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Children of Invention


After being evicted from their home, the Cheng family finds that times are tighter than ever. Hardworking single mom and recent Boston transplant Elaine tries desperately to find the means to support her young children. They move illegally into a model apartment in an unfinished building, but try to maintain a normal life. While Elaine juggles a number of jobs, her children Raymond and Tina become latchkey kids, taking care of themselves and finding amusement in building childish inventions. When Elaine is arrested for unwittingly taking part in an illegal pyramid scheme, things take a turn for the worse. Nobody knows the kids are home alone and are left to fend for themselves. Without any communication from their mother, little Raymond hatches a plan -- to take the long trek from the suburbs to downtown Boston, withdraw his family's life savings from the bank, start a business selling his inventions, and take care of his sister. Based on Tze Chun's own award-winning short film, WINDOWBREAKER, which screened at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, Children of Invention is a drama about the influence of an adult world on children, the immigrant mentality, and shortcuts to the American dream.


Learn more about CHILDREN OF INVENTION: 

See the Film

The Filmmakers

Tze Chun Writer/Director

Tze (pronounced "Z") Chun is a filmmaker working out of New York City and Los Angeles. He was born in Chicago and raised outside of Boston, and received his bachelor's degree in film studies at Columbia University.

Tze's short film WINDOWBREAKER, made for $600, was selected to play at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, as well as over thirty other high-profile international festivals. It won the audience award at the 2006 New York City Short Film Festival and best short film at the 2007 Vietnamese International Film Festival. That same year, Tze was selected to participate in Tribeca Film Festival's All Access Program with his feature ARTIFICIAL DISSEMINATION and IFPÕs No Borders International Co-Production Market with his feature YOU'RE A BIG GIRL NOW. In the summer of 2007, Tze was named one of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film."

Tze is currently working on multiple writing and directing projects. His feature film YOU'RE A BIG GIRL NOW is a period drama about his mother's childhood growing up in a Singaporean brothel. Based on two years of research and interviews, the film is currently being shopped. Pending financing, he hopes to shoot the film in Malaysia sometime next year.

Tze also works as a painter and visual artist. He is represented at CVZContemporary gallery in Soho, and has commissioned portraits in private residences in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, and New Orleans. Tze also painted the original artwork for the poster of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Academy-Award nominated HALF NELSON (THINKFilm) as well as the children's book drawings used in the film. CHILDREN OF INVENTION is Tze's feature film debut.

Mynette Louie Producer

Mynette is a New York-based independent film producer. She co-produced MUTUAL APPRECIATION, the second feature by Andrew Bujalski, winner of the 2004 Independent Spirit "Someone to Watch" Award. MUTUAL APPRECIATION was named one of the top ten films of 2006 by Entertainment Weekly, Film Comment, the Village Voice, Artforum, Greencine, and The Onion's AV Club, among others. She also produced several narrative short films by minority women directors that have screened at film festivals worldwide. She was selected by IFP as one of two emerging independent U.S. producers to participate in Rotterdam Lab 2008.

A native New Yorker, Mynette graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University with a B.A. in East Asian Studies, focusing on Chinese film and literature.

CHILDREN OF INVENTION is Mynette's first feature as lead producer.

Currently, Mynette is in pre-production on AYITI, AYITI by Patricia Benoit, which she is producing with Karin Chien (THE MOTEL, UNDOING, THE EXPLODING GIRL) and Ben Howe (TREELESS MOUNTAIN, WILD COMBINATION, DON'T LET ME DROWN, THE EXPLODING GIRL).

Festivals & Awards

Sundance Film Festival


Official Selection

Independent Film Festival Boston


Winner, Grand Jury Prize

Newport International Film Festival


Winner, Grand Jury Prize

Woodstock Film Festival



INVENTION has a sense of adventure. Primary colors abound, not least in the film's several dips into subtle daydream magical edge-of-your-seat family drama, pushed beyond the constraints of its micro-budget by two heartbreaking child actor performances.”


Chun's film has a real insight into the lives of children buffeted by the economic strains of today's world. Referencing both the mortgage meltdown and Ponzi schemes, the film finds delicate moments of beauty and grace as its child heroes are forced to make their own way.”

-Filmmaker Magazine

The gifted child actors — off-the-charts cute, refreshingly free of Hollywood precociousness — solidly anchor the film, but it’s Chun’s insights into the ways that poverty (complicated by factors of immigration, cultural gender biases and con artists exploiting desperation) erodes spirit that give Children its political and emotional heft.”

-LA Weekly