Festival calls Chinese-American performer "one of the world's biggest pop stars"
Just a week before the Toronto International Film Festival begins, TIFF has added a new documentary to the bill -- Leehom Wang’s Open Fire Concert Film.
"Homeboy Music and Inc." is credited as the director of the documentary, which as the title makes clear is a concert film based on two performances given by Chinese-American pop artist Leehom Wang at the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing.
Leehom Wang's Open Fire Concert Film is a polished jewel showcasing the phenomenal power of Asian pop.
In a statement provided to Nonfictionfilm.com TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey said,
“Leehom Wang is one of the world’s biggest pop stars and Toronto audiences will be the first to experience his electrifying concert documentary, The film offers unprecedented insight into his work and highlights a rare bridge between North American and Chinese cultures.”
The world premiere is scheduled for Thursday, September 15.
Bailey writes on the TIFF website, "[Wang's] music, a constantly evolving mix of global pop, R&B and hip-hop with traditional Chinese music, has sold in the tens of millions. He has acted in films by Ang Lee and Michael Mann, and his social media following on China's Weibo numbers near 60 million. It's no exaggeration to say that Leehom Wang is one of the world's biggest pop stars."
Wang, who was born in Rochester, New York to Taiwanese immigrants, will perform a concert while at the festival. In the model of Prince, he is a multi-talented performer -- dancer, martial artist, singer and gifted musician. He studied violin and piano before taking up guitar.
Bailey said the artist's influences range "from Stevie Wonder to Beijing opera, from the traditional music of China's indigenous peoples, to the hip-hop bravado of Missy Elliot."
Wang said in a statement, "It's an honour to be selected for the Toronto International Film Festival among many of the world's greatest filmmakers. This will mark the World Premiere of our film Open Fire, and I hope TIFF audiences will find our story of Chinese pop music to be a meaningful cultural exchange.”
The film includes archival footage of a young Wang, who recalls being bullied over his Asian heritage by kids he went to school with in Rochester.
The concert doc is "heaven for fans, but even for those unfamiliar with Wang's music, this film offers unprecedented insight into a rare bridge built between pop culture in North America and China. It's a glorious, glamorous spectacle of a star who grew up on the shores of Lake Ontario," Bailey writes.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.