The Life of Cheng Se Tseo in His Own Words was Simone’s first documentary. She researched, produced and directed it. She also created its WordPress website, as well as the Educator's Guide for those who want to use it in the classroom.
Cheng Se Tseo was born in rural Southern China around 1904. In his early years he defeated an opium addiction, served in Chang Kai Shek’s Nationalist Army, earned a PhD in the United States and was a sailor in the American Navy during World War II. He returned to China in the chaos of the post war years but had to flee the country again as the Communists came to power. He spent the last decades of his life creating beautiful pottery. Told in his own words, this documentary presents a man who has experienced much of the 20th century’s history.
This documentary took over a decade to make, and was a labor of love for the wife and husband team of Simone Fary and Richard Hall. The budget was miniscule, and much time was needed to conduct research and find a way a way to summarize such a complex life in less than 30 minutes. It was finally completed as a memorial tribute in December of 2002.
Dr. Tseo’s life itself is also a story of perseverance and commitment. He underwent many struggles in both his native China and his adopted home. At the end of his life his final career as a potter brought him much joy and became a tool for him to pass on his wisdom to younger generations. The filmmakers have been most gratified to see that this little movie appeals to a broader audience. So far it has:
- Aired several times on WPSX (a PBS affiliate that reaches over 500,000 households in PA and New York State)
- Aired on WBYE (an independent, member-supported Philadelphia based public TV station)
- Selected by the 2004 WAVES Festival at the University of Iowa
- Profiled in a 8/28/2003 Somerset (Pennsylvania) Daily American Article
- Screened as part of the "We are Takoma" series