Script File

Will of a Tiger

In June 1945, BIRCH BAI, 30, bails out of his fighter plane in Yunnan Province of China and struggles to escape. DANNY HARDY, 30, comes to his rescue. He’s an American pilot and a Flying Tiger. They’re sworn brothers. Unfortunately, Danny’s plane is shot down by the Japanese. Both of them are captured and held in a cell with a dozen Nationalist Army Officers and Communists. Danny’s leg is severely injured, and MR. DING, a Communist, tries his best to help.

On August 7, 1945, the Japanese torture Danny and Birch for information about the atomic bomb. To save Danny, Birch gives a false confession. Three days later, the inmates plan a prison break. But their plan is leaked, and a young prisoner is beheaded in front of everyone. To punish them, the prison chief makes the prisoners choose half of them to die. Danny saves Birch by drugging him with a potent pain reliever he obtained from a sympathetic guard. Birch is devastated.

Later, the Japanese slaughter everyone. Birch is shot multiple times. Unconscious, he is saved from a mass grave. He loses a leg, and he’s in a coma. His girlfriend leaves him. His father brings him home. XIAO MEI, 24, a servant girl, volunteers to take care of him. Birch saved her years earlier, and she’s fallen in love with him. Six months later, Birch wakes up. On top of grief and survivor’s guilt, he has to deal with his disability. His father and Xiao Mei help him regain his spirits.

The Civil War starts. Birch’s family moves to a village in the fall of 1946. In 1942, Danny was rescued by JASMINE and DAISY, Birch’s cousin and sister, near the village. Jasmine was tortured and gang-raped by the Japanese for the whereabouts of Danny. She jumped off a cliff. Birch was sent to pick up Danny. The Japanese destroyed a bridge at a gorge on their way to escape. Daisy was separated from Birch and Danny. Birch killed Daisy to save her from a shameful death. Now, he and the villagers rebuild the bridge, search for Danny, and help Mr. Ding’s family.

The Communist is winning the war. Worked for the Nationalists, Birch and his father have no choice but to move to Taiwan. Birch can’t fulfill his promise to search for the remains of Danny and Jasmine. He loses his purpose. In 1951, he learns the death of a friend in the Communist-controlled Mainland. He runs into his ex-girlfriend, married and pregnant. In 1952, he’s wrongfully detained and tortured by the Nationalist Secret Police for conspiring against the government. Life is so unfair to Birch. As he loses hope, Xiao Mei’s words encourage him to fight. His friends and Xiao Mei facilitate his release. Sadly, his father passes away. Another friend commits suicide.

As his father wished and he vowed in prison, Birch marries Xiao Mei. On their wedding night, he’s embarrassed by his physical inadequacies. Xiao Mei reaches out and touches his soul. With her help, eight years after the war, Birch slowly heals. He starts a model airplane club for kids to honor Danny. He invites veterans and tells the heroic history to the younger generation.

PHOENIX BAI is born in 1953. Elated, Birch pours his love into his daughter. In 1965, Birch becomes ill and decides to visit Danny’s family in San Francisco, even without Danny’s remains he hoped to bring. He meets Danny’s sister and nephew, YOUNG DANNY, and gains another family. A Japanese neighbor brings unexpected news of Danny’s last moment of his life. Once again, Birch is devastated. But the sight of Young Danny and Phoenix gives him hope.

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    United States
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  • Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards
    Las Angeles, CA
    September 29, 2021
    Quarter Finalist
Writer Biography

Iris Yang, Ph.D. (Qing Yang) was born and raised in China. After graduating from Wuhan University, she was accepted by the prestigious CUSBEA (China-United States Biochemistry Examination and Application) program. At age 23, with poor English, little knowledge of the country, and 500 borrowed dollars, she came to the United States.
Later, she received a Ph.D. in molecular biology at the University of Rochester and worked at the University of North Carolina. Although she has published a number of scientific papers, she has a passion for creative writing and her Flying Tiger Trilogy—Wings of a Flying Tiger, Will of a Tiger, Legacy of the Tigers—has been published by Open Books. She has been interviewed on Public Radio and invited to speak at the Flying Tigers WWII Veterans 78th Anniversary Reunion.
Besides writing, Iris loves hiking, dancing, photography, and travel. She holds a private pilot license. Her website is

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