2012 Angel Film Awards - Monaco International Film Festival angel awards




Jamie Read of Portland, Oregon, seems a newcomer to screenwriting, but is an old hand with stories. She grew up in the Ozark Mountains, where characters and tales were essentials of hill life. At age ten, she wrote a letter to Walt Disney asking to author screen adaptions of Louisa May Alcott novels; however, her letter was saved by her mother and placed in a scrapbook. For practical reasons, Jamie switched from an English major to the sciences midway through college, then gained a Master’s in Biology from Missouri State University. She worked for 4 years in the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, then spent the winter of 1979-80 travelling and volunteering in Asia. She completed medical school with an M.D. from University of Washington, Seattle in 1985. After psychiatric residency at University of California, San Francisco, she returned to Alaska for half a decade as an officer in U.S. Public Health Service. Since 1995, she has worked as an inpatient psychiatrist in Portland, Oregon. Her love of story, books, unique characters, and writing continues. She lives with her husband and teenage son in a “green” apartment, and enjoys her work, art, history, tea, reading, film, and writing, as well as the Portland rain.

Jamie began weaving Asian themes into American stories in 2001, when her outpatient office moved to The Governor Hotel, and she was continuing monthly lunches with her friend Yufei, who is a Chinese immigrant, writer, and physician. Jamie’s interest in Asian culture and legends began in the 1950s and 60s, since her favorite uncle was a police officer in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Her travels in Asia added layering of interest and understanding, particularly since she had been able to go into China when it was newly open for Americans. With the backdrop of The Governor Hotel, merging American and European architecture and some Chinese art, Jamie’s writing continued to blend cultures. One of her stories was always envisioned as a film, and so in 2007, she began screenwriting.

Her first screenplay, “Ghost Sonata: the Winged Bridge,” set in Shanghai, Paris, and Portland, is a love story between ghosts: a Chinese immigrant cellist who died before his love, a half-Chinese, half-French ballerina, could marry him in Portland. In her second screenplay, “The Life and Afterlife of Jing Jing Wang,” Jing Jing remains an eight year old ghost in the historic Governor Hotel buildings from 1924 to present, as she blends filial piety with American ingenuity to find her way home. Despite being G-rated screenplays with Chinese protagonists, they have been honored in contests, with official selections and awards from coast to coast, in all 4 continental times–zones of the United States of America, as well as in Canada, France, and won at the Angel Film Award – Monaco in 2008 for BEST SCREENPLAY IN DEPICTING CULTURAL HARMONY.

Jamie’s scripts-in-process include a fun coming of age story about 3 tweens who work one summer in a Portland kayak shop, set in Oregon and China, as well as a social drama with a redemption plot set in Portland, Tibet, and the Ozarks. With Yufei Zhang, she is co-writing a sweeping drama set in the 1960s that bridges love and friendship amidst turmoil in 3 continents.


While visiting Portland, Oregon, in 1924, Jing Jing Wang dies of whooping cough, and remains 8 years old through decades of afterlife in a beautiful historic building.

With colorful friends of diverse origins, she integrates traditional Chinese beliefs with American ingenuity, holds onto what is most important, and rejoins her family.

Jing Jing Wang’s life and afterlife reveals a child’s transformation from fear to confidence, immaturity to wisdom. Her path, described in the oracle at her birth, is confusing: a short life, productive with many years; a leader in a new territory, revered, wise beyond years, yet unseen.

The challenge for Jing Jing is the challenge for all sentient beings: to do the best we can with what we have. And Jing Jing does—she transforms from a frightened, lost child to a mature being that can trust her own path, without possessions, still holding dear everything important. She perseveres despite an unfamiliar world, weaving cultural and spiritual themes through a lifetime of modern history, as her Chinese beliefs are integrated afresh with American ingenuity.

The story begins in 1924, Jing Jing’s 8th year in legendary Western China with her traditional Chinese Grandmother, just before immigration to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, by steamship. Jing Jing’s father, a bridge engineer, brings his family by train to his 90 day assignment in Portland, Oregon. The Wang Family is warned to avoid bootleggers by staying on the 2nd floor of hotels, and to avoid the dangerous Portland Underground.

They plan to tour scenic Oregon waterfalls, but Jing Jing becomes ill. Rushed to a doctor in the Portland Elks Lodge, Jing Jing succumbs to whooping cough, despite her mother’s pleas for her to “stay.” Dazed, confused, Jing Jing steps out of her lifeless body, which her mourning family carries away. She goes to 2nd floor of the Elks Lodge, certain her family will return for her.

Jing Jing is bewildered by her afterlife in the beautiful Italian Renaissance building she cannot leave, with lavish rooms and Elks members who cannot see her. Resident Chinese ghosts of building help her: Lu Zhang, a cellist who awaits his love, and The Walkers, 8 workers who sleep beneath the building. A magical, silent green parrot, Green Bird, who flies in the building between midnight to dawn, also is a support.

Once a year, on Hungry Ghost Day, lost spirits visit for food, including limping Cangue T’ish, who died a thief, and plots to trade bodies with Jing Jing. By autumn, Jing Jing realizes her family will soon return to Canada via train.

Wishing to join her family, she follows a bootlegger through the Underground towards the train station, but becomes lost, terrified. She encounters Jade Whistling Woman, a ghost trapped by grief, who gives her a pearl. Once The Walkers help Jing Jing get “home,” Green Bird sees the pearl, swallows it and is able to speak, advising her to never go to the Underground again.