How did you get inspired to become a filmmaker?
I fell into directing almost by accident. Back in 2008, post-Prop 8, I was one of many LGBT activists fighting to win back our civil rights that was stripped from us by the voters of California. A group of us LGBT activists organized an event called the Revolution at the West Hollywood Auditorium and I decided to tape a “Take A Vow” video of attendees making a vow of commitment to win back our rights and I found that I really enjoyed being behind the camera and was moved to tears by these strangers who were pouring their hearts out on camera. I was hooked on being a midwife to the magic that happens between the camera and her subject and I had a little voice in my head telling me that I was good at connecting with people and that I should go to school to become a filmmaker.
What is your favorite part about the short film form?
That you only have to deal with one storyline.
Who were the people that supported the making of this film?
Jeff Priess Brian Dix Steffinnie Phrommany Bryan Espino Brian Alvarez T.J. Yoshizaki Christopher Rojas Michael Brewer Hanh Nguyen Brandon Shim JT Tepnapa.
What resources do you use as a filmmaker? Music, locations, props, editing, crew, etc.
For music I go licensed Jamendo Royalty Free Music Library. Locations: I begged, borrowed and stole (e.g., guerrilla filmmaking due to budget constraints). Props: I ask my actors to come to set dressed and we used what we could find on set for props. Editing: FXP X and YouTube Tutorials (thank God for those that create those videos). Crew: friends and hired professionals. Lights: Borrowed.
What is your next project?
A feature version of this film.
The independent film business is a difficult one. What keeps you motivated? Where do you see the industry going in the future?
What keeps me motivated is the burning desire to see a reflection of myself looking back at me up on the silver screen. And the fact that there are so many stories floating around in my head, competing to be told which are waiting impatiently, sometimes, in the wings. Also, the need to present the humanity of Asian people in all of our complexities and the fact that I’m not very good at anything else. Doing good in filmmaking is my only hope. I see the film industry becoming globalized. Broadcast and cable networks will most likely go away as we migrate to the streaming and online platform, 3D will give way to Virtual Reality and emmersive cinema experiences.
Which filmmakers, artists or individuals have most influenced your work?
Actress and Singer Cheryl Lee Ralph inspired me to believe in the power of the pen so she sent me down a path to becoming a writer. Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth, Hero with a Thousand Faces) and Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) have lead me to discover my hidden talent of writing. Patrik Ian Polk (Noah’s Arc) inspired me to follow in his footsteps to tell Asian gay stories for the big and small screens. Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated director Thavisouk Phrasavath (Nerakhoon: The Betrayal) inspired me to tell Lao stories and to become a filmmaker director. Seeing another Lao person recognized by the Academy gave me permission that I could do that too.
What advice would you give new filmmakers?
Become a jack of all trades and learn everything you can from cinematography to editing to producing to acting to writing to directing, because there will come a time when you won’t have money to pay people and you will need to do it yourself to get your film made.
Watch and vote for Where Our Worlds Meet .
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This pitch is competing in the REELPITCH Challenge, Remember you can vote once a day for the duration of the contest for as many pitches as you deem worthy!
Aug 09, 2016 at 9:00am MDT (America/Denver)
Aug 18, 2016 at 9:00pm MDT (America/Denver)
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