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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong

After hearing so much about the Avenue of Stars (it's modeled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame), I decided to pay a visit yesterday. I was greeted by the huge replica of the Hong Kong Film Awards statuette.

Hong Kong Film Awards statue!


The scenery wasn't too bad either.

Me, at Hong Kong!


Here's Bruce Lee's plaque. The Avenue of Stars opened in 2004, so, many plaques of cinematic legends don't really have handprints or autographs.

Bruce Lee's star at the Avenue of Stars


Many gathered around Jackie Chan's plaque.

People crowding about Jackie Chan's star

Jackie Chan's star at the Avenue of Stars


I was happiest to see the Bruce Lee statue.

Bruce Lee statue at the Avenue of Stars

Bruce Lee statue at the Avenue of Stars 2

Me with the Bruce Lee Avenue of Stars

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I was Crossing Hennessy in Hong Kong

Arrived at Hong Kong two days ago, staying at an interesting hotel at Wan Chai called MINGLE BY THE PARK. Here's dad.

Dad in the hotel room of MINGLE BY THE PARK


The first night was memorable because we spent hours glued before the TV set, watching the Manila tourist bus hostage situation. When it finally ended, we left to have dinner. The sky seemingly wept for the national tragedy.

Rain-drenched street of Hong Kong

Rain-drenched street of Hong Kong 2

Bus at rain-drenched street of Hong Kong


The scenery made me think of the Johnnie To films, PTU and SWALLOW.

The next day, Jonathan and Henry, directors of InDPanda Short Film Festival, brought me to a cha chaan teng for lunch.

cha chaan teng logo


This ain't any normal cha chaan teng, it's actually the shooting location for the film CROSSING HENNESSY, starring Jacky Cheung and LUST CAUTION's Tang Wei. A fact that the cafe itself didn't fail to remind us.

Poster of Crossing Hennessy, starring Jackie Cheung and Tang Wei


Of course I had to take a photo in front of it. (woman in black was probably thinking: "Damn camwhoring tourists!")

Me, in front of the Crossing Hennessy Cha Chaan Teng


It started to rain again.

We took the ferry to cross the river.

Hong Kong ferry


I looked out at Hong Kong's tallest building. It was the same building Batman jumped off from in THE DARK KNIGHT.

Looking out through the ferry window


It's funny how my recognition of places in Hong Kong are caused mostly by the films and TV dramas I had been watching since my childhood.

Inside the ferry

tsim sha tsui ferry terminal


Went off to a shopping center in Mongkok to check out cheap camera gears.

Came back to Wan Chai in the evening to meet up with my friend Kevin.

He brought me back to the Cha Chaan Teng in CROSSING HENNESSY after dinner. This time we had egg tarts.

Having Egg tarts with Kevin


If i had more time, I would have photoshopped his face with Tang Wei's.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Visiting a horror film set.

I arrived in Hong Kong yesterday afternoon (it's 2am when I'm writing this), the night before, Lesly the Cinematographer and Moon Lai the actress of THE TIGER FACTORY and NOW (the 1-min epic I shot last week) went to visit a horror film set.

For the sake of preserving the production team's privacy and keeping things confidential, I won't divulge what film is it, or anything about its cast and crew either.

It was a long drive, the film was shot entirely in an isolated forest. It looked really pretty when lit up.


A forest of lights

Production set of a horror film

Moon Lai by the river


here's a video to give you a better idea of how pretty the place was.



video page


"I see dead people!"


I see dead people.

Moon Lai visiting a horror film set




After half an hour at the set, we started to leave.


Forest is strangely beautiful

Horror film set from a distance

Moon Lai taking photos of a horror film set

Moon

Leaving the horror film set


I've never been to such a large set, complete with a stunt team, using wires and stuff. I'm intrigued about the film and will look forward to checking it out when it's done.

UPDATED:

The title of the film is SERU (The Calling). It was screened at the Udine Film Festival and Pucheon Fantastic Film Festival 2011.

Here's the trailer.




Sunday, August 22, 2010

Trailer of THE WHITE FLOWER

Zhu Dan in THE WHITE FLOWER


This was actually posted on Twitch a while ago (my friends at Toronto J-Film Pow Wow covered it too), but I've been so busy with my own shoots back in Malaysia that I didn't get around to sharing it with you guys.

My experimental short, THE WHITE FLOWER, which I shot last year, is finally making its world premiere at the Hong Kong InDpanda Short Film Festival next week. To commemorate this, I cut together a trailer for the short.

It's an experimental film based on Yasunari Kawabata's short story of the same title, constructed mostly with still photos like Chris Marker's LA JETEE. It's my third Kawabata adaptation after LOVE SUICIDES and KINGYO.

Here's a synopsis.

A young Chinese woman living in Tokyo is haunted by remnants of a forbidden relationship and a dark family past. She ends up in a sanitarium and meets a doctor conflicted between his job and his personal feelings. After being discharged, she meets a wandering Thai filmmaker contemplating the relationship between art and love. Her encounters with them lead to unexpected revelations.



THE WHITE FLOWER is written, directed and edited by me. Produced by Maiko Itagaki. Cinematographer by Niklas Kullstrom (who just got married, congratulations, dude).

Starring Zhu Dan, Toru Inamura and Kong Pahurak (who also took the photo above).

Information of the film from the InDpanda website can be viewed here

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Film shoot for a one-minute epic. Day 2

Moon Lai and Arika, happy to finish the shoot


6 days have passed since I wrapped the shoot of my one-minute epic, titled 'NOW'. Spent two days editing it. It was a tough slog, so many materials I've shot, yet I had to toss most of them away to fit into the 1 minute length. Nonetheless, it was worth the challenge.

On the 16th of August, Sunday, I continued shooting the film at Port Klang. But because schedule was so hectic, I had no time to take photos.

At night we headed off to i-City at Shah Alam for the rest of the shoot. That was challenging, but the place was beautiful. Just to give you an idea what i-City is, I'll give you its description given by Malaysia's tourism website.

i-City located in Shah Alam, Selangor is known as the city of digital lights. It is recognised at the first lightscape tourism destination in Malaysia with state-of- the-art LED technology showcase.

The digital city includes trendy shopping streets and equipped with a theme park to cater to visitors' looking for a place to unwind.

The township accommodates high-tech infrastructure allowing for a unique display of digital lights. These attractions are located at CityPark and CityWalk.

You can chill in the park, view the wonderful sculptures and experience a whole new world with its dazzling light showcase. It is ideal for the whole family.

Do bring a camera to capture the wonderful and majestic light displays. It is truly magical!

So I ended up shooting a film there.

It was raining though. In here you can see me (in orange shirt) and Lesly, drenched in the rain.

Note, all these photos were taken by Soo Han, with his Canon 550D camera.

Me and Lesly drenched in rain at I-City


Some glamour shots of Moon Lai.

Moon Lai is introspective at I-City

Moon Lai is angsty in I-City

Moon Lai in I-City


We finished the shoot almost by midnight. By having such a long and ardous shoot with a child actress, it's most possible I'll be accused of child labour. In fact, because it's supposed to be an epic compressed into a single minute, it was one of the toughest and most challenging shoots I've ever endured.

Yet I soldiered on, and the end product is most probably awesome.

If it's really awesome, you'll be seeing it soon.

If not, well, I'll probably just pretend that this shoot never happened.

The two lead actresses. After the shoot.

Moon Lai and Arika

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Film shoot for a one-minute epic. Day 1

I was shooting my 1-minute epic last night.

Lust, Caution. Moon Lai.


Yes, you read that right. I was making an epic short film that is 1-minute in length. It's not the easiest thing to do, hence the pained expression etched upon my movie star-like face.

Directing fills me with angst


The cast members of this film are Moon Lai (Fooi Mun, the lead actress of THE TIGER FACTORY, which was shown in Cannes Film Fest earlier this year) and Arika Lee (the little girl from my award-winning short film LOVE SUICIDES). Here, Moon Lai was helping Arika fix her hair. It's not because I couldn't afford to hire a make-up artist, nuh-uh, I just thought it was a good bonding session for both of them.

Moon Lai fixing Arika's hair


Arika is notably less grumpy than she was two years ago when we were shooting LOVE SUICIDES. She was 7 then, 9 now. I'm glad she didn't seem to look any different.

Arika with a Prada bag


Mine was a film of sheer retro goodness, hence I borrowed the qipao from mom.

Moon Lai descending the steps

Moon Lai in qipao

Moon Lai viewing the distance


Hui Jing, who was a university junior of mine (at Murdoch University) during my Perth days was the assistant director for the day.

Me and Hui Jing, preparing a shot


It was a grand-scaled narrative condensed into a one-minute short, I also had to plunge into the deepest depth of human nature while making my own sociopolitical statement about humanity in general, a crystallization of our epoch.

Arika is mysterious

Moon Lai is pensive


Today's the second and last day of my shoot. Hopefully it'll be as epic as I hoped.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Malaysia fattens me.

I've been back in Malaysia for nearly a week. Had been putting together a video shoot for the weekend, pondering the screenplay for my feature-length script, watching movies at home (watched HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, the new KARATE KID, Fellini's LA DOLCE VITA and Herzog's THE WILD BLUE YONDER) and the cinema (well, I just got back from watching DESPICABLE ME)... and er, eating a lot of nice stuff.

I don't really 'miss' Malaysian food when I'm in Tokyo. There are Malaysian restaurants in Tokyo, but I'm happy enough with my usual bentos and ramen (... or McDonald's).

But now that I'm back here, I make the most out of enjoying the food here.

Last Friday I was at this Seow Teow (or Siow Tiow) restaurant in Klang.

Siow Tiow restaurant in Klang


Place had some nice prawn noodles.

Prawn noodles


The O-Jian (egg and oyster omelette) is one of the best, if not the best, I've ever tasted.

O-Jian (Oyster egg omelette)


In the past week, I've been to PappaRich three times.

PappaRich, Section 17


Twice for a late-night drink with my friend Peng Shien, where I usually sample its glorious durian ice kacang. (and once for a production meeting in the afternoon, another video project that I'm taking on in the next week or so)

Glorious ice kacang at PappaRich


Last night after a costume-fitting session with the lead actress of my upcoming video, Moon Lai (or Fooi Mun, she's the lead actress of THE TIGER FACTORY), we went to the Mamak stall next to the bank near my house.

That MayBank nasi lemak place


The place is known for its nasi lemak (coconut milk rice with curry and other stuff).

Yummy nasi lemak


The old shop buildings around me had a strange sort of charm at night.

7-11 at Seapark
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