Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kimmy Kiew is Zoey, a Dawson's Creek character with ice powers

Memories of the Legendary Chicken Rice
Kimmy Kiew in Chicken Rice Mystery

You know that the main actress of your short film had turned into a star when, aside from scooping up the Best Acting honours from BMW Shorties, she was chosen as the 'face' of the film by the Dubai Film Fest in their film catalogue. (I sent them two photos: a above photo of Kimmy, and a photo of the kid, Ming Wei, they ended up choosing Kimmy's photo... sorry Ming Wei)

Monday, December 29, 2008

I DO have a clearer photo of Brigitte Lin from Dubai Film Fest!

Looking for photos to use in an email interview, I sifted through some remaining photos of the Dubai Film Fest closing ceremony that I haven't uploaded in my earlier post.

And I found a photo with Taiwanese filmmaker Chang Rong-Ji, who made the short film '天黑 The End Of The Tunnel', also in the same category as I was. His film is a mixture of fact and documentary, focusing on a real-life blind pianist and his (fictional) relationship with a pretty schoolmate who is healing a broken heart. The short film was his first attempt at narrative fiction as his previous works were all documentaries (one won the Golden Horse two years ago)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thomas Alfredson's 'Låt den rätte komma in (Let The Right One In) is hauntingly sweet


Not that many people I know (non-film buffs who don't keep track on foreign film news) have heard of this beautiful Swedish film directed by Thomas Alfredson, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. When I was asked to explain the premise of the film, I was a little hard-pressed, the best I could come up with was...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Shimaka Sato's K-20: Legend of the Mask K-20 怪人二十面相・伝 starring Takeshi Kaneshiro and Takako Matsu

I didn't even know that this film is already playing in the cinemas until I saw the trailer on TV yesterday (or rather, early this morning, 4am), and I immediately decided to see it because, aside from the film festivals I attended, I haven't been to the cinemas in Tokyo for a long time.

K-20: LEGEND OF THE MASK (also known as K-20: THE FIEND WITH TWENTY FACES) is, in my opinion, Japan's attempt at the superhero genre, or to be more precise, the HOLLYWOOD superhero genre, because when I was seeing this film, I can't help but noticed many similarities between the film and the many superhero films that came out in Hollywood this year, especially with its admirably high production values.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Senso-ji (Asakusa Temple) does not celebrate Christmas

I don't celebrate Christmas, but I decided to do something for the day. The plan was simple. Meet up with my friend Sen-san (she's from China, her surname's Sen, and somehow 'Sen-san' is more catchy than her actual Chinese name, so that's what I always call her), have sushi at Ueno, and then go to cool places with Christmas decorations where I can snap some photos, and she can test her Nikon D70.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2008 in Review: Top 20 Most-Viewed Posts

2008's drawing to a close, and it's Christmas Eve right now. Not that Christmas really means much to me, but I thought this will be the best time to take a look at the top twenty most-viewed posts of the year. As much as I intend to lessen the number of film reviews I write (I find it increasingly difficult to write them), they are still, ironically, the most popular posts in this blog, especially the Japanese films.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The many faces of Dubai

[Warning: this post has crapload of photos that might take some time to load]

More photos that I took from Dubai. By now, you might have some misconception that Dubai is this really huge extravagant city with new construction projects everyday, one colossal skyscraper threatening to outdo the other. I was curious about the place, I wanted to explore more. What is the real Dubai? Or rather, is there a different Dubai aside from the luxurious hotels, beautiful private beaches, huge malls I've seen during the first few days of the film festival?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Seeing Tsui Hark and Brigitte Lin during my last day at the Dubai International Film Fest 2008!

Heya, I've already returned to Tokyo for two nights, but still, I think, a little jet laggy. Even so, that didn't stop me from immediately conducting audition sessions for my new film yesterday morning, and later today! (I'm such a workaholic!)

I'll post the photos from my last day at the Dubai Film Fest. But I'll still be posting many Dubai-related stuff in the next few days, like the numerous films I've seen etc.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY screenings at the Dubai International Film Fest

The screening for CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY was on the 13th and 14th. Evening on the first day, early afternoon on the second day. It's in competition under the AsiaAfrica Short Films category, and it was screened with 4 other short films of the same category.

Chicken Rice Mystery in the Dubai Film Fest catalogue

Aside from CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY, the other short films screened in the same programme were:

1) Ambulance, by Richard Legaspi of Philippines
2) Young Blood, by Haolun Shu of China
3) Everything Is Okay, by Akjoltoy Bekbolotov of Kyrgyzstan
4) Bakhytzhamal, by Adilkhan Yerzhanov of Kazakhstan

All directors were there to introduce the films, and then come back for the Q and A session after screening. Unfortunately, I only have photos of the first screening, and not the second. The following photos are from the Q and A session. Far left is Philip Cheah, programming consultant and moderator of the sessions. The first on the right was Haolun Shu, and then there's Richard standing beside me.

Q and A session

Question and Answer session 2

Speaking during the Q and A session

A photo of us having dinner after the screening. My dad was there too, of course. Dressed in red is Adilkhan Yerzhanov of Kazakhstan, in black is Akjoltoy Bekbolotov of Kyrgyzstan. Adilkhan is a major film buff who likes Johnnie To, Alexander Payne and Paul Thomas Anderson too. We have similar film tastes :D

Dinner after the screening

I had more questions to answer during my second day, where I was there to describe the creative process of the film, and also explain about the Malaysian Censorship in general to an audience member. I cheerily brought up the censorship issues faced by Flower In The Pocket, which I believe had been very helpful in encouraging the creativity of local filmmakers (in finding methods to avoid censors).

Overall, I have to say that this had been a fun experience. It's the first time I've ever seen my own directed film being screened in a multiplex, the sense of pride is a little different from, say, when I represented Ming Jin to present ELEPHANT AND THE SEA at its screening and Q and A session as producer during last year's Santiago Film Fest.

A few days later, dad and I had a conversation about Perth. It's only been two years since I've left the place, yet it felt so much longer. But then, maybe two years is a long time, it's just that two is such a small number, I should've just used '730 days' instead of '2 years' because it sounds longer. More than 730 days ago, my dad was also present during the screening of my student short film GIRL DISCONNECTED in my university. And now, more than 730 days later, I was given the privilege of having my short film screened at this Dubai Film Fest. It's almost as if we've gone full circle!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Photos from my first day at the Dubai International Film Festival 2008

Heya folks, been in Dubai since the 11th. Haven't had the time to go online until now. Saw lots of films, went through both screenings of CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY. So let me post some photos, I'll write more about my thoughts later.

Anyway, my dad came to Dubai too, and we're now staying at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, which is one hell of a hotel.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Curious Incident Of The Vanishing Sunglasses

It's not that I'm imitating Wong Kar Wai or Takashi Miike, but I REALLY like to wear my sunglasses. I only choose not to wear it when I can't wear it, like during classes, or when the sky's too dark, or when I need women to see my soulful eyes... but that's it.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The golden leaves of Yoyogi Park

For four consecutive days, my intended trip to Yoyogi Park (decided to go there after snapping photos of Ueno Park) was canceled by some unexpected event. Like stumbling into a role as an extra during a film shoot on Wednesday, and yesterday, I was suddenly issuing orders to kick start the pre-production of my new short film project.

When I woke up today, I saw lots of red leaves flying past my window, and the ground outside was covered completely with leaves. Winter had started five days ago, and I assumed that the red leaves of autumn will not last long on the trees. I was unaware of the transition until then. The sky was pale and gray, a gloominess that reflected my own melancholy. Melancholy? Or was it just the lingering effects of the flu pills I've taken?

The weather forecast on my Firefox said that it would rain later in the afternoon. Circumstances were forcing me into another race against time. Grabbing hold of my camera and my tripod, I decided to make my way to Yoyogi Park. I've been there a few times, mostly when I was walking to the NHK station at night for the Refugee Film Festival earlier this year, and once during a Thai carnival where many food stalls and tents were erected, so I never had a good look of the park.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I stumbled into a role as an extra in a new film with Love Exposure's Mitsushima Hikari

More incidents of stunning coincidence. More insane synchronicity.

On Monday, during a lab meeting (held every two weeks between film students in uni), my professor announced that two events will be happening in Waseda University on Wednesday (today):

Monday, December 01, 2008


I was on my way to the Takadanobaba station when I saw a large flock of birds flying around. So I took out my camera and snapped some photos.