Asian Men Talk About Sex: The director’s cut with Chye-Ling Huang

Asian Men Talk About Sex: The director’s cut with Chye-Ling Huang


Asian Men Talk About Sex is three women’s mission; to challenge the mainstream media’s portrayal of ‘sexy’ by asking every-day Asian men in New Zealand to talk about their sex lives – the good, the bad and the ugly – in order to reclaim it. Director Chye-Ling Huang spoke to Amy Weng about the challenges involved in creating the documentary, and what she hopes the film will help us to understand.

Amy Weng: I first heard about Asian Men Talk About Sex on Facebook and I was a little stunned because it’s such a taboo subject. I’m really interested to hear what kind of conversations you were having that inspired this project and at which point did you decide, yeah, we need to do this?

Chye-Ling Huang: Everything that happens in your life is going to feed into your art making. Being a Chinese New Zealander, I’m always interested in investigating bicultural nuances, especially relationships. We had the Loading Docs initiative brought to us, and we all sat down and thought, this is the year. We’ve never been filmmakers but this is the perfect opportunity for us to learn something new and reach more people.

So we sat down and thought about what we could do. So far a lot of the work I’ve been making has been about women, or have women protagonist. James Roque is the co-founder of PAT and we were wondering what else could we do and say about Asian men. They are incredibly marginalised. On screen, there are no Asian dudes and we were like, damn, this is an actually a massive hole. We started talking about the tropes and stereotypes about Asian men and how all these stereotypes are connected by one major motivating factor which is to emasculate Asian men. How could we combat this or shed light on this?

One of the first ideas was to try and find all the Asian male celebrities in New Zealand. American screen is taking steps forward but in New Zealand, who are the Asian men on TV and film? We combed our history and found a couple of Shortland St characters: one was a gay dude, played by Peter Huang, and the other was an evil doctor, played by Mel Odedra for a few episodes. And then there’s the ‘Spray & Walk Away’ guy and a mixed race Chinese guy who does the news occasionally. And Raybon Khan – that’s it. That’s five people that we found from the entirety of our screen history. It’s just mental.

We thought we should make a documentary about an actor going through all these things. Yoson An is my friend and an Asian actor. He’s incredibly good looking and talking to him I found a lot of the work that he’s done is totally bucking the stereotype. He’s worked a lot with Flat 3, he’s a leading romantic figure in their videos.

AW: He was also in the Mooncake and the Kumara by Mei-Lin Te Puia Hansen.

CLH: Yeah, and he was in Ghost Bride where he had a white love interest and an Asia HBO drama where he was also a leading man. So he was completely bucking the stereotype but where is that on mainstream New Zealand TV? It’s a different conversation when you start talking about why this is happening and how it is affecting everyday people. How is the media using emasculating tropes as an example for our romantic lives? And how does this affect normal Asian men who only see themselves as these horrific emasculated tropes?

So we thought, let’s take the focus off this hunky actor who has his own certain privilege. The problem isn’t that we need more hunky Asian men, it’s about normalising sexuality in Asian men. So that’s how we landed on Asian Men Talk About Sex. We wanted everyday Asian dudes to be talking about sex in a normal and healthy way. We didn’t want it to be fetishised and we didn’t want it to be a BuzzFeed sensationalisation piece. We wanted it to be real. We want people to see themselves in this film and relate. We didn’t want men to aspire to be that ripped six-pack guy who made it onto that one episode of whatever as eye candy for the ladies. We wanted to see real people.

Tristan Hemi Colenso, in Asian Men Talk About Sex

AW: I’m interested in you three women creating a documentary about men and their sexuality. Were there any particular challenges you faced as women? And how did you deal with it?

CLH: Me, and producers Kelly Gilbride and Ruby Reihana-Wilson are Chinese New Zealander, Pakeha and Māori women. Looking at our own internalised racism was challenging. Being like, yeah, I’ve never dated an Asian guy, or thinking about how we judge people of different races on Tinder. In my intellectual mind, I’m not a racist but I’ve been socially conditioned to be attracted to white people. That’s what American and New Zealand media are feeding me. It’s so yuck. That was a really interesting investigation for us. It’s so insidious.

AW: Someone told me about this OKCupid survey that found that Asian men are the least desirable group of all races and genders- second were black women.

CLH: And Asian women are at the top. Asian women are heavily sexualised and Asian men are desexualised which is mind-boggling – so watch out for season two of Asian Women Talk About Sex.

It was an interesting endeavour because we were investigating our own racial prejudice and for me being a Chinese New Zealander I feel like I have some sort of claim to investigating stuff about Asian people. Being in that world allowed me to put myself in their shoes and investigate further so it was easy enough to relate on a cultural level, but the nuances of being male were definitely something out of my depth, which I really enjoyed hearing about in such a confronting and truthful way.

I think one of the advantages to making this doco as women because our viewers are also going to be women. The people whose minds we wanted to change are women – and men. There are a couple of non-hetero men in this film, but a lot of hetero women will be watching this.

I’m really sex positive in general which is a good place to start when talking about these issues – I directed a play called Like Sex about teenage sex in New Zealand and I’m also writing a different play about sexual racial prejudice. But we realised we were all women so we decided our crew was going to be entirely Asian men. Our DOP, cameraman and editor Calvin Sang, photographer, and art department guy Michael McCabe, camera assistant and lighting guy Sash Samaratunga and consultants Nathan Joe and James Roque are all Asian New Zealanders of different ethnicities. So we had lots of consultation. The idea was to make the space as comfortable as possible.

The idea was to make the space as comfortable as possible. Sometimes though, when things got too uncomfortable for the guys they would flick their eyes to Kelvin or Sash or Michael, which made me feel, oh, my very presence as a female in this situation is actually quite confronting. I wonder if that affected any of the outcomes on film. That was something I thought in the back of my mind. This is a pretty intense situation for these guys to be in.

AW: It’s only a three-minute doco right?

CLH: Yes – that’s the beauty of the Loading Docs initiative. It’s a really great challenge and has allowed us to really hone in on what it is we are trying to say, our tone and story and aims for the doco. It’s been great to have Loading Docs support is in this way, as we are theatre-makers mainly. Three minutes is also genius because it’s so shareable, accessible and is enough to get people talking. We are making a twelve-minute director’s cut too which will allow us to go a bit deeper, so those who enjoyed the concept of this one will hopefully stick around to watch more! We shot seven hours of footage because we knew we would do an extended cut.

AW: You mentioned you talked to your dad about his sexual experiences, and you said it was awkward but it also helped you to see him as a whole human being. Did you have any other thought or reflections on that? The need to portray Asian men as whole human beings, that seems really compelling to me.

CLH: Sex is such a human experience and if you take that away from someone you are dehumanising them. If you give Asian men back that narrative I’m hoping that will humanise them again for viewers. I think having Asian men talk about sex is quite revolutionary in that sense.

When I talked about my dad and about seeing him as a whole human being, it’s on the same level as seeing them cry for the first time, or seeing them fail, or finding something that you disagree with them on. They have all these complex feeling like me and they are not this perfect person.

On a human level, on a father-daughter level, it was interesting to hear my dad talk about sex because it opened things up like, fuck, he’s lived such a life and he’s such a complex person. He’s such a strong, wise, guiding figure in my life. Hearing my dad talk about his experiences and him having to unlearn and relearn what sex was, things just fell into place.

My dad talked a lot to me about his failed marriage but getting down to the why and how he got there and how things in his youth greatly impacted on his future, it makes so much sense and it is such a human thing to repeat what you have learnt and to hold onto problematic lessons that are ingrained in you as a child.

It all becomes understandable and forgivable. It’s just humanising. I can understand him and that’s what the aim of this documentary is. For people to understand and find a connection with these guys who are just regular looking guys who have sex. They’ve had fun doing it and they’ve had awkward times and we can all relate to that.

Read more

Doco on elderly Chinese migrants shows difficulty settling

Morning Report- Doco on elderly Chinese migrants shows difficulty settling

A new documentary film called East Meets East has been released looking into the difficulties elderly Chinese migrants are facing trying to settle into NZ. The suggestion is that it’s not all that easy for the struggling migrants and that the perception is the migrants are a drain on society.

Listen to the interview HERE

Via Morning Report Radio New Zealand

Kiwi Coffin Club gets interest ‘all over the show’ – Rotorua Daily Post

Kiwi Coffin Club gets interest ‘all over the show’

A local club has been overwhelmed by the international interest in what they do and are looking forward to being the focus of a musical documentary.

Katie Williams, Kiwi Coffin Club founder and member co-ordinator, said the club had been operating in Rotorua since 2010, and was now getting inquiries from all over the world.

“It’s really gone global.”

The club helps people make DIY coffins with the aim of helping people feel in control to the end and show who the people were as individuals, she said.

 There are also clubs set up in Katikati, Waitakere and Hawke’s Bay.

She said the club had inquiries from Russia, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States of America – “all over the show”.

Some were keen to start it up themselves while others just showed an interest, she said.

Mrs Williams said the club had done interviews for the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and were featured in an article in the United Kingdom’s The Guardian.

Now, a musical-based documentary is being made on the club.

Loading Docs is a documentary initiative, with the support of principal funder New Zealand On Air, along with the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Mangai Paho, which helps fund, create and distribute ten films a year.

The Coffin Club are one of the recipients of this funding from Loading Docs.

They had their first singing rehearsal last week, and the Auckland company came down and recorded it, Mrs Williams said.

“It is so much fun to see these darling oldies singing and dancing.”

She said, as far as she knew, the documentary would be made in May and ready for distribution in June.

It’s not the first time the club has featured in a documentary, previously being filmed by a Japanese film crew.

“It’s been overwhelming but in other ways very satisfying.”

Club member Raewynne Latemore said the interest the club had received was “mind blowing” and it was lovely to see others interested in doing the same for themselves.

She said it would be interesting to see what the Auckland film crew came up with for the documentary.

Via Rotorua Daily Post

East Meets East to tell stories of Chinese elderly, migration and friendship

East Meets East to tell stories of Chinese elderly, migration and friendship

Film maker and theatre producer Julie Zhu may not speak much Mandarin, but understanding enough of the language to “eavesdrop” during long bus journeys has seen her come up with a unique concept for a documentary short film.

East Meets East follows Zhu’s 79-year-old grandmother, Fang Ruzhen, as she makes new friends during her weekly bus trips to East Auckland’s Asian supermarkets. Zhu first noticed elderly Chinese immigrants building a new community for themselves when she caught buses from East Auckland into the city during her university days.

“I understand a lot more Chinese than I speak so I would hear them talking about where they were from, what they were doing in New Zealand, sharing information and getting to know one another,” she says. “I realised how they’ve managed to survive in a new country is by meeting people like them in unexpected places.”

Directed by Zhu and produced by Tema Pua, East Meets East is one of ten documentary short films selected for this year’s Loading Docs film project. Loading Docs, which started in 2014, helps develop New Zealand film-makers by matching them with mentors to make three minute long films which will “captivate and inspire” audiences.

This year’s theme is diversity and Zhu says East Meets East fits perfectly because it explores issues of relevance to Chinese migrants as well as the elderly.

“Stories about immigrant experiences usually follow a young characters’ journey into Western culture and focus on the battle between their home and Western cultures. I wanted to make a film that moved away from that because when we celebrate diversity, we should celebrate the different peoples found within groups.

“We hardly ever see stories that feature the perspectives of our immigrant elders but these stories are just as relevant and necessary to show.”

She says like her grandparents, many elderly Chinese people come to New Zealand to help care for their grandchildren while their adult children work. Because they migrate in their 60s, 70s, or 80s, it’s almost impossible for them to pick up a new language or try to assimilate in the usual ways.

“My nana’s been here for 15 years and while she’s tried to learn English, it remains a foreign language to her,” says Zhu. “This adds to her isolation, so it’s incredible that she and other Chinese grandparents have forged this new source of community for themselves.”

Born in China and raised in Auckland, Zhu’s already written and directed several short films. She was the director of photography on The Spectacular Imagination of the Pōhara Brothers, which screened at the NZ International Film Festival 2016 and several indigenous film festivals around the world.

Watch East Meets East Boosted video HERE


Loading Ultra-Short Documentaries-Standing Room Only

Loading Ultra-Short Documentaries- Radio New Zealand

My Dog Ajax Photo: supplied

New Zealand is well-known for making great documentaries – we like real-life stories it seems.  But they do occasionally tend to ramble. That’s not the case of our preeminent documentary initiative, the crowd-funded Loading Docs project. This year’s ultra-short documentaries have to say what they’ve got to say in less time than a pop single – around three minutes.  Simon Morris talks to two prospective film-makers, Ursula Williams – Now and Then – and Michael Weatherall – My Dog Ajax, and to the Project Manager, Nia Phipps.  Loading Docs is funded by New Zealand On Air, with support from the NZ Film Commission and Te Mangai Paho.

Listen to the interview HERE.

Via Radio New Zealand- Standing Room Only

The Fuse is Lit!


Press Release: Tuesday 28th February 2017

The team behind New Zealand’s preeminent documentary initiative LOADING DOCS is extremely excited to announce the selection of ten brand new short documentaries about to embark on their Loading Docs journey with a month of crowdfunding on Boosted.

The theme for this year’s documentaries is Diversity. We asked filmmakers to submit proposals for 3-minute shorts, which reflect that theme. Specifically we were interested in films that address diversity of identity, culture, community and place.

Following a rigorous selection process, the final ten films were chosen and we couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the broad interpretations on the theme. Our stories address diverse perspectives on sexual identity, life and death, ethnic diversity, exploration of our environment and cultural representation.

As in previous years, the Loading Docs initiative, with the support of principal funder NZ On Air, along with the New Zealand Film Commission and new partner Te Māngai Pāho – will help fund, create and distribute these ten films. With views so far exceeding 1.5 million across the previous years’ collections, the teams have the potential for their documentaries to be seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers both at home and all around the world across platforms online, on broadcast television, the big screen and in-flight.

The next step for these teams is to begin crowdfunding. Each documentary is required to crowdfund $2000 towards their production budget in order to receive an additional $4000 from the Loading Docs initiative and a post-production package provided by Toybox and Post Production Sound. Crowdfunding is a crucial promotional tool for the documentary teams and paves the way for the future success of their short docs. All ten teams will launch their campaigns on crowdfunding website Boosted on the 1st of March 2017 and will have one month to achieve their goal.

Loading Docs is proud to once again be supporting the New Zealand documentary community and promoting diversity, not just on screen but also within the filmmaking industry. Loading Docs founders Julia Parnell and Anna Jackson say that each year the standard is getting higher and they couldn’t be happier to be bringing a variety of story telling voices to the fore. “We really hope that people will get behind these documentaries and filmmakers and prove that diversity is something that we as a country are interested in and supportive of.” – Julia Parnell.

Announcing the 2017 LOADING DOCS: DIVERSITY teams and projects.

East Meets East

Dir/Co Prod: Julie Zhu

Prod: Tema Pua

Location: Auckland

A Chinese grandmother searches for a sense of home on her bus trips to the Asian supermarket.

Boosted link:

Luckie Strike

Dir: Melissa Nickerson

Prod: Craig Gainsborough

Location: Waitomo, Central North Island

Pushing beyond primal fear, two caving friends struggle together in a dark, confined, muddy tunnel, determined to find a new entrance to a spectacular cave.

Boosted link:


Welcome to Graft

Dir: Ursula Williams

Location: Auckland

Travel inside a surreal world where artist Jon Radford becomes alter-ego Real Estate agent Ron Jadford – he’s got a deal for you!

Boosted link:


He Awa Mutunga Kore – A Takatāpui Journey

Dir: Kathleen Winter

Producer: Jaimee Poipoi

Te Reo Māori advisor: Beatrice Joblin

Location: Wellington

Two worlds collide at Wellington’s biggest ever LGBTIQ pride celebration where a takatāpui (queer Māori) activist seeks self-acceptance.

Boosted link:


Asian Men Talk About Sex

Dir: Chye-Ling Huang

Prod: Kelly Gilbride

Co-Prod: Ruby Reihana-Wilson

Location: Auckland

Asian men dig deep and bare all to explore the awkward, wild, intimate and unifying experience of sex.

Boosted link:


Coffin Club

Dir: Briar March

Prod: Kim Harrop

Location: Rotorua

The Coffin Club is a musical documentary about the celebration of life and death, and the ability to laugh at the prospect of mortality.

Boosted link:


My Dog Ajax

Dir: Michael Weatherall

Prod: Cecilia Shand

Location: Kahurangi National Park, South Island

A passionate conservationist journeys into the heart of remote New Zealand with his K9 companion, the world’s only kea conservation dog, as they fight together to save the Kea.

Boosted link:


Kotuku Rerenga Rua

Dir: Tim Worrall

Prod: Aaron Smart

Te Reo advisor: Kotuku Tibble

Location: Rotorua

A larger-than-life Maori entertainer returns from the dead with a mission from his ancestors to make peace with his loved ones.

Boosted link:



Dir: Stjohn Milgrew

Co-Dir: Damian Golfinopoulos

Prod: James Kerr

Location: Auckland

While preparing for a live performance, a poet reflects on his losing battle with a degenerative bone disease.

Boosted link:



Dir: Jerry Rock-Archer

Prod: Joshua Rollo

Location: Japan

A Māori rugby player in Japan tackles cultural isolation and discovers strength amongst strangers.

Boosted link:




About Loading Docs

Loading Docs is a unique New Zealand documentary initiative established in 2014 that aims to captivate and inspire audiences as well as develop and promote New Zealand filmmaking talent.

Through a competitive selection process, Loading Docs selects ten short documentary proposals, which are then supported from development through to distribution. Working with local and international mentors, Loading Docs filmmakers expand their skills in a range of areas including story development, outreach, publicity and marketing and distribution. Since its inception Loading Docs has achieved over 1.5 million views across the collection and is supported by TVNZ OnDemand, Air New Zealand in-flight and hosted on such high profile websites as The Atlantic, The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, The Guardian, Great Big Story and Short of the Week to name but a few.
Loading Docs is a Notable Pictures initiative, founded by Julia Parnell and Anna Jackson and is funded by NZ On Air’s Digital Media Fund and made with support from the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho.
For more information visit and watch the previous years collections on:

Loading Docs shorts are also available to watch on TVNZ OnDemand:


Boosted Website:




All media enquiries

Julie Warmington



Ph: 021 879 886


General email:

Nia Phipps
Producer/Project Manager

Sandy Wijetunge

Production Manager


Ph: 09 303 1061


LOADING DOCS is excited to be once again seeking proposals from New Zealand filmmakers for creative and original 3-minute documentary shorts to be made in 2017.

The theme of DIVERSITY will unite the 2017 collection of documentaries.

Since launching in 2014, Loading Docs has established itself as a leading platform for the distribution of high quality short documentary boasting 1.8 million views for the 29 documentaries created to date.

Every year Loading Docs asks filmmakers to explore a theme such as home (2014), connection (2015) and change (2016). 2017’s theme is diversity. It’s a theme that touches many aspects of life, from politics, identity, science, religion to the environment.

Diversity can be cause for celebration, support innovation and enhance creativity. Diversity can also be challenging, complex and confronting.

We hope to have a range of filmmakers who are as diverse as the range of stories they will tell. In particular we are seeking proposals that speak to Māori, Pasifika and Asian points of view. There is also provision for a documentary fully in te reo Māori to complete the collection.

Telling a compelling 3-minute story is a test of creativity, skill and ingenuity. Now it’s the turn of a new crop of filmmakers to be part of a movement that is transforming the way we make, tell and view documentary shorts in Aotearoa.

Loading Docs is proud to announce that Te Māngai Pāho will join NZ On Air and the New Zealand Film Commission as a funding partner for this fourth iteration of the initiative. The documentaries will once again feature on TVNZ On Demand and with subsequent plays on Māori Television.

“We look forward to working with our partners to create ten new short documentaries that captivate and inspire audiences, reaching them across multiple platforms locally and internationally, while developing and promoting New Zealand filmmaking talent and exploring new models for film funding, production and distribution.”
Julia Parnell, Executive Producer.

Watch our call out teaser here.

10 documentaries will be selected with each team receiving extensive support and opportunities for growth:

  • Professional development opportunities including workshops on story and creative treatment, outreach and distribution strategies and will receive hands on support from Loading Docs executive producers, to ensure their short reaches the widest possible audience.
  • $2,000 production funding, and an additional $2,000 matched funding to support a crowdfunding campaign (we’ll match each dollar your raise through crowdfunding up to $2,000).
  • A colour grade and sound-mix from Toybox and Sale Street Studios. Making a total budget of over $7,000 for each 3-minute documentary.

This is an opportunity for the best filmmaking voices in New Zealand to take up the challenge and be part of this cutting edge short documentary initiative.

For more information about Loading Docs and to watch the documentaries produced in 2014, 2015 and 2016, visit

Important dates

  • 19 October 2016 – Request for proposals issued.
  • 21 November 2016 – Deadline for proposals. (5pm)
  • 28 November 2016 – Short list notified – full proposals requested.
  • 19 December 2016 – Deadline for full proposals.
  • 20 January 2017 – Successful applicants notified.

Visit to submit a proposal.

no later than 5pm Monday 21st of November 2016.


Nia Phipps – Producer/Project Manager
Ph. 021 1577 075



Loading Docs is funded by NZ On Air
and made with the support of the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho.


Blood Sugar from Loading Docs on Vimeo.

Directed by Joe Hitchcock and produced by Morgan Leigh Stewart, the short doc Blood Sugar captures the unique point of view of New Zealand preschooler Dahlia and what it’s like to live with the lesser-known Type 1 diabetes. Despite the “bum pricks” — her term for insulin shots — and the constant monitoring of blood sugar, she is a typical child. She reminds us when saying, “When you die, you don’t do anything; when you’re alive, you play.” The 3-minute film deftly captures the gravity of chronic illness set against the whimsical backdrop of childhood as we see Type 1 through Dahlia’s lens — on a swing made of rope with a butterfly band around her head, or at the beach with a stick for a shovel.

Watch 24 Hours with Anna and Sam another documentary on a chid living with Type 1 diabetes.

via Beyond Type 1