Pei Chou – IE Videographer – Barely a decade after her immigration, Pei Chou begins to document her experience.
For those readers who love IE online, meet Pei Ju Chou, 22, the precocious film maker who enhances IE news delivery with online videos.
Eleven years ago, Chou immigrated from Taipei, Taiwan to Silverdale, Wash., a small town near Bremerton.
“[My parents] said they wanted to take my brother, Jeff, to the United States and I could come if I wanted to,” said Chou. “I didn’t want to be left behind so I immigrated [with them] to Silverdale.”
Chou said her brother was getting into trouble at his school and her parents wanted to take him far away from that environment. So at 11 years-old, Chou prepared to immigrate to the United States.
She said she had an easy transition. Silverdale was a Navy town and the kids in school were nice and familiar with diversity. For Chou, home and school was a buzz of activity. She had an instant family with plenty of cousins and played soccer while participating in Running Start, earning college credits while in high school. Recently, Chou attended the University of Washington (UW) and obtained a B.A. in Communications. Coincidentally, her mom, Fran Yen, told Chou years earlier while on a visit to Seattle from Taiwan that Chou would one day attend UW.
At the university, Chou’s consciousness and passion about Asian Pacific women’s identity development and empowerment took hold.
“I thought, ‘I’m so lucky to live in the United States.’ That this is a perfect country … I bought all that “color blind” stuff,” said Chou. “When I studied Asian American Media Studies with Leilani Nishime … I learned about stereotypes watching TV and movies. I was such a fan of Disney until I realized that Mu Lan was racist and the Siamese cat in Lady and the Tramp was a stereotype.”
This led Chou to establish a film blog called Pooki with her friend Key.
A self trained filmmaker, Chou created films to show another Asian perspective. She filmed “Stuck on the Boat”, a film about her friends who are the children of immigrants; and “Children of Golden Grill” about her cousins whose parents own the Golden Grill restaurant in Silverdale. “What Will You Remember” is a film detailing what people recall about the expulsion of Chinese in Washington state 125 years ago; and most recently, a film about the staff and families who are served by the International Community Heath Services. Currently, Chou is working with the IE and OCA-Greater Seattle to develop news videos, coordinate an internship program for OCA and guide interns to document their leadership development experience.
Chou credits her family with developing her self confidence to pursue her talents. Chou said she was blessed with family members who indulged her dream of becoming a pop star when she, in fact, can’t sing. Luckily, she gave up that ambition and picked up a camcorder.
Chou said “I want to make films that counter stereotypes – that we are not all rich, not all model minorities. We are just normal.”
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