Dancing with the Dead: Red Pine and the Art of Translation

DIRECTOR WARD SERRILL AND SINGER SPRING CHENG IN ATTENDANCE. Following the film, will be a Q & A with Ward Serrill followed by a live performance by Spring Cheng. Spring is a Bellingham Artist and Native Chinese whose poetry-music is featured in the movie. ABOUT THE FILM: Filmmaker Ward Serrill (The Heart of the Game; The Bowmakers) presents DANCING WITH THE DEAD, on Port Townsend’s Bill Porter. Porter, who goes by the pen name Red Pine, is a renowned translator of ancient Chinese poetry. He has published over thirty books, including Road to Heaven, his quest to find hermits in the Zhongnan Mountains that reignited a movement in modern China to seek enlightenment through poetry and mountain solitude. Bill is a living gateway to ancient Chinese history and culture. The film follows Bill’s adventures as a child of a bank robber, raised in a gilded household, who turned his back on American devotion to materialism and went off to live in monasteries and mountains in Taiwan. He pursued a fascination with Buddhism and poetry and traveled to remote regions of China to rediscover an ancient tradition of mountain hermits vital to Chinese culture. ABOUT THE SINGER: Bellingham resident Spring Cheng brings her incredible artistry to the film through her singing of many of the ancient poems in the film. Spring was born in China and came to the U.S. in her early twenties. Her childhood was very difficult. “I was born during the Cultural Revolution, one of the darkest hours of China’s modern history. The whole nation was in a state of chaotic fractions, brutal divides, and wanton self-destruction.” By the age of eight, she was praying for a way out of the personal and collective deprivation and abandonment she found herself drowning in. Then she discovered ancient Chinese poetry. “Chinese classic poetry kept me alive as I grew up in China, literally feeding my body and soul at a time when both food and beauty were scarce.” Director Ward Serrill was searching for a singer for the film but had given up after nearly a year with no results. Then he met Spring at a dance retreat when she stood up and sang an ancient Chinese poem. He had found the film’s singer. “As if directed by an unseen hand, Ward’s artistry of movie-making and my musical expression matched each other in a loving embrace. everything happened as if being orchestrated by an invisible hand weaving threads of mystery.” Ward Serrill’s other films include The Heart of the Game and The Bowmakers, both of which previously screened at the Pickford.PT1H24M2024-07-27
Ward Serrill
Dancing with the Dead: Red Pine and the Art of Translation"Dancing with the Dead: Red Pine and the Art of Translation"


July 27, 1:30 pm

Pickford Film Center