By Jennifer 8. Lee | January 7, 2011
Help bring General Tso and his chickens to a theater near you!
I am co-producing a feature-length documentary on American Chinese food with the Peabody-award winning team behind King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, called “The Search for General Tso.” We think it’s a great way to bring my research to a larger audience in an engaging and informative way.
And it’s not just us who think that! We got a $40,000 matching developing grant [pdf]Â from the extremely competitive National Endowment for the Humanities. We need your help. We have a few weeks to unlockÂ $13,000+ of that grant. (All the paperwork is due in February). Your donations are tax deductible since it’s a non-profit. Our fiscal sponsor is Arts Engine.
That NEH grant, along with generous seed donations, actually helped fund our trip to Taipei to interview the chef who invented General Tso’s chicken, C.K. Peng, last month. Chef Peng is 93, so this was an extremely important interview to do ASAP. And it was hilarious. I just finished translating the interview with the editor this week.
This picture below is a very intense filming of General Tso’s chicken at Chef Peng’s restaurant, Peng’s Agora Garden.
The NEH reviewers gave our proposal extremely high ratings.
This initial development money will get us a long way to creating a trailer, which is then used to raise more serious funding â€” ideally well into the six-figures (or beyond).
Watch my talk on TED.com from Taste3 below to get a flavor of the quirky tone of our documentary, which is backed up with extensive research.
And yes, as you can see from my video/research General Tso is a real guy. He’s a Qing Dynasty military hero from Hunan province whose Chinese name is Zuo Zongtang (å·¦å®—æ£ ). Zuo is roughly pronounced â€˜juoh.â€™ Here is a picture of him below from a billboard outside his hometown.
And yes, there were a lot of chicken in that town.
So to show our appreciation. If you donate $88 and above, you can join in on a walking tour of Chinatown street food I am doing in New York City on March 5 and 6. If you donate $150 and above, I will send you a signed copy of my book along with a hand-selected Wonton Food fortune (this is where the famed winning Powerball fortunes came from). At $500 and above, I’ll send you a book and a real authentic Japanese fortune cookie, which I just brought back from Kyoto. If you donate over $2,000, I’ll come and do a talk anywhere in the United States, schedule permitting and travel costs covered. If you want any of these, you must email me at jenny8lee[at]fortunecookiechronicles[at]com
And for the super-ambitious, at $10,000, you get an IMDb listing as a producer! And if you want to be a executive producer (with names on posters and all that), you can donate $100,000 â€” but don’t do it through credit card, email curt[at]wickedelicate[dot]com (yes, that’s one ‘d’ in Wicked Delicate website. The one with two d’s is a Japanese puppy site)
Email me at jenny8lee[at]fortunecookiechronicles[dot]com for questions, comments, jokes.
You can enter your donation below, which will take you to Arts Engine system (the fiscal sponsor). Or you can enter directly on the Arts Engine page. The General and his chickens thank you!
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