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My Short Films

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The death of a great American bookstore

I read this CNN article, 'The death and life of a great American bookstore' two weeks ago (it's a eulogy for Borders). These few paragraphs summed up best how I feel about a bookstore.

A shame, because when done right, there's something about a bookstore.

It's a library, a gathering spot, a refuge, a journey. Often it's small, maybe an 800-square-foot storefront jammed into a city street. Or it's idiosyncratic: an old house or converted barn, a rambling lobby or strip-mall space. It may not even be in your neighborhood, but that's where you go.

At its best, it's crowded: sometimes with people, always with books -- books stacked to the ceiling. Books lined up in bookcases. Books spread out on tables, highlighted on platforms, displayed in twirling, 5-foot-high wire racks.

Don't know what you're looking for? That's part of the adventure. A bookstore is governed by serendipity. You walk in and the world falls away. There's no rush. It's just you and the books, these pockets of words and paper that somehow transport you to a different place.

The best bookstores have a certain feel, a certain comfort to them. They're stately but not forbidding. The employees are a mix of the young and the eccentric, college students and lifers. The front of the store features their recommendations, a little offbeat, a little intriguing. If you're looking for something specific, they know where to find it; if you don't know what you're looking for, they can be your Virgil and Beatrice, guiding you through the world.
It is a place with a soul.



It's all about books :-)


Hanging out in bookstores had always been a personal joy of mine since my childhood.

During my primary school years, from 1991 to 1996, I travelled a lot. Visited the US four times, and Europe twice. Usually, these trips occurred because my father was having a business trip.

Went to U.S. the very first time when I was 7 (1991, San Francisco, Las Vegas and then Los Angeles).

Europe in 1992 (Vienna, Salzburg, London, Amsterdam and Paris).

U.S. in 1993 (LA, Orlando, New York, Washington DC, San Francisco)

U.S + Canada in 1994 (LA, Vancouver, Toronto, Buffalo, Memphis, San Francisco)

U.S in 1995, this time bringing the little sister along, we repeated the 1991 route.

Europe in 1996 (London and Vienna).

My last trip in US was actually in 1998 (Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco), where we then made a stop at Japan.

These trips usually lasted around two weeks, and vague as they are now to me, my memories of these trips had always been wonderful. But then, that's what nostalgia is all about, isn't it?

How can I forget my first visit to the fabled Disneyland in 1991? It was nearly Christmas, everything was like a winter wonderland. I discovered the joys of frozen yoghurt in San Francisco, during a cold afternoon. I liked it so much that when I slipped and fell while hurrying to cross the road, the yoghurt was unharmed even though I was bawling my eyes out. I liked getting up early in the mornings to interrupt my dad from watching CNN so I could watch cartoons, I also enjoyed US commercials. I don't remember anything about bookshops that year, aside from buying a really good Simpsons book.

In 1992, visiting the hometown of Mozart in Salzburg, I had trouble trying to sleep because I feared Mozart's ghost. When you were 8, had an over-active imagination, and saw Mozart's face everywhere, statues, busts, chocolates, CDs, posters etc. in a place it could haunt you.




Mozart, being intimidating


Nevertheless, I did buy a bust of Mozart, and Beethoven, to put on my piano. (they're still there).

Dad had his conference in Germany, so mom and I had to wait for him in London while staying at his cousin's house. My mom would go to a shopping mall and put me in a bookshop. I would then spend hours and hours going through the books. It was a treasure trove. WWE photobooks (then known as WWF, yes, I was already watching wrestling back then), some nice storybooks, some books of jokes, some encyclopaedias. I fell in love with the illustrations of THE WATER-BABIES, A FAIRY TALE FOR A LAND BABY by the Reverend Charles Kingsley, so I got it.



Water Babies
My book had this exact cover!


Along with a book of jokes, and also an encyclopaedia about dinosaurs. (This was the very same trip where I visited the National History Museum of London for the very first time, and briefly wanted to become a palaeontologist, my film director dream was put aside for a while.) My mom marvelled at the fact that I could sit still in a bookshop for THAT long.

1993's trip in US was memorable because of my visit to Disney World. Dad had to have his meeting in Miami, so mom and I were left in Orlando. We visited Disney World for four days. It was mindblowing for me then because it's the size of a couple of Disneylands! 1st day was Magic Kingdom, 2nd day was at the Epcot, and days 3 and 4 were, of course, at my favourite Hollywood Studios (back in the day, it was known as Disney-MGM Studios).

Every night, after dinner, I would hang out at the small bookshop opposite my hotel, to read Ninja Turtle and Superman comics. Superman had just died, there were four new heroes emerging in his place, each claiming to be Superman. It was compelling. Yup, after an exciting day in Disney World, I thought the best way to relax was to read comic books in a tiny bookshop. When dad rejoined us again for the trips in New York and DC, walking past the White House inspired me enough to buy a book of U.S. presidents.

But the US trips in 1994,1995 and 1998 were the ones giant bookstores like Barnes And Noble and Borders began to play a much more prominent role in my memories.

In 94, 95, I would hang out at the comic books section, going through Spider-man's Clone Saga. I was devastated to learn that Peter Parker was going to let some dude (his clone, Ben Reilly, but at the time, Peter thought he himself was the clone and Ben Reilly was the real thing) take over as Spidey! And then Spider-man became Scarlet Spider??? Dazed. I would then head to the magazines section to browse film magazines, and video game magazines, like Electronic Gaming Monthly. When I was done, I would just pick up the latest RL Stine books from either his Fear Street and Goosebumps series to read or buy. I discovered RL Stine in 1994, when his popularity exploded.

Despite reading all these sort of 'horror' books, it was never really the horror that appealed to me, but the fact that I got to see kids my age, or teenagers, performing heroic deeds, that tickled my imagination. So were the supernatural aspects, so were the occasional fantastical aspects. They were like hot dogs on the street, fine to eat, lingers a little once you're done, but completely forgotten hours later.

I shifted to reading fantasy books when I was 12. It all started with, er, Dragonlance. That was 1996. I shoved all those RL Stine and Christopher Pike stuff aside. Visiting London again (that would be my last trip there until 2009), it wasn't the museums nor the other tourist attractions that excited me, since I've went to most of them in '92 anyway... nope, I only wanted to go to their biggest bookshops. Going through shelves of books, by accident I picked up the first three books of Narnia, and also some book that was highly recommended to me by the store employee called NORTHERN LIGHTS, by Philip Pullman... in the rest of the world, the book was known as THE GOLDEN COMPASS.

I could fully appreciate the wonders of book stores when I was 14. During my last trip in US. The tram rides in San Francisco to the nearest Borders, to Barnes and Nobles. Again I would ask the employees for recommendations, and then pick a few. Neal Stephenson's SNOW CRASH, the first few books from the Terry Goodkind's SWORD OF TRUTH series (the first book was fine, the rest of it became increasingly traumatizing)... etc. Terry Goodkind looked badass though.



Terry Goodkind


In many ways since then, book stores remained a huge part of my life. My trips to Singapore was spent mostly in their Borders and MPH, I cannot help but feel a sense of sorrow when I hear that the Borders is gone.

When studying in Perth (2004-2006), I loved taking the bus either to the city or Fremantle, to visit their small-ish bookshops like Dymocks (I even went to Jasper Fforde's book signing).



Jasper Fforde and me.


Borders opened during the second year that I was there. And I would always go, after classes, mostly alone, but sometimes with Justin. Having coffee, going through the books, picking up some that Justin recommended to me. Those were the times when I discover many that would become my favourite literary works.

I picked up Gabriel Garcia Marquez's LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA in a bargain bin at Dymocks and swooned with it. I was suffering from heartbreak, what can be more effective as a remedy for unrequited love, than to read a book about a man pined after a woman for 51 years, 9 months and 4 days? The intensity of Florentino's lovesickness felt just like my own. The object of my affection was just as elusive and cold to me as Fermina Daza was to him. Florentino wrote poems, I put together silly videos, wrote a novella, drew portraits and the like... I wondered then whether I was going to suffer too, for 51 years, 9 months and 4 days.

I also picked up my first two Haruki Murakami books, WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLES and NORWEGIAN WOODS, because the covers looked nice.



Wind-Up Bird Chronicles


I went through the labyrinthian plot of WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLES and grew increasingly annoyed. NORWEGIAN WOODS was more my cup of tea.

2006 was when I began my film studies. The odds were seemingly stacked up against me during the GIRL DISCONNECTED shoot (my final film in Perth), with supposed crew member quitting after another, until there were only me, the cinematographer and the producer/ assistant director.

The girl who offered to help design costumes for me disappeared. The girls who offered to help do production design for me had other commitments and pulled out abruptly too. (to make things even crazier, I even had to replace the main actor) Knowing that I had to shoulder a massive load, I took a bus to Borders and looked through design books and magazinees, searching for inspiration, reading up books about films from yesteryears to understand how filmmakers of that era could work despite technological limitations. After all, the idea for the script came months earlier when I stumbled upon some Shaun Tan picture books...

That's what I've always been like. Hanging out in book stores.

My uncle passed away a little more than a year ago. My parents, who were visiting Tokyo for my graduation ceremony, had to return earlier. I went to Roppongi, to the Aoyama Book Center. I went through some books, one filled me with intrigue. It was Kanai Mieko's THE WORD BOOK.

I flipped through her short stories.

Earlier this year, one of them became the main inspiration for my short film, LAST FRAGMENTS OF WINTER.

Shooting the sunrise at Shirakawa-go


I initially wanted to eulogize Borders in this blog post, but as I ran through my own memories, I realize that book stores STILL play quite a role in my life, the magic is always there. I only realized it when I'm writing this. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New trailer for EXHALATION

I think its upcoming screening at the Tokyo International Film Festival will signal the gradual end of EXHALATION's run in the festival circuit. The short film has had a good run ever since its world premiere in Dubai last December, much better than I could have imagined. The film was shot in late 2009, (check out the production photos from Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 of the shoot) and went through a non-stop 40-hour marathon editing session.

It's almost two years ago, but it felt much longer than that. Many of the people from the team had since went on with their lives, going to different places. That's the thing about film shoots, they always feel like a distant dream, fading away as I watch its end results.

For the cast and crew who had helped me so much, the film would never been to all these places without them. So I decided to cut together a new trailer for the film yesterday, perhaps as a way to signify some sort of closing of a chapter.

So check it out, I've uploaded it on both Youtube and Facebook:







For the Tokyo Film Festival screening, EXHALATION is paired up with Lim Kah Wai's feature film MAGIC AND LOSS (also produced and starred Kiki). Atter that, both films will screen at selected theatres in Japan.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My short film, EXHALATION, screening at Tokyo International Film Festival

On the day that Tokyo was hit by a massive typhoon, the Tokyo International Film Festival (Oct 22-30) announced its full line-up.

My short, EXHALATION, will be screened at the festival as part of the SUGINO KIKI: MUSE OF THE ASIAN INDIE CINEMA program.




Kiki Sugino and Tomoe Shinohara in EXHALATION


This program showcases five works that Kiki had starred and/or produced over the past few years. EXHALATION is paired up with Lim Kah Wai's MAGIC AND LOSS, which stars Kim Kkobbi and Yang Ik-June. Lim Tai-Hyung's TWO RABBITS IN OSAKA, an apocalyptic fantasy, will be having its world premiere. The critically-acclaimed HOSPITALITE by Koji Fukada, which won best Japanese film at Tokyo Film Festival last year, will be screened too, along with the 2006 omnibus film, ONE SHINING DAY, where Kiki made her acting debut.

Kiki is also presenting the late Yasmin Ahmad's last film, TALENTIME. Yasmin was a major influence for Kiki.

You can read more about this on Film Business Asia, which featured a quote of mine on Kiki.

"Numerous interesting projects were able to get made because of [Sugino's] hard work. It's very brave of her to collaborate with filmmakers of different countries; I can't think of a better way for her to grow rapidly as both a producer and an actress."

I'm glad that I can finally show EXHALATION to its home audience, almost two years after it was shot (and almost a year after it made its world premiere in Dubai Film Fest last December). Exhalation had since been screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Jeonju International Film Festival, Shanghai International Film Festival, Hong Kong nDpanda Short Film Festival and the Curtas Vila de Conde International Film Festival 2011. The famous film critic and former Cahiers Du Cinema editor-in-chief Jean-Michel Frodon had also screened that film in a cafe at Paris few months ago. Awesome!

So yeah, if you were in Tokyo, I hope you'll come for my screening. I'll be around for an introduction, and also for a post-screening Q and A session.

Trailer here.







You can catch 5 minutes of the short film on Twitch. That's almost a quarter of the entire film!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Babes of Tokyo Game Show 2011

The more I tried to run, the more I got sucked back in again, into the dark underbelly of the human psyche.

Yes, dear readers, once again I returned to the annual labyrinth of depravity known as the Tokyo Game Show 2011. From BABES OF TOKYO GAME SHOW 2008 and BABES OF TOKYO GAME SHOW 2010, you know the agony I felt whenever I was forced to interact with the beautiful booth babes of Tokyo Game Show.

How could the pure art of video gaming be tainted by distractions such as beautiful women? How infuriating!

Therefore, this blog post is definitely not about showcasing beautiful booth babes, like the much talked-about Capcom girls...

Capcom girl peddling a 3DS Slide Pad

No, this is a celebration of video games! 

I had just rented out my Canon 7D, so I was left only with an iPhone. All the photos here will be in black and white, because such a tale had to be told with artistic flair that suited its teller. Besides, monochrome mirrors the melancholic dullness of my soul. 

I arrived at Makuhari Messe in the afternoon.
   
Heading to the Tokyo Game Show 2011

And entered the huge hall. Domo-kun tried to eat me. 

Almost eaten by Domo-kun

I ran.

And encountered one of those fabled Capcom girls I've been hearing of in the past few days.
 
Capcom girl

This girl was standing in front of the Konami booth, not sure whether she was a Konami girl or not. I stood in front of her, expecting a flyer or something, but I got nothing.

I cannot remember which booth is she from

Queues were long, I found it difficult to participate in any of its events. 

Managed to check out one of the 3DS slide pads peddled by another Capcom girl.

 
Capcom girl peddling a 3DS Slide Pad

Was at the Cosplayer section again. 

DSLR-wielding amateur photographers with supremely expensive lenses that I've never seen before started flashing away at posing cosplayers. 

Two scantily-clad girls were particularly popular, with a queue lasting more than half an hour just to snap photos of them. Some gave up after waiting for too long. Why do I know this? OF COURSE I wasn't one of those folks who were lining up to photograph two scantily-clad cosplayers, I'm a respectable filmmaker, dammit! I, er, heard from others, yeah, that's it. 

I ran into a familiar face. The awesome Snake cosplayer from Metal Gear Solid. He's definitely a smooth one-eyed Snake. I saw him too, last year.

 
My fave Solid Snake cosplayer

TIGER AND BUNNY cosplayers, my sister's recent favourite anime series.
   
Tiger and Bunny

Tiger (the guy on the left) blinked, too awed by my devastating good looks. 

I then ventured into the Mobile Games section, because of my recent addiction to TinyTower, see. 

Nothing Tiny Tower-related, just ladies in traditional garb, from the Idea Factory booth.
 
Idea Factory Girls

Got hold of some pamphlets and free comics from the Dengeki Japan Comics girls.
 
Dengeki Japan Comics

Walked past the 1-Up Games booth and was greeted by a group of... really young girls.

 
1-UP Games (...underaged?) girls

1-Up Games Booth

Wanted to check out the poster that Gloops girl was standing in front of. 

But yeah, she was in the way.

 
gloops girl

R-Force Entertainment Girl curtsied.

 
R-Force Entertainment girl

QueryEye girl suggested that I should check out their apps.

 
QueryEye girl

I looked at my iPhone, realizing that it was running out of batteries. I cursed. I ran around, trying to find a place to charge my phone. 

The Alienware booth didn't help.

Alienware Girls

Not the MOE TV booth either.

 
Moe TV girl

Tera booth...

 
Tera booth girl

NHN

 
NHN Girl

My phone finally died. So I was unable to take any other photos of Tokyo Game Show. To my utter consternation! 

It was only when I left the hall half an hour later that I found a power source at the corridor where I could charge my phone. Once it was charged, it was too late. 

Could only take a photo of the convention hall from outside. 

Unfortunately, some chick with an umbrella got in the way too.

 
Umbrella girl outside the convention hall

AFTERNOON RIVER, EVENING SKY screening at Malaysian Shorts (Sept 19, Help University)



[EVENING SKY] Lay Fun makes a phone call


My short film, AFTERNOON RIVER, EVENING SKY, will be one of the 8 shorts films screening at the next edition of Malaysian Shorts in Help University on the 19th of September (Monday), 8 - 10pm.

Like I said before, this short film is pretty rarely seen compared to my other works like KINGYO, INHALATION, EXHALATION (it was shot between KINGYO and the -LATION pair, and kinda got lost in the shuffle), so it'll be great if you were able to catch it, along with the other shorts in the program.

Sadly, I won't be around for the Q and A (... being in Tokyo and all right now). But you can always drop by on this blog for some feedback or discussion.


Here are the rest of the line-up copied and pasted from the Facebook page.

Kelab Seni Filem Malaysia
presents
MALAYSIAN SHORTS (edisi September 2011)

It's time again to view Malaysian short films!

Most of the directors will be present. Mingle & ask questions!

Admission is FREE!

TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 1 hour 51 min

Line-Up:

1) Afternoon River Evening Sky
Director: Edmund Yeo
2010, 19 min
A short film divided into two parallel stories. In Afternoon River, Grace, a waitress in a Bah Kut Teh restaurant tries to go through her mundane everyday work while ignoring the incessant ringing of her cell phone. In Evening Sky, the tomboyish Lai Fun seeks justice from an illegal DVD peddler who impregnated her best friend.


2) The Invigilator
Director: Manesh Nesaratnam
2010, 12 min
A story about two high-school teachers and their aspirations in the teaching profession. This film is at once a light-hearted clash of pedagogical perspectives and at the same time an echo of societies' frustrations with the inadequacies of available education systems.

3) Scene
Director: Soren Mohd Noor
2011/ 2 min
Synopsis
When a young adult receives a friend request from a “stranger” via his Facebook account, he finds himself dealing with issues of faith, principles and peer pressure.

4) Permata Bonda
Director: Fikri Jermadi
2010/ 16 min
Synopsis
The constant complaints and bickering between a mother and her daughter causes the daughter, Maimon, to reevaluate her life, forcing her to make a difficult decision that could change her life forever.

5) Burger Boy
Director: Timo
2008/20 min
Synopsis
Flipping burgers is a great way to meet people.

6) The Lims
Director: Brad Liew
2011/3 min
Synopsis
Inspired by Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums, The Royal Lims is a satire on the nasty habit of smoking and the Malaysian government's anti-smoking campaign .

7) Perempuan, Hujan & Kematian
Director: Abror Rivai
2001/20 min
Synopsis
Seorang pesakit delusi sedang diwarat di atas sebuah rumah di atas bukit. Dia berdepan dengan konflik psikologu apabile melihat dirinya sebagai orang lain. Siapa dia sebenarnya?

8) Hujan Panas
Director: Nadiah Hamzah
2011 / 20mins
Synopsis
For the longest time, Zaki has dreamed about coming to America. He enrolls himself in a business course and finds himself in New York City – in an apartment with two illegal Indonesian immigrants; Ferdy and Mira, in Flushing, Queens. As he grapples with the harsh reality of living in the city, he finds himself slowly attracted to Mira. She helps him realize the possibilities of starting life anew – possibilities that are threatened by an impending marriage and his awaited return to Malaysia.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Celebrating Mid-autumn Festival 2011 at Tsukuba Science City

The last time I wrote about the Mid-autumn Festival (or Mooncake Festival) was in 2006.

It's pretty unbelievable that half a decade had gone by. I was in Perth then. On that day, I was shooting my final student film, GIRL DISCONNECTED. So confident with my talents back then, that I thought I was shooting THE definitive Mid-autumn Festival short film.

It was a fantastical tale of a girl who took a train to the moon to seek her love (whom she met on the internet), accompanied by a friend who secretly loved her. Mooncakes appeared in the film. So did Chang-er, and other mythological beings of the moon.




Yeah, the student short film didn't end up shaking the very foundations of cinema. But hey, when you were young, you thought you were invincible. (the film shoot caused me to burn out, I needed more than a year to recover from it before I made my first actual short, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY) 5 years ago, I recounted my childhood memories of the festival.
"Mooncake Festivals had always been special to me, even as a child, nothing could beat the excitement of eating mooncakes and buying new lanterns, lighting them all up at my courtyard. Watching them glow brilliantly at night, and then looking around, watching how the other children of the neighbourhood were doing the same. Yeah, the beauty of the Mooncake Festival at night had always been unsurpassed in my mind. 
I remember a stage was built near my house for a Chinese opera performance. I was a child then, I didn't bother to stay too long with my mother. It was hot and stuffy, mosquitoes everywhere, we ended up leaving early, just so we can go home, and I can be left with the lanterns. It's a fuzzy memory that I thought have long faded until I started writing this. I would've stayed and watch the Chinese opera now. 
Even when I outgrew the lanterns, which was a sad thing, the Mooncake Festival remain an important family affair. For dinner, we have Chinese Steamboat, also known as Hot Pot. Occasionally we are joined by relatives, or family friends. Then we watch television, or take a walk outside, looking at the full moon."
Since I returned to Tokyo, I have spent the past few days editing someone else's film trailer (while preparing myself mentally to edit my latest short film).

The trailer is done. Mid-autumn Festival came yesterday (12th of September). I had mooncakes with me, but to treat Mid-autumn Festival just like any other day would have been sad.

So I decided to go to Tsukuba, which is almost an hour away from Tokyo. I may have visited it during a family trip more than ten years ago, but my memories are vague.

I arrived at Tsukuba in the evening, and found the place rather peaceful compared to the constantly chaotic Tokyo.

Tsukuba is actually known as Tsukuba Science City. According to Wikipedia, 'Tsukuba Science City represents one of the world's largest coordinated attempts to accelerate the rate of and improve the quality of scientific discovery.'

Hoh, no wonder it reminded me of Epcot Center (the one in Disneyland, it's now known as Epcot Theme Park, but I grew up knowing it as Epcot Center, so it will remain Epcot Center forever in my heart). This is Tsukuba Center.


IMG_4205

Tsukuba Science City

Tsukuba Center

Tsukuba Center 2

It had its charms. The sun was on the verge of setting, casting a gentle golden glow upon the sky.

 
Tsukuba Center 3


And some buildings.
 
Flight of steps at Tsukuba Center

I sat at a nearby bench and watched people cycling and walking about.

 
Girl cycling past trees at Tsukuba Center

Nice trees at Tsukuba City Center

The row of trees were really nice. Wondered how it looked like, in black and white. Like a German Expressionist film?

 
Tsukuba Center trees

Trees of Tsukuba Center

The sun was finally gone.

 
Right On building

Tsukuba Center during twilight

My friend finally arrived. We had dinner at a restaurant in a mall. 

I had Karaage (fried chicken)
 
Karaage (Fried chicken) for dinner

She had salmon.
 
Salmon for dinner


It was a good meal. She was planning a trip to Kansai with her visiting family. When she mentioned Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe, I cannot help but remember the little adventure I had during the the New Year of 2009. I went alone to the Kansai region at New Year's Eve, visiting (in this order) Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, and finally, catching the beautiful sunrise at Kobe, all in two nights. This was a trip that I would never forget, and would still tell people about. 

Maiko the Producer is now in NHK Osaka, shooting another TV drama. I wondered how it went. 

Just a month ago, a dear friend of mine whom I met back in Perth, Chimari, had also just gotten married in Kobe. I met her in 2005 when she was an exchange student. She, along with Ai, Iyo, Yuko, Noriko and (another) Maiko. They were all at her wedding ceremony. I wondered how that went as well.

We walked out of the mall, it was already night. I had to catch the train back to Tokyo. But before that, I looked, very briefly, at the full moon.
 
Full moon over Tsukuba during midautumn

Thursday, September 08, 2011

"I want sensuality and sheer sexiness!"

Hopefully you've seen Kenny's photos of my latest film shoot that I posted last night. If not, go see it now!

Now, my own photos of the shoot... (not that many, of course, when you're directing, you only whip out your iPhone occasionally to capture magic)

The main actresses bonded before the shoot.



Actresses bonding

The actresses


We had to ensure that Baby Hanae's in a good enough mood... cos she had some intensely harrowing scenes. Like the one below.

There were some wild boars and snakes, but other than that, we were fine.



Hanae lost in the woods

My film is filled with narcoleptic young women who constantly needed to sleep.

Shooting the obligatory sleeping shot

Woman in Qipao, retro feeling

(Yes, same actress, same dress, from my 1-minute Prada short film...)

During the shoot, conversations like this occurred:



Me: Okay! MORE sensuality! More seductiveness! Lesly (the cinematographer), get a close-up of her hand. Her subtle finger movements that betray her true emotions! Done? Okay, get her skirt.
Lesly: That's low-class, and too much.
Me: W-WHAT??? I want sensuality and sheer sexiness!!!
Lesly: It's cheap. I'll get her toes instead.
Me: (Splutters with rage) Whaaaaat? ... Fine. Toes! Extreme close-up of toes! Yeaaah!
Actress: What do I do with my toes?
Me: Something SENSUAL! Subtly sexy!
Actress: Oh... okay.
Lesly: I guess it's through a camera that you can get closest to a woman.
Me: :(


I dug out mom's old albums to use as film props. (yes, she was a singer before marriage) So mom actually made quite a number of appearances in the film.

Dug out old records of mom (she was a singer before marriage) to use as film props

We risked our lives to shoot in a dangerous jungle.

Actresses in tropical jungle

But things went pretty smoothly.

Here's baby Hanae after we wrapped the shoot (wearing a mini Yukata! So cute!). She had a lot of faith in our shoot and her own performance.

Baby Hanae after the shoot
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