FRUIT FLY (dir. HP Mendoza)
Audience Award Winner Best Narrative - SF Asian American Film Festival
From the creative mind of the writer of COLMA: THE MUSICAL came his directorial debut, the musical FRUIT FLY, on the adventures and misadventures of a “fag hag” in San Francisco. A poppy musical ode to life and figuring out one’s place in it as well as the gentrifying Mission District. Shooting and editing a musical behind-the-scenes reel for the wrap party (which eventually made it onto the DVDs special features) was my first shoot and edit job.
OPTION 3 (dir. Richard Wong)
From the other half of COLMA: THE MUSICAL’s creative brain trust, came this feature OPTION 3, part nighttime ode to Run Lola Run’s kinetic energy, part dark penance for sins of the past, this moody thriller was a 180 degree turn from COLMA. There were a lot of long takes with the camera roaming through homes and nighttime parks and Chinatown dance halls and mah jong parlors. I remember a lot of Red Bull infused late nights driving the van while Rich shot the lead, Preston, running beside us for take after long take through the dark streets. Premiered at San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.
THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA (dir. Wayne Wang)
Distributed by Magnolia Pictures
After I made the leap to pursue a filmmaking career, my first job was a temporary gig as the Outreach Coordinator of San Francisco Asian American Film Festival (now CAAMFest). I soaked up the creative energy suffusing the air at the festival, inspired by many of the films and filmmakers I saw there representing our community. Many of the festival staff knew I was interested in film production and so when the festival ended, they mentioned that they were assembling a team to help produce a new narrative film for CAAM (Center for Asian American Media) and perhaps, with my skills from my former life as a radio producer of live concert broadcasts, I could be of assistance. There’s a surprising amount of overlap actually: coordinating a technical team, managing logistics and egos, staying cool under pressure.
The festival work ended on a Friday and the next Monday I was back in the office as part of the production team, meeting the director, who turned out to be Wayne Wang, a hero of mine for his seminal early Asian American film works CHAN IS MISSING and DIM SUM. I’ll always be grateful to CAAM for giving me my first break.
TRT: 13 mins
Festivals: Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Austin Asian American Film Festival, Disorient Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival,
I wrote this as an ode to two things I loved: the old independent cinemas and the lush moody romance of Wong Kar Wai (check out the movie poster in front of the cinema). I also wanted to set for myself the artistic challenge of a silent film without the crutch of dialogue, just the images to tell the story. While on the surface, DOUBLE FEATURES is a melancholy story of loss and the promise of romance, it’s really a love letter to the fast disappearing neighborhood cinemas. When I first moved to the Richmond district there were five of them, now it’s down to two.
I used to go to the Balboa Theater where we shot this and loved the funky old atmosphere of the place, not to mention the neon sign that would blink through the thick fog of the Outer Richmond district of San Francisco, way out in the avenues by the ocean. I asked for a tour of the back room and at that time they were still running giant reels of film. The back projection booth as a funky little space but what was amazing about it was the spinning platters holding the reels and the projectors were on opposite sides of the doorway, meaning the film had to run up over the doorway and back, creating a magical moving archway of celluloid. It was here my first image for the film was born: a couple kissing in silhouette with these strips of film moving all around them.
CROSS FADER & SHADOWBOXING
WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/EDITOR & CO-DIRECTOR/CO-EDITOR
Festivals: San Francisco Asian American Film Festival
The first films I ever made as part of a film production class at Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon. Both shot in grainy 8mm b&w, they were where I took my first baby steps as a filmmaker. SHADOWBOXING was a collaboration with Andie Webb, another student in my class, who had cool eccentric ideas, like the surreal location where we filmed her boyfriend.
CROSS FADER was my solo debut as a filmmaker. I was still working my day gig for KBOO Community Radio in Portland and after hosting a Saturday night show for a couple years there, I thought the after hours studio environment would be the perfect place to shoot a movie that incorporated sound and memory.