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Small Talk at LGBTQ Film Festival: An Interview with Director Huang Hui-chen Ep 92

By Felicia Lin

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:

A relationship between mother and daughter that was so stonewalled that it took 20 years and a camcorder to make a breakthrough- this was the subject of Huang Hui-chen’s first feature documentary film, Small Talk. Small Talk is one of two documentary films being screened at the Austin Asian American Film Festival’s Prismatic Taiwan (September 4-13), a virtual, six-film series celebrating the past and present of queer Taiwanese cinema. Hui-chen spoke candidly about this deeply personal film that she described as a letter to her mother. She also revealed what happened in the aftermath of the film, and the filmmaking advice that the legendary Taiwanese film director Hou Hsiao-hsien gave her. Her film and personal story give hope to others dealing difficult parent-child relationships. Special thanks to the Austin Asian American Film Festival and Stacey Pai for providing translation.

To purchase tickets to watch Small Talk and learn about the other films featured in Prismatic Taiwan visit: Talking Taiwan listeners will get $2 off when they use the code TALKING. The Prismatic Taiwan Queer Film Series, features six LGBTQ Taiwan films spanning from 1970 to 2016. You can watch all six films for under $15. To learn more Prismatic Taiwan check out last week’s episode, Episode 91.


Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:


  • Hui-chen’s work as an activist
  • When she got interested in documentary filmmaking
  • How it took her so long (20 years) to make Small Talk into a movie that her mother and relatives didn’t think she’d actually be able to do it
  • The footage of her nieces discussing whether their grandma (Hu-Chen’s mother) is a boy or a girl
  • How she got her mother to finally talk
  • How she got other family members and her mother’s girlfriends to talk in the film
  • The one person who she would have like to interview for the movie, but did not
  • How the film, Small Talk is like a letter to her mother
  • Why Hui-chen’s husband doesn’t appear in the film
  • While Hui-chen’s now ex-husband doesn’t appear in Small Talk he will be in her next film which will be about the relationship between love and social activism
  • Hui-chen’s mother’s reaction to the film after watching it
  • How Hui-chen’s mother’s reacted when Small Talk was screened at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards
  • How the film Small Talk has affected her and mother’s relationship with their relatives
  • What was Hui-chen’s sister’s reaction to Small Talk
  • How the film Small Talk has affected Hui-chen’s relationship with her mother
  • How Hui-chen’s relatives reacted to and dealt with to her mother’s lesbianism
  • How Hou Hsiao-hsien took a leap of faith when he got involved and became the executive producer of Small Talk
  • What filmmaking advice Hou Hsiao-hsien gave her
  • How Hui-chen feels about Small Talk having been selected as the Taiwanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards
  • Hui-chen’s book about her mother that reveals more that the film did not


Related Links:


PURCHASE tickets to watch Small Talk

LEARN More About Prismatic Taiwan and the September 5th live, virtual roundtable discussion event with Asian Cinevision and director Zero Chou, entitled “Creating Transnational Queer Asian Spaces”:


Huang Hui-chen’s book, about her mother, 我和我的T媽媽 (available in Chinese):



Austin Asian American Film Festival:


Austin Asian American Film Festival Facebook page:


Austin Asian American Film Festival on Instagram:


Austin Asian American Film Festival on Twitter:


About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

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