China

China (super 16mm film, color, 60 min., 2003)

If customers can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. Clearly list and describe the services you offer. Also, be sure to showcase a premium service.Evelyn (Sheila Stewart) and Rudolph (Von Washington) are living a settled if unexciting life. Comfortably married for more than thirty years, Rudolph is a mailman trying to make it to retirement. For years now, Rudolph's health and spirit have been in decline, and Evelyn's main role has been taking care of him—making his favorites foods and massaging his sagging soul. Although she has weathered her own ailments and disappointments—lost pregnancies and failing eyesight—she sees herself as the stronger of the two. After yet another health scare, Evelyn attempts to relax Rudolph with an impromptu afternoon at the movies. Although Rudolph dozes through the film, a trailer for an upcoming martial arts film festival grabs his attention and an idea begins to take shape. Rudolph decides to sign up for lessons. But Evelyn thinks he's crazy. He's in no shape to suddenly become Bruce Lee and she's certain he will die even sooner attempting this foolishness. Convinced by her hairdresser friend Shelberdine (Cecelia Birt) that Rudolph's martial arts infatuation is simply a midlife crisis, Evelyn prepares to soothe Rudolph's physical aches and his emotional humiliation after his inevitable failure. 


Though constantly battered and bruised, Rudolph does not quit—in fact, he becomes more and more consumed with his training. A new Rudolph begins to emerge—he has new young friends, rejects Evelyn's soul food for health food, and finds himself drawn into a new, disciplined, contemplative life. But the more Rudolph begins to find himself, the more Evelyn feels lost, angry, confused and displaced. With Rudolph's now frequent meditations, Evelyn demands to know the mystery of what is going on in his head. Rudolph explains that in looking inward he examines his old failures, his old burdens and his old ways of thinking. He tells of no longer believing in God or the Devil, shaking their shared devout Baptist upbringing. Finally he tells Evelyn of emptying himself of everything. She takes it as a sign that she has completely lost her place in Rudolph's life—past and future. The day comes when Rudolph is ready to participate in his first contact match. Though this is a new Rudolph, Evelyn fears that her old Rudolph will get beaten, hurt or even killed. But what happens at the match rekindles Evelyn's love for this man she has known for so long. With insightful performances and a quiet subtlety, CHINA is a delightful and inspiring story about the endless adventure of marriage and life. 

Screenings

2007 African American & African Festival/U of Nebraska
2006 Dans le Cadre du Film Series, Dakar Senegal
2004 Boston First Night Celebration  
2003-04 PBS National Broadcast  
2003 Pan African Film Festival LA
2003 Athens International Film Festival
2003 Memphis Black Writer’s Conference
2003 Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival
2003 East Lansing Film Festival
2003 Pocono Mountains Film Festival
2003 Roxbury Film Festival
2003 Urban World Film Festival

Cast

Evelyn Jackson - Sheila Stewart
Rudolph Jackson - Von Washington
Shelberdine Lewis - Cecelia Birt
Dr. Guylee - Council Cargle
Douglas Chan - Jay Kim
Dre - Antonio Ramirez
Tuco - Jesse Barajas
Teenage Rudolph - Malouf Hassan
Reverend Merril - Rev. Calvin Martin
Griffin Sister1 - Jasmine Wray
Griffin Sister2 - Victoria Curry
Teenage Evelyn - Alaina Hudson
Preacher Adcock - Ulysses Wolf
Officer - JR Remick
Doctor - Richard Jewell

Crew

Writer/Director - Jeffrey C. Wray
Producer - Tama Hamilton-Wray
Producer - Dominique Brown
Director of Photography - Joe "Jody" Williams
Composer - Rodney Whitaker

Support From

Independent Television Service (ITVS)
National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC)