May TCHAO 赵美美
Tchao films, llC
After a career of more than 30 years in the Chicago’s advertising business as creative director and consultant, I am now an independent documentary filmmaker. I have finished my debut documentary Spilled Water (泼出去的水) in 2014 and am now working on Hayden & Her Family. It’s a film about a facially deformed girl from China and her adoptive American family with 7 biological children and four other adopted siblings all with special needs. I see this as an opportunity to give voice to the voiceless, especially for those in China; and explore how, when different lives and love intersect, acts of generosity and sacrifice transform the lives of everyone in the process.
What was your first job, and how did it shape your life?
I started my advertising career as an art director at DDB Needham which was then Needham, Harper and Steer. It was a great job learning the power of persuasion through creative ideas, visual and copy. It also allowed me the opportunity to learn the filmmaking process through television commercial productions and led to other opportunities in other advertising agencies.
What books are currently on your bedside table?
I’m currently reading “Strangers Drowning” by Larissa MacFarquhar. It’s a fascinating book about how and why ambitious altruists try to “save the world.”
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST FREE?
I feel most free when floating on water — the sense of weightlessness must be how birds or fish feel.
WHAT’S YOUR VIEW ON MONEY?
To a certain extent, it’s great to have money, it allows you the freedom to do the things you love. But it’s not good to have so much that one gets complacent and out of touch with reality.
WHAT IS AN EXTRAORDINARY PLACE YOU HAVE RECENTLY TRAVELED TO?
The karst hills in Yangshuo are other-worldly and tranquilizing. It still preserves the last visage of rural China.