Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Dispatches from the SF International Asian American Film Festival - Part II

Hip Hapa's coverage of this year's SFIAAFF features two intrepid hapa reporters whose skill, dedication, moxy, and insight will bring you the low-down on the hottest film festival in town. Today's entry is brought to you by Yasmine Gomez:

I volunteered for the opening night gala. My job was mainly standing in the cold outside the Asian Art Museum, checking IDs, and slapping on wristbands, all while donning my lovely teal Cathay Pacific windbreaker. Thank you Cathay Pacific!

The limo for the cast of Justin Lin's Finishing the Game arrived, and they all got out and stood there for a second, which reminded me of the scene from Swingers when the guys first arrive at a Hollywood party and everyone stares for a sec.

So anyway, I happen to be nearest to them with my handful of wristbands ready to go. Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street) was very nice and talked to me a bit. Sung Kang (BLT, The Motel) came up to me and just stuck his wrist out, without a word. He looked tired or bored or too cool to talk to this lowly volunteer, but hey, he was very pretty up close, no complaints here. The word on the street about the film: "It was... good. It was... interesting." You can read from that what you like.

After a while, I got to go inside and enjoy the party a bit. Toward the end of the night, I got to meet Richard Wong (director of Colma and the festival's musical trailer) and Eric Byler, who mentioned that he may be taking a break from filmmaking to pursue politics (supporting campaigns, initiatives, etc.). And oh yeah, MC Hammer walked by me as he was leaving. Where am I again?

I also volunteered for the filmmaker brunch… Other than setting up food, I got to just hang out. I think most of the filmmakers were out partying the night before so everyone seemed a bit tired or hungover. I chatted a bit with David Kaplan, director of Year of the Fish. He said he originally filmed it in video, but didn't like the look, so he decided to use rotoscope animation (as in Waking Life). With his small crew, this process took about a year.

Finally, I got a chance to attend the Ellen Kuras Master Class--she’s a famous cinematographer for many Hollywood films, including Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind. She gave related many behind-the-scenes stories from this production as she talked while the film played behind her.


Apparently, Michel Gondry wanted mostly hand-held shots, which posed a challenge for her since the actors had no marks for focus. Michel wanted the actors to have freedom of movement, so she definitely had to adapt quickly, and drew from her documentary experience. She talked a lot about looking for the meaning in her shots, using camera, light, and depth to create relationships.

Her main advice to aspiring directors: "Don't be an asshole."

Words to live by. Stay tuned for future updates from San Francisco...

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1 Comments:

Anonymous T-Love said...

Dang Yasmine, how many times have you met Dustin Nguyen now?

6:33 PM  

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