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Friday, December 31, 2010

Thoughts on 2010, and its recap (part 2)



Pia Film Festival and Skip City D-Cinema Movie Festival happened. One in Tokyo, the other in Saitama.

I was happy to see Kazue Fukiishi at the premiere of Gegege Nyobo in Pia.

Director Takuji Suzuki speaking to Kazue Fukiishi. Gegege No Nyobo world premiere at the Pia Film Festival

She didn't see me, though.

Thoughts on 2010, and its recap (part 1)

It is 5:39am, 31st of December, 2010 as I am writing this. Less than 18 hours left for the year. I guess I'll just take a bit of time to reflect on the past year and make some sense out of it.

My life is probably defined now, by my filmmaking career. Ever since I started actually directing in 2008, I had derived a lot of joy from creativity, to be surrounded by like-minded people, to indulge myself in films, to further my own craft. My last tweet was laced with some sort of irony-induced nostalgia.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Yadako's Christmas performance

It's quite a contrast, a year ago and today. A year ago, I had just finished the EXHALATION shoot and capped an unbelievable 2009. 2010 had been an incredible year as well (I am referring only to my own filmmaking career, anything outside that is a tragedy to describe), but as I am few hours away from the last day of 2010, I realize how quiet it is ending for me.

Solitude is fine, all the peace and stuff, yet to be occasionally being surrounded by like-minded people during film shoots is a warm feeling, maybe that's why I enjoy them.

Before I go for a more proper year-end blog entry, I'll just share with you all a very nice performance I had the pleasure of witnessing on Christmas day, of a lady named Yadako (you can follow her on Twitter).

Monday, December 27, 2010

(VIDEO) Bowling games of great intensity in Christmas Eve

I posted about a bowling game in Christmas Eve yesterday.

Kan was better with bowling

At that time, I was trying to find an editing software for my laptop that could help me edit the videos that I shot that night.

In the past, I used the Adobe Premiere Pro for PC. Edited my first few short films (Chicken Rice Mystery, Fleeting Images, Love Suicides) with it, also edited telemovies like Cinta Tiga Segi with that too.

But once I switched to shooting stuff on HD, I had to use Final Cut Pro on Mac, which felt immensely more convenient. (Ming Jin's two films WOMAN ON FIRE LOOKS FOR WATER and THE TIGER FACTORY, and my short films beginning from KINGYO, all done with Final Cut Pro)

I still use a PC laptop, and I don't have Adobe Premiere Pro anymore, so I scoured the net, trying to find a good free editing software that could help me. Downloaded a few (I won't name them), but none of them seemed to be able to edit Canon 7D videos.

The only good one I ended up using in the end was EDIUS, but it took a while for me to familiarize myself with the layout.

In the end I lost my patience and decided to just come to my editing lab at Waseda today to swiftly put together this video with Final Cut Pro. After almost an hour, I managed to slap this video together using the music from Nico Spahni's MUSIC FOR SEPT ELLES album.

The bowling alley was so psychedelic that I felt like I was in TRON: LEGACY.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bowling games of great intensity in Christmas Eve

On a Christmas Eve, I had some delicious food at a place called Hana Hana in Shibuya. The food was delicious.

There's this egg dish.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dubai International Film Fest 2010 Closing Ceremony

This concludes my Dubai International Film Fest 2010 recap.

Before the closing ceremony, I was excited to meet the star of Lee Chang Dong's POETRY, Yun Jeong-Hee, seen here with her husband, the renowned pianist Paik Kun-Woo.

More snapshots of Dubai International Film Festival 2010

Beginning from the 16th of December, I was staying at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. It had a nice view of the Burj.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Exhalation's World Premiere

Okay, I'm back from Dubai, but I'll still have to give a quick recap on the very first screening of EXHALATION.

So here's a quickie.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

(Video) Colin Firth receiving Variety's Int'l Movie Star Of The Year award from Carey Mulligan

Here's Carey Mulligan, presenting Variety's International Movie Star of The Year award to Colin Firth, and also his acceptance speech, on the 13th of December, second day of the Dubai Film Fest.

He's really eloquent.

video page

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dubai International Film Fest 2010 Opening Ceremony

So, I'm now at Dubai. Today, my film EXHALATION will finally have its world premiere at the Dubai Film Fest.

But this will chronicle my first day in the place.

Here are some pretty photos of me right before the opening ceremony on the 12th of December, courtesy of Indonesian documentary filmmaker Daniel Rudi Haryanto.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cinemanila International Film Festival 2010 recap

I'm now in Dubai, took numerous photos and videos. But before I give you all updates of my misadventures there, I'll do a recap of Cinemanila International Film Fest first.

Like I mentioned in a previous post, I went to Cinemanila right after the Torino Film Festival/ Film Lab.

3rd of December. I arrived in Manila during the afternoon, I was picked up at the airport. I intended the festival to be one where I could rest, since the Torino schedule was so hectic.

"Well, for tonight, I'll just relax, and maybe catch the SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD screening." I told Raymond, who was picking me up. His day job is actually as a TV writer.

"Oh, I'm afraid you can't do it. The awards ceremony is tonight." Raymond said.

"What? But today's only the second day of the festival!" I was flabbergasted.

"Yes, but they wanted to get the awards out of the way first." Raymond said.

So... that evening, we went to the award ceremony.

Here are the trophies.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Junko Kamata performing in Shinjuku, great voice, great songs.

I'll take a break briefly from the Torino recaps to write about something that happened last night.

Torino student protests remind me of Antonioni's Blow-Up

30th of November, my last day in Torino. It was an eventful day, so I'll need perhaps 3 blog entries to cover them all.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Torino Film Fest/ Film Lab 2010 recap (Nov 28-29)

It was snowing on the morning of November 28th.

Torino Film Fest/ Film Lab 2010 recap (Nov 25-27)

I flew to Torino on the 25th of November for the Torino Film Lab (which is part of the Torino Film Festival. 3 years ago, Ming Jin won a jury award in this festival for THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA).

When I arrived, it was already dark. I had to take a bus to the city center. The journey lasted around 45 minutes.

Back from Torino and Manila.

Yup, I came back from Manila two days ago. For the past two weeks I was in Torino (Italy) and Manila for the film festivals and other stuff.

The screenwriting workshop I've been attending throughout the year concluded its session in Torino (the first two rounds were in Bratislava, back in March, and Brignogan, France, back in June).

Then I just headed off immediately to Cinemanila Film Fest to present INHALATION and THE TIGER FACTORY.

Many photos, videos to share, many stories to tell.

My computer died (again) just when I reached Torino, hence the lack of updates. Frustrating, but it had happened so often that I've grown numb.

I'm leaving for Dubai on the 11th. Not a lot of time to rest from my constant flying, haha.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yoyogi Park during Autumn Twilight

Almost exactly two years ago, I headed off to Yoyogi Park to look at the golden ginkgo leaves, I was unable to forget their beauty. Since then, I made a mental note to myself that I would always visit the place when the leaves were turning.

When I had an appointment with someone yesterday evening, I decided to go to Yoyogi Park first. To my consternation, the sky was already turning dark at 4pm. Nonetheless, the golden ginkgo leaves were still there.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Red Pepper Girls (Korean twins) performing in Shinjuku

I met up with old high school friend Sebastian yesterday evening in Shinjuku (he and his family were on a family trip in Japan and dropped by in Tokyo for two nights). After we had dinner, he left and I walked off to catch the bus.

As I walked past the Shinjuku Station West Exit, our conversation swirled in my mind, people from high school, those who had just gotten married, those who had just gotten engaged, previous loves, our careers in film (Sebastian works in RHYTHM AND HUES and had just made a short film called Hashshashin's Revolt, it was a valiant attempt), and the like.

Perhaps time was indeed passing me by, I thought in slight melancholy. Ah, memory, a constant source of pain.

It was Sunday evening, Shinjuku was characteristically crowded. Yet I walked in solitude, past the crowds of people, past lovers whispering sweet nothings to each other, past tourists mesmerized by the bustling energy of Shinjuku, past a pair of pretty twin sisters singing at the street, past a happy family, past a couple of homeless guys-


I stopped, and looked back at the pair of pretty twin sisters.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nov 17, 18, 19... lots of birthdays of family members

Since my epic food poisoning last week, I continued my semi-retreat into a writing session of my screenplay.

So the entire week just came and went.

I just came to a realization that Nov 17, 18 and 19 are birthdays of many people I know. In fact, I have 3 different family members and relatives celebrating their birthdays on these three successive days.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I haven't vomited since '05...

I felt that something was wrong two nights ago when I was suddenly afflicted with diarrhea. What could've caused it? The onigiri I bought in a convenience store for lunch? The bento from the nice elderly couple that I've had for dinner (a favourite of mine for the past two years)? The iced chocolate I drank two hours later during a meeting?

Not dwelling upon the issue, I quickly took the famed Po Chai pills. The discomfort lasted for two hours before everything subsided and I could sleep again.

When I woke up yesterday, I felt a little better, and assumed that I've recovered. I took a few gulps of water, then I was overwhelmed by a strong feeling of nausea.

Oh shit... was the words in my mind as I ran out of my room, hoping to reach the toilet in time.

I couldn't make it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A memory from primary school

Recently, during a Facebook chat session with some primary school friends (yes, we still keep in touch, someone was sweet enough to start a Facebook group for the class of 1996) and a certain incident started emerging from the deepest recesses of my memory.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Visiting Kamakura with Mom

22nd of September 2010, two days after my graduation ceremony, and 2 days before receiving news of my uncle's sudden passing. It was Mid-Autumn Festival.

No mooncakes or lanterns though, just me bringing mom to Kamakura to visit the Big Buddha.

Waseda Festival 2010

Yesterday was the Waseda Festival 2010. (read about Waseda Festival 2009)

Not much about the fair though, since the highlight of my day was clearly this:

With Tao Sha (in maid costume!)

Although I was quite amused by the folks at the Bodybuilding Club too. A group of muscular dudes were in the university campus, flexing their muscles, letting people touch them, while they hand out flyers.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Re-introducing my short film, AFTERNOON RIVER, EVENING SKY

The Bratislava International Film Festival begins today.

My short film, AFTERNOON RIVER, EVENING SKY, will make its world premiere in competition. It is the only Asian entry among the selected short films.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

My films, LOVE SUICIDES and KINGYO receive awards at the Doi Saket International Film Festival

Now, this is a surprise!

Just received news that I won two awards at the inaugural Doi Saket International Film Festival (facebook page here). The festival actually ended on the same day as the Tokyo International Film Fest (Oct 31st), but the folks were so busy that they didn't announce the results publicly until few moments ago.

I won a Best Editing Award for KINGYO (2009).

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The last day of the Tokyo International Film Festival 2010

31st of October.

I headed to Roppongi to wait for the Green Carpet event prior to the closing ceremony. I was at the TIFF Movie Cafe with Prof. Ando.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

THE TIGER FACTORY receives Jury Special Mention at Tokyo International Film Festival

The Tokyo International Film Festival ended yesterday (... or two days ago, since it's 1:37am when I'm writing this).

I went to the awards ceremony and to my surprise, THE TIGER FACTORY received a Jury Special Mention for the Winds Of Asia category! Basically it happened when the jury members were presenting the Best Asian Film award to Korean filmmaker Shin Su-Won for her film PASSERBY #3, then jury member and film director Akira Ogata mentioned that the jury would like to specially mention THE TIGER FACTORY as well. So, I realized that a 'special mention' is literally, you know, a special mention.

When the 'award winners' were invited onto the stage for a photography session, not entirely sure whether someone who got a 'special mention' is considered an 'award winner', I headed off to the toilet. Then I came out and heard people calling out my name, so I went back into the hall and people were waiting for me!

So I took some photos with the winners and was whisked off to the press conference.

Me and Su-Won addressed the press and took questions.

The Tokyo International Film Fest website quoted some stuff I said. But slightly different in both the Japanese and English pages.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The 2nd screening of INHALATION + THE TIGER FACTORY in Tokyo International Film Festival

The TPG meetings from the 26th to 28th of Oct went by in a blur. I think it's much more fruitful than the one two years ago, I got to meet more people, got more input for the project, it was a very educational experience.

No photos though, just a photo of Ming Jin and I, with Dustin Nguyen. In between meetings.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The 1st screening of INHALATION + THE TIGER FACTORY in Tokyo International Film Festival

26th of Oct. The 1st screening of INHALATION and THE TIGER FACTORY.

The day began with the TPG (Tokyo Project Gathering) reception. Just like two years ago, Ming Jin and I had a project called 'THE BOOK KEEPER' in the TPG. Some changes were made since then, for example, the opening reception was held on the TIFF Movie Cafe instead of the ballroom in the 49th floor of Roppongi Hills, and that meetings of TPG had been integrated into TIFFCOM (at the 40th floor) instead of being in a separate space at the 49th floor. I elaborated a lot more about the TPG in this blog two years ago.

Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang has a new project called Headshot.

Sylvia Chang, Wilson Chen Bolin and Lin Zaizai (again) at the Taiwan Cinema Party in Tokyo Film Fest 2010

Been quite behind with my updates because I've been so busy at the Tokyo Film Festival in the past few days. Both screenings of INHALATION + THE TIGER FACTORY had ended, so is the TPG (Tokyo Project Gathering) at TIFFCOM, so I have a bit more time now. (still have to head there later this afternoon to be interviewed)

On the 24th of June, the Taiwanese folks had a Taiwan Cinema Party in the Tokyo Film Fest.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vivian Hsu, Yoshino Kimura and the Tokyo International Film Fest 2010 Green Carpet Event

Yesterday was the opening of the Tokyo International Film Festival 2010.

My recent Pusan Film Fest-winning short film INHALATION (which Ming Jin produced) and Ming Jin's THE TIGER FACTORY (which I produced) are screening under the WINDS OF ASIA section.

Before the green carpet event, we took photos with Vivian Hsu.

With Vivian Hsu, before the Green Carpet event

With Vivian Hsu, before the Green Carpet event 2

I told her that I saw the short film, JULIET'S CHOICE, which she starred in at the Pusan International Film Festival (it was also under the Asian Short Film Competition). JULIET'S CHOICE was initially conceived as part of an omnibus called Juliets, and Juliets is also screening at the Tokyo International Film Fest.

We walked down the green carpet. The TRON 2 folks were in front of us.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dancing with Juliet Binoche

Yeah, it's not everyday that you get to share the same dance floor with an Oscar-winning actress.

But there I was, last night, at the Wide Angle party in Pusan International Film Fest. Just after the screening of INHALATION.

You'll spot Juliet Binoche, and my sista Kkobbi Kim (from "Breathless", who is probably the poster girl of this year's Pusan Film Fest cos she's in THREE films: MAGIC AND LOSS, ASHAMED and an anime), and also festival director Kim Dong Ho. This festival is Kim Dong Ho's swansong (he had been in charge for 15 years, since its founding).

Oh, Abbas Kiarostami appeared at the 0:34 mark too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hamburg snapshots

Before I launch into my barrage of photos from the Pusan Film Fest, I'm going to post up some photos I took in Hamburg during my time there on 1st-5th Oct.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rest in peace, Zeg Zeg.

As I've mentioned in my previous post, my uncle, passed away early in the morning yesterday of cardiac arrest. He was 56.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A death in the family

I wanted to post photos of my graduation day on the 20th, or photos of me and mom hanging out at Kamakura on Mid-Autumn Festival two days ago, unfortunately I have to post about this instead.

This morning I received a call from mom. My uncle, dad's youngest brother, had just passed away a few hours before dawn. Cardiac arrest. He was 56. My parents are flying back to Malaysia tomorrow, a day earlier than planned. More about this later.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Babes of Tokyo Game Show 2010

Dear readers, do not be deceived by the title of this blog post. I am definitely NOT encouraging the objectifying of beautiful booth women at the this year's edition of Tokyo Game Show. Like my 'Babes of Tokyo Game Show 2008' post from two years ago, I am now getting up my high horse to voice my personal conflicted feelings towards the beautiful booth women of the Tokyo Game Show.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


[INHALATION] Mei (Susan Lee Fong Zhi) musing in a butcher shop

Edited this together two nights ago. The music you here in the trailer is the main theme of the short film and is composed by my now-frequent collaborator Wong Woan Foong. Cello performed by Mark Shuping.

video page

Saturday, September 18, 2010

KINGYO cinematographer Josha shot the new SPEED music video, Yubiwa

Now, finally, something not about the screenings of my film.

A few years ago I mentioned my teenage love for the Japanese pop group SPEED.


They started in 1996, then disbanded in 2000. I was crushed. In 2008, they came back again, I was skeptical. Yet the intensity of my love for SPEED, especially lead vocalist Hiroko Shimabukuro (the tall one), was so intense that I composed silly haiku for her.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Catch KINGYO and a sneak peek of INHALATION at Malaysian Shorts, 20th Sept

UPDATED: This is my short film Kingyo, in its entirety

A while ago, Allan Koay the journalist once asked whether I noticed that my short films looked alike.

I disagree.

Aside from having scenes of brooding young women.

The Maid (Luchino Fujisaki) has a solitary moment
Luchino Fujisaki in KINGYO

[INHALATION] Mei (Susan Lee Fong Zhi) musing in a butcher shop

And regularly centering around two protagonists walking around somewhere at night, chit-chatting, and reopening old wounds etc etc.

[kingyo] A nocturnal conversation at the carpark

[INHALATION] Seng (Ernest Chong) confronts Mei (Susan Lee)

I think each and every single one of my shorts look different!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

First minute of LOVE SUICIDES at FILMINUTE 2010

[Love Suicides] The woman (Kimmy Kiew) is pensive

(After such a long period of inactivity, I am now bombarding this blog with festival announcements, eek.)

This actually started at the beginning of September, but I didn't mention it due to some, er, distractions.

Anyway. a one-minute incarnation (or rather, the first scene) of my older short film, LOVE SUICIDES (2009), was one of the 25 finalists selected for FILMINUTE 2010, an international one-minute short film festival. I was a little surprised when I was informed last month by the people at the festival that the first scene of LOVE SUICIDES seemed like a 1-min film by itself!

So yeah, after that I decided to extract the scene and sent them as LOVE SUICIDES: PROLOGUE.

Watch it here on the Filminute website. (considering that it's only a minute long, I really don't that it'll waste that much of your time. Hah)

INHALATION also playing at Vancouver and Tokyo International Film Festivals (with THE TIGER FACTORY)

[INHALATION] Seng (Ernest Chong) and Mei (Susan Lee) share a quiet moment at the dock

I mentioned in my previous post that my latest short, INHALATION, is finally making its premiere in competition at the Pusan International Film Festival on the 8th of October.

Actually on the same day (but slightly later, due to timezones), INHALATION will also be opening before THE TIGER FACTORY at the Vancouver International Film Festival. And later in the month of October, INHALATION will also be playing before THE TIGER FACTORY at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

INHALATION on Vancouver International Film Festival site

THE TIGER FACTORY on Vancouver International Film Festival site

I liked the INHALATION synopsis given on the VIFF website.

An alternate version of The Tiger Factory’s narrative, compressed, stretched, and flipped, by its writer/producer.

Monday, September 13, 2010

INHALATION premiering in competition at Pusan International Film Festival

[INHALATION] Seng (Ernest Chong) confronts Mei (Susan Lee)

It's not everyday that you get to plug your own SHORT FILM (!!) at the Cannes Film Festival. But I did just that with INHALATION, back in May, during the press conference of THE TIGER FACTORY, when I was asked about it by Jeremy Segay the moderator and programmer.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Review of THE WHITE FLOWER at J-FIlm Pow-Wow

Zhu Dan and Toru Inamura in THE WHITE FLOWER

Marc Saint-Cyr had posted a review of THE WHITE FLOWER at J-Film Pow-Wow. Here's an excerpt:

Suitably, the still photography used throughout “The White Flower” is incredibly beautiful, possessing much richness, crisp clarity and great attention to framing and lighting in every shot. In fact, viewers are likely to be doubly grateful for the slideshow-like manner in which the shots progress, as it allows them to better savor each image while seeming to magnify and expand each of the contemplative, intimate moments that comprise the film’s episodic structure.

Read the full review!

THE WHITE FLOWER was recently screened at the InDPanda International Short Film Festival in Hong Kong.

Friday, September 03, 2010

THE WHITE FLOWER screening at InDPanda International Short Film Festival

Me, pointing at the still photo of my film, THE WHITE FLOWER
me pointing at the WHITE FLOWER still

Leaving from Hong Kong to Guangzhou the day after the world premiere of THE WHITE FLOWER left me Twitter-less, Facebook-less, Youtube-less and Blogger-less, hence the lack of updates.

So, back to the screening of THE WHITE FLOWER. On the night of the 26th, I finally got to screen my experimental THE WHITE FLOWER to the public at the Broadway Cinematheque.

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.

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.

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.

Sunday, August 22, 2010



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.

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.

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.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Ah. Catharsis.

On the 3rd of August, I finally put the finishing touch on the music + video installation project I mentioned earlier.

Tao Sha, the actress I used earlier, returned for a quick voice recording session. She was to recite a poem by Phyllis Lin Hui Yin.

Tao Sha going through her lines

The past two months went by in a blur, I can't even actually remember what had happened since I came back from Brest and Brignogan. A few days of being sick, then dealing with the Masters' Thesis presentation, and finally, quickly putting together a few projects to shake off my rust and ennui (that derived from the lack of filmmaking and creative endeavours).

Sunday, August 01, 2010


kingyo poster

31st of July, Saturday, was the 2nd screening of KINGYO at the Skip City International D-Cinema Film Fest.

When I reached Skip City, there was some baton twirling action going on.

Friday, July 30, 2010

My new video art project = Poems of Phyllis Lin Huiyin + Andy Warhol's Screen Test

Picture 11

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Huey Ching, also a Malaysian in Japan (and a composer), proposing a collaboration. An experimental festival for live performances and all sorts of music project's coming up soon in Tokyo, she intended to merge her own music performance with videos.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


27th of July, two days ago, the first screening of KINGYO was held as part of the short film competition program in the Skip City International D-Cinema Festival 2010.

I was surprised by the amount of audiences, being a Tuesday morning and all. Mine was the last one to play, so I got to watch the other three short films, which were all really diverse in tone and genres: A fantasy black comedy, a cyberpunk samurai actioner, and a coming-of-age tale. Left the hall when KINGYO started playing, so not entirely sure of its reception.

The filmmakers and cast members were all invited onto the stage after the screening to introduce themselves and what they wanted to say about their films.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Q and A session after the LOVE SUICIDES screening at Fuji TV, Odaiba

On Sunday (25th of July, just a day after the opening of the Skip City Film Fest mentioned in my previous post), I headed off to the Fuji TV headquarters in Odaiba for a screening of LOVE SUICIDES. It was part of the SF7 program. SF stands for 'Student Films', seven universities participated, hence the '7'.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The opening of Skip City International D-Cinema Festival 2010

Went to the opening ceremony of Skip City International D-Cinema Festival 2010. My short film, KINGYO, is in competition. 10 shorts were in competition, it's supposed to be a domestic competition for Japanese shorts only, KINGYO was a Japanese short, but its director ain't a Japanese, so that makes me the token foreigner among the nominees, awesome!

I was actually late, missed all of the opening speeches from the ceremony, but I arrived just in time to be introduced on-stage. When I walked into the place, the conversation between me and the staffer was like that:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kazue Fukiishi 吹石一恵 at the Gegege No Nyobo 『ゲゲゲの女房』 world premiere

Nine years ago, when I was just finishing high school, I went to Japan for a family trip. I remember being in a hotel that was known for the hot springs, but what I remember most then was the lobby, where a public service announcement poster of actress/ model Kazue Fukiishi from the fire department was pinned onto the wall.

I vaguely recognized her name (few years earlier I had seen her debut feature in the TOKIMEKI MEMORIAL, a film adapted from a dating simulation... er, yeah), but I was mostly mesmerized by her beauty. That large luminous eyes peering deep into my soul, telling me to be careful not to play with fire, the slight playful smile on her face hinted that she knew secrets of me and would be a willing co-conspirator.

Returning to my room, images of her lingered, and the question that haunted my mind then was... "what if I cannot see this poster again? What if, for the rest of my life, this poster would just be a fleeting image that would just fade off in my mind, along with her name?"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

3PM, a short film exercise

[3PM] Mika (Yumiko Kitazawa) listens to music

3PM is an exercise from the cinematography class I was taking last year. I remember finishing it around the end of June. Then summer came, and I was mired into some sort of depression, which is what I am pretty much going through now. (Quite odd, it's as if I'm stuck in a time loop like the protagonist of the film.)

I digress.

Anyway, all my rushes (raw footages) of this film had been destroyed when my hard disk died last year (just a few weeks after the film was done), making this a 'lost work' of mine. And I wouldn't exactly classify this as part of my oeuvre since it's really just a class project of sorts.

The film only existed in the form of some DVDs that I managed to burn for myself. There are some works that I've done which I would rather it doesn't see the light of the day, but I had a lot of fun shooting 3PM, with the help of a nice cast and crew. And I wouldn't want the film to disappear just like that, so I might as well upload it online for fun.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I have suffered so long for nothing.

I might be a tormented artist like Van Gogh

It was getting increasingly hard to sleep recently, especially in the past few weeks. I could never understand why.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Wonder What Human Flesh Tastes Like by Justin Isis

My friend, author Quentin S Crisp, has an important announcement to make.

Dear Readers,

My name is Quentin, but please call me Quentin S. Crisp. I have had the privilege of being interviewed on this blog in the past, and now I would like to address you directly. For some time I have been in correspondence and creative collaboration with Justin Isis, guest writer on this blog. A significant overlap in our aesthetic concerns led us to found the dadaoist blogzine, Chômu. Catching the westering rays of that dying blog (which will perhaps rise again), and taking its name therefrom, a new celestial body has appeared in the publishing firmament: Chômu Press.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mitama Matsuri at Yasukuni Shrine 2010

Yesterday, I noticed an increase of traffic for last year's blog post about the Mitama Matsuri (or Mitama Festival) at the Yasukuni Shrine. I checked the date and realized that it's exactly been a year (plus a day) since I went to the festival. Last year I went with two of my friends, Zifeng and Yang Yang, it was a fun experience. We went there in the evening, and left after sunset.

It took me a while to decide whether I wanted to go again or not, with a newer camera, I could take much better photos than last year's. Too bad I would be going alone, but then, it's always been the case anyway.

This time, I arrived at the shrine at around 7:30pm. It was already night.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cannes leftovers

My old laptop died last month and I ended up being forced to get a new one. Well, it was about time anyway, the laptop had been with me for more than 3 years, a usual life span for laptops?

I just opened its hard disk and hooked it up to my new comp just now because I needed to extract some information needed for tomorrow's final Masters' Thesis presentation. Then I saw some of the photos from my last day in Cannes which I have yet to upload on Flickr, and also an earlier video, so here you go.

This video was taken on May 18th, when Professor Ando was bringing us to this nice place for dinner.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Last days in Brignogan

25th of June. Everyone were leaving Brignogan. Before that they were waiting at the hotel lobby, it was the only place where the Wi-Fi signal was decent.

Olga, Lorena and Anita at the unofficial internet room

By evening, almost everyone was gone.

I made my way through the beach...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sumptuous feast and fun party during last day of Brignogan workshop

24th of June, last day of the workshop in Brignogan. After the session ended, I was interviewed by a local paper! (Orsi of Hungary, served as translator)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Trip day in Brignogan

The script workshop sessions in Brignogan were usually held outdoors. How could it be otherwise? The scenery was great, we get to look at the clear blue sea.

Man and Sea!

Me at a Brignogan beach

And here's my teammate Anita of Bratislava, Slovakia, enjoying herself.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Sunrise and sunset, Brignogan-Plages, France

Ah, it's good to be operating in full strength again. After my grievous bout of nosebleed, and the upset tummy that lasted for a couple of days. Every time when I was on the verge of recovering, I would eat something... unhealthy, prolonging the pain, so during the weekend I decided to cut down my meals. It was pretty horrible.

Brignogan-Plages, or simply Brignogan, was where I had my scriptwriting workshops. After spending two days in Brest, a car picked me and a few others up at the train station and took us to Brignogan, a village 30 km away.

It didn't take too long.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Still suffering from jet lag, I found it difficult to sleep last night. I stayed up the whole night, watching both the Japan - Paraguay match, and the last half hour of the Spain - Portugal match. Stomach felt queasy, another bout of food poisoning-like symptoms were creeping over me, though back then I was unable to pinpoint the actual source of my discomfort, and believed I might be having trouble adjusting to my bed again. (I disregarded the fact that I slept pretty comfortably through the afternoon after I got back from the airport, I thought I was merely too exhausted then to notice the discomfort)

I dozed off finally at 9am and woke up less than 2 hours later, feeling a familiar sensation in my nose. Blood again, was pouring out of my right nostril, profusely. I said 'again', because obviously I am used to this occurrence.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Brest, France. A travelogue of sorts.

Ask me what I thought of Brest, two days earlier, when I was stuck there after missing my flight, I would have launch into an expletive-filled tirade. But now that I've reached Tokyo, and slept through the afternoon, I look at Brest, not with nostalgia, but with acceptance that the place played a rather big role in my latest trip.

My workshop was mostly in Brignogan, which is 30-45 mins away from Brest, by car. But due to circumstances I had never expected, I actually realized I have spent three and a half nights in Brest, compared to the 6 in Brignogan, I ended up becoming quite familiar with the city center. It's unlikely that I would ever return to Brest, it's not one of those places that I would go to for personal reasons. So acknowledging that fact does make me feel a little fonder of the place.

Anyway, a short chronicle of my days in Brest.

Monday, June 28, 2010


That was how I felt when I had to stay in Brest for another day.

The initial plan was simple. After writing my last post, I was supposed to go to the Brest station, catch a train to Paris, enjoy the beautiful countryside scenery during the 4-hour train ride, and then after reaching the Charles De Gaulle, sleep at the airport, and take the plane back to Tokyo.

Alas, things didn't work out, I was shell-shocked when there wasn't a train to be caught, and ended up being forced to reschedule my flight. Thus I ended up in Brest for an extra day. It's a frustrating feeling, when all your mind is prepared to go home, and BOOM! Some unforeseeable crap happened, and I ended up being stuck.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Leaving Brignogan, France

Heya folks, I've been in Brignogan, France, for the past week or so. Brignogan is this nice coastal village 30 mins away from Brest. Been so busy with my scripwriting workshop, so no time to really post anything here. I took many pretty photos too, no time to upload either.

It is now 10:53am, a car is supposed to pick me up at 3:30pm and take me to Brest station, where I will have to take a train to Paris (train ride lasts 3-5 hours). After I reach the Paris Airport, I will still wait for another couple of hours before I fly back to Tokyo (the flight is at 7am, next morning). I expect to, well, sleep in the airport.

I brought two books with me for the trip, David Mitchell's CLOUD ATLAS, and Vladimir Nabokov's THE REAL LIFE OF SEBASTIAN KNIGHT. I was already in the last quarter of CLOUD ATLAS, so I finished the book while I was still in the plane. SEBASTIAN KNIGHT turned out to be a much breezier read than expected, I finished that during my first two days in France, even before the beginning of the workshop!

I ended up having to download some e-books via Scribd, and was reading Nabokov's PALE FIRE, and Haruki Murakami's HARD-BOILED WONDERLAND AND THE END OF THE WORLD. Despite having mixed feelings of Murakami's works (enjoyed NORWEGIAN WOODS, annoyed with WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLES, liked AFTER DARK, indifferent to most stories in THE ELEPHANT VANISHES), many have actually said that some of my works reminded them of his stories. I would say that it's coincidence, since, for the past two years, I live in the same dormitory that he used to live in, go the same university that he goes in. I like listening to jazz too. 9 years ago, when I was studying for SPM, the final government exams for secondary school in Malaysia, I had Duke Ellington blaring from my CD player. Sometimes, I would also humorously liken my improvisational filmmaking methods to those of a jazz musician.

Anyway, I'm enjoying HARD-BOILED WONDERLAND AND THE END OF THE WORLD, although I would say that overall, I still prefer David Mitchell as a writer (though he's clearly influenced by Murakami). So yup, another day drifting by while I prepare my long trip back to Tokyo.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cannes Day 9: Moon Lai's Photoshoot

The last day in Cannes was quite uneventful. All the pressure and stress we had leading towards our screening were finally gone. We could finally just enjoy the festival and the place, it's a little unfortunate that our screening took place towards the end of the festival, otherwise we could have had more relaxing days like this.

Monday, June 14, 2010

VIDEO: Talking about my new short, INHALATION at THE TIGER FACTORY press conference at Cannes Film Festival

Had been shutting myself away from the rest of the world working on a new film treatment.

Then, my comp died.

I ended up doing the writing at Saizerya (a Japanese "family restaurant" similar to Denny's) in the past few hours.

Will continue writing that.

But for now, take a look at a video from THE TIGER FACTORY press conference at the Cannes Film Festival on the 21st of May, 2001, just before its official screening. Jeremy Segay moderated the Q and A, those present were Ming Jin (the producer-writer-director), me (the producer-writer-editor) and Moon Lai (or Fooi Mun, the lead actress).

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Cannes Day 8: The Tiger Factory day!

Spent the entire last week trying to finish up my Master's Thesis. It's due end of this month, but I had other things to do, so had to get it done earlier. I succeeded.

Now, on with my penultimate post for the Cannes trip.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Cannes Day 7: Pretty uneventful aside from the Directors' Fortnight Party

Nothing happened on my 7th day in Cannes. That was the 20th of May, just a day before our press conference and screening. We continued going around giving out invitations to friends and people who were interested in catching THE TIGER FACTORY.

After that we bumped into Lee, editor of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's eventual Palm D'or winning 'UNCLE BOONME WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES', and the actress Wallapa (who played the princess in the film). We went off to have some kebab. Lee gave us tickets to the Uncle Boonme gala screening too, awesome!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Cannes Day 6: Lee Chang Dong's Poetry

Been busy writing my masters thesis (due end of June), giving my mid-term thesis presentation in Wednesday (just two days after I got back from Cannes) and being repeatedly pestered to give advice for someone else's graduate film project that I had no time to update my blog.

19th of May. Went to the gala screening of Lee Chang Dong's Poetry. That was probably the highlight of that day, I can't remember anything else from that day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cannes Day 5: Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy

After meeting Abbas Kiarostami at MK2's Jia Zhangke party, I knew I had to catch his film.

Nespresso in Cannes Film Fest

At the main Palais building of the Cannes Film Festival, where the Market is held, and just between the theaters showing the competition films and the Un Certain Regarde films, there's a Nespresso Cafe that provides free coffee to people with festival accreditations.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cannes Day 4: Prof Ando brings us to nice restaurant

I've returned to Tokyo this morning. It's been an enjoyable trip in Cannes. The reception for THE TIGER FACTORY was very warm, there was a nice standing ovation, but I'll get to that later.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cannes Day 2: Finally saw some celebrities

I'm staying in a hotel at Juan Le Pins, which is one station away from Cannes.

As I took a walk around, I realized Juan Le Pins is quite a charming little place.

First day in Cannes

I arrived at the Charles De Gaulle Airport on 4am. I was supposed to wait for 3 hours before the transit to Nice.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My award-winning short film, LOVE SUICIDES now (temporarily?) online

[Love Suicides] The woman (Kimmy Kiew) is pensive

My short film, LOVE SUICIDES (2009) has also been temporarily uploaded online last month as part of Brazil's Fluxus 2010 - International Film Festival on the Internet, so I decided to allow the folks at GUA to host the short for a while as well.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Watch CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY online (a suitable film for Mother's Day?)

Today is Mother's Day, so I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you all my very first non-student short film, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY (2008), which is now uploaded on Youtube

Singer Yui Ibuki 伊吹唯 performing in front of Shinjuku Station exits

On the 6th of May, before I caught sight of Denis the tap dancing painter, I saw Yui Ibuki 伊吹唯 performing at the West exit of Shinjuku station (I was on my way to Yodobashi Camera to check out some camera lenses).

Friday, May 07, 2010

Denis the Tap Dancing Painter

Last night, as I was heading home from Shinjuku, I saw Denis, a tap dancing painter. I can assure you that it's not really a common sight in Shinjuku. The guy had a lot of showmanship and had attracted a large crowd of people during his performance.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Another afternoon in Asakusa, then at the Lucie Rie exhibition in Roppongi

On Sunday, the posters of THE TIGER FACTORY were finally delivered to us. They looked good. To celebrate that, Professor Ando decided to organize a short tour in Asakusa for Ming Jin and the rest of us THE TIGER FACTORY gang.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Met old friends. I realized I had an eventful year.

The Japanese Golden Week had begun. I met up with three of my old friends, Ai, Iyo and Maiko. Not Maiko the Producer, but another Maiko, who, like Ai and Iyo, were friends I met during my Perth days in 2005, when they were exchange students.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Preparing THE TIGER FACTORY for Cannes

The past few days went by in an even quicker blur. Day became night, night became day, sometimes I didn't sleep, sometimes a nap is treated as a sleep, I have lost all sense of time.

I went back to Malaysia for 3 nights to:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Behind a scene of THE TIGER FACTORY


This was shot on the 6th of March (my birthday!), during the 4th day of THE TIGER FACTORY shoot. Pang the Sound Guy had to play a minor role, so it was up to the director Woo Ming Jin himself to carry the boom mic.

Making films in Malaysia, you kinda have to do everything.

(another 2 hours before I head off to Narita Airport)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Returning to Malaysia for 3 nights to finish THE TIGER FACTORY edit

Pearlly Chua and Lai Fooi Mun in THE TIGER FACTORY
Pearlly Chua and Lai Fooi Mun in THE TIGER FACTORY

Ever since the news announcement of THE TIGER FACTORY's Directors' Fortnight selection in the Cannes Film Festival (once again, I would like to point out that the film is a Malaysian - Japanese co-production, which wasn't mentioned in the initial press release, nor written on the official website!!) I haven't been getting any proper sleep. Last night I slept (more like fell asleep before the computer) at 12am and woke up at 3am. Then after that I just started replying to many emails from some publicists and distribution companies who had interest in our film, and then had email exchanges with Prof Ando the executive producer, who was also awake.

THE TIGER FACTORY goes to Cannes Film Festival

Dear all,

The past two days had been a blur. Woo Ming Jin's THE TIGER FACTORY, which I produced and co-wrote, had been selected for The Directors' Fortnight section in next month's Cannes Film Festival.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My short films, LOVE SUICIDES and KINGYO will also play at the Singapore International Film Festival tomorrow (with LADYBIRD'S TEARS)

I mentioned in my previous post that the Thai-language short film that I wrote and produced, LADYBIRD'S TEARS, will be having its world premiere at the 23rd Singapore International Film Festival tomorrow (19th of April, 2010).

Aside from that, both the shorts that I wrote and directed, LOVE SUICIDES and KINGYO will also be part of their Asian Shorts program. It's quite an honour to have 3 shorts that I was involved in being presented at the film festival.

Ladybird's Tears, a short film I wrote and produced

Back in January, I mentioned that I was reworking somebody else's film. The film will end up being called 'LADYBIRD'S TEARS', directed by my Thai friend, Kong Pahurak, and starring Zhu Dan (who can be seen in my upcoming short THE WHITE FLOWER, which Kong acted in as well).

zhu dan in Ladybird's Tears

In the previous post, I mentioned that LADYBIRD'S TEARS were assembled from footages of Kong's unfinished experimental short film STARDUST MEMORIES. I saw some potential in what he did, and decided that it would be a bit of a pity to leave the film in the can. The pictures you see here are actual screenshots of the film.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Goodbye Cherry Blossoms

The rain 2 days ago removed most of the cherry blossoms from sight. How fleeting they were, and how hard it is to not feel a tinge of melancholy to know that I won't see them for another year.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Road trip in Slovakia. Adieu.

Time for me to upload the rest of the photos I took while I was in Bratislava (check out the earlier Bratislava blog posts and photos here). I was waiting to do this only when I was able to edit together the video I took on that particular day.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Would I recommend another to join the film industry?

Well, dad had came for a visit since Friday. The following photo was taken on his first day here, in Shibuya.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The 8th day of Chinese New Year 2010

21st of February. It was the 8th day of Chinese New Year, 2010. Some Chinese families of the Hokkien dialect group have a special praying ceremony when it's midnight, during the beginning of the 9th day. (Not mine though.)

Here's from Wikipedia about the 9th day of Chinese New Year.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Remnants of Jaya Supermarket

I'm sharing some of the first few photos I took after I got my Canon EOS 7D on the 21st of February.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Welcome party (and cherry blossoms) in Toho Studios

I'm going to elaborate upon the previous post.

Cherry blossoms in Toho Studios

Well, it's the time of the year again for the blossoming of cherry blossoms (sakura) in Tokyo.

I've managed to retrieve my old Panasonic LX-3 after sending it off for repairs prior to my trip to Bratislava, so I managed to snap a couple of photos with it last night when I was at Toho Studios. Nowadays I actually carry two cameras around, my LX-3 (it's more inconspicuous) and my Canon 7D... which I use only when I want to take photos that can only be taken with a DSLR.

So for now I'll just share the photos that I took with the Panasonic LX-3. The entire story of why I was in Toho Studios will come later.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Last workshop in Bratislava

26th of March. Friday.

We had our very last workshop session.

Just to explain a bit more on the Script & Pitch workshop that I have attended without giving away supremely confidential information...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Slovakian Sushi

Thursday. 25th of March. I remember that mostly because I had sushi for lunch. To think that I came all the way from Tokyo to Bratislava, just to have sushi! How fun!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

More photos of Bratislava

24th of May. Wednesday. Went off for a walk in the Old Town area to buy some souvenirs for friends.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I ate a lot in Bratislava.

Day 2 of the workshop in Bratislava. But this isn't going to be about my (CONFIDENTIAL) workshop.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blooming flowers

Second night in Bratislava. It's currently 5:30 am. I've been awake since 3:30 am. Thinking about my script, it's a feature-length film, so it's nothing I've ever done before. Need a while to ponder.

The first session of the workshop was fun. 3 people in a team, a tutor and a story editor trainee. We all discuss about our own screenplay, mine and another girl's, Anita from Slovakia, are in early treatment form, while another guy, Alexis from Greece, already has his script in its first draft. We take turns discussing and deconstructing each other's stories, it's not something you get to do everyday, so it's fun.

I'll give more details later.

Didn't take any photos that are worthwhile, so I'll just post up some photos I took near my dorm in Tokyo, just a day before I came to Bratislava.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Photos of Bratislava at night

After posting my last blog entry, I noticed that the sky had gone dark. It was half past six, a bus was to take me to dinner at 8:30pm, plenty of time for a walk, and so I exited the hotel.

I'm now in Bratislava, Slovakia

I recently watched 'UP IN THE AIR' while I was on the plane back to Tokyo. I felt that I could totally relate to George Clooney's character.

After 3 nights in Tokyo, I took to the skies again. This time I was heading towards Bratislava, in Slovakia. I'm one of the 20 participants invited for the Script and Pitch Workshop.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chinese New Year 2010 Day Two

This is a flashback to February 15th. The 2nd day of Chinese New Year. The photos I took that day were the last ones I took before my original camera, the Panasonic LX-3 had its untimely death.

I had just brought the camera to the Panasonic Service Center in Akihabara for repairs, and had been forced to convert to using DSLR since then. (In case you hadn't noticed, the production photos of THE TIGER FACTORY, and the ones of my dad's birthday dinner, those were taken with my new Canon 7D).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Petronas Twin Towers, the unclear future, and a traffic jam

On my last day in Malaysia (which was dad's birthday), I was at KLCC in the afternoon to meet up with an old friend, so I decided to snap a photo of the Petronas Twin Towers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dad's birthday dinner 2010

Anyway, just as I've mentioned in my previous post. Yesterday was my dad's birthday. He has hit the big 6-0. Good work, dad.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spent my birthday in the pig farm (The Tiger Factory shoot day 4)

6th of March. I spent the 4th day of The Tiger Factory shoot in the pig farm again.

Here's Ming Jin, with a piglet.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

THE TIGER FACTORY film shoot day 3

It's been a busy week. No time to upload photos, nor this blog. But now that the first leg of the THE TIGER FACTORY shoot is done (it ended on the 10th of March and will resume without me during the end of the month) and I've also completed the shooting of my newest short film (I'm still consistently pumping a short film out every two months) last night, there's some free time.

5th of March. We moved to a pig farm for the film shoot.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

THE TIGER FACTORY film shoot day 2

Second day of the shoot. Things went smoothly. Today's shoot happened entirely at the Moon Chew restaurant in Klang.

THE TIGER FACTORY film shoot day 1

Have started shooting Ming Jin's new film, THE TIGER FACTORY, today/ yesterday (it's 1:22am when I'm writing this).

The film shoot is divided to two blocks, and will last throughout the entire month of March. Or April, still not sure. But the first block is from the 3rd til the 10th.

I'll be spending my birthday (6th of March) in a film set.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chinese New Year 2010 Day One

As usual, on the first day of Chinese New Year (which was also Valentine's Day this year, not that it meant anything to me) we visited my uncle's (dad's elder brother).

He and his family used to live in Malacca until recent years. They now live not that far away. (perhaps 20 mins via car, as opposed to the near 2 hours back then)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chinese New Year Eve 2010

Heya folks and Happy Chinese New Year.

It's been a while since my last update due to the slow internet connection (I feel demotivated), the sudden malfunctioning of my camera (couldn't open its lens suddenly on the second day of Chinese New Year, when I was in Ipoh), and mostly because I was busy preparing for this new film with Ming Jin that I'm producing (and editing).

Did anyone miss me? Guess not.

Anyway, I'll start it off by sharing with you all photos from the Chinese New Year Eve (13th of Feb).

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A radio interview that almost happened. Almost.

A few days before I returned from Tokyo, I received an email from a radio station asking for an interview with me. So I said yes, I was coming back to Malaysia anyway.

After coming back, I remained in contact with the guy on e-mail, finally confirming the time for the interview. I was asked to go to their studio on Chinese New Year Eve.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dilapidated buildings in KL had a strange charm

I think I picked up photography after I went to Tokyo. Everything was new, fascinating, so I decided to snap photos of them and post them online. To share with others the views of a foreigner in Japan.

It's no coincidence also, that I got into photography around the same time as filmmaking. Somehow after I started making films, things around me just felt a little different, and I just cannot resist the urge of taking snapshots of things I liked, at that very moment.

These photos were taken yesterday when Ming Jin and I, along with the current Greenlight Pictures team, went to KL to do some research for our upcoming film project.

Twilight train in Shah Alam

8th of February. After resting for a night, I immediately headed off to the new GREENLIGHT PICTURES office in Shah Alam for a meeting with Ming Jin. Actually, we are going to prepare for another film shoot over the next few weeks, and you'll be hearing a lot about our project soon.

This is the new office.

Back in Malaysia, not used to internet speed

I've been back in Malaysia since 3 nights ago. But somehow it felt longer than that.

The net connection here had been so horrendously bad that I don't even feel motivated enough to surf the net anymore. I ended up just sitting in front of my PS2 one whole day trying to complete Persona 4.

I didn't sleep at all the night before I leave Tokyo, mostly because I wanted to save all the sleeping for the flight. And it worked. I think I was only awake for 1 hour out of the entire 7-hour flight, mostly to eat the food that they served me.

(The in-flight entertainment wasn't working, so I couldn't catch any films in the plane at all.)

The plane departed from Tokyo at 10:30am, Japan time, and arrived at Kuala Lumpur at 5pm-ish Malaysian time (6pm in Tokyo).

Here's the skytrain of KL International Airport.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Shinagawa is like a sci-fi city

I'm heading to the Narita Airport in around 4 hours. Been busy with so many things in the past few days as I prepare to fly back to Malaysia.

Aside from going through another editing session for someone else's film, one of the things I did was extending my Japanese Visa. So I had to go to the Immigration Bureau at Shinagawa.

Arriving at the station early in the morning, I felt intimidated by the huge wave of people, all seemingly heading towards one particular direction.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Snow in Tokyo

Yesterday (1st of Feb) was a pretty rainy day.

But when I was having dinner with a friend, it suddenly started snowing.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

40 hour editing marathon for EXHALATION

I was supposed to put together a rough cut of my latest short film EXHALATION by today.

I took almost a 2-week break from its editing to wait for Maiko the Producer to finish her Masters thesis, Torigoe the Sound Guy to the sound mixing (he had 3 productions lined up before him, EXHALATION, unfortunately, was number 3), and for Woan Foong the Composer to send me the music pieces (we last worked together in my last completed and still-unreleased short THE WHITE FLOWER). To kill time, I ended up helping to put together Kong's film, which is now called LADYBIRD'S TEARS.

But once Kong's film was out of the way, and Maiko was done with her thesis, and Woan Foong had sent me her avant-garde music pieces, things were set into motion again in order to hit today's deadline.

On the 28th, I went to Tokyo University of Arts at Yokohama to do some additional voice recording for actor Hiroyuki Takashima. It was actually my first time in Yokohama, I was surprised by the Western-styled architecture. I snapped photos like a tourist.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The busy labs in Waseda University's GITS building

GITS = Global Information Telecommunications School.

The final thesis presentation for Masters students is drawing near. Everyone's been busy in their labs.

Last night I went to check out Sakai Lab (lab of WHITE FLOWER assistant producer Liu Jin and Lia the Artist).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Black and white photos do seem more dramatic...

This is a quote from one of my heroes, Andrei Tarkovsky, on colour cinema.

When we watch something going on we don't notice colour. A black-and-white film immediately creates the impression that your attention is concentrated on what is most important. On the screen colour imposes itself on you, whereas in real life that only happens at odd moments, so it's not right for the audience to be constantly aware of colour. Isolated details can be in colour if that is what corresponds to the state of the character on the screen. In real life the line that separates unawareness of colour from the moment when you start to notice it is quite imperceptible. Our unbroken, evenly paced flow of attention will suddenly be concentrated on some specific detail. A similar effect is achieved in a film when coloured shots are inserted into black-and-white.

Colour film as a concept uses the aesthetic principles of painting, or colour photography. As soon as you have a coloured picture in the frame it becomes a moving painting. It's all too beautiful, and unlike life. What you see in cinema is a coloured, painted plane, a composition on a plane. In a black-and-white film there is no feeling of something extraneous going on, the audience can watch the film without being distracted from the action by colour. From the moment it was born, cinema has been developing not according to its vocation, but according to purely commercial ideas. That started when they began making endless film versions of classics.

Unexpectedly ended up at the GREEN DAY concert in Saitama!

Green Day concert tickets

Yesterday, while I was having lunch with a friend at Acacia restaurant, Shinjuku, she told me she had two free tickets to the Green Day concert in the evening at Saitama and whether I wanted to go.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Erna reviews KINGYO

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

I was just saying in my previous post that it's not everyday someone would bother to write a review of your short film.

I need to rephrase that.

It's not everyday that you have TWO people writing about two different short films of yours.

Here's an excerpt from Erna's KINGYO review.

An ex-colleague of mine was rather disdainful about Edmund, saying that he thought far too highly of himself.

He obviously didn’t get Edmund at all. He’s a funny soul, who is often misunderstood. If only they could see past the hilarious fascetiousness on his blog and see the sensitive soul with a gift and love for narrative.

Emil Kloeden reviews FLEETING IMAGES

[Fleeting Images] Varanasi

I was a little surprised when I was contacted by Emil Kloeden yesterday via Twitter for permission to use one of my FLEETING IMAGES screenshots for his review.

It's not everyday that someone would bother to write a review of your short film. Thanks, man. Here's an excerpt:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Visiting the ancient city of Kamakura

My friend, Kelly (she's from Taiwan), had been preparing to do a very small-scaled short film, and had enlisted Kong's help to shoot it.

She had wanted to shoot her place in a traditional Japanese house, and so her friend Anna, offered to let Kelly use her great-grandmother's house in Kamakura.

Yesterday, Kong and Kelly decided to go to Kamakura to look at Anna's house.

I decided to tag along because I've never been to Kamakura before.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reworking someone else's film

I completed the rough cut of EXHALATION last Saturday. The next step is to wait for Torigoe the Sound Guy to do the sound mixing for me, which means another trip to Toho Studios (that's where I did my post-production for KINGYO, I actually spent a night there, and even ran into Takuya Kimura). But because Maiko the Producer had been busy writing her Masters' thesis (deadline 21st of Jan), she hasn't had time to book the studio and schedule the date for the rest of the post-production work.

Left without anything to do, I was once again, stricken with post-creativity depression, or boredom, or whatever you people can think of. (it should be obvious to most long-time readers by now that I'm a bipolar workaholic)

But then on Tuesday, my friend Kong, who also had to do his Masters thesis, made an off-hand remark about getting someone else to do the re-editing for his 'experimental' film, STARDUST MEMORIES, because he had been busy, and after his thesis he probably had to work on editing his latest film, THE DEAD FOREIGNER (loosely translation, original title is Shinda gaijin) which was shot a few days before my EXHALATION, and was also produced by Maiko, shot by KINGYO cinematographer Josha and starring KINGYO actress Luchino.

Not everyone likes editing, but I do. So hearing his off-hand remark, a huge light bulb flashed above my oversized (figurative and literal) head.

"Okay! I will edit it!" I said. Anything just to give myself something to busy myself with.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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

Today's (actually, since it's 1am while I'm writing this, it's actually yesterday) a public holiday in Japan. It's Seijin No Hi (Coming-of-Age Day). On this day, ceremonies are held at local city offices for young adults who reach the age of 20. Women go out in furisode (a style of kimono with long sleeves draped down, which is necessary, since it's winter), men occasionally go out in traditional clothes, but nowadays they usually wear suits.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

China Mobile Film Fest 2009 recap

Okay, I was thinking of writing my thoughts on AVATAR, which I saw and really enjoyed yesterday, but better to give a quick recap of the entire China Mobile Film Festival before I forget about it.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Ana Hachiman-gu Shrine in Waseda

I've spent a rather quiet and adventure-free New Year that was a direct contrast of the one I had last year (videos here and here).

But the New Year is a 3-day celebration in Japan, and what I like most are the shrines and temples that are set up with stalls selling food and goods during the period. And then the many people hanging around. Some would have their fortunes told, some would buy good luck charms, some were there for the food, I was traveling alone in Kobe when I ventured around in a temple, seeing the crowd made me feel a little less lonely.

Yesterday was the last day of the celebration, I slightly regret not heading off to one of the bigger shrines in Tokyo like Senso-ji or Meijijingu to snap some photos. However, I needed the rest after I finished the last 2 months of 2009 in such an exhausting manner, and also because I wanted to prepare myself for the post-production of my new film. So instead of going too far, I went to the Ana Hachiman-gu 穴八幡宮 Shrine near my place.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Celebrating a real Japanese New Year (and then running into HK actor Roger Kwok)

New Year's Eve. After finishing the EXHALATION shoot the night before, I spent the entire night transferring the footage into a computer, and then doing backup on two different external hard disks.

When everything was done. It was 5. Maiko the Producer, me and Kurihara the Production Manager (he was also the web designer for the KINGYO website) hung out at Denny's before they were able to return the rented van at 7am. I finally slept at 8:30am.

Woke up 4 hours later.

Maiko's mom had invited me over to their place to celebrate New Year with them, so at 5pm in the evening, I returned to the place that was my shooting location for the past few days (EXHALATION was shot in Maiko's hometown).

We reached at around 7pm. Just in time for the KOHAKU UTA GASSEN (RED WHITE SONG BATTLE) to start on NHK.