Posts Tagged ‘film festival’

Two Cool Weekends

It was such a great experience last weekend to have my first short film, “Accident,” showcased at APAture 2015! APAture is a multidisciplinary arts festival that focuses on Asian artists in film, comics, music, literary arts, This was actually the first event that I submitted to last year but I didn’t get in back then. My friend encouraged me to resubmit for this year and I’m really glad it got in this year. I’ve been submitting it since July 2014 and even up until now. It has been accepted into three festivals so far, including APAture. At first I was kind of bummed out that a lot of festivals did not accept it. However, I sent a message to Jason Marsden during the whole process and he reassured me that there is nothing wrong with that and to let it be a learning experience. I’ve really taken that to heart and I’m actually really happy now that it was accepted into APAture 2015. I feel like I’ve come full circle. I started with this festival so maybe I can end with this festival. No more submissions. They are costly and I’d really rather move on to my next project. Eventually, I will post my short film online and let the world judge it all they want. I love it and my opinion is the only one that really matters, right?

I did a Q&A afterwards…ok, I admit it. I HATE public speaking. Not that I don’t want to talk to people who saw my film. I’d LOVE to hear what they thought of it but being asked all these questions and being among my peers, I felt inferior, like I didn’t really belong there. People laughed at my answers. Maybe because of my delivery but I can’t help it. I hear it in my head and it comes out of my mouth differently than how I would have liked. It’s fine, I’m not mad. I don’t know how celebrities, teachers, politicians, etc. do it. Aren’t they afraid of saying something wrong? Or sounding like an idiot? Or being asked a question they don’t want to answer? I remember for the time before the screening and after I found out I had to do a Q&A, I told myself I wasn’t going to reveal the true inspiration for my film because I didn’t want people to think I was crazy or angry. Then I thought, well what are the chances they would ask that question anyway? It’s played out. Sure enough, the first question was “What was your inspiration for your respective film?” Oh man. In my head, I reached for everything I could think of to make up. I wanted to scroll through my phone and find my director’s statement so I could remind myself what I wrote. Then I thought of something I say instead of the truth, that I was inspired by my peers because they have been so supportive of my creative work. So when it was my turn to speak, the truth just rolled off my tongue. “I had an angry conversation with my dad on the phone one day and well, if you can’t do it in real life, you do it on film.” Please don’t think I’m crazy. Here’s a picture.

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I just realized I’m not crazy. Just angry. Like Taylor Swift, writing about her ex-boyfriends and telling the world how she really feels. I guess the truth isn’t so bad. Ok, I’m rambling. Other eventful occurrences yesterday: Girl Meets Texas was a 3 part series this weekend. Damn, that’s good marketing! You know people like to binge on this kind of stuff. This love triangle thing is really suspenseful. I have to say I’m pretty blown away by how the producers have handled this situation. I know social media has given some insight as to which direction the GMW fans want it to go. It’s basically Rucas vs Lucaya. For anyone who doesn’t know, “Rucas” is the moniker for the highly anticipated Riley & Lucas union while “Lucaya” is the moniker for those who are team Maya & Lucas. The writers have been giving hints as to what might happen. They said the biggest clue was in the pilot. So, I went to Netflix and watched the pilot. Well, I started to anyway. Then I thought, maybe the clue is in the first conversation Maya had with Lucas where she compressed their whole faux relationship/breakup into 9 sentences. She said “You don’t pay enough attention to me” as one of those sentences. Well, from what I gather in Girl Meets Texas, I feel like while Lucas does pay attention to Maya, he pays more attention to Riley overall. So maybe everything is being played out in this arc, expanding on those 9 sentences throughout the season. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. For now. :0)

If you’re wondering which pair I’m in favor of(I refuse to use the word “ship”), I would have to say Lucas and Riley. After watching this 3-part melodrama, I feel like Riley and Lucas have been taking things slow. So slow, in fact, that no one even realized they were doing this. It’s like a silent “I like you, you like me but let’s be great friends first” kind of thing. I know some fans think Maya has more chemistry with Lucas but it just doesn’t seem like Lucas feels that way about Maya. I mean, he stopped himself from kissing Maya. If you had that chance with someone you liked, you go for it. If it doesn’t feel right, you shouldn’t lead someone on. And if they did kiss, that would be horrible. Maya and Riley’s friendship could change forever. Just because Maya thinks Riley loves Lucas like a brother doesn’t mean it’s actually true. Riley is obviously stepping back because she wants Maya to be happy and always puts others before herself. And judging from the dumbfounded & confused way Lucas reacted when Riley told him he was like a brother to her, he obviously thought they had a mutual crush thing going! I mean, come on…ok, I am way too invested in this. What’s going on?? I’m 38! Moving on…

Oh my gosh, I got to see my favorite band perform last night when they opened for Twenty One Pilots! They killed it!! I had such a great time watching them jam out on this big stage. They have always been meant for the bigger stages. I love it! And I especially enjoyed watching them perform their new songs! I’m just adding to my playlist. I guess i could have stayed to watch the other opening act, Echosmith and the headliner but I was starving and needed to feed so I bounced.

When I got home, I started uploading my videos to YouTube when lo and behold, my favorite guy in the whole wide world, Will Friedle, tweeted a picture of the shirt I gave him! Oh my gosh, I nearly fell off my stool because my legs turned into spaghetti, haha! That was so random. I had always wondered if it fit though. I have two of those shirts, one in white and one in purple. I love it. You can wash it and the artwork will last for awhile as long as you are washing it properly.

Ok, it’s time to go to sleep. Lots to do. Shows to produce, scripts to write, and videos to edit. Happy Halloweeny, Mr. Feeny!

DTM (Doing Too Much)

Man, I haven’t blogged in a minute! Been super busy doing hella shit, aka DTMing it. So much is going on so this blog is going to be all over the place, I bet. I know I’m really late on the train but I’m so happy to hear that Will Friedle got engaged!! I think he got engaged the week before his birthday. You know, for the longest time, I had wondered how I would feel if that ever happened. Would I be sad? Would I be heartbroken? Would I be happy? I was honestly unsure of how I would feel but after I heard, I discovered I was extremely excited for him!! All I want is for him to be happy and that’s all that matters.

The whole month of August, I’ve been trying to get a new job. Something in the filmmaking field would be great since I love it so much. I want to wake up every day wanting to go to work, yknow? I do have a lead for a job but it won’t be available until next year so for now, I’ll have to just grin and bear it.

I’ve also been venturing into vegetarianism. I watched this film called “Unity” which showed across the nation all at the same time on one night. That film was quite effective. It really opened my eyes as to what kind of person I truly want to be. I want to be the most compassionate version of myself that I can be. I still eat eggs and dairy but I think I’m inching my way towards a vegan lifestyle. I really want to watch the documentary “Earthlings” but I’m terrified of seeing any images that will make me sick. Here is a trailer in case anyone is interested. It’s narrated by Joaquin Phoenix.

Thankfully, I have a shit ton of supportive friends, some of which as also vegetarian/vegan so it’s a lot easier when you have support. I’ve been vegetarian for about 3 weeks now. Haven’t lost any weight though. As a matter of fact, I think I might have gained! I’ll need to re-examine my diet one of these days.

What’s also cool that happened today is that my favorite band, Finish Ticket, released their first major label EP!! This is the same band that wrote me a song specifically for my short film, Accident. You can check out the songs on their new EP here on Soundcloud. As a matter of fact, you should totally buy it since it is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and Google Play. I am currently downloading it from iTunes as we speak. :0) They are going to do great things someday. They will be as popular as The Killers or Weezer someday. I promise you. Catch them now while you still can. They’re on tour with Twenty One Pilots right now as their opening act. People are being blown away by their music everywhere they go. I know I was.

Oh yes, and the best news this month, I received an email this week with this message:
Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 9.21.19 PM

YEEEEEE!! This is the festival I had been wanting to get “Accident” into and I’m so glad it did! APAture is a multidisciplinary arts festival that includes film, music, comics, art, literature, etc. I had submitted it last year but it didn’t get in. Then a friend of mine encouraged me to resubmit and it made the cut this year! I’m so excited! I’m currently uploading the ProRes version of it online. It’s been going at it for almost 40 hours so far as it is 15.5 GB!! I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. I did have to fight a little bit because they had asked me to cut it down to 10 min (my short is 11 min 11 sec) but I had to kindly resist because while I did try, I ended up cutting out scenes that I was told were pertinent to the story. Thankfully, my protest got through and I was able to keep my extra 71 seconds of footage. Yesssssssss!!!!! It’s going to play on 10/10/15 at the SF Main Library’s Koret Auditorium. I can’t believe this is happening. If I don’t get into any other festivals, I’d be completely fine with that actually. This was the first festival I had submitted it to last year so that fact that it got rejected back then and now accepted a year later means the world to me.

I’m also excited to participate in the remount of Pilipino Counter Cultural Night (PCCN) next month. I helped produce this show a year ago and it was so popular that a lot of people requested we do it again so that those who couldn’t see it can see it this time. I actually heard that we already have an audience waiting for tickets to go on sale. Perfect! Oh crap, I need to be off book by Tuesday. Better get crackin!

Plus, my comedy troupe Granny Cart Gangstas has decided to do another show next year! We had a very productive meeting last weekend and I can’t wait to start on our material for the show. This time, we are urging some of the other girls to produce the show so that they may learn how to become a producer. This is one of my main goals for my troupe. I want everyone to have produced at least one project whether it be a film, a show, a photoshoot, anything really. Having this amazing sisterhood of women should somehow benefit us one way or another. I’ll post more updates on that another time. I need to go to sleep. Good night! Here’s a pic from our meeting:
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Weekend Reflection

Had a blast this weekend. Closed our show, “The Ladies & The Tramps” with a great crowd! I can’t wait to have our post mortem. Producing this show was both stressful and exciting at the same time. I still remember back in November, pitching to my co-producer the type of unfiltered show I wanted to have. I thought, what if we lived in a world where you didn’t have to be polite? Do you always have to tell your friends that their baby is cute even when they’re not? What would happen if people were no longer polite and just downright honest? It would have required a team of writers to really focus and imagine this world and what kinds of experiences would we go through…but, we really didn’t have that kind of time. We’re not full time writers who can knock out A+ sketches every hour. We all work regular jobs and only do this at night. It’s kind of like having two jobs and yet, still having to take care of your personal life at home.

I so wish I could switch my life upside down. I would love to do sketch comedy full time and get paid and do my regular job whenever I feel like working. I put an awful lot of work into my hobbies but how I can get paid for it is another story. It’s all about the hustle, I guess. I would love to do Granny Cart Gangstas full time. Take us on the road and tour the show. This year’s show was a little different from our previous shows. First of all, it is our first multiple run show. We normally do one night stands so having a 6 night show was a real commitment and we had to be picky about who will participate. My favorite part about producing this show was the laughter. I loved hearing people laugh Then we knew our jokes landed. It was no longer just funny to us, it was funny to other people. Not that we needed validation for our material but we enjoyed making people laugh and it showed with our content.

My favorite pieces had to be the ones with the Will Friedle related arc. It was so fun to do and I loved seeing people say it was their favorite on the surveys we handed out. I didn’t plan it out any particular way, it just kind of landed that way and I’m ever so glad it did. Other pieces I enjoyed were “Feminist Date” which was about a couple who were getting hot & heavy while spewing out all the realities of women’s inequalities in life. Someone wrote that we “raised awareness” which we did not realize we did. Other comments that made me smile included “Hilarious” “Hella funny” and “Was impressed with acting/skits.” Of course we did get comments that told us people were offended by some of our humor but we dove into this project knowing full well what we were getting into. We knew some people would be offended or uncomfortable which is why I told people in my Bindlestiff interview not to come if they were the type to be easily offended.

In the end, I’m proud of that show. I’m proud of all the blood, sweat, tears and money that we put into it. I’m proud of all the players that said, “Fuck it!” and went balls out on all the parts they played, offensive or not. I’m proud of how we put everything together ahead of time. I’m proud of how all the players stepped up and took their places in the face of exhaustion and malady. It’s not easy to put on a show for us seeing as rehearsal time has always been our weakness. Finding time for our separate lives to converge and rehearse even for an hour is quite challenging but we somehow make it through.

The day after our last show, I got to experience seeing my short film, “Accident” on the big screen at the I Hella Love Shorts Film Festival. If I could rewind and rewatch that film, I would have not worried so much about how the sound might be or how the color might look or whether or not the moments that intended a reaction were accurate. I can’t help it, it’s my baby. To be honest, as this was the first film festival to accept my short after countless rejections, I waited for this festival to send me an email to tell me they made a mistake, that I really didn’t get in. I’m guessing this is probably the only festival I’ll get into but it was truly an irreplaceable experience to see your own short film on a big screen. I’m so glad I was able to go. Anyway, that was my weekend and it was great. Can’t wait to work on my next project, There’s the Moon And Then There’s You.

ComiCrazy

This year, I had the pleasure of going to my first Comic Con in San Diego. This is not a review of Comic Con, just a summarization of my experience. This was a birthday trip for my friend, Cheryl. I went with two of my BFFs, Cheryl & Marianne, and out of the three of us, I’d have to say I had the best time. I had gone to Wondercon back in April so I felt that that experience really prepared me for Comic Con. I made it a point to make this trip work for me so I looked through all the programming and found all the events I wanted to attend.

In order to avoid any kind of meltdown, I was prepared to stand in lines and sit through panels I wasn’t interested in so that I catch the ones that were of interest to me.

Key events I wanted to see were:
1) The Dungeon Master screening at the SDCC International Film Festival
2) The Thundercats premiere
3) Photoshop CS5 Demo
4) Comic-Con Film School 102: Production
5) Comic-Con Film School 103: Working with Actors & a Crew
6) Cartoon Voices II panel
7) An Evening with Kevin Smith

I caught all of these except for the Kevin Smith program because I had to choose between Kevin Smith or Photoshop as they were happening concurrently. Really glad I chose Photoshop because I learned a LOT. Now I have to get the program and start using it.

Anyway, the thing that really made this event for me was seeing The Strong brothers & their short film again and meeting Danielle Fishel & Jason Marsden. If it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t have considered my first Comic Con experience to be so spectacular. Reason being that I grew up seeing their faces on my TV, especially with Boy Meets World. Considering I had a Boy Meets World marathon(twice), for my birthday this year, it makes it even more special to see them in person. My heart is truly content right now.

The best part of seeing Rider & Shiloh was that I was shocked that they recognized me. After the Dungeon Master screening, Shiloh came up to ME to say hi. How weird is that?? I guess I should give them more credit. I told him I didn’t even think he remembered me. I didn’t take a photo with them because they were wearing the same thing they wore at the Sonoma Film Festival where I first met them and I didn’t want to embarrass them by posting a pic with the same outfit. Hey, we all have our “Go to” outfits. :O) I gave Shiloh a hug and he thanked me for his support but really, I should be thanking him and Rider. Their passion for creativity really inspires my own creativity as well. Marianne gave me the idea of asking Rider to sign my copy of Whiskey Island, a literary publication from Cleveland State University that published a short story that he wrote. I actually just brought it for Marianne to read. I didn’t think of getting it signed because I don’t usually like to ask for autographs but I thought it was a great idea so I asked anyway.

I walked around the floor and watched artists do demonstrations of their imagination. This one artist said that whatever creativity you want to make, just do it. When you are fueled by your passion to create something you think is beautiful, chances are, there are going to be other people who will also find your art beautiful. That hit home for me. I’ve never been the type of person to toot my own horn, to give myself credit, or to reveal the products of my creativity. I’ve been lectured over and over again about this by fellow artists but have still been unable to accept it. A good example is when my friend failed to put me down as Assistant Director in the credits for a video we shot & I was completely okay with that. However, the artist in me came to her senses and added my credits to it. Another example was when I was an understudy for a short stageplay and at the 1st rehearsal, the director, who is a fellow artist I truly admired and respected, said “Ava! You’re a REALLY GOOD actress!!” I was in complete disbelief and it was difficult for me to take her compliment. Why, I don’t know.

So after this weekend of being around so much art, magic & technology, I’ve decided to take my imagination, blow it up, and spread my ashes wherever there is a place for them. Whether it be monologues, scripts, jewelry, drawings, puppets, acting, films, comedy, etc., I’ll take responsibility; I’ll give myself credit; I’ll love it, own it, & work it.

Okay, I went off on a tangent. Back to Comic Con. I also wanted to meet Danielle Fishel and knew she was going to be at the Dungeon Master screening so I took a photo with her. God, I wish Comic Con had come 2 weeks earlier when I was 5 lbs. lighter. It really shows for me and I hate that. Damn gravity, you’re killing me! Anyway, Danielle was a sweetheart, she loved my NKOTB sweater. She was with Lea Palmieri, who is the producer for “Cocktails with Patrick” on Cosmo Radio. Lea was a sweetheart too.

On Sunday, I was able to attend the Cartoon Voice II panel (thanks to a generous friend) and see Jason Marsden in action. I had always wanted to see that in person and it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience! They did an example of a cold read with Snow White & The 7 Dwarfs and it was so titillating to watch live. I can see why these actors fell in love with voice acting. It could have been my imagination but I thought Jason waved at me in the beginning of the panel but then I thought, “There’s no way. He doesn’t even know me. Is there a famous person sitting behind me? Who is it?” But when I went up to him after all the crazy autograph hungry fans dissipated, the first words he said to me were “Hey Ava!” On the inside, my eyes got 10 times as big, my heart dropped to the floor and my brain exploded. I couldn’t believe he knew my name. He’s so much cooler & down-to-earth than I expected and I truly appreciated it, but my mind still thought, “OMGWTF! *THUD*” Hahaha! But luckily, I’m celebrity-jaded so all I could muster out was a smile and an undercover enthused “Hey.” How’s that for acting? No one knew that the younger me on the inside was jumping up & down, running all around in fangirl status so I’d say……WINNING! I later found out from Twitter that he was indeed waving to me so now, I feel like an asshole for not waving back. Hope he at least saw me smile. I had so much I wanted to say to him, questions I wanted to ask him but I kept getting interrupted by other people who wanted to talk to him. Ah well, that’s just the way it is and I was used to that. At least my wish came true!

I also got to check out The Aquabats show at House of Blues because my friend Amy, who works for The HUB Channel hooked us up with tickets. They are a very entertaining band, I must say, complete with spandex costumes, masks, and theatre-like superhero shenanigans onstage. Other highlights included delicious meals at Extraordinary Desserts, Cafe Zucherro, and Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza. Oh, and of course, the famous San Diego carne asada fries!! Got them at Santana’s, which is now Fresh MXN Food. Yes, had a dose of that at midnight and LOVED it!! Getting hungry just thinking about it. I also went shopping at a couple of bead stores & bought supplies (because y’know, might as well do business if you’ve got the chance).

The lowlights of my trip were:

1) feet were killing me. I need a foot massage now.
2) Will didn’t come. Too bad because I was ready to let him pound me into the ground. (hey, I’m allowed to throw my mind in the gutter every once in awhile.)
3) umm…that was pretty much it so nevermind. :O)

Here are some pics. Enjoy!

Some kind of Transformer? Voltron? I dunno
comic con robot

Dungeon Master panel
Dungeon Master Panel

Met Danielle Fishel (she’s a sweetie, so beautiful!)
Me with Danielle Fishel

Rider Strong autograph (I don’t usually do autographs but this short story was rare)
Rider Strong autograph

Aquabats Show at House of Blues
The Aquabats Show

Thundercats panel (watching the premiere episode gave me goosebumps, it was so good!)
Thundercats Panel

With Captain America
Me with Captain America

Met Jason Marsden (he’s super down-to-earth, very nice guy!)
Me with Jason Marsden

Cake from Extraordinary Desserts
Cake from Extraordinary Desserts

Forno Ziti from Cafe Zucherro (it was the BEST I’ve ever had!)
Forno at Cafe Zucherro

San Diego’s Famous Carne Asada Fries (got it at Fresh MXN)
carne asada fries

Going Home
Us at Airport in SD

Snow White & The 7 Dwarfs Cartoon Voices Panel

Part 1

Part 2

SF Int’l Asian American Film Festival

The 29th annual Asian American Film Festival begins next week & I’m thoroughly excited! I LOVE this film festival. I’ve decided to volunteer for them this year. I figured this would be a great opportunity for me to network and learn a little bit about the film industry before I decide if I want to enter this world professionally. The festival will run from March 10th – March 20th in multiple theaters around the Bay Area including Sundance Kabuki in San Francisco, Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, and Camera 12 in San Jose. I’ve been attending this festival for the past 10 years and it has never disappointed me. I usually catch the comedy shorts program but over the years, with so many vast & intelligent topics surfacing, they had enough to start grouping the topics of the short films together. For 2011, the shorts programs are 3rd I South Asian program (South Asian/Indian), Chicken Proof (comedy), Future States (transmedia experiment), Life, Interrupted (human spirit), Living Life Large (portraits), Play/House (family dynamics), Silent Rituals and Hovering Proxies (texture of life), Suite Suite Chinatown (Chinatowns), and Tainted Love (love).

This year though, I’ve decided to skip the shorts progam and opt for a Hong Kong-based feature length film called “Break Up Club.” No, there won’t be any Asian Molly Ringwald look-alikes twirling her overdyed auburn hair or any rebellious Judd Nelson types carving Chinese characters of symbolic meaning onto wooden desks. It actually stars Fiona Sit and Jaycee Chan (Jackie Chan’s son, fyi) and it is “a tale of a mysterious Web site, Breakupclub.asia, that will reunite estranged lovers if one party enters the name of a happy couple and agrees to separate them in exchange.” – Center for Asian American Media(CAAM). Sounds pretty intriguing, right?

I love Hong Kong films, but my favorites are the comedy films with Stephen Chow in it. He is hilarious!! If I could, I would almost marry that fool. He’s an amazing actor and an even more creative comedian who is now directing and producing his own films. He’s been doing this for over 20 years and during this time, with each film, you can witness his progress in honing his comedic timing down to an exact science. He’ll make you cry he’s so good!

My favorite film with him in it is “All’s Well Ends Well” but I wouldn’t suggest watching that as a first Stephen Chow film. He was still at the beginning stages of learning his comedic timing in this one but I just like it because I enjoy the plot. If anyone ever decides to check him out, I would suggest watching “Shaolin Soccer” or “Kung Fu Hustle” in which he starred in and directed. Alternatively, one can watch him in “Fight Back To School,” “God of Gamblers II,” or “All For The Winner.” And those aforementioned are just the tip of the iceberg. All his films have English subtitles so they’re perfect for me. While I do speak Chinese, I can’t, however, read nor write it.

Wow, all this Stephen Chow talk has got me wanting to go watch his movies now. Hmm…I wonder if there’s a Chinese version of Netflix out there. Ah well, doesn’t matter. I own copies of many of his movies anyway. I think I’ll go watch “Take Me Home Tonight” this weekend. Topher Grace is one of my favorites but no one can hold a candle to Will Friedle, at least not in my book. ;0)