El Chino tells the true story of Bill Wong, a Chinese American who left his engineering career in Berkeley CA in the late 1950s, to become a bullfighter in Spain. Bill was introduced to bullfighting when he borrowed a book from his older brother, Jack, about the renowned bullfighter, Juan Belmonte. Inspired by what he read, he drove to Mexico City to see a live bullfight. After seeing the matadors in action, Bill thought, “I can do that.” Shortly thereafter and seemingly on a whim, Bill decided that he was going to Spain to become a bullfighter. His mother wrote monthly pleas for him to come home, while the rest of his siblings helped fund his wild, unlikely dream.
El Chino Trailer:
My wife, Erika and I began our journey of discovering Bill’s story in early 2011. A few years before that, while I was visiting my parents in Toronto, my mom came up to me and asked, “Did I ever tell you about my cousin, the bullfighter?” I responded with incredulity as I assured her, had she ever told me that we had a bullfighter in the family, I certainly would have remembered. She smiled and took out a magazine with, sure enough, a Chinese bullfighter on the cover. “That’s my cousin and your 4th cousin,” she told me, to my amazement.
The idea stuck and after Erika and I drove up from Los Angeles to meet the Wong family in the San Francisco bay area, we learned about Bill and his incredible aspirations. The Wongs were very welcoming and showed us hundreds of photos of Bill’s escapades in Mexico and Spain. Our own filmmaking adventure spanned across the United States and eventually led us to Madrid Spain, where we were fortunate enough to find friends of Bill’s who regaled us with countless stories from his life and his journey in becoming a matador de toros.
After many years, we finally completed the documentary and uploaded it for anyone to learn about this courageous young man and his unlikely dream of becoming a bullfighter. Watch El Chino
As part of the project, I designed the website, poster and giveaways for our supports on Kickstarter (DVD packaging, T-shirt, mug, post cards, hats and tote bag).
Role: Co-Producer, Director, Co-Editor, Creative Director