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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.

Preggers Ping (Lai Fooi Mun) bathing pigs in The Tiger Factory


And thus the (one-man zero-budget) marketing juggernaut for THE TIGER FACTORY continues.

Twitch had posted two clips from the film of various levels of intensity, one involves a shady loan shark (played by Loh Bok Lai), and another has something to do with pig sperm thievery. You'll also see the Mei character played by Susan Lee Fong Zhi (the main character of INHALATION) being in both clips that witness Ping's (Moon Lai) plight.

If you're interested, you can check it out at the link below.

TWO CLIPS FROM WOO MING JIN'S THE TIGER FACTORY


Or the embedded videos.

Ping deals with loan shark.



Ping steals pig sperm.



Cheery affair.

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.

I shot EXHALATION first, in the Fujino area of Kanagawa Prefecture.

EXHALATION poster


Exhalation trailer


Being one of the bigger productions that I've ever directed, the post-production was rather strenuous. I then went back to Malaysia, co-wrote and produced the feature-length film THE TIGER FACTORY, and after that, I myself went off to write and direct a spin-off short film called INHALATION. INHALATION was a much more spontaneous project that allowed a lot of improvisation. I sometimes joked that INHALATION is the CHUNGKING EXPRESS to my EXHALATION's ASHES OF TIME.

Inhalation poster


Inhalation trailer


INHALATION premiered last October at the Pusan International Film Festival and picked up the Sonje Award for best Asian short. It then went off to play in numerous other festivals like Vancouver, Tokyo, Cinemanila, Jakarta etc., mostly opening before THE TIGER FACTORY.

EXHALATION premiered last December at the Dubai International Film Festival. It will now make its European premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

INHALATION too, will be in competition at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, which is one of the two biggest short film festivals in the world.

I was quite thrilled and humbled by the fact that these two films are given the opportunities to be discovered by various different audiences.

This Friday I'll be heading off to Rotterdam, before going directly from there to Clermont-Ferrand. It's going to be quite an adventure, I hope.

To commemorate this, I've decided to share more than 5 minutes of each INHALATION and EXHALATION for the public with my favourite film site, Twitch. You can visit their sites directly below.

5 minutes of Edmund Yeo's INHALATION

5 minutes of Edmund Yeo's EXHALATION

Or via the embedded videos.

This is INHALATION.



This is EXHALATION.

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。

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

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。

跟你们分享该文章的摘录。

好戏网:您近期的作品中似乎都存在着一个“他方”或“他者”,比如《稍纵即逝的画面》的女孩,《信》里只见字迹不见人的丈夫,《金鱼》中模糊的妻子和金鱼,《都是正常的》女孩想象的日本,能跟我们聊聊这其中的深意吗?

杨毅恒导演:有时候人们对于现实很无奈,但又不想放弃对美好事物的追求,就像可遇而不可求的世外桃源。我向往的导演生涯,已经维持了好久,一直都想法子实现一个儿时就开始发的梦。当了导演后,一直渴望自己能拍一部有水准的作品,追求完美,最求别人的认同。当一个马来西亚导演,一般的人觉得看不到未来,虽然如此,但并不代表自己没前途。所以有时也想在国际舞台上证明来自马来西亚的我,也可以拍一些好作品。看来自己也一直被这种“他者”、“他方”纠缠着,作品也这样反映了自己的心声吧。

好戏网:为什么您近期的四部短片电影中的人物都很孤独?比如《稍纵即逝的画面》里写信的人,《信》中严厉的妈妈和不爱说话的女儿,《金鱼》里失去爱人的教授,《都是正常的》中理想破灭的女孩。

杨毅恒导演:我是个比较孤独的人。从小热爱电影及文学,却觉得自己难能找到一些知音人,即使找到了,也发现他们与我一样孤独。小学的同学们想当医生、老师,但我一直都在发导演梦。中学的同学们,当然,也比较脚踏实地,会觉得我是在追求一些不实际的事情。我也因为这样,时常觉得与他们格格不入,会觉得寂寞。(除了这以外,马来西亚人一般喜欢英格兰足球超级联赛,我却喜欢比较冷门的NBA!更寂寞了。)也许自己的性格这样,不知不觉的,作品里的人物也有了一些自己的影子吧。

好戏网:电影和生活的关系是怎么样的?

杨毅恒导演:我?哈哈。人生如戏,戏如人生吧。我的作品,都是来自自己生活上所经历的一些事情。不一定只是发生在自己身上的一些事情,可能是会把一些时候,对某人某事情一瞬间内的一种感情、情结放在作品内。灵感也可能来自所发的梦、所看的电影、所阅读的小说、所遇见的人等等。自己是一个工作狂,最爱的也可能是拍戏,所以我宁愿不停地在周围寻找灵感,这才是我最享受的。

嗯, 希望大家去看看这专题

我现在把全文都翻译成英语。

Back to English.

A couple of days ago, I went through an email interview with the China website 'Mask 9'. The article, titled "I'm quite a loner" (my own quote) is finally out.

The questions they asked were very analytical and deep, I liked the challenge, but it took me a while to figure out my answers.

Please read it if you're interested. It's in Chinese.

And now, I will try my best to translate the entire article for you non-Chinese readers. Don't expect an awesome translation though.

------------------------------------

Mask 9: Your recent works seem to concern an 'unseen', idealized place or person, like the young woman in FLEETING IMAGES, or the husband in LOVE SUICIDES, the wife and goldfish in KINGYO and the Japan in the mind of the female protagonist in INHALATION. Can you explain to us your interest in this 'other-ness'?

Me: It's being slightly disenchanted with everyday life, yet refusing to give up on yearning after that is seemingly unattainable. I spent most of the early part of my life chasing after my childhood dreams of becoming a filmmaker. Then, after I became a filmmaker, I find myself constantly chasing after attaining greatness, or perfection, with my works, to achieve a certain level of acceptance. For most people, achieving success as a Malaysian filmmaker is unattainable, but I refuse to believe that I don't have a future. Thus I constantly chased after the opportunity to prove, on an international stage, that even I, as a filmmaker from Malaysia, am capable of making decent films. And so, all my life, I am constantly chasing after something seemingly unattainable, yearning and overwhelmed by the unseen. So in some ways, my works have sort of reflected my own attempts to portray these emotions.

Mask9: But why are the protagonists of the aforementioned films such loners? For example, the letter writer in FLEETING IMAGES, the mother and daughter in LOVE SUICIDES, the widowed professor in KINGYO, and the deported young woman in INHALATION.

Me: I'm quite a loner. I loved films and literature at a very young age, but found it difficult to find one who shared my interests, even when I found them, I realized they were loners like me too. In primary school, classmates wanted to be doctors and teachers, yet I wanted to be a film director. In secondary school, classmates (or schoolmates) were more pragmatic, so they were willing to pragmatically point out that I was chasing after something that was unrealistic. I constantly found myself at odds with their ideals and beliefs, sometimes it was a lonely feeling. (another example: most folks in Malaysia are generally fans of football, like English Premier League... yet I've been a lifelong NBA fan!! That's even lonelier!)

In my attempts to create authentic characters with believable characterization, without noticing, they just ended up with shadows of myself, I guess.

Mask9: In KINGYO, why did you put in a scene of a random guy offering money to take photos of the female protagonist's toes?

Me: This actually happened to a friend. She was walking at the streets, then she met some dude who asked for the same thing. I thought it was pretty weird. While I was preparing for KINGYO, I discussed this with my producer Maiko and the lead actress Luchino, Luchino had indeed work as an Akihabara maid prior to her acting career, so she had met a number of incidents like this.

Therefore I decided to add this scene in the film, it was an attempt to portray, in a genuine manner, the everyday encounters of an Akihabara Maid, to add some details. In the end the female protagonist rejected this guy, it's just for me to show that the costume she wore was just a job, underneath it all, she was just a regular young woman with her own principles.

Mask9: Why is that in Kingyo, he needed a certain medium to tap into his own memories of his late wife? Like the part where he dipped his hand into the pond.

Me: The death of his wife left him in a form of emotional paralysis, so he was in a flux, everything around him became irrelevant. Placing his hand into the frozen water of the pond was possibly an attempt to jolt himself from his funk, just to feel again. In life, he was unable to cherish her warmth, and got into an affair with a former student, then she died, and he realized how much he missed and loved her.

Mask9: Why do you make films?

(Well, for this, I went back to the common story that the one or two might have heard of when they read interviews or articles about me)

Me: As a child, thanks to dad's influence, I fell in love with movies. I was always going to cinemas with my parents, curious how they were maid. There was once when we went to see a 'horror' film together (it was that Kevin Bacon film, Tremors), I thought it was pretty scary, couldn't bear to look. Mom said "Nothing to be afraid of, they're all fake, it's all created by the film director, especially the monster". I thought the 'film direct'r was pretty cool, a creator, a GOD. I was 5 or 6, I started dreaming of becoming a filmmaker.

I love the process of creativity, I started writing when I was in secondary school, and because I'm such a loner, I'm constantly lost in my own imagination. Now, through films, I thought it's a good way to express my own emotional world, hoping to find people with a common passion for the things I like. Even if I created a failure, doesn't matter, I'll continue experimenting, practicing, making the next film.

Mask9: What is the relationship between your life and films.

Me: Heh. My life is like a cinema, and cinema is like my life. Most of my films stem from personal experiences. They don't have to be some particular event that happened to me, it could be something fleeting, like a feeling I have towards something or someone at a particular moment at a particular time. Occasionally I draw inspiration from my dreams, other films, books, people I meet, et cetera. I'm a workaholic, the love of my life is probably filmmaking, so I'm constantly finding an opportunity to make a film, that's nothing I enjoy more.

Mask9: Describe your life and experiences in Japan?

Me: Got a scholarship in 2008 and ended up doing my Masters in film at Waseda University. Prior to that I felt a little reluctant, when i just returned from Perth, I met the filmmaker Woo Ming Jin and joined his company, Greenlight Pictures, becoming the producer of his works. And less than a year I had to go to Japan. I was worried that I had to throw all this away to return to life as a student.

But I was wrong. My professor, Prof. Kohei Ando, told me, the best way to learn filmmaking is just to keep on making films, keep on finding your own voice. He was a filmmaker too, so he understood my feelings completely. Our lab is like a small production company, I can write my own script and get feedback from him, if it's a worthy project, he would try to seek financial support for the film. I was fortunate to be able to work in such an environment. In the end, the very first short film of mine that they supported, KINGYO, ended up being in competition at the
Venice Film Festival 2009.

At the same time, I still return to Malaysia regularly to make my films, and continue my partnership with Woo Ming Jin. So it seemed that I didn't need to abandon my filmmaking career in Japan! In fact, being here brought forth more opportunities to learn, aside from learning from my professor, I was able to work with people of different cultures. What I learnt in Japan, I was able to bring it back to Malaysia, what I learnt in Malaysia, I brought it to Japan. It was fun. Last year I introduced Ming Jin to professor Ando, hoping to collaborate in another project. Professor Ando said yes, we ended up making THE TIGER FACTORY (written and produced by Ming Jin and I, directed by Ming Jin, edited by me), and we got into Director's Fortnight at Cannes Film Festival, and received a jury mention at the Tokyo International Film Festival. I'm very lucky to be able to experience the best from both worlds. And what an educational experience too!

Mask9: Which film of yours is your father's favourite? Will you consider getting your father involved in your projects?

Me: I asked him, he said he liked them all, and wishes only that my next film will be better, that I will continue improving,

My dad IS already involved in my projects... just for financial support. I'm kidding. I've always been getting my parents' support, and their understanding. With that, I cannot ask for a better form of collaboration. They trusted me, hence I can just make my films without being bogged down by anything.

In the past two years, my dad had gone to a couple of film festivals with me. Dubai International Film Festival 2008 (the very first film festival I visited as a director), the China Mobile International Short Film Festival 2009, last year's InDPanda Short Film Festival, Pusan International Film Festival, and again, the Dubai International Film Festival. Dad loves films, he's tougher than me, so he can usually catch much more films than I could in film festivals. One of my greatest joys is that he was actually around when I won awards at these festivals, that I could immediately share those moments with him.

Afterword (Mask9's):
The path of creativity is often a lonely one. But it's also because of their loneliness that we are able to watch wonderful films, and experience the unattainable. Hopefully through these communication/ discourse of films, creativity will cease to be a lonely experience.

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.

"Yes." I answered.

Aunt Amy was previously my dad's secretary back in the 90s. During Chinese New Year, she would always bring Bryan, her son, to our house. Even years after she stopped working with my dad.

My sister confirmed my fears.

"He died."

"How"

"Car accident."

It was a hit-and-run accident that happened last September. He was 20.

When you hear the news of one's death, you are immediately assailed by memories of that person. I tried hard to remember Bryan, I haven't seen him for many years, maybe even before I went to Australia. That was 7-8 years ago.

I remember a bright cheerful kid, with a shaved head, a jovial smile. He was quite tall even for his age then.

That was all I could remember, my memories were too vague. We might have played some video games together.

I looked at the news that my sister sent me.

"That was last year." I said.

"Yeah. We didn't even know. Dad just got the news from a friend."

I looked at the date. 28th of September.

"He died a few days after Zeg Zeg." I said, referring to my uncle. My dad's youngest brother. "We were also in mourning then."

"Yeah. We haven't kept in touch with Aunt Amy and her family for quite a while." My sister said.

We were never really good at keeping in touch with people. I thought. It runs in the family, I guess.

Few days ago, Aunt Amy's sister posted on The Star a letter that Aunt Amy wrote to Bryan when he was flying to New York for his studies.

My dear Bryan,

What better gift to give you than a heartfelt letter spun from the inner recesses of my heart? On top of that, this note is written with great sentiment as I’m using the Sheaffer your dad bought for me more than 20 years ago.

And I’m writing to my son who will be leaving the nest a day from now to a faraway land. I shall be careful not to let any teardrop smudge any of these pages, which are written in ink. That’s what style’s all about, yeah?

Thank you ... for the cheer you bring with your presence

Thank you for always holding my hand when we walk and talk

Thank you for the random disagreements concerning our personal viewpoints and the better understanding that arises out of these

Thank you for being you.

Thank you for walking this Kuan Yin Path alongside me in your own quiet way

Thank you for showing me your strength in the silence that you hold in pursuing your dreams

Thank you for the belief in yourself when all else fails within.

Thank you for introducing me to Youtube to revisit songs from days of yore

Thank you for appreciating the many things beyond your age

Thank you for your helping hand in our household chores

Thank you for taking pride in making the altar bright

Thank you, above all, for your myriad unassuming ways.

Thank you for choosing to be my son in this lifetime

Thank you for bonding so well with your Pa the way you do

Thank you for respecting and loving the elderly

Thank you for sharing with me your first love and first heartbreak, too.

“Thank you” seems too simple a word to use for you, Bryan

Thank you for your fine examples in living life

Thank you for having an observant eye

Thank you for wanting to repay society someday

Thank you for acknowledging Divine Grace in a sincere way.

Son, simply, thank you for your existence.

Rest in peace, Bryan Chiel Yee Hao.

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.

Ashita no Joe baby


I started giggling because I was reminded of the iconic final shot of Joe Yabuki from the classic boxing manga ASHITA NO JOE あしたのジョー (TOMORROW'S JOE).



There's even a life size figure of Joe Yabuki in this iconic pose outside a restaurant in Nakano. (which, coincidentally, I stumbled across just a night earlier)

Joe Yabuki
(photo taken by What What)


If you put everything in context, things are less funny because...


(SPOILER WARNING!!)


That was actually a shot of Joe Yabuki dying with a smile while waiting for the final verdict of a brutal 15-round match against the world champion. (he lost)

You can watch the last few minutes of the anime that leads to the iconic shot here.


(SPOILER END!)

Sorry, sleeping baby.

Oh, and there's even a live-action adaptation of the film coming out next month.



Hoh. Exciting...

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.

In this scene, the lead actress was labmate Teng Fei (she was the designer of the EXHALATION and INHALATION posters, the latter which she also assisted briefly in shooting).

Inhalation poster

EXHALATION


Her co-star was a gun-toting Rilakkuma (the cute bear which I always got mixed up with Pedobear).


Teng Fei with Rilakkuma

Teng Fei and Rilakkuma


The scene was a homage to a certain sci-fi classic. A girl staring into the camera, before she started drinking milk... then dolly out.

But instead of a milk bar of nude mannequins, the whole thing was supposed to set in a post-apocalyptic world where raining feathers was a common occurrence. So she had to wear an oxygen mask.

Teng Fei preparing to wear her mask

Teng Fei prepares to wear her mask

Teng Fei wearing her oxygen mask

The girl and the gun-toting Rilakkuma


Mahmoud and Kong, prepping the shot.

Mahmoud and Kong prepare a scene


An iPhone was used as well.

But only to be used like a coaster under the main Canon 7D camera (mine, also the same camera used to shoot the aforementioned short films INHALATION and EXHALATION).

Canon 7D on an iPhone

View through the camera

View through the camera 2


It was pretty bloody cold. You can see it on Teng Fei's look of misery.

Teng Fei is miserable

A serious Teng Fei with Rilakkuma


The shoot lasted for nearly two hours.

Feathers were everywhere.

feathers on the floor


But in the end, everything seemed fine.

Now, here's my epic 'making of' video of the entire shoot, a slightly more sedated affair compared to the hobo boxer one, but strangely poetic.



Video page


Chronicling the shoot in the past week had been fun. Made me familiarize myself more with the camera and video capabilities of my iPhone, and also helping to fill up the void in my soul that is present whenever I'm not making any films.

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).

No showering girl this time, alas, but what we have was a hobo boxer played Kong's fellow Thai countryman, Pichaya.

Pichaya as the hobo boxer


This scene was bigger scaled than the last, Mahmoud served as the cinematographer this time.

Kong and Mahmoud preparing the scene of the hobo boxer

Mahmoud and Kong preparing scene of hobo boxer 2


Towards the end of our shoot, another fellow Thai friend of ours, K. K. (I cannot pronounce his full name) joined in.

At the film set of men throwing stuff at hobo boxer


So the entire sequence of the scene is like this: Random cute things are being thrown at a hobo boxer (initially by Kong himself, but later, by K. K.), to the point where they knock down the cheap set behind him, then the camera whirls, Kong breaks the fourth wall and appears as himself, the director shouting about a ruined take.

In the background lurks... me, a guy shooting the behind-the-scenes with an iPhone.

It's all very meta. And it was a sexy cameo that I cannot resist.

So here you go, another short 8-minute documentary of mine that chronicled the behind-the-scenes of yesterday's film shoot. You will see the preparations, the numerous takes involved, the tragicomedic accidents involved, and conversations between cast and crew between takes. Instead of being in Japanese like last time, this time the dialogue moves back and forth from English to Thai.

It's all very real, and I'm getting the hang of shooting stuff with my iPhone.

I edited this with a usual Final Cut Pro, took much lesser time.



VIDEO

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"CHASING THE DREAM" - article of me at Goreng Dot Com

"CHASING THE DREAM", Erna's profile of me on the brand new Goreng Dot Com website came out two days ago.

Casting my shadow over the red carpet
(No, this photo was NOT used in the actual article, but I like how I look in it, so I post it here, please forgive a man for being slightly narcissistic)


I'll share some excerpts from her article.

His beginnings, though meteoric, were humble. Yeo started out making films with a small camcorder bought by his mother while he was studying at Murdoch University, Perth. Armed with that and some video editing software installed by a friend, Yeo began experimenting.

He taught himself to edit his own videos and soon started asking his friends to act in films he shot on his camcorder. Realising there was still a lot he needed to learn, Yeo decided to enroll in a one-year course in film-making.

Despite that, Yeo fervently believes film-making is "not something to be studied."

“The act of film-making itself has to be experienced, “ said Yeo.

He recalls seeing students studying media production yet without any passion in films or film-making.

I was so bitter then, so angry that they were living my childhood dream. I was slogging through my marketing degree where I languished in mediocrity as certain fellow Malaysians in Murdoch Uni got hold of exam papers from previous years through nefarious means during their exam preparations.

Questions were often repeated in exams, so by getting the papers, they had a good idea what was coming out, and unsurprisingly, scored well in their exams. I, who once believed in the old-fashioned 'study hard to attain good grades' adage, was absolutely devastated. I'm soooo sure that scoring these good grades for their marketing papers then have helped them a lot in life now.

As for the aforementioned media production students, that's a story for another time.

Another excerpt that shows my ridiculously idealistic nature:

What galls him though is what he sees as the line being drawn between "art" films and "commercial" films.

“While the art films travel solely overseas to international film festivals with little hope for domestic release, domestic commercial films remain only within the country.”

He surmises that if domestic commercial films were created primarily for profit, why not explore the potential of the overseas market to maximise that profit?

Yeo gave examples of countries such as China, Thailand, Japan and Hong Kong where both art films and commercial films enjoyed their own form of success overseas.

“I think for the film industry of a country to work well, both art and commercial (films) should complement each other.”

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.

I first knew about Seijin No Hi 2 years ago from Maiko the Producer. At that time, we were location scouting for my film, KINGYO, then I noticed some young women walking around in kimonos, and she explained to me what the whole deal was.

Last year, I decided to snap some photos of these young women in kimono at Meiji Shrine.

This year, I did the same.

I went with Kong (who, after shooting the scene of a girl in shower meeting a slasher, was preparing a new scene).

And here are some photos I took in the afternoon.

Groups of ladies in kimono

Lady in kimono

A group of ladies in kimono

Another lady in kimono

Girl in kimono surrounded by photographers

Girl in kimono holding a Hamaya


Many were surrounded by tourists + photographers (really hardcore ones, some were elderly men and women with badass SLRs with lenses expensive enough to fund a few films of mine) hoping to get a great photo of them.

There were foreigners too, and they were particularly popular with the photographers.

Foreigner in kimono

Foreigners in Kimono


Tried to go for another 'people bathed in soft sunlight' photo with a young couple that I pulled off so beautifully few days ago.



... it didn't work this time.

A young couple bathed in sunlight


Nonetheless, I kept it because the effect was cool...

There were Ganguro girls in kimono too.

Ganguro girls in kimono


I took some photos with the iPhone, going for a 'Lomo look'.

Kimono girls at Meiji shrine


Before switching back to the 7D again.

A pair of young women in kimono

A pair of young women in kimono 2


As for the girl in the black and white photo on top of this post, I had a lot of trouble trying to get the right exposure and such for her. And each of the photo I took ended up being overexposed.

Hence the black and white...

A young woman celebrating Seijin No Hi 2


Moments later, refusing to just give up like this, I approached her for one more photo (at that time, many others were of course, photographing her) under the tree. I guess she was slightly freaking out that this gaijin stalker photographer was constantly stalking her (despite his smoldering good looks, I humbly add).

The photo came out like... this.

Girl in kimono under a tree


"Well!" I said cheerfully to myself. "At least she'll be timeless!"
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