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Monday, August 31, 2009

Food Porn at BE. SWEET ON.

Yes, it's National Day. Merdeka. Merdeka. But I'll talk about that later.

For now I would like to talk about this BE. SWEET ON. dessert shop I visited on my last night at Seoul. Despite having returned from Seoul for a week, I am haunted by memories of its sublime dessert.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Visiting Namdaemun Market and Insadong on my last day in Seoul

Eating blissfully

22nd of August. Saturday. My last day in Seoul. Decided to do some sightseeing instead of catching some films at CINDI.

The first place I went to was the Namdaemun market, which reminded me of Petaling Street.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival 2009 party (... or one of them)

One more day left in Seoul.

Yesterday was my last day in KOFIC lab. Mr. Oh has finished the colour correction and we also got ourselves some nifty end credits too. Once I return to Malaysia tomorrow, Ming Jin will be working on the sound mixing with Soundwave, then the film transfer. Too bad I won't be able to see all those. But I'll be excited to see WOMAN ON FIRE LOOKS FOR WATER having its world premiere at October's Pusan International Film Festival in glorious 35mm. *sob*

Thursday, August 20, 2009

An Interview with Justin Isis

Justin Isis lacks abdominal definition

For me, literature should be as exciting and energising as pop music. I am now 37 years of age, and of a generation for whom pop music was both a personal journey of discovery and something that has always been there. I suppose that for those younger than me, at least the 'has always been there' part of this description must hold, if not all of it. It has been a source of puzzlement to me, therefore, that the sensibility of pop music – all that is best about it in spontaneity, daring and role-play – somehow has not managed to permeate the world of literature. I don't mean this in any superficial sense, that authors should all start wearing shades and writing in American hipster slang (by golly!). No, literature need not relinquish any intellectual depth by learning from pop music – it can even gain some.

Because, for me, interests in literature and pop music were equivalent and intertwined, when I first started having work published, I thought about the entire project through a pop music sensibility. My first collection,
The Nightmare Exhibition, was a 'concept album', in which the title story provided a meta-narrative for the other stories. This, for me, was only the start, or so I thought, until I found that my 'concept albums' were being broken up by publishers who would reject and accept stories with no regard for the song-cycles to which they belonged, who did not care for my pretentious collection titles and who gave me little or no control over artistic presentation.

I had thought that any artistic path should resemble that described by David Bowie in the song Star:

I could play a wild mutation as a rock'n'roll star.

However, some years of the oblivious plodding attitudes prevalent in the world of publishing made me despair of such a thing. There was no David Bowie of literature.

This could be a long story, but I'll cut it short. Justin Isis got in touch with me over the Internet, after reading an online interview of mine, and my faith in literature has become invigorated, precisely because he is a writer who understands the lack of vision in literature as it currently exists. He is also a writer quite capable of the wild mutations that make pop music, at its best, so vital and exciting.

Not long ago, an e-mail from Justin Isis to myself contained the following:

I feel like writing is at least twenty or thirty years behind music... Music seems to have reached a total point of convergence, where genre doesn't really matter anymore. Writing still seems very genre stratified. I also feel like writing is really lagging behind in using technology. I don't mean stupid shit like the Kindle or e-books or whatever, but I mean actual programs for generating text or producing fiction, or database-programs that could be used for combining or mashing up texts based on common words or phrases. If you Google literary mashups, there is like nothing serious that comes up. I really can't believe that I may be the only person that gives a
shit about this.

I really feel like writing now has the potential to be a thousand times better than writing has been in the past. It should be, but no one seems to be doing anything about it. I feel like Susuki is properly "of its time" in that it feels to me like where writing should realistically be now, rather than everyone who is writing like it was still fifty years ago.

It was after reading this that I decided that I must interview Justin Isis, and put that interview out there (on here). And that is what I have done. I hope you find the results exciting and arousing.

-Quentin S. Crisp

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

大馬新晉導演殺進威尼斯影展 (China Press, 18/8/2009)

She (Rukino Fujisaki) looks at the goldfish

Here's an article from China Press. Didn't get to scan it, but link to original article is here. During the phone interview I was asked whether I was representing Japan at the festival, since Kingyo's a Japanese production, but I actually listed the film as a Japanese-Malaysian co-production. Rest of the blog post will be written in Chinese again.

哈罗, 我是杨毅恒。 今天和大家分享来自中国报的访问报道。

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

《金鱼》入围威尼斯影展短片单元。 杨毅恒: “像到了‘神坛’” (Sin Chew Daily, 15/8/2009)

I was on Sin Chew Daily last Saturday, didn't know about it until some friends told me via Facebook.

The article, which was about KINGYO going to next month's Venice Film Festival, is entirely in Chinese. But I was quoted as saying that "a friend of mine mentioned that going to Venice is like going to a 'Pantheon'." (actually I was quoting an interview article I read from my friend, Singaporean filmmaker Eva Tang 邓宝翠" (in 2002, she was the first Singaporean filmmaker in history to get her short film into Venice Film Festival, we met in at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year)

I'll include the entire article below. (The rest of this blog post will be written in Chinese...)

嗯, 大家好, 我就是杨毅恒。 这部落平时是用英文来写的, (因为自己的中文文笔蛮乱七八糟的)。 但是既然在下的短片“金鱼”入围威尼斯短片单元这好消息是中文报纸刊登的, 我就用中文来跟会对中文的读者们打个招呼以及分享这文章吧。

(这文章好像是上个星期六刊登的。 )

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Demonstration in front of Hongik University on Korean Liberation Day

Went to the Hongdae area again yesterday for the Seoul Fringe Festival. I'll post up videos of some of the nicer singing performances I saw when I return from Seoul (Youtube has disabled commenting and video uploading for Korean users).

It was the Korean Liberation Day, and I thought I saw a demonstration in front of the Hongik University. In this video, you'll see me posing handsomely around the 40-second mark.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Colour grading WOMAN ON FIRE LOOKS FOR WATER and exploring Samcheong-dong

Third day in Seoul. Finally began work on the colour grading of WOMAN ON FIRE LOOKS FOR WATER in the Digital Intermediate Lab in KOFIC. Here's Ming Jin and I 'posing' with our main actor Chung Kok Keong in the lab.

Friday, August 14, 2009

KOFIC Tour, Korean BBQ and the awesome Hongdae area

Me drinking Pepsi

Yesterday was my second day in Seoul. I managed to eat some delicious Korean BBQ for dinner.

My short film, KINGYO goes to the 66th Venice Film Festival

The woman (Rukino Fujisaki) whispers something to the man (Takao Kawaguchi)
Rukino Fujisaki and Takao Kawaguchi in KINGYO

I knew about this a few days ago, but now the line-up's for the Corto Cortissimo (international competition of short films) of the 66th Venice Film Festival is officially out, I can finally announce it myself too.

My short film, KINGYO, will be making its world premiere at the 66th Venice Film Festival next month. To be in the oldest and one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world is an honour beyond my wildest dreams. Of course, this would never have happened without the cast and crew of KINGYO, thanks, guys. Some of us will be going to Venice.

KINGYO cast and crew. January 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Arriving at Seoul

Reached Seoul this morning. Took a bus to the service apartment booked for us. Then headed off to the Kofic (Korean Film Commission) offices at 1pm.

It was raining.

That's the Nandaemun, located in the heart of Seoul.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Heading to Seoul for WOMAN ON FIRE LOOKS FOR WATER post-production

I was sifting through the photos I took with my old camera when I found a number of production photos from WOMAN ON FIRE LOOKS FOR WATER, a feature-length film I produced earlier this year. The film's written and directed by Woo Ming Jin.

This film, financed by the Asian Cinema Fund and the Hubert Bals Fund, was shot back in March at Kuala Selangor, and after returning to Malaysia last Monday, I've spent quite a number of days finalizing its edit with Ming Jin. We will be bringing the entire film to Korea tonight for the final stages of its post-production, like colour correction and film transfer.

The film shoot lasted for nearly two weeks, and because it was quite hectic, I didn't really snap any photos most of the time.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Genius kids make me feel puny

Sorry for the lack of updates since I came back to Malaysia, been really busy with stuff. And I feel demotivated since internet connection here's light ears slower than the one I had in Tokyo, have difficulties uploading photos, let alone videos!

Anyway, I was at the first day of the Klang Creative Fest 2009 yesterday because there was a screening of a couple of films I was involved in, like KURUS and THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA, and after that I presented my short films, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY (which just got invited to next month's Calgary Film Festival, I'm surprised it still has festival life!) my little-seen experimental video essay FLEETING IMAGES (I decided to take it out cos it got invited for competition at next month's Singapore Short Film Festival), LOVE SUICIDES (gonna be in competition at next month's Split International Film Fest in Croatia) and then AFTERNOON RIVER, which was shot in Klang back in April and was really commissioned for the Creative Fest. In the end I decided to throw in my Groundhog Day-influenced romantic comedy 3PM because I wanted my screening to end on a lighter note, and people were influenced about my Japanese works (I didn't screen Kingyo for reasons I will explain in a few days)

But prior to my screening, I was walking about the fest, and saw many things that humbled me. Like genius kid painters.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Presenting my short films on 8th of August (Saturday)

I'm presenting three of my short films at the KLANG CREATIVE FEST, held in Klang Centro (map) on the 8th of August, 4:30pm. (exactly a year after the opening of the Beijing Olympics 2008 :D )

The first one will be the comedy, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY, which won an Honourable Mention award and a Best Acting award (for lead actress Kimmy) in the BMW Shorties 2008 before screening at the Dubai and Naoussa Film Festivals (Greece).

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Some stills from my new short film THE WHITE FLOWER

The shoot for THE WHITE FLOWER ended around 12:30am this morning. I borrowed my friend Zhi Feng's house for the shoot. Everything was so hectic that I forgot to whip out my own camera until we were about to finish things.

Rest in peace, Ah Teong

The second day of the The White Flower shoot went on smoothly. I managed to wrap things up half past midnight. I will write about that later.

I came home just now and received a MSN message from my dad that Uncle Martin, the husband of my dad's sister (I called him 'Ah Teong', which was from the Teochew dialect), had just passed away this morning from cancer.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

THE WHITE FLOWER shoot - Day 1

Cast and crew of THE WHITE FLOWER
The cast and crew of THE WHITE FLOWER on top of the Futtsu Viewpoint structure. From left to right: Niklas the cinematographer, Zhu Dan the actress, me, Toro Inamura the actor, Kong the assistant director/ reluctant actor

31st of July. Principal photography for my short film, THE WHITE FLOWER (mentioned in my previous post) began.