I arrived to the beautiful sunshine at Palm Springs yesterday afternoon. After checking in at the Renaissance Hotel and getting my credentials at the hospitality room at the hotel, I got together with Ellis, my film executive producer, and Susan, my director.
We started this exciting film festival by attending a private party in the home of Brenda, a former film commissioner in Illinois. Brenda lives in Palm Springs now, but because of her Chicago ties, there were many people from Chicago and the midwest were there, including Chaz Ebert, Roger Ebert’s wife and Morman Mark, a former Chicago TV host and journalist. I was trilled to meet her and many others.
Early this morning, I went out for a hike on a trail behind the Art Museum, about 6 blocks away from the hotel. I waited until daylight to get on the trail and was soon captivated by the tranquility of the sprawling mountain ranges around me. I was relieved to see another hiker half way up a hill and watched him disappear as I stopped to admire the scenes of the valley.
Despite my fear of getting lost, I couldn’t resist the temptation of going higher and reaching one and then another peak. When I finally sat down on the flat surface of a large rock, I found myself bathed in the warmth of the rising sun. I extended my arms toward the blue sky, my thoughts turning to my grandmother and father, wishing that somewhere up there, they could see me and know I was here to tell their life stories on the screen to a large audience. Memories of my childhood flooded back, with grandma’s smiling face vividly in my mind. Watching the valley below me—dotted with palm trees and swimming pools, I found it hard to believe this was reality. Tears came to my eyes as I told Grandma that her legacy would live on through generations to come…
The first screening of Mulberry Child is at 12:30 p.m. today. As I descended quickly down the trail, I wiped away the tears of gratitude and joy and felt more determined and energized than ever before.
Jian Ping, author Mulberry Child: a Memoir of Child.