Taiwan Tea Documentary
My name is Shiuwen Tai. I am the owner of Floating Leaves Tea in Seattle WA. I am working with Jake Knapp, a videographer and professional photographer who owns Cloud 9 Photography, to shoot a tea documentary in Taiwan. We want to raise money to make this tea project a reality. I have been running my tea business for more than 13 years. I go to Taiwan to source tea every year, and learn more about the people and processing techiques. Jake is a tea lover who has been serious into tea for 10 years. He loves tea so much that he has gone to China and Taiwan to enrich his tea knowledge. We have met some amazing tea people from our travels and we would love to tell you their stories. In a way, I feel this tea documentary is for those amazing tea farmers and tea professionals. With our love and appreciation for them, we feel we have to capture their life, their stories, and their tea skills for you and show you their incredible dedication to tea.
We plan to be in Taiwan June 2017 to shoot this tea documentary. For this specfic film, we will be focusing on the tea people and tea of Dong Ding Mountain. With your support, the funds will help us to get there, cover our expenses, purchase some necessary equipment, shoot, edit and license music for this film.
If you are a tea lover and feel this is a great project, please consider donating and help us to spread the word. We promise we will work very hard to make a beautiful film for you, the tea people and us. Some great tea country footage, a good story, and tea processing knowledge will come with your support.
Shiuwen and Jake
Dong Ding Tea Farmers
Yes, I have been back to Seattle from filming for about a month now. I am sorry I haven't been in contact. While I was in Taiwan, I was very inspired with the profound tea knowledge people have shared with me and I was extremely moved by their generosity. Then I came back to Seattle sick. I couldn't go to work for a week. I knew it was not just a cold. There was something else. After my physical health returned and I had some time to process what happened, I think it was stress. For 9 years, I joke I have two full time jobs: my son and the tea shop. With this project, I didn't realize it's also a full time job until I started to raise funds and to plan it. I went for it anyway. When I feel something is my responsibility, I can't let it go and I have to do it well.
One month before the trip, I started to blank out once a while when I was making tea for people. I was tired and I forgot things that I normally don't. I went on the trip anyway.
While on the trip I was very inspired. Then I came back extremely confused with what I want to do with tea, and I was very lost with that confusion. I didn't want to watch the footage for a while. I can't explain fully what happened, but it felt like many things, including my body, have either lost their centers or have been empty. I told myself to have patience.
After I was able to watch some footage, I was re-connected with the experiences. The trip is as much about making a tea film, as much about learning tea, it's also as much about learning myself. I have not imagined tea can be this way. Three amazing tea people showed me what they could do with tea: their ability to find a good tea, their skills to make a good tea into an excellent tea, and their capacity to show the beauty and the wonders a tea can do. It's hard to describe it. It's like that beauty will expand and it might be endless. Maybe because they could see tea so clearly, they could also see me, a stranger, clearly. I think they have taught me, directly or indirectly what's stopping me from learning tea further and what's stopping me from being a wholesome person.
I know I am changing. I have been quieter and slower (Haha! I know for some of you, that's hard to imagine). I am drinking tea and seeing tea differently now and I have a more clear goal of what I want to do with tea. For personal well-being, I also know what I want to work on and what I have to practice. This is very exciting to me.
But enough about me. It's getting personal. Let's have some updates about this documentary:
-It will be done, whatever it takes (might take a long time).
-I am 70% done watching the footage and started to work on translations, which I will admit, I am making very slow progress.
-After I choose 6 hours of footage, I will send it to an editor friend who offered to help getting a more clear picture on the fees for editing.
-Still working on choosing the editor(s).
-Jake and I are working on the first preview. I can't wait to show you the preview!
A big shout out to Jake who has donated a lot of his time to make this project happen.
In deep gratitude to all of you,
I cannot describe fully how beautiful the tea and the tea people are. People showered us with their generosity and their love of tea. Just like what a tea master told us yesterday, "the depth, the experience, and the beauty of this tea session will be hard to find words for it."
He used his heart to brew tea, and his tea touched my heart. I was in awed with the experience.
Here are a few photos for you to see how beautiful they are. I am looking forward to sharing the experience with you soon!