels Productions, and brought the play to the Chinese Cultural Center in San Francisco. A television adaptation of Paper Angels was later filmed and appeared on PBS’s AMERICAN PLAYHOUSE in July of 1985.

The play has been awarded the SF Fringe Festival Award, the Viillager Award from Village Voice, NY, and the James Wong Howe Award from AAPAA, Los Angeles.

Watch the Asian American Theater Company’s 1980 production on the Internet Archive. Digitized by California Revealed, from the AATC Archives.

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Original Cast of Paper Angels premiere at Asian American Theater Company (1980)
Original Cast of Paper Angels premiere at Asian American Theater Company (1980)

“The Only Language She Knows” @ LES Festival of the Arts

FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAM: Saturday, May 25, 2024, 1 – 11pm. Hosted by Theater for the New City, 155 First Av, New York, NY 10003

LES Lower East Side Festival of the Arts is an annual celebration of the rich artistic culture and ethnic diversity of this area. For three days over Memorial Day Weekend, TNC produces a cabaret-style festival featuring over 100 performing groups from the Lower East Side. This year, the festival is mounted with the theme “Democracy: Use it or Lose it.”

The 2024 Film Program is a 12-hour long film festival of art-house, experimental and independent films, showcasing a diverse selection of films from comedy, documentaries, drama and sci-fi. Join any time between 1pm and 11pm for an unforgettable event filled with captivating storytelling and visual masterpieces.

1.51pm THE ONLY LANGUAGE SHE KNOWS (1992) – short film directed by Carla Blank, produced by Ishmael Reed – 21 min. Starring: Genny Lim, M.J. Lee and Al Young. Filmed by Allen Willis, with music composed by Francis Wong.

A traditional Chinese American mother and her avant-garde daughter have a kitchen fight.

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The Only Language She Knows (1992)

The first LES Festival of the Arts, presented June 14 to 16, 1996, was a three-day, indoor and outdoor multi-arts festival, organized by TNC and a coalition of civic, cultural and business leaders. The aim was to demonstrate the creative explosion of the Lower East Side and the area’s importance to culture and tourism for New York City. It employed two theater spaces at TNC plus the block of East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenues, featured over 100 attractions, drew favorable press and attracted crowds from all around the City. Its success prompted TNC to continue the festival annually on Memorial Day Weekend. For 28 years it has been presented free each year to an average attendance of 4,000. (In 2020 it was held online due to pandemic concerns).

Ishmael Reed is the winner of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship (genius award), the renowned L.A. Times Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award. He has been nominated for a Pulitzer and finalist for two National Book Awards and is Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley; and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, which promotes multicultural American writing. He also founded PEN Oakland which issues the Josephine Miles Literary Awards. PEN Oakland has been called “The Blue Collar PEN” by The New York Times. Ishmael Reed is the author of over twenty titles including the acclaimed novel “Mumbo Jumbo,” as well as essays, plays and poetry. Titles include: “The Freelance Pallbearers;” “The Terrible Threes;” “The Last Days Of Louisiana Red;” “Yellow Back Radio Broke Down;” “Reckless Eyeballing;” “Flight To Canada;” “Japanese By Spring,” and “Juice!.”


CAAMFest 2021: Legacy and Lineage Shorts

Legacy and Lineage is a series of short films profiling the unique journeys of 5 Asian American community artists –  Sammay Dizon, Genny Lim, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Sami See, Francis Wong – whose works consistently place community at the center. The films explore the reasons that drive these outstanding artists and legacies that may point to the direction of the future of Asian American artists in San Francisco. Produced by Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center.

Co-presented by Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) and the Center for Asian American Media, the series premiered on demand for CAAMFest, May 13-23, 2021.

Legacy & Lineage: Genny Lim

Released Friday, June 19, 2020

DESCRIPTION: “When you have that power, that ability other people don’t have, it’s how you use your authority and your power that counts. It’s not that you have it. It’s what you do with it.” From broadcast journalism to creative writing, Genny discusses the power of poetry and art to speak truth and transform systems.

About the filmmakers: Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center’s (APICC) mission is to support and present multidisciplinary art reflective of the unique experiences of Asians and Pacific Islanders living in the United States. APICC was founded in 1996 by representatives of five nonprofit arts groups: Asian American Dance Performances, First Voice, Asian Improv aRts, the Asian American Theater Company, and Kearny Street Workshop. Since 1998, the center has promoted the artistic and organizational growth of San Francisco’s API arts community by organizing and presenting the annual United States of Asian America Festival (now in its 24th year) as well as commissioning contemporary art for and by the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.


Laura Priscilla Paule, Director

Willis Lai, Cinematographer & Editor

Diana Chen, Video Assistant & Editor

Co-Presenters: Asian Pacific Islander Cultural CenterBAVC


“The Voice”

Genny Lim: The Voice by David Moragne premiered on October 2002 at the 13th Annual Black Filmworks in Oakland.

David Moragne, producer/director of Centre City Digital’s mini-documentary on Author, Playwright, Librettist, Performance Artist, Educator and Poet Genny Lim. This piece weaves through several performances and an interview, where Genny traces the origins of her voice. Documentary / Beta SP / 26 minutes

The Black Filmmakers’ Hall of Fame was founded in 1974 in Oakland, California to promote black filmmaking and celebrate the contributions of black creatives to American film. 1990 marked the start of Black Filmworks (last held 2003), a film festival designed to showcase the winning submissions to the annual film competition.

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