Edited by DEGANZ member Chia Chi Hsu, web series Inked is a milestone in Aotearoa’s television history — our first funded Chinese bilingual drama. That may seem surprising given that Chinese have been in New Zealand since the 1860s, the first non-European and Pacific Island immigrants to arrive. Although Inked reflects the lives of more recent Chinese immigrants, it speaks to generations of Asian New Zealanders.
The eight-episode series follows Jiayue, a 1.5 generation pharmacy student secretly apprenticing at a tattoo studio while she struggles to connect with her unhappy father. Technically, Inked contains four dialects of Chinese: Mandarin, Cantonese, Nankinese and Shanghainese. It has subtitles in both English and Simplified Chinese.
Chia cut the web series while completing a DEGANZ Drama Editor Attachment with editor Dan Kircher. When we spoke to Chia about her attachment, she said, “Bit by bit, what I had picked up from the attachment, I was able to apply them directly to what I was working on: from how to organise a project for a drama, how to tackle the notes, to tactfully dealing with tricky situations.”
Chia was part of a diverse, Asian-led cast and crew. Playwright Renee Liang, who had a small cameo, wrote on why Inked is significant for Aotearoa and what it was like behind the scenes.
According to Renee, “There is comedy throughout, but the observations in Inked – especially of the complex negotiation of family relationships when those involved are trying not to fall into the gaps between cultures – are insightful, deep and above all, real.”
The series debuted as a single package on Prime in late September. It is now available to stream on Neon and Sky Go.