Interview with Filmmaker Lenora Lee (AND THE COMMUNITY WILL RISE)

Directed by Lenora Lee

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Lenora Lee Dance, Asian Improv aRts, and Chinatown Community Development Center had been working on a collaborative project featuring CCDC’s residents already in 2018. Given the impactful results, we wanted to further this working relationship, and decided to embark on this new project “And the Community Will Rise”.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

Lenora Lee Dance, Asian Improv aRts, and Chinatown Community Development Center started discussing ideas of this project in 2018. We wrote grants and fundraised between 2018-2021. We worked on the choreography spring to summer 2020, generating more choreography and went into production spring to summer 2021. In fall 2021 I started building out the structure of the film. Post-production, and Chinese translation/subtitling took place fall 2022 – spring 2023.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Testament to resilience

A testament to the resilience of a community

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The most challenging part of creating “And the Community Will Rise” was navigating the pandemic. Our original plan was for the project to be an immersive, multimedia dance performance in and around the Ping Yuen Public Housing Complex. Due to all the safety concerns of working in close proximity to the vulnerable population living there, we had to pause production between summer 2020 to spring 2021.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was so glad the audience members could appreciate the storytelling in the film, and that it was a unique experience to view the combination of dance, interviews, placed-based work, historical context, and evolution of the community over the decades.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I started collaborating on films in 2012, after I had been creating multimedia dance performance works utilizing video / film projection starting in 2009.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Star Wars

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

If it’s possible to continue the relationship and screen other films we have, that would be incredible! If there was an in-person screening component, where I could meet and network with audience members and other filmmakers, I think that can help greatly.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Great so far

10. What is your favorite meal?

Salmon with rice and vegetables

11. What is next for you? A new film?

Lenora Lee Dance is looking for opportunities to screen our other new dance film “Within These Walls”. If it might be possible to screen this film through the Experimental, Dance & Music Film Festival, we’d be deeply grateful!

We’re also working on multiple performance projects:

“In Visibility: SF, El Paso, Juarez” 9/21-9/24/23 at Dance Mission Theater in San Francisco

“A Bridge to Now” to be performed as part of an international arts festival in Lima, Peru, February 2024

“Convergent Waves: NYC” immersive performance to be tentatively performed on South Street Seaport Museum’s Tall Ship Wavertree, May 2024


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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