The date that once seemed so faraway when Patchworks 2 was first proposed — the day my film goes into editing and a rough cut is produced — has now arrived. 

After spending June and July talking with and filming my subject — 88 year old Daniel Lim — that small mountain of footage has been expertly crafted by our colleague Nate Bower into a short film on the life of Brandon’s oldest living Chinese emigrant.

The genesis of my film came from seeing Mr. Lim and his longtime friends gathered together downtown for their daily coffee chats. They were a bit of a local landmark, talking animatedly in Cantonese, and although I did still photographic portraits of each of them several years ago, I never delved more deeply into the story of those men until this project. Happily, it didn’t take too much scratching at the surface to uncover a fascinating story in Daniel Lim.

One main challenge in the film was to synchronize the subject’s speech in his native Cantonese (more specifically, a dialect called Toishanese) with the English translation provided by his son David. Once again, my hat is off to Nate Bower for recording the translation separately to match up with the fascinating anecdotes from Mr. Lim — everything from tales of being held prisoner by the Imperial Japanese Army in World War Two to falling in love with the woman he’d eventually marry and spend a lifetime with can now be told to a wider audience.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the loan of some lighting and sound equipment from both Nate and producer Graham Street, which was invaluable in creating a more polished and professional final film. One of the strengths of Patchworks is collaboration, and it’s just that kind of co-operation that helps a person with no experience in short film production (ie. me!) learn what it takes to make a film. It’s a big step, going from envisioning a project to actually making that idea come true — thanks to everyone coming together, that step can be taken.

I want to also express my gratitude to David Lim and all of Daniel Lim’s family for accepting my proposal and co-operating to help make this film. I truly couldn’t have done this film without them. And the home cooked Chinese meals were very nice, too!

It’s a bit daunting to tell the story of a man’s life, especially one with such a long and interesting life as Daniel Lim. I hope my project can do it justice.

Hope to see you at the Evans Theatre next month!