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.
Mastery is not something that strikes in an instant, like a thunderbolt, but a gathering power that moves steadily through time, like weather.
Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter's honor.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
Producer/Director/Editor: Vincent Pun
Producer/Writer/Editor: Erika Hart
Director of Photography: Tony Garcia
Camera Operator: Loretta Conley
Erika and I began the journey of telling Bill’s story shortly after we were married 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.
And so, Erika and I drove up from Los Angeles to meet the Wong family in the San Francisco bay area to learn about Bill and his incredible dream. The Wongs were very welcoming and showed us hundreds of photos of Bill’s time in Spain and Mexico in pursuit of his unlikely dream. Our filmmaking adventure spanned across the United States — from California, to Arizona and to Maryland. Eventually, along with Loretta and Bill’s older brother Jack and his best friend Jorge Maza, we traveled to Madrid Spain. We were extremely fortunate to find friends of Bill’s who regaled us with countless stories from his life in Spain and his adventures in becoming a bullfighter. We hope you enjoy our film.
Vincent Pun is a writer, producer, director and editor like his wife, Erika. He wrote and directed several short films on 16mm and 35mm film and has since directed and produced dozens of HD corporate videos for Ad Agencies in LA. As a direct relative of Bill Wong’s and a fellow Asian (North) American – he can bring the requisite insight into Bill’s incredible journey.
Erika Hart is a writer, producer, director, and editor on a mission to make “El Chino” a great movie. With an eye for the quirks in everyday life, she wrote and directed a number of colorful, darkly comic short films. Her film production experience and jack-of-all-trades technical skills are perfectly suited for small, independent projects with modest bugets. Erika has a Bachelor of Arts in Filmmaking from University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, NC.
Tony Garcia graduated from East Leyden High School he then went on to study photography and art at the American Academy Of Art in downtown Chicago. After graduating he assisted for 8 years. Tony moved to Los Angeles in 1981. In 1984 he established Tony Garcia Photography. Tony photographs lifestyle people and products in studio and on location. He has a full service photography studio utilizing all formats with complete high-resolution computer enhancement and compositing capabilities. Tony Garcia has over 25 years experience working with Agencies & Clients in the US and abroad.
Loretta Conley handles public relations, aerial photography and marketing communications for Robinson Helicopter Company, the world’s largest helicopter company. An accomplished product photographer, her photographs appear in leading trade publications throughout the world. Loretta’s film studies include television drama writing and script supervising. Loretta holds Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Latin American History from the Pennsylvania State University.