US ASIANS:Do you consider "Charlotte Sometimes" an Asian
Pacific American film or a film that delves into the complexities
of relationships of people that happened to be Asian Pacific Americans?
I guess I set out to make the former, but ended up making
the latter. US ASIANS: Which Asian
Pacific American films played a key factor in the developement of
your vision and talent?
I mentioned “Yellow.” (see caption on the "right")
I saw it with Jacqueline and Jeff Liu, two of my primary collaborators
on “Charlotte Sometimes,” at the NAATA festival in ’97.
There was a moment during the scene where Angie Suh is forced to
give an impromptu recital on the living room piano. She reluctantly
begins to play, then pauses when she hits a wrong note. Without
looking, she can feel her entire family cringing with disapproval.
I said to myself - that is so TRUE! And so did everyone in the audience.
There’s another APA film that I happened
across a few years earlier, right after college.
My student film, “Kenji’s Faith,”
was in the Sundance Film Festival the same year as Kayo Hatta’s
“Picture Bride.” The experience of eeing “Picture
Bride,” as well as the other films that were there that year,
inspired me to make artistic films rather than genre films.
Since artistic films are personal films in my opinion,
I knew I’d be making films with Asians and Pacific Islanders
THE CAST OF
CHRIS CHAN LEE'S
This 1998 film includes in its cast actors such as Soon Tek
Oh, Amy Hill, Emily Kuroda, Sharon Omi, Charles Chun, Burt Bulos,
Michael Chung, Angie Suh, Mia Suh, Lela Lee, John Cho, Jason Tobin
and, Mary Chen.
US ASIANS:How did you initially meet Jacqueline and Jeff? Could you share
the details on how your relationships developed into their collaboration
on "Charlotte Sometimes?"
Jeff and I were introduced by Philip Chung. My
first conversation with Jeff was on the phone, and we talked forever.
He’s one smart and talented guy. He invited me to participate in
an acting/directing workshop, where I directed improvisations of scenes
I was writing for “Charlotte Sometimes.” Jeff brought the
character of “Justin” to life for the first time as an actor.
After the workshop, I asked Jeff to help me write the script. Jeff and
I both went on to direct plays at Lodestone with Philip producing and/or
writing. Jeff is now producing and acting in a feature film written and
directed by Philip, called “Children in the Mirror.”
Jacqueline and I were friends long before we decided
to work together. It happened that she was a great friend who was also
a great actress. Our relationship enhanced the work, and vice versa.
Idemoto and Jacqueline Kim
US ASIANS:What is your perspective on the state of Asian Pacific American
I’m excited. I’ve seen some really great APA films this year.
US ASIANS:What APA (Asian Pacific American) films would you recommend people
to see and why?
I recommend people to see them all. APA films are a record of this period
in our history. It’s important, so see them all.
This past year, I was impressed with Greg Pak’s “Robot Stories,”
about the intrusion of technology on the human predicament. The segment
about the two robots longing for a like companion particularly spoke to
me— a beautifully subtle expression of bi-racial isolation, all
the more powerful because Greg plays the male robot himself.
Justin Lin’s “Better Luck Tomorrow” is one of my favorite
high school films. I’d compare it to “Yellow,” in fact
it has some of my favorite actors from “Yellow.” “Better
Luck Tomorrow” does a wonderful job combining genres and keeping
the audience guessing.
US ASIANS:Who are the actors from "Yellow?"
Jason Tobin and John Cho. All the performances were great though.
I should also mention a wonderful short film by Grace Lee called “Barrier
Device.” Sandra Oh plays a woman researching the effectiveness of
the female condom, and she figures out that one of her test subjects is
dating her ex-boyfriend. In all three of these films, the story takes
precedence over ethnicity— just as humanity takes precedence over
ethnicity in real life. I think this is an important step in the right
Jacqueline Kim attended the
Goodman School of Drama in Chicago and performed in Chicago and
New York before becoming a company member at the prestigious Guthrie
Theater in Minneapolis.
Her theater roles include
several of the greatest heroines of the classical stage, including
Sophocles’ Electra and Cordelia in Shakespeare’s "King
Lear." Jacqueline’s feature films include Brokedown Palace,
Volcano, Disclosure, and Star Trek: Generations.
Her television roles include
celebrated guest appearances in programs such as "E.R.,"
"West Wing," and "Xena: The Warrior Princess."
Eugenia Yuan has guest-starred
on various television shows including "NYPD Blue", "Martial
Law", "Arrest and Trial", and "Beverly Hills
Her film credits include
several independent features, a cable feature for Asia, and her
first big martial arts action movie, which she shot last year in
She trains in various forms
of martial arts specifically for film, and goes to Hong Kong and
Beijing regularly to train with her teachers there.
Eugenia recently returned
from Hong Kong where she starred in "Three," directed
by Peter Chan (Comrades: Almost a Love Story, The Love Letter) with
director of photography Christopher Doyle (Chungking Express)