About a week ago we completed filming of my second official short film, Sleepwalk, with my producing partners in crime, Jessica Matten (Netflix’s Frontier, Blackstone) and Brendt Thomas Diabo (12 Monkeys, Mohawk Girls). Even with the micro-budget and micro-sized crew, and sweltering heatwave that hit Toronto that weekend (making the set an actual sauna), we made it. And we couldn’t be happier.
The film is about a woman named Alicia who sleepwalks, and her husband, Bernard, who must take care of her on these nights, despite their failing marriage. After a recent string of cryptic sleepwalking spells, Alicia inadvertently reveals a harrowing truth about her past, that forces Bernard to reevaluate their relationship. The film also stars Jessica and Brendt, who gave startlingly authentic and passionate performances. Their talents are only matched by their hard work as they juggled both performing and producing duties. It’s tough for me to remember many actors I’ve worked with who were so prepared before getting on set, making them such a joy to direct.
Sleepwalk was shot by my new collaborator, Chilean Director of Photography, Rodrigo Vergara Cereceda. His creativity and talent for composition, pushed me to be more experimental with the visuals in this film. The challenge for us was that the entire film takes place in one room of a house, but Rodrigo still managed to make every shot feel fresh. He’s also an extremely kind human being, which made working with him a pleasure. Our camera department was rounded out by Janelle Body (1st AC) and Aaron McMurtry (2nd AC/DMT), who worked tirelessly through terrible conditions, and always did whatever they could to make the shots happen, no matter how unrealistic they were to execute. My longest running collaborators, Kelly Wong on Wardrobe and Alisa Chung on Make-Up, captured the mood of the film perfectly, and as always were consummate professionals. I’ve never taken for granted their attention to detail and their ability to understand the environment and look I’m trying to convey. Although it was my first time working with our stills photographer, Amanda Matlovich, she was no different – a talented eye, pleasant on set, and always in good spirits despite the long hours. I also can’t forget our sound recordist, Jeff Chapman, who was the set’s pro’s pro – ready for anything, tireless, and always kept the mood of the set light. Finally I have to acknowledge our production assistants, Jhardaine Learmond, Steve Kasan, and Stacey Funk, who did every little task necessary to make the film happen. We really can’t make a film without the assistance of passionate film lovers like themselves. I was fortunate enough to have the entire crew donate their time for this film. I can’t express the amount of gratitude I have to work with a crew who just absolutely loves the artform, and is willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. It’s always a small miracle when a crew comes together like we did.
We’re currently in post-production, so hopefully I get to show something soon. But in the meantime, we have the teaser image above – and I get to sleep in a little. Stay tuned.
I’ve been swamped with multiple projects, so it’s been awhile, but I wanted to make a quick post that Lovebites will be premiering on television for the first time on CBC in Canada! It will be airing on the shorts program, Canadian Reflections, some time in the fall or winter. I’ll keep everyone posted when we receive exact times of air. This was a huge win for our team, and I can’t thank my amazing cast and crew enough for making a great film with me.
Happy New Year everyone! After making its screening premiere at the 2015 Vortex Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival, we got the news that Lovebites is an Official Selection for CAAMFest 2016 (formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival), the largest Asian American film festival in North America, happening from March 10th to 20th.
It will mark the first time I’ve had a film selected for the festival. I’m ecstatic about meeting my fellow Asian American filmmakers from all over the continent and showing them our little baby. Stay tuned to the CAAMFest website for updates on the screening schedule and the specific screening time for Lovebites. Here’s to a successful 2016!
Monday saw the release of my latest music video, “Let Me Dream” featuring Victoria Gouveia, by Yaro J. I’m hoping it’s everything you’d wanna see in an EDM video but with a strange twist. It’s a love story that I really wanted to resonate for those who’ve been in love. Like love, I didn’t want to convey it with any words (although I did squeeze in one). I wanted to capture the little moments we so vividly remember that gave us that weird feeling inside. Awkward glances, silliness, troublemaking, and places that seemed more beautiful than they probably were – that’s all I know about love.
My phenomenal cast and crew, who were the most fun I’ve had on set in awhile, were the only reason I even remotely achieved that vision. You can see us pictured above, doing the best douchebag impressions we could, minus our other tireless Production Assistant, Crystal Lockhart. Through the long nights, stomach ailments, sleepovers, parking tickets, and Pan Am games, we made it! Big thank yous and warm hugs to Producer, Lee Pham, Director of Photography, Christian Peterson, Lovebirds, Jessica Nicole Tomasone and Hubert Tran, Wardrobe Stylist, Kelly Wong, Make-Up Artist, Alisa Chung, Production Assistants, Danon Brown and Crystal Lockhart, and of course, the artist and on-set motivator, Yaro J. Hope you guys like the video. Let’s do it again some time.
Last November, was the shoot for my latest directorial effort, Lovebites. It’s a short film about the deterioration of a lesbian couple’s tumultuous relationship set in a post-apocalyptic zombie-plagued world. The film is non-linear and primarily moves backwards. It was an experiment in paralleling a relationship between two lovers with the timeline of the story. It was shot by my frequent cinematography partner, Christian Peterson, and his talented camera assistant, Bowen Mei. Christian brought a brilliance to the images that perfectly represented the mood and setting we were trying to create. He also collaborated with me on my web series, Millions.
The film was produced by Christian as well, along with my new producing partner, Christopher Nguyen, and my regular producing partner, Ben Brillantes. Lovebites stars Vicki Kim and Caroline Palmer, who were a revelation to work with, bringing a reality to my script that I don’t think I could’ve achieved with anyone else. My old friend from Millions, Eric Regimbald, plays the gruesome zombie in the film. Roy Lee and Karlee Morse of LeerFX did the very cool zombie make-up, and the phenomenally authentic wardrobe was assembled and designed by Kelly Wong and Alisa Chung. Our crew was rounded out by our hard-working Associate Producer, Kelly Law, our super talented Sound Recordist, Dennis Nicholson, our ingenious Grips, Anders Johansen and Charles Mule, and our tireless Production Assistant, Shawn Santiago. We’re currently in post-production, and the film should see release some time in 2015 in the festival circuit. A trailer is on its way in the next few months, but in the meantime check out the still above. For updates on Lovebites follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.