Media Archive


26 Feb 2014

San Luis Obispo, CA

World Premiere of “MY SHANGHAI”
Film captures story of WWII internee

Documentary of World War II internee to screen
at SLO International Film Festival

SAN LUIS OBISPO – February 27, 2014 – The documentary “MY SHANGHAI” will hold its World Premiere at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival on March 8th and 9th. Virginia Lumsdaine McCutcheon, 94, a resident of San Luis Obispo County, shares her experiences as a POW of the Japanese in China during World War II in this film by first-time director P.H. Wells. Virginia’s extraordinary spirit is unveiled as she unleashes her wit and wisdom on love, loss, art, and the art of survival.

Mrs. McCutcheon, who is British by birth, met her future husband while both were interned at Lunghwa Civilian Assembly Centre — the “camp” — outside of Shanghai. This is the same camp made famous by J.G.Ballard in his novel “Empire of the Sun,” which Steven Spielberg later brought to the screen. After World War II ended, the McCutcheons found themselves stationed back in the Orient — first Hong Kong, then Japan.

Virginia’s daughter Ginny remembers asking her parents how they felt about moving to Tokyo after being prisoners of the Japanese. “My father would go in as a businessman with the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank,” she says in the film. “But what would my mother do?”

In “MY SHANGHAI”, award-winning writer-turned-director, P.H. Wells, explores the answers to this and other questions.

“I wish I’d met Virginia sooner,” Wells says. “We have a family tie, but her stories hadn’t traveled my way until three years ago. I challenged myself to make this film, my first film, because I felt I’d been given the rare chance to document her life.”

Ms. Wells will be present for Q&A at both festival screenings, 4:00pm Saturday, March 8 at the Downtown Cinemas, 888 Marsh St., San Luis Obispo and 4:00pm Sunday, March 9 at at the Galaxy Theatre, 6917 El Camino Real, Atascadero.

In addition, Ms. Wells will be among the panelists at the SLOIFF Filmmakers Panel, 10:00am Saturday, March 8 at the Palm Theatre, 817 Palm St., San Luis Obispo.

For ticket information, please go to Additional information about the film is available at

For interviews or photos:

P.H. Wells Director

One thought on “Media Archive

  1. I was also in the camp. My family stayed in G block. My two sister and I now live in Perth. I woul love to be able to buy the DVD if there are still some copies. Congratulations on winning the awards for your first film .
    Kind regards
    Deirdre Musson

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