Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Guide to Bars and Nightlife in the Sacred City

Fuck Yeah!  I had the opportunity to chat with San Francisco author Benjamin Wachs for an hour last week about his new book A Guide to Bars and Nightlife in the Sacred City.

Although the book is a work of fiction, Wachs' 26 stories were inspired by his personal experiences traveling the world as a freelance journalist, including writing for Playboy.

"If we tape enough heartfelt wishes on streetlights and leave enough dreams on the curb, anything can happen," Wachs says in his preface. "Millions of souls in crowded neighborhoods praying beneath the surface of their daily lives lead to manifestations of the miraculous and infernal just around the corner. A block of Paris where fire dancers spin outside Notre Dame connects to a sliver of Chicago where angels dance in a speakeasy, that attaches to miraculous Thai food in London, and to a faith healing in San Francisco, to an architectural marvel in Moscow and a tantric revelation in New Orleans, to a lost opera in Vienna and a resurrection in Pittsburgh, and the perfect couch appearing on Craigslist in Toronto. Never stopping. This is the Sacred City."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Catch me on CBS series Scorpion




Thursday, October 9, 2014

Extended clips from Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story




Tuesday, June 3, 2014

China's first female astronaut




Thursday, May 22, 2014

Q&A with Jennifer Betit Yen




Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Support "Aviatrix" Indiegogo campaign

Please help support our Indiegogo campaign for Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story. Donate today to help make this great project happen.  Visit the link below:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

First Chinese commercial airline pilot




Saturday, May 10, 2014

An Artistic Quest For The Truth






Happy Mother's Day - Aviatrix Indiegogo Launch




Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Aviatrix Facebook Page

We've hit 800 Likes on our Aviatrix Facebook page.  We're also officially launching our Indiegogo campaign this weekend to celebrate Mother's Day.  Please visit us on Facebook for more details about our campaign.




Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Aviatrix Project Indiegogo Campaign Launch


Check out my latest post on the Aviatrix Facebook page.  We're going live with our Indiegogo this weekend with an official launch on Mother's Day weekend.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Aviatrix Documentary Web Series Project Launched

Please check out my new documentary film and web series project!

Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story

Friday, April 4, 2014

San Francisco filmmaker Adam Chin explores lurid stories of death and dying in 'Graham's Tales'

 www.grahamstales.com.
Adam Chin and Graham Cowley

Here's an article I originally wrote for the San Francisco Richmond Review last month. (Updated here for my blog with additional quotes and links)

Adam Chin and Graham Cowley compare working together on their web series "Graham's Tales" to musicians recording an album together.

Chin also points out that the process of creating each new episode is similar to cutting a song.
"A long song was epic at five or six-minutes," Chin says. "And short ones were sometimes two-minutes long. So, we took the lead from records."
The Richmond District-based duo recently assembled a greatest hits collection of episodes from the web series to create a "Graham's Tales" documentary feature film, which they have submitted to film festivals in the United States and internationally.
"I took the best 22 episodes and put them in a certain sequence. We call it our play list and album," Chin says. "We're sort of being old school. We felt we were making a record album."
In addition to providing lurid tales from Cowley's years in the death and dying trade working as a San Francisco Medical Examiner's investigator, the documentary also includes the true story of when death came knocking on Cowley's own door as "death got personal."

Chin offers viewers first-hand accounts of true-life cases through Cowley's vivid descriptions, including segments on how a person dies from gastro-intestinal bleeding, and what it's like to investigate the scene of a decomposed and rotting corpse.


Born and raised in the north of England, Cowley grew up near the Scottish border in a hardworking coal-mining town.

As a youngster, he was exposed to American television shows and the rebellious rock music of the '60s, which led him to leave school by age 14.

At first, Cowley attempted to become a shoe maker but eventually decided to join a band, which he claims gave him a "false sense of self."

Later, a friend helped him get a job working in an autopsy room, where he got his initial exposure to the "blood and gore" aspect of handling corpses.

After several years of saving up money, he decided to pursue his dream of moving to America.

However, Cowley was unable to acquire a U.S. work visa and settled in Canada, where he hitchhiked from Toronto to Vancouver in 1974.

Broke and homeless in Vancouver, he eventually got a job at the local morgue in the autopsy room.
“I had long hair, a velvet jacket and looked like a hippie rocker,” Cowley says, describing his appearance as being a cross between Elton John and David Bowie.  “I lied to the Medical Examiner about having attended the School of Pathology in England.”
Cowley was given a six-month trial period but after three months admitted the truth to his employers who generously paid for him to get his training and citizenship.

After 10 years, Cowley made the move to America, relocating to San Francisco.

A vagabond of sorts, he worked a variety of jobs, including actor, dishwasher and Super Shuttle driver during the '80s.

At his lowest point, he was eating corn flakes and Mars bars and living among the homeless, but eventually landed a position with the San Francisco Medical Examiner, where he worked for 23 years before retiring.

Cowley later moved into the Richmond District just two weeks before the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake struck the city.


In 1990, while moonlighting as an actor, Cowley met Chin for the first time through mutual friends in the neighborhood.

An independent filmmaker and computer graphics artist, Chin was born and raised in San Francisco.

His computer-animated film "Opera Industriel" (with Richard Cohen) won a Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival, and his live-action short film "Normal Deviate Behavior" (with John Voltz) won a Golden Carp Award at the Seattle Asian American Film Festival.

In 2004, Chin wrote and directed a feature film, "Maladaptive," which starred Cowley.
Afterwards, they remained friends, with Cowley continuing to work for the medical examiner and Chin for Pacific Data Images (later bought by Dreamworks), where he spent 10 years assisting with animated lighting effects for movies, including the "Shrek" series, "Kung Fu Panda 2" and "Rise of the Guardians."

But it was at the end of 2012, after Cowley retired from the medical examiner's office and Chin took a sabbatical from his computer graphics work, that the two began conceiving of the "Graham's Tales" web series.
"We both had stressful jobs," Chin says. "It came together because now we're a little older and at a point where we can meet and reflect on our lives and what we've done."
Chin, who lives just three blocks away from Cowley, says they were spending a lot of time hanging out watching movies together.

At the time, Chin was attempting to write a screenplay but was suffering from a creative blockage.
"Graham has a lot of weird stories," says Chin, recalling how the idea for "Graham's Tales" emerged from the "concept of play and creativity."
 Chin adds: "As adults you have to learn to play.”

With that sense of playful creativity motivating them to go out and do something, they chose to visit the apartment building where the classic Steve McQueen movie "Bullitt" was filmed.

Once Cowley began telling stories about his experiences working in the medical examiner's office,
Chin felt as if he'd discovered "filmmaker's gold."

The duo have since refined their creative process with Cowley typically writing down ideas for topics to cover the night before shooting and then having conversations with Chin the next day about what they plan to do before going out to shoot.

For each episode, they drive around the City to various locations, where Chin shoots interviews with Cowley telling tales for viewers.

Chin feels the process is comparable to a television news reporter going into the field to gather information for a story.
"Sometimes we'll come back with a different story than we intended," Chin says.
For more information about "Graham's Tales," visit the website at www.grahamstales.com.

Fans can Like "Graham's Tales" on Facebook at:  www.facebook.com/GrahamsTales

To watch "Graham's Tales" visit:  www.youtube.com/user/GrahamsTales

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Asian-American Hustle

This Senator Leland Yee corruption scandal gets more ridiculous by the day.

It's turned into an Asian-American Hustle, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood undercover FBI agents.

I'm going to assume Senator Yee didn't watch American Hustle, otherwise he would not be in this big mess.  Or maybe he's just inept or not paying attention to anything depicted in the movie.

In any case, more hilarious news broke yesterday, when it was revealed that Senator Yee was partnering with Daly City dentist Wilson Lim, whom the FBI alleges is an international arms trafficker with connections to a Philippines terrorist group known as MILF.

Quoting from the news article
"Desperate to broker a weapons trafficking deal that could land $100,000 for his secretary of state campaign, state Sen. Leland Yee allegedly called on an old friend and donor with connections to a militant Muslim terrorist group looking to overthrow the Philippines government.
The secret source supposedly said he could get the buyer, an undercover FBI agent posing as a Mafia gangster from the East Coast, Israeli-made assault rifles and possibly up to $2.5 million worth of military-grade weaponry. Who was this mystery international arms smuggler?
Meet Wilson Lim, a frail, balding, 60-year-old nearly bankrupt dentist. Three years earlier, court documents say, Lim was recovering from a massive heart attack that left him in a coma for a month and mentally fragile, unable to handle his financial affairs. A psychologist found him not fit to practice dentistry, let alone traffic arms."
If someone is trying to humiliate and embarrass Leland Yee, they are doing one heck of a job so far.

The release of this information could not be timed any better.

Today is April Fools Day!

LMAO!



Monday, March 31, 2014

Still Images from "The Raid 2: Berandal"

For fans of "The Raid" and director Gareth Evans, here's a few still images from the upcoming "The Raid 2" which opened in limited release March 28.






















Sunday, March 30, 2014

(Spoilers) Walking Dead Episode 416 "A"


Check out this AMC video revealing the key moments from Season 4 Finale Episode 16 entitled "A" which featured a twisted reunion of Prison Group members at Terminus.

The Wild Bunch: The Making Of The Final Shootout.

Check out this great extracted sequence from Tyrus Entertainments' "The Wild Bunch: An Album In Montage," A documentary of the making of the iconic Sam Peckinpah's film "The Wild Bunch" by Paul Seydor and Nick Redman.

Korean American student selected to present Oscar statuettes at 86th Academy Awards

Check out my Q&A with Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts student Nathan Flanagan-Frankl.

Nathan is a Korean American student, who was one of the lucky winners of "Team Oscar," a six member group of college students chosen to present statuettes at the 86th Academy Awards.

To see full Q&A article go to:  http://www.examiner.com/article/q-a-with-team-oscar-winner-chapman-university-student-nathan-flanagan-frankl

Nathan Flanagan-Frankl

Friday, March 28, 2014

CAAMFest 2014 wrap up


CAAMFest 2014 wrapped up following 11 days of film, music and food programming this past week.

Here are the official details courtesy of Larsen Associates and CAAM:

Described as the largest festival of its kind in the country, CAAM welcomed over 260 participants and showcased over 120 films from 19 countries, including 29 narrative films, 15 documentaries, 77 short films as well as 7 World premieres, 2 North American premieres and 17 San Francisco premieres. The festival saw a 20 percent increase in attendees, welcoming over 26,000 audience members.

CAAMFest Highlights

This year's winners include: FARAH GOES BANG, dir. Meera Menon for Comcast Narrative Competition; CAMOBODIAN SON, dir. Masahiro Sugano for Documentary Competition; LAN YAN, dir. Danielle Schmidt and GRAND CANAL, dir. Johnny Ma for the APCA Student Film Award; ILO ILO, dir. Anthony Chen for the Remy Martin Filmmaker Award; EAST SIDE SUSHI, dir. Anthony Lucero for Best Narrative Audience Award; AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS, dir. Grace Lee for Best Documentary Audience Award; and WHY WE RISE, Dirs. Corrine Manabat and Brian Redondo for the Loni Ding Award for Social Issue Documentary.

HOW TO FIGHT IN SIX INCH HEELS opened CAAMFest 2014 at San Francisco's historic Castro Theater with a red carpet that welcomed star, producer, and Bay Area native Kathy Uyen, actors Sigmund Watkins and Truc Diem as well as director Ham Tran, producer Tim Bui and writer Tim Tori. The festivities continued with the Opening Night Gala at the Asian Art Museum which included an exclusive viewing of Yoga: The Art of Transformation, a fashion presentation by Retrofit Republic, music from local DJs and delicious bites and beverages courtesy of local restaurants and vendors.

This year, CAAMFest showcased two centerpiece presentations: AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS and COLD EYES. Directed by acclaimed director Grace Lee, AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS spotlights the iconic Grace Lee Boggs, the 98-year-old outspoken activist, feminist, author and philosopher. The film played to a packed house at the Castro Theatre, followed by an inspirational Q&A with director Grace Lee and the American revolutionary herself, Grace Lee Boggs.

The night continued with the international centerpiece, COLD EYES, a remake of the 2007 Hong Kong film EYE IN THE SKY, directed by Jo Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo. The crime thriller follows an elite police surveillance unit as they track down a ruthless string of robberies. Director Jo Ui-seok and Producer Song Dae-chan were present for the screening of South Korea's biggest hit of 2013 and the Q&A after.

CAAMFest was proud to host Curatorial Residents, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam for this year's retrospective sponsored by the Asian Cultural Council. Sarin and Sonam are the directors of the new Dharamsala International Film Festival in India and bring the best of contemporary, independent Indian and world cinema to the city that is home to the Dalai Lama and the capital of the Tibetan community in exile. The festival featured two of their films: THE SUN BEHIND THE CLOUDS and DREAMING LHASA which were featured in the Committed Cinema series at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Since the inaugural festival in 1982, the PFA has been a generous co-presenter of programming at CAAMFest.

The historic Great Star Theater located in San Francisco's Chinatown was home to two special presentations spotlighting the works of the Grandview Film Company as well as the late Sir Run Run Shaw. Thanks in part to the Hong Kong Film Archive, CAAMFest had the privilege of showcasing two films by the legendary Chinese American producer Joseph Sunn Jue (1904-1990) and the Grandview Film Company. For the first time in 67 years, festival attendees were treated to screenings of BLACK MARKET COUPLE and WHITE PODWER NEON LIGHTS, two of seven surviving films from the collection. The festival also paid tribute to Run Run Shaw, the Hong Kong media mogul. As the founder of Shaw Brothers Studios, he elevated the kung fu movie genre to global proportions. CAAMFest honored his legacy by screening three movies produced by the Asian cinema pioneer:  THE KINGDOM AND THE BEAUTY, COME DRINK WITH ME and KING BOXER (FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH).

CAAMFest kicked off the second weekend with the Superawesome launch at the Oakland Museum of California along with a sold-out screening of AWESOME ASIAN BAD GUYS with filmmakers Stephen Dypiangco and Patrick Epino and star Dante Basco in attendance. The festival continued with a full weekend of programming at its newest venue, the New Parkway Theater.

Closing night’s DELANO MANONGS, at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland, documents the overlooked story of the Filipino leader Larry Itliong and his role in the creation of the United Farm Workers Union. The film screened to a sold out house and was followed by an insightful Q&A with the director, Marissa Arroy. Festival attendees celebrated the culmination of CAAMFest 2014 at the closing night party at Vessel Gallery.

World Premieres at the festival included AWESOME ASIAN BAD GUYS (dirs. Stephen Dypianco and Patrick Epino, USA), FAMILY INGREDIENTS (dir. Heather Huana Giugni, USA), FLAT3 (dir. Roseanne Liang, New Zealand), HULA: MERRIE MONARCH'S GOLDEN CELEBRATION (dir. Roland Yamamoto, USA), JEEPNEY (dir. Esy Casey, USA), LORDVILLE (dir. Rea Tajiri, USA) and STORIES FROM TOHOKU (dirs. Dianne Fukami and Eli Olson, USA).

Directions in Sound
CAAMFest's premiere Asian and Asian American music program continued to serve as a platform for emerging and cutting edge artists. The Korean Showcase featured MC Kero One, and the bands Love X Stereo, Glen Check, Rock N' Roll Radio and SmackSoft. Here Comes Treble was a showcase of female talent in hip hop, folk and soul with the Bay Area-based MC Rocky Rivera, the contemporary sounds by Cynthia Lin and the Blue Moon All-Stars and a roster of turntablists including DJ Umami, DJ ThatGirl and DJ Roza.

2014 Comcast Narrative Competition
The Comcast Narrative Competition celebrates this year's selection of filmmakers, whose films redefine our perceptions of family, friendships, self-identity, morality and even reality. The 2014 jury included Melissa Hung, founding editor of Hyphen magazine and director of WritersCorps; Musa Syeed, director and writer of VALLEY OF SAINTS; and Nicholas Chee, award-winning Singapore-based photographer, filmmaker and co-founder of Sinema Old School & Sinema TV.

Winner: FARAH GOES BANG, dir. Meera Menon
Jury statement: The lineup this year was very strong and led to some spirited debate amongst the Comcast Narrative jury, which is always a good sign. The Comcast Narrative award goes to a film that not only captures the changing landscape of America with intelligence and honesty, but also creates a refreshing, vital, and often hilarious portrayal of female friendships. The winner of the Comcast Narrative Award is FARAH GOES BANG, by director Meera Menon.

We, the jury, would like to give a special mention to BRAHMIN BULLS, by director Mahesh Pailoor for its portrayal of a complicated father-son relationship.

2014 Documentary Competition
This year's documentary competition brought a batch of films from around the world that chronicle the lives of people from all over the globe in their boundless search for home, identity, human connection and perhaps even fame. The 2014 jury included Cheryl Hirasa, Director of Program Development & Content Strategy for Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC); Michael Fukushima, award winning producer of CNOTE and JAIME LO, SMALL AND SHOW.

Winner: CAMOBODIAN SON, dir. Masahiro Sugano
Jury statement: We chose a film about a fascinating character and in the process of learning about his story and journey we learn about a little-known but compelling community of Asian American exiles.

By unanimous choice, we award the prize to CAMBODIAN SON.

APCA Student Film Award
The AT&T Student Film Award recognizes promising voices in Asian and Asian American media and is presented to college students that exemplify the voice of a new generation.

Winners: LAN YAN, dir. Danielle Schmidt; GRAND CANAL, dir. Johnny Ma

Remy Martin Filmmaker Award
CAAM uncovers and nurtures talent from around the globe. With the generous support of Rémy Martin, we are proud to present the Rémy Martin Filmmaker Award to an outstanding filmmaker.

Winner: ILO ILO, dir. Anthony Chen
Statement from Alan Way, Senior Director of Remy Cointreau USA: ILO ILO's impeccable cinematography drives the story of a dysfunctional family. Through a densely plotted, visually driven story, Director Anthony Chen weaves beautifully the rebellious nature of Jiale, his relationship with Theresa, the mother and father, classmates and teacher. The film reveals complications within a modern day family and brings light to domestic workers working away from home. Rémy Martin is happy to award the Rémy Martin Filmmaker Award to Mr. Anthony Chen for this artistically stirring film.

2014 Audience Award
The Audience Award gives valued members of our audience the honor of selecting their favorite films of the festival. The 2014 Audience Award winners are:

Best Narrative Feature: EAST SIDE SUSHI, dir. Anthony Lucero
Best Documentary Feature: AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS, dir. Grace Lee

Statement from director Anthony Lucero: Thank you to Masashi Niwano for taking a chance and programming my film, to the CAAM staff and of course the great Bay Area audience that came out in full force to watch our film. EAST SIDE SUSHI is a film that I, my cast and crew poured everything into and the recognition is more than gratifying.  It's a special honor to receive this award and acceptance from the CAAMFest audience.  Much love to you all.

Statement from director Grace Lee: We are incredibly honored to win the Audience Award for Best Documentary at CAAMFest.  The screening at the Castro was such a moving community event for our entire team and for Grace Lee Boggs as well. To see so many people embrace not only the story but get so excited about the ideas in the film and to do it with Grace Lee Boggs herself in the room will be a highlight of our film's trajectory for years to come. Thank you so much, Bay Area audiences and CAAMFest for bringing us all together.

2014 Loni Ding Award
Loni Ding devoted her life to advocacy and public service, and played a key role in the founding of several public media organizations, including the Center for Asian American Media. The Loni Ding Award for Social Issue Documentary was created in 2011 to honor the film and filmmaker that most reflect the passions of the late TV producer.

Winner: WHY WE RISE, Dirs. Corrine Manabat and Brian Redondo

Guests in Attendance
Special guests in attendance at this year's festival included actor/producer Kathy Uyen, director Ham Tran, producer Tim Bui, actor Sigmund Watkins, actor Truc Diem writer Tim Tori and costume designer Nuchsuda Charmreonpucksa (HOW TO FIGHT IN SIX INCH HEELS); director Grace Lee and subject Grace Lee Boggs (AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS); director Jo Ui-seok and producer Song Dae-chan (COLD EYES); director Anthony Chen (ILO ILO); director Masahiro Sugano (CAMBODIAN SON); director Meera Menon (FARAH GOES BANG); director Anthony Lucero, actors Yutaka Takeuchi and Diana Torres (EAST SIDE SUSHI); director Mahesh Pailoor and actor Sendhi Ramamurthy (BRAHMIN BULLS); director J.P. Chan, actors Jodi Long, Jo Mei, Lucas Dixon, Teyonah Parris and producer Yasmine Gomez (A PICTURE OF YOU); directors Stephen Dypiangco and Patrick Epino and actor Dante Basco (AWESOME ASIAN BAD GUYS); director Roseanne Liang (FLAT3); director Louisa Wei (GOLDEN GATE GIRLS); directors Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam (DREAMING LHASA, SUN BEHIND THE CLOUDS); director Tenzin Tsetan Choklay (BRINGING TIBET HOME); directors Dianne Fukami and Eli Olson (STORIES FROM TOHOKU); director Keo Woolford (THE HAUMANA); director Ty Sanga (FAMILY INGREDIENTS); director Sun Kim and producer Trip Hope (INNOCENT BLOOD); director Baby Ruth Villarama and producer Chuck Gutierrez (JAZZ IN LOVE); director Esy Casey and producer Sarah Friedland (JEEPNEY); director Visra Vichit-Vadakan (KARAOKE GIRL); director Rea Taijiri and producer Sian Evans (LORDVILLE); director Hao Wu (ROAD TO FAME); director Richie Mehta and actor Rahesh Tailang (SIDDHARTH); director Marissa Aroy and producer Niall McKay (DELANO MANONGS); and director/producer Duc Nguyen (STATELESS); Supervisor David Chiu, City and County of San Francisco District 3; California Assemblymember Rob Bonta, District 18;  Martin Yan, Yan Can Cook Inc, and Roy Yamaguchi, Roys’ Restaurants.

Coming soon from CAAM
The Center for Asian American Media continues to provide Asian American programming throughout the year. During May, CAAM will celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month with the series Japanese American Lives which will be available on national public television. CAAMFest will continue to bring Asian and Asian American programming and events later this summer when the festival heads to San Jose.

Membership
Members support CAAM’s year-round programming, including CAAMFest. They receive fantastic benefits including discounts on CAAMFest tickets, invites to events throughout the year, and complimentary CAAMFest tickets.

For more information on membership and more CAAM events visit CAAMedia.org.

CAAMFest gratefully acknowledges its sponsors
CAAMFest is supported in part by the following: Xfinity, Asian Art Museum, Buick, Singapore Airlines, Asian Americans for Civil Rights & Equality (“AACRE”), AARP, Cooper White & Cooper, FilmFest, Gala Festival Engine, Pacific Islanders in Communications, Pacific Standard Print, Remy Martin, Southwest Airlines, Asian Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Grants for the Arts/Hotel Tax Fund, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. CAAM is supported with major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

About CAAM:
CAAM (Center for Asian American Media) is a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. CAAM does this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media. For more information on CAAM, please visit www.caamedia.org.

Interview with Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais on "Raid 2: Berandal"

Check out Ray Hom's interview with "The Raid 2" director Garth Evans and actor Iko Uwais.

The film opens today in theaters.  Interview video includes EXCLUSIVE IMAGES & FOOTAGE from the film!  

Interview by Ray Hom. Camera by Jeff Lunzaga. Production in association with Ed Moy and Larsen Associates.  And please visit Ray's site:  http://www.minderasemedia.com

Monday, March 24, 2014

Love Express



Here's a stylish looking short film that I heard about on Facebook from New York filmmaker Patrick Chen.
 
Patrick recently sent this note about his film:
Love Express is an 18-minute short film that takes place in Queens, New York.  It has been an origin of my upbringings.  It holds a unique working class community of diversity (predominantly Hispanics and Asians). This is the setting for our protagonist, an Asian male who comes across a mysterious woman on the quintessential Queens’ 7 train. Seeing she is troubled, he takes it upon himself to console her as he witnesses her sadness unfolds.
This brief encounter leads him on an emotional journey, which sparks the question…could you ever fall in love with a stranger on a train?
I wrote the story back in 2010.  I wanted to focus on young Chinese-Americans and their lifestyle, similar to The Breakfast Club. It was important for me to capture the true persona of Asian Americans, a persona which haven’t been in its true form on film yet.  My friends and colleagues were fascinated by the script’s concept, how it took place in a subway and was entirely narrated through voiceover.  They compared it to a silent film. My approach was to manifest the emotion of the character on a everyday scenario - a slice of life moment.
Three years later, I was able to produce Love Express with people who believed in the project.  This was a micro-budget film.  The cast and crew didn’t get paid.  I couldn’t afford a subway film permit so we shot entirely guerrilla style during the hours from 1am to 5am.  The procedure took longer that expected given the circumstances of people’s schedule, pedestrians and the police.  After a few months we persevered and created a film that represented beauty, pain and a true Asian American voice.  It was a terrific accomplishment in my opinion, but still there was something missing for me.  The film needed proper post-production beyond my expertise and resources.  This is when my team and I decided to put together a Kickstarter page.  We are so grateful and amazed at the success of the crowdfunding campaign. 
Here are the film's details:
Cast:
Tim Liu
Margaret Ying Drake
Crew:
Patrick Chen, Xi Hao – writer, director, producer, cinematographer
Jerry Villanueva – assistant director
Janice Chung – camera assistant
Artem Kulakov – sound engineer
Mike Kelly – music composer
Wayne Change – casting director
Shannon Ko – script supervisor, Kickstarter editor
William Ng – key production assistant 

To support the film go to:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chenxihaofilms/love-express-where-will-this-train-take-us