Azusa Pacific University hosts a limited engagement screening of the independent film, The Jade Pendant, from February 15-21, at Regency Foothill Cinema Stadium 10, located across the street from APU’s East Campus, at 854 E. Alosta Ave., in Azusa. Showtimes are 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 9:50 p.m. Produced by APU alumnus LP Leung, The Jade Pendant tells the tragic love story of two Chinese immigrants living in Los Angeles’ Chinatown in 1871. This was the year of the Chinese Massacre, a race riot where a 500-member mob entered Chinatown and killed approximately 20 Chinese men and women. The film received the Golden Angel Award for Best Film by an Independent Producer from the Chinese American Film Festival in Hollywood.
For Leung, seeing The Jade Pendant on the big screen marked a 50-year dream realized. He had discovered this little known period in American history while conducting research as a student at APU in the 1950s. A Chinese immigrant himself, he delved further into the topic, uncovering what life was like for Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. He knew it was a story he needed to share with the world but felt at the time that no one would relate to a Chinese protagonist. After a successful career as a Certified Public Accountant, which included a job in Paramount Pictures’ accounting department where his interest in film making began, Leung revisited his love of Chinese American history. In 2013 his book, The Jade Pendant published, and he spent the next four years making the film.
“First and foremost, making a movie requires passion. It’s a very arduous road. LP has that passion. He has perseverance. He has conviction,” said Gregory Michael, chair of APU’s Department of Cinematic Arts.“He took on the issue of cultural blindness. He stepped into the fray and said this is an important story—it needs to be told. Because of his background, he has a unique perspective that gave him the strength to move past all obstacles in his way.”
The Jade Pendant includes an international cast starring South Korean actress Clara Lee, Taiwanese actor Godfrey Gao, American actors Russell Wong, Tsai Chin and Tzi Ma, and is directed by Hong Kong director Po-Chih Leong.
Leung shared his experiences producing the film with APU students in the Department of Cinematic Arts. He encouraged the students to learn from his example. “If you work hard, you can reach any goal,” Leung said. “Perseverance helped me write the book and make the movie. Go ahead and pursue your dreams. Never give up.”