Hanzi is a feature-length documentary exploring international design, visual culture and identity through the lens of modern Chinese typography.

From the producers of Design & Thinking and Maker, comes Hanzi, a new film that explores a different perspective on design.

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.

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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

Production
Muris LLC

Director
Mu-Ming Tsai

Producers
Mu-Ming Tsai
Iris Lai

Director of Photography
Mu-Ming Tsai

Editors
Iris Lai
Emily Hsiang

SCREENINGS

Taiwan

2017 Urban Nomad Film Festival - Closing Film & Big Prize, May 21, 2017
Info here

USA

Sidewalk Film Festival, August, 2017

Singapore

2017 A Design Film Festival, October 20, 2017
Info here

If you want to host a screening of Hanzi, fill out the form below or email us at hanzithemovie@gmail.com and tell us what you have in mind. Thanks for your support.

REQUEST YOUR SCREENING

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CONTACT US

We would love to hear from you, recommendation, questions, ideas for screenings, or anything else.

Contact us using the form on the right, or directly email us: hanzithemovie@gmail.com.

You can also subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on Facebook.

Thanks for your interest! 

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