Discover the Passions That is Behind
The Creation of the film "Charlotte Sometimes"
Part 5 of 6 Pages
US ASIANS:Have the Asian/Asian Pacific American communities been uniformly
united in supporting "Charlotte Sometimes?"
I have to say it’s wonderful right now. It started off a little
rocky, but the community has gotten more and more supportive as time’s
I’m grateful to the D.C. Asian Pacific Film Festival for strongly
supporting “Charlotte Sometimes” - even before Roger Ebert’s
review and the Spirit Award nominations. The welcome we received in Washington
D.C. was a big emotional boost.
ASIANS:Do you feel that the arts can provide needed perspectives
to the general public?
Sure, but it’s tricky, especially when it comes to film.
Artists motivated by political agenda tend to ignore any facts that
do not support their belief systems. This may work in other mediums,
but in film, I find a one-sided approach distracting in its limitations.
Films look so much like life. It feels strange
to see life being bent to one person’s agenda. If I’m
thinking about the filmmaker’s political views, it’s
hard to believe in the humanity of the characters.
ASIANS:What do you think about directors such as Oliver Stone,
Michael Moore, Spike Lee, etc. who have expressed their various
perspectives through their films?
Spike appears as an actor in “Do The Right Thing.” And
he and other characters speak directly to the camera, so it’s
not like he’s trying to disguise his point of view. He’s
the opposite of me in that way. Oliver Stone’s “JFK”
was such a well-made movie, I didn’t even notice the agenda.
Michael Moore makes documentaries, which is a more natural format
for political statements.
US ASIANS:What is your view of the Yao Ming / Shaq situation?
I’ve been a Lakers fan all my life, but when Lakers played
the Rockets last month, I was rooting for Yao.
I’m proud of the community for holding Shaq accountable for
his inappropriate comments.
Shaq has apologized in his own way. I forgive him. As a sports fan,
I’m looking forward to a great rivalry - and a friendly one.
One thing that’s clear is that when Shaq retires, he'll do
so as the second best center in the game. Go Yao!
What Asian/Asian Pacific American directors, producers
and/or creative artists were/are your role models?
More so than role models, I’m grateful for people I worked with
during my training days, at Lodestone Theater and before.
Wesleyan University trained me to be a filmmaker, but taught me very little
about working with actors. I learned this skill as part of the APA arts
community in Los Angeles, in collaborations with Jeff and Philip during
and leading up to my years with Lodestone.
I had the pleasure of directing some incredible actors whose talent inspired
me and helped me to learn the craft, including Jeff, Janice Terukina,
Jeanne Chinn, Robert Shinso, Susan Perierra, Allison Sie, Keo Wolford,
Julia Nixon, Tim Lounibos, Kanani Lincoln, Chris Gorham. And at Lodestone
Ryun Yu, Kipp Shiotani, Julie Nuemark, Alexandra Chun, Tuan Tran, Yuriana
Kim, Ogie Zulueta, Kennedy Kabasares, C.W. Pyun.
US ASIANS:What are your favorite Asian, European and American films and
Favorite Asian/Pacific films: “Vive L’Amour,” “Raise
The Red Lantern,” “Yellow Earth,” “Once Were Warriors,”
“Laputa: Castle in the Sky.”
Favorite American films: “The Godfather,”
“Five Easy Pieces,” “McCabe & Mrs. Miller,”
“The Long Goodbye,” “Carnal Knowledge,” “Midnight
Favorite European films, “My Life as a Dog,”
“Ali: Fear Eats the Soul,” and countless French films, many
of them by Eric Rohmer.
US ASIANS:Which Asian American media organization(s) would you recommend
for upcoming directors, writers and actors?
You know, you don’t have to have an organization to practice your
craft. You just need a group of people willing to meet once a week to
do some scene work.
US ASIANS:What advice can you give to other APA (Asian Pacific american
Well first learn the craft, both cinematic language, and directing actors
(something too many filmmakers overlook). I recommend spending some time
in the theater. Ask Lodestone if you can be an ASM on their next production.
A second priority would be to work on film crews so you’re more
prepared for the challenges of production.
As far as story, my favorite advice is to write what you know. But remember
you know more about life than just being Asian/Pacific American. I think
it’s important that a variety of voices emerge in the next few years,
and I think that will happen if most of us make films that are personal
and unique to our own lives. Ask yourself those difficult questions that
only you can answer: What do you want most of all? What do you fear most
of all? What’s the one truth you’ll never let yourself admit?
Answer those questions with complete honesty and start writing.