Karen Fang is a film scholar and cultural critic who writes about visual and literary arts. She is the author of Arresting Cinema: Surveillance in Hong Kong Film, a juror and commentator for museums and film programs around the globe, and a contributor to the nationally broadcast public radio series Engines of Our Ingenuity. Karen’s newest project is a book about Bambi artist and Disney Legend Tyrus Wong. She is a Professor of English at The University of Houston, committee member for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and on the board of the Houston Cinema Arts Society.
Self-taught writer-director Richard Linklater is among the first and most successful talents to emerge during the American independent film renaissance of the 1990s. Typically setting each of his movies during one 24-hour period, Linklater’s work explores what he dubbed “the youth rebellion continuum,” focusing in fine detail on generational rites and mores with rare compassion and understanding while definitively capturing the 20-something culture of his era through a series of nuanced, illuminating ensemble pieces which introduced any number of talented young actors into the Hollywood firmament. Born in Houston, Texas, Linklater suspended his educational career at Sam Houston State University in 1982 to work on an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. He subsequently relocated to Austin, where he founded a film society and began to work on his debut film, It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988). Three years later he released the sprawling Slacker (1990), an insightful, virtually plotless look at 1990s youth culture that became a favorite on the festival circuit prior to earning vast acclaim at Sundance in 1991. Upon its commercial release, the movie, made for less than $23,000, became the subject of considerable mainstream media attention, with the term “slacker” becoming a much overused catch-all tag employed to affix a name and identity of America’s disaffected youth culture.