Anita Wen-Shin Chang’s Joyful Life is a feature documentary in collaboration with Hansen’s disease (Leprosy) patients residing at Taiwan’s Lo-Sheng (“Joyful Life”), one of the few remaining sanatoriums in the world, on the verge of disappearing.
In 2002, more than one-third of Lo-Sheng was destroyed due to subway construction and other pending urban development projects. As a result, more than half of the 300 remaining residents moved into the newly constructed hospital nearby. Due to resident, student and human rights activism, plans for total destruction have stopped. At this point, the sanatorium remains despite continued pressures from the government, private interests and local civilians to excavate.
Conceived as a collaboration among the residents of Lo-Sheng, a Taiwanese-American filmmaker, documentary students, and cultural workers, Joyful Life presents diverse perspectives of Lo-Sheng residents in the midst of their activism to preserve Lo-Sheng and not be moved to a nearby hospital. Filmmaker-lead workshops prepare residents for their own storytelling and filming – creating an intimate portrait of a historically marginalized community and their inspiring determination to protect what they call their home.
The ‘drama’ sequences that the residents participate in, interwoven into the film, form a strong interaction between filmmaker-camera-subject, which is rarely seen in documentary films on the same subject.
The film screens at Artist Television Access, Sunday August 3rd 8PM $6
Artists’ Television Access
992 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110