Category Archives: Works in Progress

WD Gala + New Ways to Watch

In May we had a grand time hosting a Wicked Delicate spring showcase (and calling it a gala) at Anthology Film Archives in NYC. The gala featured previews of some works in progress – including Bluespace, Project Dad, Positively Beautiful, and The Search for General Tso – and a screening of Amanda Murray’s short film WORLD FAIR, fresh from its premiere at IFFBoston. It was especially fun to have several characters from that film in attendance – Hi Helene, Stanley, Jim, and Seymour! – along with a lot of folks from near and far who make our work possible. Thanks to all the friends, family, and filmmaking partners who came. Here are a few highlights from the red carpet circles:


And hey! There are some new ways to see our recent films:

THE CITY DARK is now featured digitally on iTunes and Amazon Instant. DVDs of WORLD FAIR are for sale on Amazon. As always, if you’d like to host a screening, drop us a line at [email protected]

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On the Gowanus

After a long winter indoors, the WD team has kicked off a spring full of shoots for our forthcoming film BLUESPACE, a feature-length documentary about terraforming and waterways. Last week, just a few blocks from our office, we hopped in canoes and paddled up and down the murky and malodorous Gowanus Canal while marveling at its toxic beauty.

waterways selfie

Lily and Lady by Trash

Owen Foote (below), of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, told us all about the canal’s foul industrial past and potentially blue-er future.

Owen, Bridge

The Dredgers lead canoe trips all summer and if you have the chance to take one, we recommend it. Paddling along the Gowanus is a unique (and, um, multi-sensory) way to experience Brooklyn, and a good reminder that much of New York City is defined by its waterways.

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Have you seen the General?

The WD team recently spent a whirlwind week in China on film shoots for THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO. Armed with photos of the General and an infamous chicken dish, director Ian and associate producer Lily touched down in Shanghai to find the trail.

In Shanghai, a city with floating trains(!), we met food bloggers, study-abroad students, cultural historians, and a branding expert. We took their pulse on the Shanghai food scene, the history of Chinese cuisine, and the differences between Chinese American food and authentic Chinese food. To find the General, they said, head south.

We flew to General Tso’s hometown, Xiangyin, in the Hunan Province, where we interviewed all kinds of folks and captured the local sites and lore. Our journey ended in a village on the outskirts of Xiangyin where nearly everyone claims to be descended from the famed General.

Ian in Museum

The older man below in the hat had the greatest eyebrows we’d ever seen.

Lily with Villagers

We were distracted briefly from General Tso’s Chicken by “Ecological Pigs Feet King”…

Ecological Pigs Feet

…and we ate tons of tasty Fish Head Stew.

Fish Head Stew

Stateside once again, the search continues!

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Slo-mo Tso

The WD crew recently had a fun and unusual shoot for THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO with Chef King Phojanakong at his terrific Asian fusion restaurant in Clinton Hill, Umi Nom. King let us take over the kitchen to shoot slow-motion footage of leaping wok flames and sizzling hot oil and flying chicken chunks and gooey red sauce as he made General Tso’s Chicken from start to finish.

Director Ian with cameraman Jack Shanahan as Chef King chops vegetables and cracks eggs for our pretty hilarious slo-mo shoot.

Director Ian with cameraman Jack Shanahan as Chef King chops vegetables and cracks eggs for our pretty hilarious slo-mo shoot.

Wok action

Wok action

The finished dish. Thank you, King and Umi Nom!

The finished dish. Thank you, King and Umi Nom!

Stay tuned for highlights from WD’s recent shooting trip to China. The search continues…


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WORLD FAIR on Kickstarter

Wicked Delicate producer Amanda Murray just launched a Kickstarter campaign to complete her first film, WORLD FAIR. We are so close to finishing this film. Please consider chipping in so we can bring it to the big screen!


WORLD FAIR is a short, impressionistic documentary about personal memory, amateur cinematography, and visions of the future at the radical 1939 New York World’s Fair. The film incorporates vibrant archival footage to illustrate the memories of five, heartwarming characters, pictured below. WORLD FAIR is co-produced and filmed by Ian Cheney and edited by Freddy Shanahan, with an original score by Bluebrain.

Kickstarter is all or nothing! If we don’t reach at least our minimum goal by the end of the campaign, WORLD FAIR won’t get a dime of the generous pledges. Please contribute. Every amount helps!

Visit Kickstarter for all the details, and please share this link on Twitter, Facebook, and in emails to friends:

Thank you for your support!

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Please support PROJECT DAD

Project Dad

We need your help!

Filmmaker and longtime WD collaborator Sharon Shattuck (animator extraordinaire for TRUCK FARM and THE CITY DARK) has only three days to go in her Kickstarter fundraising campaign for PROJECT DAD. Please consider chipping in a few bucks to support production of the film, as Sharon prepares to hit the road this summer for interviews around the country.

Directed by Sharon and co-produced by Wicked Delicate, PROJECT DAD is a feature-length documentary about LGBT families in America, stemming from Sharon’s own experience and celebration of her transgender dad. Viewers will meet children of LGBT families, expectant LGBT parents, family law experts, and politicians from both sides of the fence.

The Kickstarter campaign ends Saturday, June 30! Visit Kickstarter to read more about the project and see links to recent buzz. Huge thanks to everyone who has already chipped in, spread the word, and shown support!


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The search continues…

WD recently wrapped a cross-country filming trip for one of our works-in-progress, The Search for General Tso, exploring the history and character of Chinese food in America. Director Ian and producer Amanda visited and interviewed chefs, restaurateurs, writers, and historians from San Francisco to Missouri… and ate thousands of portions of General Tso’s chicken.

These are just a few of the people we met:

Chef Jesse Koide at Mission Chinese Food in SF (soon to open in NYC!) wields his General Tso’s Veal Rib, one of the restaurant’s innovative dishes. Mission Chinese started as a food truck before setting up in an existing Cantonese restaurant – for a while, the two restaurants operated simultaneously.


Eve and Frank Collins run the Chino Bandido Chinese-Mexican restaurant in Phoenix, AZ, dishing up combos (Frank says there are 90,000 possibilities) like Jade Red Chicken in a cheese quesadilla, with Cuban black beans and pork fried rice on the side. After the shoot, Eve and Frank sent us away with a huge box of grapefruits and oranges from their citrus orchard behind the restaurant.


In Tucumcari, NM, on former Route 66, we met bouyant restaurateur and culinary teacher Tammy Fang at Golden Dragon Chinese. Tammy’s family is the only Chinese family in town.


At Leong’s Asian Diner in Springfield, MO, chef Wing Yee Leong and his brothers carry on the legacy of their father, 91-year-old David Leong, who created a legendary local favorite, Springfield Cashew Chicken: the heartland’s answer to Chinese cuisine.


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Fall updates from WD

It’s been a busy past couple of months for the Wicked Delicate team! And it’s about time we share a few highlights:


In September, one of WD's new projects in development, THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO, had a terrific week at the prestigious Independent Film Week in New York, and the WD team is planning further film shoots. Stay tuned as the project progresses! (Photo taken by collaborator Jennifer 8. Lee during a Wicked Delicate filming trip to Taiwan last year)


In October, THE CITY DARK made its Middle East premiere at the vibrant Abu Dhabi Film Festival. It was an honor to share the stage and screen with so many fantastic filmmakers from all over the world! While in Abu Dhabi, Ian and Wicked Delicate producer Amanda Murray visited Masdar City to do some filming for another work-in-progress, THE GREENING OF QATAR, about sustainable building projects in Qatar and the Gulf region.


Later in October, Ian traveled to northern Italy to teach a course on food and the media at the University of Gastronomic Sciences, founded by Slow Food in 2004. Ian taught students working toward Master's Degrees in Food Culture and Communications.


The Truck Farm enjoyed some much-needed fall pruning!


Last month, after a screening of THE CITY DARK hosted in London at the BFI (British Film Institute) Southbank, Ian spoke on a panel with environmental lawyer Gwion Lewis, Bob Mizon of the Campaign for Dark Skies, Martin Morgan-Taylor from the International Dark-Sky Association, and David Elvin QC. The venue, turnout, and audience response were terrific! Thanks to Landmark Chambers for organizing and hosting a great event. (Photo courtesy of Landmark Chambers)


Ian traveled to Washington, DC, to accept a 2011 Heinz Award alongside long-time collaborator Curt Ellis. The award recognized their humor-infused documentary films and innovative advocacy work around food, sustainability, and the environment. (Photo by proud dad Bryan Cheney)


THE CITY DARK's community and theatrical runs are going strong. Here's a shot of the quirky Colonial Theatre in Belfast, Maine, where THE CITY DARK got a warm welcome in November.


…And on that last note, we’re thrilled about THE CITY DARK’s San Francisco theatrical premiere this TUESDAY, December 6, at the San Francisco Film Society. Don’t miss it!



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Back from Doha

Ian and WD producer Amanda recently spent a week on Doha, Qatar, to continue shooting on a project for the Qatar Foundation. The Foundation is the driving force behind Doha’s Education City, a complex of several international campuses for U.S. universities, including Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, and Northwestern.

Within Education City, the WD team interviews educators, engineers, architects, students, and site managers in documenting the construction of new Student Residence Halls aiming for a LEED platinum designation. As a resource-intensive, rapidly-developing region, the Gulf faces unique challenges in “green” building, sustainability, and environmental awareness — and unique opportunities to get them right from the start.

On site with Construction Manager Kostas Tetagiotis

Post-interview with Jamil Karam, Education City's Director of Student Life


This trip kicked off with a screening of THE CITY DARK that drew students, faculty, and staff from Education City and elsewhere in Doha. Chris Silva, Sustainability Education Coordinator for Education City, organized and introduced the screening — thanks, Chris! Given its rapid growth in less than a decade, and construction that carries on into each night, Doha provided a compelling context for a screening of THE CITY DARK, and a local review detailed some of the relevant development issues facing Qatar.


The WD team heads back to Doha for another shoot this winter. Stay tuned for updates on the greening of the Gulf!


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Eventful week!

Last Thursday, THE CITY DARK made its Washington, DC, theatrical premiere at Landmark’s E Street Cinema. Presented by the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, the premiere and Q&A drew a packed house!

From DC, Ian and THE CITY DARK (and thankfully, only a little blustery weather from Hurricane Irene) traveled down to the Rappahannock Independent Film Festival in Fredericksburg, VA. THE CITY DARK won Best in Show (!) and was honored with a beautiful metal statue crafted by Virginia-based Rodrigue Studios.


(Ian would also like to thank the Greater Fredericksburg Tourism Partnership for his sweet George Washington mask.)


This weekend, WD heads a bit further afield, for a few days of shooting plus a screening in Doha, Qatar!





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