W. H. Donald
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FROM THE AUTHOR ...

 

Photo: K. Kotsiakos

 

 

 

 

 
 

TO SO MANY PEOPLE .... INCLUDING:

CHINA (Hong Kong): Cheung Yuen-ting and Alex Law.

    Simply, "Don" was inspired by filmmaker Cheung Yuen-ting whom I interviewed in November 1994 for Australia's ABC Radio National. She and her partner, Alex Law, were then writing and producing a remarkable new film, The Soong Sisters (1995-97), directed by Cheung Yuen-ting. The production dealt with an extremely sensitive subject since the Chinese regard two of the sisters - Mme. Chiang Kai-shek and Mme. Sun Yat-sen - as potent icons for the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek and Communists under Mao Zedong respectively.  As Donald's connection to the Soongs was strong my research and this project followed. Yuen-ting and Alex (both directors) have made a string of fine movies and Yuen-ting's latest takes in the rock music scene of Beijing.

USA: Ansie Lee Sperry and Henry Sperry

    Ansie Lee worked for W. H. Donald when he quit China in 1940 to begin work on his memoirs. She has her own interesting life story and her autobiography is nearing completion. She met husband-to-be Henry when they were both interned (as was Donald) in the Japanese-occupied Philippines from 1942 to 45. Ansie and Henry have persisted with their warm friendship and welcome correspondence over the past 5 years. I thank them for that and for much more.

CHINA (Shanghai): Xing Jianrong

AUSTRALIA: The Donald Family

    Especially Alan and Nancy Donald, and Phyllis Lucas, for their support, friendship and lways-welcome correspondence.

AUSTRALIA: La Mama Theatre

    That means Liz Jones (actor/Artistic Director), Maureen Hartley (actor/Publicity head) and an always wonderful team for allowing me to stage Don there in 1997. Ultimately too, Betty Burstall who started La Mama in 1967, inspired by New York's "Off Off Broadway" theatres like the original La Mama founded by Ellen Stewart. Named in homage to the latter, Melbourne's La Mama became a major force in Australian professional theatre, particularly in writing and directing. Miraculously, it continues that role under Liz Jones, aptly honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2001 Green Room Awards in Melbourne. The theatre's capacity (40 to 50 seats) belies its priceless flow of talent through to bigger-money cinema and theatre. [Even Cate Blanchett performed at La Mama!]

CHINA (Hong Kong): Law Kar

    One of Hong Kong's best historians writing on cinema. Happily, for me, he is an occasional co-author and his kind interest in Don indirectly resulted in an extract appearing in Ming Pao Monthly magazine [July 1997].

FRANCE: Phil Casoar

    Filmmaker, cartoonist and writer Phil Casoar has enough projects of his own to exhaust two lifetimes let alone offering interest and suggestions re Don - which he has done so. He nearly caused a seizure in 1975 when I laughed so hard at his animated film about a calamitous affair of Riri the sperm. It played in cinemas all over Paris.

AUSTRALIA: ......

Mark Savage

    Mark's infectious enthusiasm for HK cinema catalised my own and so led indirectly to Don. One of the country's busiest filmmakers, Mark has directed 3 features and has just as many in the pipeline. His black comedy, Sensitive New Age Killer (aka SNAK), plays nationally in Australia  from May 31. See www.snak-themovie.com

Kris Kotsiakos

    A talented and busy photographer/illustrator who took mugshots of me to prop up my ailing career, including the head pics used in the above animation, Read all about Kris and his range of work via: www.projectk.com.au .

Toby Thain

    Fellow movie enthusiast, occasional work colleague and, incidentally, one of the hottest "Web" designers around. No, he did not design this site but he did successfully launch it. Check Toby's professional base and interests on:  www.telegraphics.com.au

Winston Lewis

    The late Winston Lewis restored Mr. Donald's name to the "map"of Australian history. He wrote a definitive entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, while passionately preparing an equally definitive biography. In the 70s and 80s,, he extensively travelled to meet former Donald colleagues and spoke to then-living veterans of Chinese politics from the 30s. Mutual friend Dennis Miller introduced us in Sydney in the mid 1990s by which time Winston had abandoned the project or, at least, put it on hold. I had been unaware of his efforts until then. Yet he cordially offered me advice and encouragement. I did not know it then but he had not very long to live and, sadly, passed away in the latter 90s.

T

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Copyright, Frank Bren 2001. Photographs of Mr. Donald and friends are reproduced by kind permission of the Donald family (Australia) and Ansie Lee Sperry (USA). For all enquiries, please contact the Manager via frankmondial@lycos.com . Oh, and many thanks for visiting this site.