Hanzi is a feature-length documentary exploring international design, visual culture and identity through the lens of modern Chinese typography.
Chinese is one of the oldest and most used languages in the world, yet it is perceived as difficult to learn. Furthermore, there has been a lack of discussion on Chinese typography and its transition into the digital era compared to its western counterparts. Recently there has been a renaissance and reviewing of Chinese characters in Asia and internationally, with typography and lettering books often topping the best selling books, and more and more typographical courses and workshops being held in the cities. We think that’s worth exploring to the discussion of design and cultural identity.
Collaborating with filmmakers from New York, Hong Kong, London and Taipei, Hanzi includes interviews from ShaoLan, founder and creator of Chineasy in London; Akira Kobayashi, a Japanese renowned Roman font designer; Sammy Or, a veteran Chinese font designer based in Hong Kong; also Ri Xing Type Foundry, the last traditional Chinese letterpress type foundry in the world and more, gathering some of the most important figures and insight in the current Chinese education and typography field.
This film is not just about Chinese characters, and we wanted to keep the ideas and messages applicable to all languages and cultures. Exploring universal subjects such as "How does language shape identity? What role does handwriting play in the digital age?”, Hanzi encourages audiences around the world to revisit and rethink their own culture, language and identity.
Hanzi has been screening in film festivals, schools, and corporations! Visit SCREENING section for the screening list. Here are festivals that we've been selected:
★ 2018 Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival - Official Selection
★ 2017 Urban Nomad Film Festival - Closing film & Winner of Best film
★ 2017 Singapore A Design Film Festival - Opening Film
★ 2017 Sidewalk Film Festival - Official Selection
★ 2017 Bali International Film Festival - Official Selection
★ 2017 Providence Art & Design Film Festival - Official Selection
About the team
Since 2012, we have been extremely lucky to work on two documentaries that have created impact globally, Design & Thinking and Maker. Both films were crowdfunded on Kickstarter, distributed independently, and have gone to screen at schools and organizations all around the world, including Google, Twitter and Harvard University.
Our audiences have shared with us how much the films meant to them, like a designer finally being able to explain her job to her parents, or a teacher telling us how the films have bought inspiration to her students. Thus, after two innovation themed documentaries, we felt like it was time to turn the lens towards our own culture and explore what perspective we could offer to the world.
Based in Asia and also constantly aware of what's happening around the world, we set out to make a film that's not just about Chinese typography. With our multicultural background, we’re grateful to have these interviewees coming from diverse fields and countries, to help us put together a broad view of what a language can present.
Through making this film, we’ve gained a new perspective towards our own language and identity, and we hope audiences of any cultural background can have as much insight and reflection towards their own language and culture as we have.
Interviewees from the film: (in alphabetical order)
Akira Kobayashi: Japanese renowned Roman font designer
Ash Henson: Co-founder of Outlier Linguistics
Ally Cheng: Font Designer in Arphic Technology Co., Ltd
Amanda Bogan: Student Of The ICLP learning program at National Taiwan University
Edwina Lee: SCM Manager of Arphic Technology Co., Ltd
Grace Yang: CEO of Arphic Technology Co., Ltd
Gorong Tseng: Font Designer in justfont
Ji-jie Ko: Co-author of "A Chinese Font Walk"
Jiguan Chang: Owner of Ri Xing Type Foundry
Joe Chang: Graphic/font designer
Jong-yi Yeh: Founder of Oval Design
Judy Lee: Head of font design of Arphic Technology Co., Ltd
Kenzi Itakura & Shu Kanbayashi: Signage Artisans from Japan
Michael Yeh: CEO/Founder of justfont
Nikhil Sonnad: Reporter at Quartz
Sammy Or: Font Designer
ShaoLan Hsueh: CEO/Founder of Chineasy
Winston Su: Community Manager of justfont
Director of Photography
- New York: Bianca Yeh
- Hong Kong: Mediabox Productions LTD.
- London: Panvista Productions LTD.
- RiXing Type: Together Ba Media
- Taipei City Walk: Zed Wang
A perfect gift for Chinese learners
- Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival: Los Angeles, USA, Nov1, 2018
Official selection (Info here)
- Urban Nomad Film Festival (World Premiere): Taiwan, May 21, 2017
Closing Film & Big Prize (Info here)
- A Design Film Festival (Southeast Asian Premiere): Singapore, Oct 20, 2017
Opening Film (Info here)
- Sidewalk Film Festival: Alabama, USA, Aug 27, 2017
Official Selection (Info here)
- Bali International Film Festival: Bali, Indonesia, Sep 29, 2017
Official Selection (Info here)
- Providence Art & Design Film Festival: Rhode Island, USA, Nov 4, 2017
Official Selection (Info here)
- MaD Festival, Hong Kong, Jan 12, 2019
- Typemania, Moscow, Russia, May 27, 2018
- Surabaya Design Summit, May 18, 2018
- Singapore Airline: On flight (around the world), Dec 1 ~ Dec 30, 2017
- Jao Tsung-I Academy (饒宗頤文化館): Hong Kong, Nov 26, 2017
- Rumah Attap Library & Collective: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov, 2017
- @Studio (台中放送局): Taichung, Taiwan, Oct, 14, 2017
- ICLP (臺大華語文研習所): Taipei, Taiwan, Sep 21, 2017
- Institute for Information Industry (資策會): Taipei, Taiwan, Sep 23, 2017
- British Airways: inflight entertainment system From 2/1 to 4/30, 2019
- Dublin School of Mandarin Chinese: Dublin, Ireland, Feb 25, 2018
- University College London: London, UK, Feb, 2018
- Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, The Netherlands, Nov24, 2017
- Dept & Frontiers (European Premiere): Rotterdam, Netherlands, Nov 9, 2017
- Brown University, Rhode Island, United States., April 7, 2018
- Type Brigade: Vancouver, Canada, Jan 23, 2018
REQUEST YOUR SCREENING
Hanzi was successfully funded on Kickstarter on July 1st, 2017.
Thanks to all the backers around the world.
>> Visit Hanzi's Kickstarter page <<
THANKS TO ALL OUR 469 KICKSTARTER BACKERS LISTED BELOW:
Fengdao, Yuhsiu Yang, Kenneth Ormandy
Formgiver, Michael, Yvonne Yeh, Alexandra Matz, Ro Olufunwa, Distil Union, Jeffrey R Williams, Kei Chan, Shiori Takei, Jimmy K.w. Chan
Yeng Chang, Guest 378890078, Keynes Cheng, John Soloninka, Ted Hsiao, Fiona Sproles, Wesley, Suparb Pasong, Joe Katz, Keith Stevens, Sheng-Hsiang Lin, Sabrina Wang
Aaron Bell, Max Underwood, Kurt Van Etten, Leo, Liming Lai, Trent Willis, wenny lo, emily trinh, Wing-Ping Tam, Khui Wong, Samantha Netzley, Stephen Chen, James, Margaret Brown, Edwin Monsma, Paolo Yap, Joshua Fan, Guest 1665914757, Guest 507390998, Armond Netherly, 赖志榮, Lori, Chow, Judah Eastwell, Sam Wu, 祁銘瀚, Mason, Edwin Mah, J L, Satthie Jou, Jason Shumate, Lee Chin Shing, William, Chih-Chao Chuang, Min Chi, Lawrence Chung-Hung Poon, Jason Yeh, Shinji Kusuki
Mohd Rukhairy Abdul Rahman, William Felker, Jörn Gerdes, Michelle E Neil, Guest 779416471, Wonravee Chavalit, Mindie Kaplan, Sarah Barbour, Cube Chen, Jamas Enright, storrgie, Yoshimasa Suda, Tarun Pancholia, Markus Ackermann, Duen Chow, Hoylen Sue, Brandon Hebert, Jacob Lee Ravnborg, Alexandre Dumas de Rauly, Guest 338274952, Yu Chang, Hans de Wolf, Batch o' Graces, Ke Jing GOH, Stella S M Liu, celia chiang, Lee Chan Cheuk Wai Anita, Eden, Zac, David Poon, Salvatore Puma, Joseph Kerby, Albara Alohali, Siu Chi Chan, Andre Pennycooke, Angie Douglas, midkid88, E Kranz, Choo Ying Ci, Johnson Liang, Ann Pugh, Guest 469223625, Stephanie Chapin, Anna Li, James Molkie, Glen de Vries, Yuepei Guo, Martin Man, Justin Knecht, Thi Lynn Gallen, Jyh Yeong Lee, NC, Roberto Bartolacci, Tommy Chen, Tore Brede, Christopher Hou, Felix Rosenberger, Sandy Pawson, Bianca Polak, Nelson, Alan Shaw, Eden Huang, Matt Sanford, Curtis Anderson, Hanyang Wang, Junlin Chen, Johnson C, Longina Leon, Greg Lavine, John McMenemy, Robert Weissburg, Alexander Hawson, Lau Ban Kiong, Stuart, Terence, Ng Jun Siang, EurghSireAwe, RainDog, Nancy Fornoville, mister macguffin, Yip Ming Yen, Edmund Yip, Tk Wong, alan toy, Gaetan, Daniel Lin, Linda Wenzelburger, Fox Hsiao, Zero Cho, Richard Lee, Vladimir Nemchinov, sim4nee photography, Samuel Wong, Ho Kong HONG, Alan, Ross Williams, Jez, Kevin Chan, Eric Chang, John Clark III
Kevin Youkhana, Paul Kim, Rob MacAndrew, Tieg Zaharia, Carl Heath, David Gallagher, Gabriel Patrocinio, William Bettridge-Radford, Sean Leow, Navjot Pawera, Albert Wen, Arthur She, 児玉太郎, Matthew L. Davis, John Guns, Clu, C2O library & collactive, Gideon Welles, B4ks, John Sarte, Small Epic, James Clary, DAVID DEWITT, Tingbot, wildjcrt, Hock Leow, Budi Kurniawan, Olivia Xu, Lo Ki, Bert Projahn, Yosr Elazhary, Kaba Su, Joe WC Tsai, Covington Doan, Davis Clarke Zhou, Paolo, Guest 882610711, Cameron Matheson, Gogomonster, Sanny Lin, Wishing Ng, Huai-Che Lu, Marshall Law, Andrew Dale, tibug, Gerard Rubio, Torsten Wollina, Ronald Jimmink, Heesung Yang, Per Freundlich Andersen, Hansen Wong, jayme, Stephen Coles, Crossover Innovations, Brandon Hoffman, ZephyR (西風), Doug Bolton, David Huang, dietrich ayala, ALKEM-i, Zsolt Balai, Laticia, Bryan Kong, Jason Wong, Dale Fisher, Fernando Diaz, Wenqin Xue, Luciding Inc., Mingjung Chen, Thomas Hill, Szu-han Wang, Ganesh Balakrishnan, Nathan Weller, Eduard Ruane, Teo Choong Ching, Alex, Clemens, Benoit, Marchal, Laura Shaw, Adam, Rohit Prasad, Yu-Han Lin, Hugh Minson, Lina Ly, Inma, Sheila, William Kang, Sabina Deligia, Eileen Xue, Tommy, Thomas Richardson, Rowan Manker, Chung-Mau Cheng, Tom VanAntwerp, Guest 44405387, Terence Yung, Jian Xin Wang, Shawn Heng, Steven Shen, Anu Jayasinghe, Cheng-Yo Lee, Mark Graham Dunn, Phil Tsang, Matt Ellingsen, Yuan Lu, Angel, Andre, LH Kan, TeamSurv, Tina Chang, Jonathan Wornson, Brian Edlefson, Nathan Takase, Wenjuan Cai, remy drijkoningen, Dublin School of Mandarin Chinese, Karsten de Braaf, Vicky Twomey-Lee, Anne Hilton, George, Robert Chacko, Harrison Tan, Emerson Shiang, David, Guillaume Ouellet, JKB, Sam Ettinger, Lars, Peter Michels, Jonathan Clayton, Simon Hughes, Eamon Mulholland, William Mon, Kris Lane, Wu Zhuoyi, Tibor Zoltan Rácz, remo, Eddy Chang, Ivy, Shahid Shah, Zak Wohlschlegel, Eiko Nishida, Laurent Chan, Chris Larlee, Jordan, Stasia Archibald, Florian Feller, Robin Furr, Chih-wei Huang, Thomas BOURKE, Good Characters, Justin Hudgins, Simon Johnson, Shannon Hong, Terence Kivran-Swaine, Kelly Chang, Yitian Li, aeryen, Darick Dang, KlausHopper, LIN CHI HUAN, Satya Sudheer, Xin Li, Daniel Finlaison, Merleawe, Hermit Yang, Dennis J. Jackson II, Carl Ness, Linds Chua, Kwok Chi Leong, Tobias Hultman, Sabrina Ho, A. "Soshi" Tan, Lisa, NAC, John Leung, August White, Benjamin Koh, Halden Teng, Shasha Wang, John Rizzo, Ravi S. Rāmphal, 汪鼎翔, Tiffany Chou, Huijing Chen, Jenn, Kiezin Teng, Jen Simmons, Young-hoon Lee, Ben Steed, Erwan Carriou, Sara Elisa Verona, Ken Lunde, Alexander McLeod, Jeanine Lee, anita, Toi Su, Melanie Richards, Gyeol Han, David Pichardo, Kieron, Chang Wang, Jack Veiga, Juliet Thomas, Andreas Rodriguez, Alexander Zhou, Guest 1569426116, Gloria Pang, 穆纛雠, wonderbear, Kylie Walker, Dean Chen, Alex Chang, Yan Wendi, Jan-Willem Hoogakker, Jim Rittenhouse, Jan Kaiser, David Samuel Wieland, Aswin Sadha, Jesse Garrard, Alain Roy, Low Chun Meng, Charmaine Choi, Yunyi Grace Zhang, Andrea, Aki YJ Chen, James Sterbenz, Blake Coglianese, Mantle, Florian, Diego, Heiko Kulinna, Dennis Binder, Christian Rekowski, Urs Suess, Justin Mamaril, Ariel, Seth Osborn, Chia Seng Hock, Courtney Dobbertin, Justin Liming Tsai, Vince Shao, Bram Pitoyo, L.t. Lungtao Chang, Dylan Byth, T.W. Chao, Guest 1024046105, Adam Dahlstedt, Akron Street, Wingi, Manuel Dornbusch, Jossy Lee, Chang Su Ling, kitsunerei88, 李權泰, Richard L. Haas III, Rhiannon Kaye, michel guillet, Yulin Zhuang, Zhen Chen, Patty L, Dragan Čolaković, Joanna, Hsuan Yang, Martha, Edmond Choi, Alex Wong, Ian, Sisi Zheng, Jonathan Lee