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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Arriving at Rotterdam International Film Festival

I always have an obligatory McDonald's breakfast meal before a flight. The Mega McMuffin owns. So, when I arrived at Narita Airport, I had it again.

Having my obligatory Narita mcd's breakfast before the f... on Twitpic

I then slept through more than 7 hours of my 11 hour flight to Amsterdam. Waking up only for the two meals, and watching I AM LOVE, starring Tilda Swinton (it was in competition at the Venice Film Festival 2009, the same year Kingyo was shown).

Nice film.

I then caught maybe half of MEGAMIND, but got interrupted when the plane arrived at Schiphol airport, Amsterdam.

Arrived at schiphol airport, Amsterdam  on Twitpic

A car picked up and took me to Rotterdam, it was a 1-hour journey.

When I reached the main film festival building, I picked up my bag, and ensured that the press desk was covered with promotional items for THE TIGER FACTORY and EXHALATION.

EXHALATION & TIGER FACTORY items at Rotterdam Film Festival press desk #iffr

Chinling, one of the festival programmers, brought us to the Wuxia-themed WATER TIGER INN, where me, Matthieu (Bratislava Film Fest director, and many others) and Jessica Kam (PIANO IN THE FACTORY producer) could have a quick bite.

It was to my amusement that after serving us drinks, the waitress got into a heated encounter with a beggar who just walked into the place. And then they got into some martial arts stuff, and me and the customers were instantly turned into extras of a wuxia film!

Here's a video of their performance.

video page

Awesome. Yesterday was the first day of their 7-day performance, where a treasure-hunting story was supposed to take shape as it goes on.

I managed to take photo with the actress after it ended.

The wuxia-themed WATER TIGER INN at Rotterdam film festival

It's 10:17AM right now. EXHALATION will be screening at 2PM, exciting.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spending Chinese New Year abroad

So, here I am, in a bus to Narita airport.

It's funny, realizing that this will be the first time when I'm actually not returning to Malaysia for Chinese new year. Even all my years in Perth, and the past few years in Tokyo, I always managed to be at home for the reunion dinner and all.

For this year's, I'll still be in Rotterdam. Perhaps I'll be celebrating it with other filmmakers in some Chinese restaurant over there, if I'm not wrong, there's also gonna be a screening of The Tiger Factory on either Chinese new year eve, or the first day itself.

Perhaps I myself should try to catch a Chinese film or something cheerier as well at the film festival. I'm superstitious, I wouldn't want to watch dark depressing films of woe and death to start my Chinese New Year!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Check out the two clips from Woo Ming Jin's THE TIGER FACTORY

In exactly 12 hours I'll be flying off to Rotterdam. Aside from my own short film EXHALATION, I'm also there for Ming Jin's THE TIGER FACTORY, which is the feature film spin-off of my short, INHALATION (hah). Since he can't make it to the festival, it's all up to me to handle his Q and A sessions as well after each screening. Fun.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Discussing my short film 'EXHALATION' with Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow

Less than two days left before I head off to Rotterdam International Film Festival, so pardon the onslaught of EXHALATION stuff here.

[Exhalation] Sayuri (Tomoe Shinohara) contemplates as Naoko (Kiki Sugino) is asleep

While preparing an EXHALATION press kit for the festival last week, I enlisted the help of Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow's Marc Saint-Cyr to conduct a short interview regarding the film.

Marc Saint-Cyr had previously reviewed EXHALATION.

The short interview is here.

I'll share an exchange from the Q and A regarding why I alternated between black-and-white and colour in the film.

MSC: How did you decide which sequences in the film would be in black-and-white or color?

EY: The black-and-white, was, in fact, a last-minute decision made during post-production. I remembered reading an interview with Andrei Tarkovsky where he pointed out that a black-and-white film immediately creates the impression that your attention is concentrated on what is most important. On the screen, color imposes itself on you.

In order to underline the melancholic undertone of the film, I decided to drain most scenes of their colors. I inserted colours in certain scenes when I needed to accentuate the emotional states of the protagonists. A feeling of brief warmth, or lingering sadness, or an abrupt break from monotony. In the end it was an experiment of sorts for storytelling.

(UPDATED: The Tarkovsky interview I was referring to is here.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

5-minute previews of my short films EXHALATION and INHALATION

If you are one of the 3 people who had been following my filmmaking escapades so far, you'll know that I've made two short films, EXHALATION and INHALATION. Both are similarly titled and shared many common themes, but are ultimately two (vastly) different films.

Friday, January 21, 2011

我是个比较孤独的人-好戏网专访马来西亚新锐导演杨毅恒(我) "I'm quite a loner" - My interview in China's Mask9

Me, before the opening ceremony

Switching to Mandarin...

嗨, 朋友们。

最近接受了中国的《好戏网》访问。 他们已经将采访专题发布在《好戏网》的首页推荐。

若有兴趣的话, 请通过以下链接查看。 呵呵。


问的问题很仔细,很深奥, 我喜欢。 但是也必须用一点时间思考了才能好好的回答他们。


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rest in peace, Bryan Chiel

I was writing the screenplay for my new short film when my sister suddenly messaged me on Facebook Chat.

"Do you remember Bryan? Aunt Amy's son?" She asked.

I instantly had a bad feeling, and hoped silently that the conversation wouldn't be going to a direction that I didn't want it to go.

Ashita no Joe baby

As you can see from the post filled with photos of kimono-glad young women, I was at the Meiji Shrine for the Seijin no Hi (Coming-Of-Age Day).

While I was at the shrine, I saw a baby sleeping in his stroller.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Girl drinks milk, lots of feathers appear

A serious Teng Fei with Rilakkuma 2

Yesterday afternoon, Kong filmed the conclusion of his 3-scene short film (that started with Girl In Shower Meets Slasher and Men Throwing Stuff at Helpless Hobo Boxer)

Of course, I was there to chronicle it all.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Men throwing stuff at helpless hobo boxer

Yesterday afternoon, Kong continued shooting the second scene of his 3-scene one-minute short film. (the first scene is of a girl in a shower encountering a slasher).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Young Women in Kimono at Meiji Shrine during Seijin No Hi (Coming Of Age Day) 2011

A young woman celebrating Seijin No Hi

Today is Seijin No Hi (Coming Of Age Day), it is the day when young women who are turning 20 this year celebrate their coming of age by going to shrines for prayers.

No, I will NOT vote for you on Facebook.

I'm a heavy Facebook user.

I've synced all my other social network accounts (Youtube, Twitter, Flickr etc.) with my Facebook account so that friends of mine on Facebook will know whenever I've uploaded a photo, or a video, or posted a tweet.

Although I'm highly secretive with my own short films (as in, I don't upload them on Youtube for public viewing) because most of them had been circulating at the film fest circle, I don't mind sharing my own experiences with others, it's my way of keeping in touch with others, allowing others to keep track on my misadventures, and on the other hand, I can keep track on what the others were doing as well.

Many of my relatives, former schoolmates and classmates, and other people I've met throughout the course of my life are Facebook users too, and sadly, this might just be the only way for me to remain 'visible' for them (since I'm constantly flying about, it's really hard for some to keep track on where I am these days). Yes, I don't disagree that this has turned into a form of exhibitionism, and I can absolutely understand why people who crave privacy don't really like the use of Facebook.

I myself try to maintain some form of privacy too, despite having 1400+ friends, every time someone tries to add me and I cannot really recognize them, nor seem to have any mutual friends, I usually message them first and ask them to identify themselves. If there's none, I'll probably ignore the friend request.

Recently, people I've never spoken to for years have begun speaking to me via Facebook Chat, out of the blue. But the conversation is usually like this:

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Girl in shower meets a slasher

Yesterday, Kong began to shoot a new short film (it's for some event in Thailand called the Postcard Cinema where a couple of chosen Thai filmmakers have to make 60-second short films, or 'video postcards').

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Hatsumode at Meiji Shrine

5 days have passed since 2011 started, I have yet to have my hatsumode (first shrine visit of the year). In the past two years, I did it on New Year's Day. Two years ago, I was at the Todai-ji of Nara. Last year, I went to Tsukui Kannon Zen Temple.

This year, a lady friend of mine who had yet to do her hatsumode as well said to do it at Meiji Shrine.

I have written about Meiji Shrine, which is filled with young women in kimono during Seijin No Hi (Coming Of Age Day), (... and that was the top-viewed blog post of last year), which is the number one destination in Japan for hatsumode. Been there a few times, but thought it's a great idea to finally go there for my hatsumode.

So I went.

The first three days of the new year would have been overcrowded, but today, it was decent.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Top 10 Most-Viewed Posts of 2010

Curious to know which blog post had attracted the most views in 2010, I went to check my Google Analytics.

Here's the top 10.

Monday, January 03, 2011

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love 2011

Happy 2011, everyone.

After posting my epic Part 1 and Part 2 of the 2010 recap, (which you SHOULD read, if you haven't already, because it took me a lot of time to write that), I put on the exact same shirt I wore on the first day of 2010...