Caridad Amaran and Georgina Wong learned the art of Cantonese opera in 1930s Havana. Caridad's mentor was her foster father, Julian Fong, who immigrated to Cuba in the 1920s after his family forbade him performing opera. Georgina's father was a famous tailor in Chinatown, who encouraged her to learn Kungfu and lion dance. Although both were the single children, they formed a sisterhood on stage. Throughout the 1940s, Caridad toured cities all over Cuba with Chinese communities, as one of the leading actresses of the opera troupe. Georgina quit opera to attend college, but her study was interrupted by Castro's 1959 revolution and her required military service. Eventually, she went on to become a diplomat. After retirement and well into their sixties, the two sisters are trying to perform Cantonese opera again. Will they find a stage? Will they find an audience?
Wei began making documentaries in 2003. In February 2006, she made her first music documentary, Cui Jian: Rocking China, a 35-minute video in retrospection of Cui Jian’s performances from 1986 to 2005.
In July 2006, she made her first feature documentary A Piece of Heaven: Primary Documents, a rather personal documentation of her very first documentary experience with Professor Situ Zhaodun of Beijing Film Academy. Shanghai-based director Peng Xiaolian speaks very highly of the work, calling it “a lyrical prose of a family history shared by many in China, and a work with depth about the very concept of documentation through puzzle pieces of documentary history.”
Between 2003 and 2009, Wei co-produced, co-wrote and co-directed a documentary with Shanghai-based director Xiaolian Peng titled Storm under the Sun. The film focuses on the 1955 national campaign initiated by Chairman Mao Zedong and against Hu Feng, a leading literary critic at the time.
From early 2009 to 2013, Wei collaborated with veteran Hong Kong filmmaker and critic Law Kar on a feature documentary titled Golden Gate Girls. Golden Gate Girls traveled to many film festivals and international conferences.
In 2018, Wei completed another documentary titled Havana Divas, which also documents a part of overseas Chinese history. It is a rare piece that brings together a Chinese art and two Cuban families, and a story shared by many immigrant families in Central and South Americas.
S. Louisa Wei