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October 31, 2019, 7:15 PM

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The Alumni Screening Series and Walking Iris Media invite you and a guest to a special screening of

Our Time Machine

Directed & Produced by S. Leo Chiang and Yang Sun
Written by S. Leo Chiang and Bo Li


Followed by a Q&A with S. Leo Chiang


7:15 P.M. on Thursday, October 31, 2018
The Ray Stark Family Theatre
900 W. 34th Street, SCA 108
Los Angeles, California 90007




Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature
2019 Tribeca Film Festival

Grand Jury Award, International Documentary Feature
2019 LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
Documentary Competition
2019 CAAMFest
Best International Director; Best in Category, "All in the Family"
2019 Documentary Edge Festival
Jury Award, Best Documentary Feature Film
2019 Indie Street Film Festival

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, DocLands, Cinetopia, Chicago Critics Film Festival, Shanghai International Film Festival, Houston Asian-American Pacific Islander Film Festival, Cinema Orange Film Series, Durban International Film Festival, FIRST International Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, DMZ Docs, Ottaway Canada-China Film Festival, Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, BendFilm Festival, DOKUARTS, Hot Springs Doc Fest, Washington West Film Festival, Rehoboth Beach International Film Festival, Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival, Guth Gafa International Film Festival, International Documentary Film Festival (Amsterdam), Festival on Wheels Ankara Cinema Association


About Our Time Machine

43-year-old Maleonn is one of China’s most influential conceptual artists today. His father, Ma Ke, was the artistic director of the Shanghai Chinese Opera Theater. After being humiliated and forbidden from working for a decade during the Cultural Revolution, Ma Ke immersed himself in theater. The mysterious excitement of Ma Ke’s creative world inspired the young Maleonn, but his father’s absences stoked early feelings of resentment.

When Ma Ke is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Maleonn pours everything into an ambitious new theater project: “Papa’s Time Machine,” a visually stunning time-travel adventure told with human-sized puppets. At the play’s heart are autobiographical scenes inspired by Maleonn’s memories with his father. He hopes this will bring the them together artistically and personally.

With enthusiasm both domestically and from abroad, the play shows signs of a promising future. But Ma Ke’s condition deteriorates. Maleonn is torn between the original goal to honor his father and the pressure towards commercial success. Ma Ke struggles to contribute to the play, and barely recognizes the play when it is completed.

Facing his father’s painful decline, Maleonn becomes more aware of life’s complexities. There are no effortless masterpieces or simple solutions. And there’s no traveling back in time to retrieve what has been lost. There is however, the relationship that has developed with co-director Tianyi. He proposes to her, ready to become a partner and a father, and to carry on forward with a new outlook on his art and life.

Presented courtesy of Walking Iris Media. Runtime: 81 minutes. Chinese with English Subtitles.

Visit the official website:
Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @timemachinefilm



Director's Statement

Those who grew up in post-Cultural Revolution China lived through a kind of socio-economic transformation that would have taken another country 100 years to bring about. In the span of 20 years, cities emerged from towns, the economy generated unprecedented wealth for some while leaving others behind, and new roads and digital networks connected China to the world. These migrations within our country and its rapid digitization have fundamentally changed the way people communicate and relate to one another.

Today, in a bustling metropolis like Shanghai, it is easy to feel estranged from the thousands upon thousands of strangers we see everyday, but we can also feel that same estrangement within one’s own family. So, when we came across Maleonn and his ageing father, both artists, but who came of age on opposite sides of the Cultural Revolution in China, we made immediate personal connections. We see a story that could be our own in the not-so-distant future.

When we asked ourselves what is being lost at this juncture in time, we thought of our collective history, disappearing underneath China’s urbanizing topography, and fading with the memory of the elderly that we have grown apart from. For us and for Maleonn, the struggle to express affection towards one’s family goes hand in hand with defining and sharing the meaning behind devoting one’s life to art.

Our intentions in crafting our film are to move others the way it has profoundly moved us. This is an evergreen story, relevant for past and future generations and across cultural divides, so long as there is love between children and their parents. Especially on the international stage, documentaries from China often focus on powerful stories from marginalized classes or persecuted political dissenters, but our film offers an intimate look at a middle-class Chinese family facing issues that audiences around the world can immediately relate to. Our story provides a needed addition to highlight the similarities between people in the West and in China during a time where the political language can be hostile and divisive.

We hope this film celebrates the process in which two men reconcile their past feelings and create something together that repairs a distressed part of the fabric of Chinese society.

About the guests

S. LEO CHIANG (Director, Producer, Alum)
S. Leo Chiang is a Taiwanese-American filmmaker based in San Francisco and Taipei. His documentary, MR. CAO GOES TO WASHINGTON, won the Inspiration Award at the 2012 Full Frame Documentary Festival. His previous film, Emmy® Award-nominated A VILLAGE CALLED VERSAILLES, picked up eight awards and aired on the American PBS series, Independent Lens. Leo’s work has received funding support from the Sundance Documentary Fund, the Tribeca Film Institute, and ITVS. He also collaborates with other documentarians as editor and a cameraman. Leo received a MFA in film production from University of Southern California. He is the co-founder of A-Doc, the Asian American Documentary Network, and a documentary branch member of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences. Website | Twitter | Instagram

About the Alumni Screening Series

The USC School of Cinematic Arts invites you to an exciting free screening series featuring a dynamic selection of new feature films by alumni and faculty throughout 2019. All screenings and events will be free of charge and open to the public, although we do ask for an electronic reservation for each screening, which can be made through the website for each individual screening.

If you are (or know of) a USC alum, student, or faculty member with a film or television show that you would like to recommend for the screening series, please email with the subject "[NAME OF FILM] -- Alumni Screening Series Recommendation." The email should include a link to a screener, the distribution format and schedule, any festival selections and notable accolades, and the names and cast/crew positions of any alumni involved in the project, as well as any other information you feel is relevant.

Check-in & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring either a printed or digital confirmation of your reservation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M. and the RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.

Limited handicap seating is available. For guests with disabilities who require special accommodations, please contact Matthew Meier at with the subject line: "Accommodations Request – OUR TIME MACHINE."


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $12.00 at the McClintock Avenue Entrance (formerly Gate #5) or Royal Street Entrance (formerly Gate #4) on W. Jefferson Blvd. We recommend parking in the Royal Street Parking Structure (formerly PSD), at the far end of 34th Street. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd, with limited non-metered spaces also available north of Jefferson and throughout the surrounding neighborhood. Especially if you plan to utilize street parking, we HIGHLY recommend arriving at least 30 minutes before the screening, as parking can be difficult to find and it may take time to walk to the theater from your parking space.

For a map of campus, visit:

Contact Information

Name: Matthew Meier