Tag Archives: Asian CineVision

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Acquires Diane Paragas’ Award-Winning Independent Film YELLOW ROSE Starring Eva Noblezada, Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan, Dale Watson, Gustavo Gomez, Libby Villari and Liam Booth

Eva Noblezada in YELLOW ROSE

Culver City, CA, October 24, 2019 – Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) announced today that it has acquired all worldwide rights, excluding the Philippines, to the film Yellow Rose, directed by Diane Paragas in her narrative feature debut.

Eva Noblezada and Dale Watson in YELLOW ROSE

Yellow Rose is a timely story about a Filipino teen from a small Texas town who fights to pursue her dreams as a country music performer while facing the threat of deportation. The film stars two-time Tony Award Nominee Eva Noblezada (Hadestown, Miss Saigon) in her feature film debut, Tony Award Winner Lea Salonga (Once on this Island, Miss Saigon), Princess Punzalan (Mula Sa Puso), Dale Watson (Friday Night Lights), Gustavo Gomez (“The Walking Dead”), Libby Villari (Boyhood), and Liam Booth (Ghosts Never Sleep).

Eva Noblezada and Princess Punzalan in YELLOW ROSE

Eva Noblezada received her most recent Tony nomination for her portrayal of Eurydice in Hadestown, which won 8 Tony awards including Best Musical.  She  received her first nomination for portraying Kim in the revival of Miss Saigon.  Lea Salonga won the Tony Award for her portrayal of the same role in the original production of Miss Saigon.

Yellow Rose has been a labor of passion for over 15 years and I’m thrilled that we can now share this very relevant story with the world,” says Paragas. “We have the added honor of representing the real experiences of Filipino Americans, Asian Americans, and all immigrants seeking a better life in America.”

Karen Elizaga, Diane Paragas, Annie Howell, Cecilia R. Mejia, Kat Evasco, Loida Nicolas Lewis and Jeremiah Abraham. Photo by Lia Chang

Yellow Rose features original songs developed for the film, written and composed by Watson, Paragas, Noblezada, and Thia Megia. The film is written by Diane Paragas, Annie Howell, and Celena Cipriaso, based on a story written by Paragas and Andy Bienen. The film’s producers include Lead Producer Cecilia R. Mejia, Rey Cuerdo, Orian Williams and Paragas. Executive Producers include Carlo Katigbak, Olivia De Jesus, John D. Lazatin, and Juan Miguel Sevilla from ABS-CBN Global and Cinematografo Originals, Karen Elizaga, Gail Alvarez, Victor Alvarez, and Dale Watson. Co-Producers include Jeremiah Abraham, Courtney Jones, and Thea Kerman.

The film premiered at this year’s Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival where it received the Grand Jury Award and the Breakout Performance Award for Noblezada’s outstanding performance.

Already having won a total of five Grand Jury Awards, the film is the closing night selection of the Boston Asian American Film Festival on Sunday, October 27 at 6:00PM; a marquee presentation of the Austin Film Festival on Monday, October 28 at 7:40PM; an official selection of the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on Friday, November 8 at 8:00PM; an official selection of the San Diego Asian Film Festival on Saturday, November 9 at 3:45PM; the closing night selection of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival on Sunday, November 10 at 7:30PM; the closing night selection of the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival on November 15 at 7:00PM., an official selection of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival on November 15 at 7:30PM, and is an official selection of the Hawaii International Film Festival in Oahu on November 16 at  6:00PM and in Kauai on November 21 at 7:30 PM.

Leslie Lewis, Liam Booth, Producer Karen Elizaga, Co-producer Jeremiah Abraham, Director/Writer Diane Paragas, Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan, Lead Producer Cecilia R. Mejia, Producer Orian Williams at 42nd Asian American International Film Festival's Opening Night screening of YELLOW ROSE at Asia Society in New York on July 25, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang
Leslie Lewis, Liam Booth, Producer Karen Elizaga, Co-producer Jeremiah Abraham, Director/Writer Diane Paragas, Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan, Lead Producer Cecilia R. Mejia, Producer Orian Williams at 42nd Asian American International Film Festival’s Opening Night screening of YELLOW ROSE at Asia Society in New York on July 25, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang

Yellow Rose will be distributed in theaters in the Philippines by ABS-CBN.

Diane Paragas is managed by LBI Entertainment and is represented by Morris Yorn Barnes & Levine.

ABOUT SONY PICTURES WORLDWIDE ACQUISITIONS
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) company. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. www.sonypictures.com

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions

Diane Paragas’ Multiple Award-Winning Film YELLOW ROSE, Starring Eva Noblezada, Dale Watson, Princess Punzalan and Lea Salonga, to Screen in Boston, Austin, Philadelphia, San Diego, Vancouver, Toronto, Oahu and Kauai

Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan, Jose Llana and More Celebrate at 42nd Asian American International Film Festival’s Opening Night screening of Diane Paragas’ YELLOW ROSE at Asia Society

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Diane Paragas’ Multiple Award-Winning Film YELLOW ROSE, Starring Eva Noblezada, Dale Watson, Princess Punzalan and Lea Salonga, to Screen in Boston, Austin, Philadelphia, San Diego, Vancouver, Toronto, Houston, Oahu and Kauai

Eva Noblezada and Dale Watson in YELLOW ROSE

Diane Paragas’ multiple award-winning film YELLOW ROSE  is the closing night selection of the Boston Asian American Film Festival on Sunday, October 27 at 6:00PM; a marquee presentation of the Austin Film Festival on Monday, October 28 at 7:40PM; an official selection of the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on Friday, November 8 at 8:00PM; an official selection of the San Diego Asian Film Festival on Saturday, November 9 at 3:45PM; the closing night selection of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival on Sunday, November 10 at 7:30PM; the closing night selection of the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival on November 15 at 7:00PM., an official selection of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival on November 15 at 7:30PM, and is an official selection of the Hawaii International Film Festival in Oahu on November 16 at  6:00PM and in Kauai on November 21 at 7:30 PM.

The poster for Diane Paragas’ YELLOW ROSE starring Eva Noblezada, Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan and Dale Watson.

YELLOW ROSE is the deeply personal narrative feature debut from Filipina American writer and director Diane Paragas. Rose, played by Two-time Tony Nominee Eva Noblezada (Hadestown, Miss Saigon), an undocumented Filipina, dreams of one day leaving her small Texas town to pursue her country music dreams. Her world is shattered when her mom (Princess Punzalan) is suddenly detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rose, facing this new realty, is forced to flee the scene, leaving behind the only life she knows, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she searches for a new home in the honky-tonk world of Austin, Texas.

Eva Noblezada and Princess Punzalan in YELLOW ROSE

Also featured in the film are Lea Salonga, country music star Dale Watson (“Friday Night Lights”), Gustavo Gomez (The Walking Dead), Libby Villari (Boyhood), and Liam Booth. Set to a poignant soundtrack featuring original songs by Paragas, Noblezada, Watson and the cast, this coming-of-age story brings forth the power of music and art to provide strength in the face of the harsh plight confronting countless immigrant families across the country.

Eva Noblezada in YELLOW ROSE

Yellow Rose won the Best Narrative Feature Award (U.S. Cinema) and the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 23rd Annual Urbanworld Film Festival, the Special Jury Prize at the 2019 Asian American International Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature at the 2019 Bentonville Film Festival, 2019 CAAMFest and the 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, with Eva Noblezada taking Best Breakout Actor.

Leslie Lewis, Liam Booth, Producer Karen Elizaga, Co-producer Jeremiah Abraham, Director/Writer Diane Paragas, Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan, Lead Producer Cecilia R. Mejia, Producer Orian Williams at 42nd Asian American International Film Festival's Opening Night screening of YELLOW ROSE at Asia Society in New York on July 25, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang
Leslie Lewis, Liam Booth, Producer Karen Elizaga, Co-producer Jeremiah Abraham, Director/Writer Diane Paragas, Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan, Lead Producer Cecilia R. Mejia, Producer Orian Williams at 42nd Asian American International Film Festival’s Opening Night screening of YELLOW ROSE at Asia Society in New York on July 25, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Diane Paragas’ YELLOW ROSE Starring Eva Noblezada Wins Best Narrative Feature Grand Jury Award and the Audience Award for Best Feature at 23rd Annual Urbanworld Film Festival

Filipina American writer and director Diane Paragas’ deeply personal narrative feature debut YELLOW ROSE won the Best Narrative Feature Award (U.S. Cinema) and the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 23rd Annual Urbanworld Film Festival on September 22, 2019.

Diane Paragas’ YELLOW ROSE won the Best Narrative Feature Award (U.S. Cinema) and the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 23rd Annual 2019 Urbanworld Film Festival.
Diane Paragas’ YELLOW ROSE won the Best Narrative Feature Award (U.S. Cinema) and the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 23rd Annual 2019 Urbanworld Film Festival.

Rose, played by Two-time Tony Nominee Eva Noblezada (Hadestown, Miss Saigon), an undocumented Filipina, dreams of one day leaving her small Texas town to pursue her country music dreams. Her world is shattered when her mom (Princess Punzalan) is suddenly detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rose, facing this new realty, is forced to flee the scene, leaving behind the only life she knows, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she searches for a new home in the honky-tonk world of Austin, Texas.

The poster for Diane Paragas’ YELLOW ROSE starring Eva Noblezada, Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan and Dale Watson.

Also featured in the film are Lea Salonga, country music star Dale Watson (“Friday Night Lights”), Gustavo Gomez (The Walking Dead), Libby Villari (Boyhood), and Liam Booth. Set to a poignant soundtrack featuring original songs by Paragas, Noblezada, Watson and the cast, this coming-of-age story brings forth the power of music and art to provide strength in the face of the harsh plight confronting countless immigrant families across the country.

Eva Noblezada and Dale Watson in YELLOW ROSE

Yellow Rose won the Special Jury Prize at the 2019 Asian American International Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature at the 2019 Bentonville Film Festival, 2019 CAAMFest and the 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, with Eva Noblezada taking Best Breakout Actor.

Eva Noblezada and Princess Punzalan in YELLOW ROSE

The film’s producers include Cecilia Mejia, Rey Cuerdo, Orian Williams, Diane Paragas, Co-Producer Jeremiah Abraham, and Executive Producers Olivia de Jesus, John D. Lazatin, Miguel Sevilla, and Karen Elizaga.  www.yellowrosefilm.com

Karen Elizaga, Diane Paragas, Cecilia R. Mejia, Jeremiah Abraham and Annie Howell. Photo by Lia Chang
Cecilia R. Mejia, Karen Elizaga, Diane Paragas, Jeremiah Abraham and Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Karen Elizaga, Diane Paragas, Annie Howell, Cecilia R. Mejia, Kat Evasco, Loida Nicolas Lewis and Jeremiah Abraham. Photo by Lia Chang
Urbanworld Film Festival at AMC Empire 25 in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Moderator Kat Evasco and Director Diane Paragas. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Diane Paragas. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Diane Paragas, Cecilia R. Mejia and Kat Evasco. Photo by Lia Chang
Director/Writer Diane Paragas with her co-writer Annie Howell. photo by Lia Chang
Cecilia R. Mejia and Loida Nicolas Lewis. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Karen Elizaga, Director/Writer Diane Paragas and Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Publicist Jeremiah Abraham, Producer Karen Elizaga, Director/Writer Diane Paragas and Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Eric Elizaga and Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

The 2019 slate of 78 official selections and 7 spotlight selections represent inclusion in the broadest sense, highlighting content from around the globe by creators of color and women. The annual showcase of diverse culture took place in Manhattan, September 18-22, 2019 at AMC Empire 25 on 234 West 42nd Street.

After the screening, the creative team headed to nosh on fried chicken at Jollibee.

YELLOW ROSE noshes on Jollibee after screening at Urbanworld Film Festival. Photo by Lia Chang
YELLOW ROSE noshes on Jollibee after screening at Urbanworld Film Festival. Photo by Lia Chang

ABOUT URBANWORLD FILM FESTIVAL
Urbanworld Film Festival was launched in August 1997 by founder Stacy Spikes, co-founder of MoviePass and a former executive at Miramax and October Films. With estimated attendance reaching over 15,000, the five-day festival anchored in film showcases narrative features, documentaries, short films, spotlight screenings and live staged screenplay readings; the Urbanworld Digital track focuses on digital panels and workshops; and the Urbanworld Music franchise highlights emerging talent in live performances during festival events. For over two decades, Hollywood studios and indie film distributors, as well as established and emerging filmmakers, have consistently chosen Urbanworld to premiere box office and award-winning hits. The Urbanworld Film Festival is an initiative of the Urbanworld Foundation Inc. Gabrielle Glore serves as Festival Director & Head of Programming.

Broadwayworld: Photo Flash: YELLOW ROSE Starring Eva Noblezada Wins Big at 23rd Annual Urbanworld Film Festival
Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan, Jose Llana and More Celebrate at 42nd Asian American International Film Festival’s Opening Night screening of Diane Paragas’ YELLOW ROSE at Asia Society

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Diane Paragas’ Award-Winning Film YELLOW ROSE Starring Eva Noblezada, Lea Salonga, Dale Watson and Princess Punzalan to Screen at Urbanworld® Film Festival on September 21

Eva Noblezada and Dale Watson in YELLOW ROSE

Diane Paragas’ award-winning film YELLOW ROSE  is an official selection of the 23rd Annual Urbanworld® Film Festival and will screen at the AMC 42nd Empire 25-Theater 12 on Saturday, September 21 at 3:45 PM. Click here for tickets and more information.

The poster for Diane Paragas’ YELLOW ROSE starring Eva Noblezada, Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan and Dale Watson.

YELLOW ROSE is the deeply personal narrative feature debut from Filipina American writer and director Diane Paragas. Rose, played by Two-time Tony Nominee Eva Noblezada (Hadestown, Miss Saigon), an undocumented Filipina, dreams of one day leaving her small Texas town to pursue her country music dreams. Her world is shattered when her mom (Princess Punzalan) is suddenly detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rose, facing this new realty, is forced to flee the scene, leaving behind the only life she knows, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she searches for a new home in the honky-tonk world of Austin, Texas.

Eva Noblezada and Princess Punzalan in YELLOW ROSE

Also featured in the film are Lea Salonga, country music star Dale Watson (“Friday Night Lights”), Gustavo Gomez (The Walking Dead), Libby Villari (Boyhood), and Liam Booth. Set to a poignant soundtrack featuring original songs by Paragas, Noblezada, Watson and the cast, this coming-of-age story brings forth the power of music and art to provide strength in the face of the harsh plight confronting countless immigrant families across the country.

Eva Noblezada in YELLOW ROSE

Yellow Rose won the Special Jury Prize at the 2019 Asian American International Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature at the 2019 Bentonville Film Festival, 2019 CAAMFest and the 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, with Eva Noblezada taking Best Breakout Actor.

Leslie Lewis, Liam Booth, Producer Karen Elizaga, Co-producer Jeremiah Abraham, Director/Writer Diane Paragas, Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan, Lead Producer Cecilia R. Mejia, Producer Orian Williams at 42nd Asian American International Film Festival's Opening Night screening of YELLOW ROSE at Asia Society in New York on July 25, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang
Leslie Lewis, Liam Booth, Producer Karen Elizaga, Co-producer Jeremiah Abraham, Director/Writer Diane Paragas, Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan, Lead Producer Cecilia R. Mejia, Producer Orian Williams at 42nd Asian American International Film Festival’s Opening Night screening of YELLOW ROSE at Asia Society in New York on July 25, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang

The 2019 slate of 78 official selections and 7 spotlight selections represent inclusion in the broadest sense, highlighting content from around the globe by creators of color and women. The annual showcase of diverse culture will take place in Manhattan, September 18-22, 2019 at AMC Empire 25 on 234 West 42nd Street. Click here for tickets and more information.

Lea Salonga, Princess Punzalan, Jose Llana and More Celebrate at 42nd Asian American International Film Festival’s Opening Night screening of Diane Paragas’ YELLOW ROSE at Asia Society

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Facebook Live Interviews: 2016 Katra Film Series – 2nd Round Finalists; 14 Films Compete for $2000 in Prizes on July 16

Lia Chang and Garth Kravits during Facebook live interview. Photo by Geoffrey Guerrero
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits during Facebook live interview. Photo by Geoffrey Guerrero

Bev’s Girl Films’ is thrilled that our debut short, HIDE AND SEEK, starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, is among the top 14 shorts which have screened since January in the Katra Film Series, to compete in the 2016 Katra Film Series – 2nd Round event on Saturday, July 16, 2016, for $2000 in prizes sponsored by Pond5, Moviemaker Magazine,  CreatorUp, Goze Zone, Socially Relevant Film Festival. Everyone who attends will be eligible for a $250 free headshot session with a photographer from City Headshots.

The Katra Film Series is NYC’s premier film series dedicated to the exhibition and promotion of quality independent cinema and innovative short-form videos. The winners of the 2nd Round – chosen by pair of industry judges and audience vote – advances to the 5th Annual Grand Finale Series in January 2017. Katra is located at 217 Bowery btw. Rivington and Prince St. in New York. The evening begins at 5pm. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

The 2nd round includes an international lineup of filmmakers from Israel, Japan, Georgia, Moldova, Ecuador and Greece, with diverse topics ranging from the Syrian Refugee crisis to the lives of plantation workers in Liberia to the inhumane treatment of animals and nature. The lineup also includes shorts with cast members from hit TV shows The Blacklist, The Americans, and Orange is the New Black.

Katra Founder and filmmaker Geoffrey Guerrero chatted with many of the filmmakers via Facebook Live. Check out the lineup and interviews below.

Screening Order:
6pm
People of Nowhere – directed by Lior Sperandeo
A short doc about the Syrian refugee crisis in Lesvos, Greece.

Hide and Seek – directed by Garth Kravits
A short film starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, that speaks to the societal challenge that women, and especially women of color, endure every day. Check out our Facebook Live interview with Geoffrey Guerrero, filmmaker and founder of Katra Film Series.

The Promise – directed by Alex Leu
When his fiancée is abducted by an evil warlord, a lone soldier struggles to save her before she is turned to the dark side.

The Bear – directed by Avtandil Chachibaia
A moral fable about a revenge-seeking bear who nobly forgives the humans for their wrongdoings.

Notes from Liberia – directed by Judd Ehrlich & Ryo Murakami
Tracing the journey of the late Japanese cinematographer Ryo Murakami to the Firestone Tire and Rubber Plantation in Liberia.

7pm
Emma Inspired – directed by Nicole Machon
Emma is a recent college grad, unsure of her next move in life.

The Exam – directed by William Speruzzi
A psychological thriller about a man whose promotion hinges on him taking a medical exam.

The Skull – directed by Graceann Dorse
It’s moving day, and the Gorden family must deal with a long forgotten family heirloom that has re-surfaced.

Other People’s People – directed by James Fauvell
An ensemble comedy about the intersecting and competing loves, lies and indiscretions of three couples in Brooklyn, NY.

8pm
White Privilege Frankenstein – directed by Chris Carfizzi & Ken Dashow
When an angry mob comes for Frankenstein’s Monster, Victor Frankenstein must find a way to get him off the hook.

Fortress – directed by Amir Arison
April and Kalev meet at an Italian restaurant after agreeing to go on their first on-line date.

47 Secrets to a Younger You – directed by Ryan Blackwell
A comedic webseries about working moms, everyday disasters and middle-aging not so gracefully.

Chocolate Cake – Benjamin Shweky
A nostalgic tale about a boy who doesn’t quite fit in. Instead, he finds all the company he needs in his mother’s delicious chocolate cake.

The Small Time – Created by Jack Canfora & Andrew Rein
A struggling literary agent, Ben Bernstein, tries to find the one writer who can be the next big thing.

Do you have a short film, web series, short doc, music video you’d like to submit? Katra is looking for short content of any genre/form no longer than 45 minutes in length. Visual art, experimental, animations are welcome! Submit via Film Freeway.

Geoffrey Guerrero, Lia Chang and Garth Kravits
Geoffrey Guerrero, Lia Chang and Garth Kravits

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

HIDE AND SEEK Starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits Among 14 Short Films Competing in 2016 Katra Film Series – 2nd Round in New York on July 16; Facebook Live Interviews with Finalists

Hide and Seek postcard

Lia Chang and Garth Kravits during Facebook live interview. Photo by Geoffrey Guerrero
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits during Facebook live interview. Photo by Geoffrey Guerrero

Bev’s Girl Films’ is thrilled that our debut short, HIDE AND SEEK, starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, is among the top 14 shorts which have screened since January in the Katra Film Series, to compete in the 2016 Katra Film Series – 2nd Round event on Saturday, July 16, 2016, for $1600 in prizes sponsored by Pond5, Moviemaker Magazine,  CreatorUp, Goze Zone, Socially Relevant Film Festival.

The Katra Film Series is NYC’s premier film series dedicated to the exhibition and promotion of quality independent cinema and innovative short-form videos. The winners of the 2nd Round – chosen by pair of industry judges and audience vote – advances to the 5th Annual Grand Finale Series in January 2017. Katra is located at 217 Bowery btw. Rivington and Prince St. in New York. The evening begins at 5pm. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

The 2nd round includes an international lineup of filmmakers from Israel, Japan, Georgia, Moldova, Ecuador and Greece, with diverse topics ranging from the Syrian Refugee crisis to the lives of plantation workers in Liberia to the inhumane treatment of animals and nature. The lineup also includes shorts with cast members from hit TV shows The Blacklist, The Americans, and Orange is the New Black.

LINEUP (not in order):

Hide and Seek – directed by Garth Kravits
A short film starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits, that speaks to the societal challenge that women, and especially women of color, endure every day. Check out our Facebook Live interview with Geoffrey Guerrero, filmmaker and founder of Katra Film Series.

Notes from Liberia – directed by Judd Ehrlich & Ryo Murakami
Tracing the journey of the late Japanese cinematographer Ryo Murakami to the Firestone Tire and Rubber Plantation in Liberia.

Chocolate Cake – Benjamin Shweky
A nostalgic tale about a boy who doesn’t quite fit in. Instead, he finds all the company he needs in his mother’s delicious chocolate cake.

The Promise – directed by Alex Leu
When his fiancée is abducted by an evil warlord, a lone soldier struggles to save her before she is turned to the dark side.

The Exam – directed by William Speruzzi
A psychological thriller about a man whose promotion hinges on him taking a medical exam.

White Privilege Frankenstein – directed by Chris Carfizzi & Ken Dashow
When an angry mob comes for Frankenstein’s Monster, Victor Frankenstein must find a way to get him off the hook.

The Small Time – Created by Jack Canfora & Andrew Rein
A struggling literary agent, Ben Bernstein, tries to find the one writer who can be the next big thing.

The Bear – directed by Avtandil Chachibaia
A moral fable about a revenge-seeking bear who nobly forgives the humans for their wrongdoings.

Fortress – directed by Amir Arison
April and Kalev meet at an Italian restaurant after agreeing to go on their first on-line date.

Emma Inspired – directed by Nicole Machon
Emma is a recent college grad, unsure of her next move in life.

Other People’s People – directed by James Fauvell
An ensemble comedy about the intersecting and competing loves, lies and indiscretions of three couples in Brooklyn, NY.

People of Nowhere – directed by Lior Sperandeo
A short doc about the Syrian refugee crisis in Lesvos, Greece.

The Skull – directed by Graceann Dorse
It’s moving day, and the Gorden family must deal with a long forgotten family heirloom that has re-surfaced.

47 Secrets to a younger you – directed by Ryan Blackwell
A comedic webseries about working moms, everyday disasters and middle-aging not so gracefully.

Do you have a short film, web series, short doc, music video you’d like to submit? Katra is looking for short content of any genre/form no longer than 45 minutes in length. Visual art, experimental, animations are welcome! Submit via Film Freeway.

Geoffrey Guerrero, Lia Chang and Garth Kravits
Geoffrey Guerrero, Lia Chang and Garth Kravits

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Video: HIDE AND SEEK Starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits to Screen in 2016 Katra Film Series in New York on May 14; Complete Lineup

Hide and Seek postcardLia Chang and Garth Kravits’ Hide and Seek is an official selection of the 2016 Katra Film Series May Edition, and will screen on Saturday, May 14, 2016, along with a selection of shorts in honor of Asian-American Heritage month; powerful documentaries shot in Liberia and Cuba and a program of edgy NYC-based films.

The 5th Edition of the year of the Katra Film Series will take place at 217 Bowery btw. Rivington and Prince St. in New York. $15 advance online ticket sales, $20 cash door only
(All tickets include Screenings, Q&A, after party). Click here for tickets and more information.

Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

Screenings, Q & A and after party: 6:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Lineup (not exact order):
Notes from Liberia – directed by Ryo Murakami & Judd Ehrlich
Tracing the journey of the late Japanese cinematographer Ryo Murakami to the Firestone Tire and Rubber Plantation in Liberia. Under the cover of night, Ryo trespasses onto the plantation grounds and enters a scarcely seen world.

A Beacon in Havana – directed by Wilton Cruz and Fay Lellios
The story of St Nicholas of Myra Greek Orthodox Church in Havana, Cuba; the first Church built by Fidel Castro’s government and the only Church in over 50 years.

Yunaisy – directed by Juan Pablo Daranas Molina
Carlos is a young Cuban filmmaker facing censorship for the first time. He must choose between taking a great career opportunity or maintaining the integrity of “Yunaisy”.

Entelechy – directed by Ariana Delawari
A haunting experimental, docu-musical about global warming and changing the dream. A woman is guided by a dream therapist onto a shamanic journey through the inner and outer worlds of being.

East of Hollywood – directed by Chris Caccioppoli
Ken Chang is ready for the American dream. The only trouble is that he’s just too American. In order to land a role on a network TV Show, Ken is forced to undergo Actor “Orientalification” to prove that he can be Asian enough to make it in Hollywood.

Gold Mountain – directed by Kerwin Berk
A series of grisly murders takes two Asian American police detectives down a dark path, deep into the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown …

Hide and Seek – directed by Garth Kravits
A short film that speaks to the societal challenge that women, and especially women of color, endure every day.

Other People’s People – directed by James Fauvell
An ensemble comedy about the intersecting and competing loves, lies and indiscretions of three couples in Brooklyn, NY.

Pepper & Salt Sea – directed by Don Downie
After losing everything in Superstorm Sandy, a devastated photographer tries to forget that she ever loved the sea. Until a mermaid appears, to seduce her into picking up her camera again.

Graduation – directed by Graham Powell
Lessons in loyalty and deception between drug dealers and cops are learned the hard way in the city’s underworld.

Do you have a short film, web series, short doc, music video you’d like to submit? Katra is looking for short content of any genre/form no longer than 45 minutes in length. From NO BUDGET to BIG BUDGET.  Visual art, experimental, animations are welcome! Submit via Film Freeway.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Lia Chang and Garth Kravits’ HIDE AND SEEK to Screen in 2016 Katra Film Series in New York on May 14; Complete Lineup

Hide and Seek postcardLia Chang and Garth Kravits’ Hide and Seek is an official selection of the 2016 Katra Film Series May Edition, and will screen on Saturday, May 14, 2016, along with a selection of shorts in honor of Asian-American Heritage month; powerful documentaries shot in Liberia and Cuba and a program of edgy NYC-based films.

The 5th Edition of the year of the Katra Film Series will take place at 217 Bowery btw. Rivington and Prince St. in New York. $15 advance online ticket sales, $20 cash door only
(All tickets include Screenings, Q&A, after party). Click here for tickets and more information.

Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

Screenings, Q & A and after party: 6:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Lineup (not exact order):
Notes from Liberia – directed by Ryo Murakami & Judd Ehrlich
Tracing the journey of the late Japanese cinematographer Ryo Murakami to the Firestone Tire and Rubber Plantation in Liberia. Under the cover of night, Ryo trespasses onto the plantation grounds and enters a scarcely seen world.

A Beacon in Havana – directed by Wilton Cruz and Fay Lellios
The story of St Nicholas of Myra Greek Orthodox Church in Havana, Cuba; the first Church built by Fidel Castro’s government and the only Church in over 50 years.

Yunaisy – directed by Juan Pablo Daranas Molina
Carlos is a young Cuban filmmaker facing censorship for the first time. He must choose between taking a great career opportunity or maintaining the integrity of “Yunaisy”.

Entelechy – directed by Ariana Delawari
A haunting experimental, docu-musical about global warming and changing the dream. A woman is guided by a dream therapist onto a shamanic journey through the inner and outer worlds of being.

East of Hollywood – directed by Chris Caccioppoli
Ken Chang is ready for the American dream. The only trouble is that he’s just too American. In order to land a role on a network TV Show, Ken is forced to undergo Actor “Orientalification” to prove that he can be Asian enough to make it in Hollywood.

Gold Mountain – directed by Kerwin Berk
A series of grisly murders takes two Asian American police detectives down a dark path, deep into the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown …

Hide and Seek – directed by Garth Kravits
A short film that speaks to the societal challenge that women, and especially women of color, endure every day.

Other People’s People – directed by James Fauvell
An ensemble comedy about the intersecting and competing loves, lies and indiscretions of three couples in Brooklyn, NY.

Pepper & Salt Sea – directed by Don Downie
After losing everything in Superstorm Sandy, a devastated photographer tries to forget that she ever loved the sea. Until a mermaid appears, to seduce her into picking up her camera again.

Graduation – directed by Graham Powell
Lessons in loyalty and deception between drug dealers and cops are learned the hard way in the city’s underworld.

Do you have a short film, web series, short doc, music video you’d like to submit? Katra is looking for short content of any genre/form no longer than 45 minutes in length. From NO BUDGET to BIG BUDGET.  Visual art, experimental, animations are welcome! Submit via Film Freeway.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits’ HIDE AND SEEK Screens in 11th Annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon on May 1; Complete Lineup 
Qui Nguyen’s “Vietgone” wins $25,000 Steinberg/ATCA Award for 2015; Additional $7,500 citations for Steven Dietz’s “Bloomsday” and Jen Silverman’s “The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane”
Sandra Oh, Sola Bamis, Corey Brill and Raymond Lee Star in South Coast Repertory’s World Premiere of Julia Cho’s OFFICE HOUR, April 10-30
Lily Mariye Talks Directing “Nashville,” the Disney-ABC Creative Talent Development Program and What’s Next 
Thom Sesma, Greg Watanabe and Jeanne Sakata Set for A SINGLE SHARD at People’s Light, April 27 – May 29
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, Ellen Burstyn, Bobby Cannavale and Paola Lázaro-Muñoz at The Drama Book Shop for BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY Reading and Signing
Broadway Vet Gedde Watanabe and MISS SAIGON’s Jon Jon Briones Lead the Cast of East West Players’ Production of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, May 12 – June 26
Tony Award-winning playwright and screenwriter David Henry Hwang and singer-songwriter, producer, and actor Leehom Wang to Receive Honorary Degrees from Williams College
“Sunny Side Up” on Sprout, starring Emily Borromeo, Carly Ciarrocchi, Kaitlin Becker and Tim Kubart, Receives Daytime Emmy Nod for Best Pre-School Children’s Series
Q & A with Emmanuel Brown, Actor, Award-Winning Fight Choreographer and Champion Martial Artist 

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Celebrating Women’s History Month with a Screening of HIDE AND SEEK at The Women’s Film Festival 2016

Lia Chang and Garth Kravits.
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits.

On Sunday, Garth and I made our second film-related road trip to Philadelphia to attend the Official Selection screening of Hide and Seek at The Women’s Film Festival 2016 (TWFF’16), now in its second year.

First on the schedule was the TWFF’16’s filmmaker’s brunch, held at the adorable Russet Restaurant, located in an old brownstone at 1521 Spruce St. in Philadelphia.

Garth Kravits, Tess McChesney Kunik, Hannah Renée Dobratz and Layne Marie Williams, TWFF'16 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Garth Kravits, Tess McChesney Kunik, Hannah Renée Dobratz and Layne Marie Williams, TWFF’16 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

While the temps outside were on the cooler side, the atmosphere inside was warm, nurturing and delicious as  we noshed on Potato Herb Frittata, Baked French Toast and Pork and Sweet Potato Hash in the private sun drenched party room.

Potato Herb Frittata, Baked French Toast and Pork and Sweet Potato Hash. Photo by Lia Chang
Potato Herb Frittata, Baked French Toast and Pork and Sweet Potato Hash. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF'16 filmmaker's brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF’16 filmmaker’s brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF'16 filmmaker's brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF’16 filmmaker’s brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF'16 filmmaker's brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF’16 filmmaker’s brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF'16 filmmaker's brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF’16 filmmaker’s brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Melissa Kim, Phuong Nguyen, Christina May and Victoria Place at the TWFF'16 filmmaker's brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Melissa Kim, Phuong Nguyen, Christina May and Victoria Place at the TWFF’16 filmmaker’s brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Tess McChesney Kunik, Nia Benjamin, Hannah Renée Dobratz, Pheng H. Teng, Layne Marie Williams, TWFF'16 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director, Victoria Place and Melissa Kim. Photo by Lia Chang
Tess McChesney Kunik, Nia Benjamin, Hannah Renée Dobratz, Pheng H. Teng, Layne Marie Williams, TWFF’16 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director, Victoria Place and Melissa Kim. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF'16 filmmaker's brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The TWFF’16 filmmaker’s brunch at Russet Restaurant in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

After the brunch, we headed to the Caplan Recital Hall on the 17th floor of the University of the Arts, where TWFF 2016 has been in full swing since March 11th.

Checking in for TWFF'16 with Melissa Kim, Christina May and Phuong Nguyen. Photo by Lia Chang
Checking in for TWFF’16 with Melissa Kim, Christina May and Phuong Nguyen. Photo by Lia Chang

The other films in the Artistic Shorts Program lineup included Sandra Formatger Garcia’s Breath of Clay, Marc Menish’s Bryn and Stephanie Ramones’ Santo. 

Christina May hosted the screenings. Photo by Lia Chang
Christina May hosted the screenings. Photo by Lia Chang

After the screenings, we had international Skype Q & A sessions with Sandra Formatger Garcia in Paris and Marc Menish in Tokyo. 

A Skype session with BREATH OF CLAY director Sandra Formatger Garcia from Paris, at TWFF'16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
A Skype session with BREATH OF CLAY director Sandra Formatger Garcia from Paris, at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
A Skype session with BRYN director Marc Menish from Tokyo, at TWFF'16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
A Skype session with BRYN director Marc Menish from Tokyo, at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
A Skype session with I BELIEVE IN UNICORN director Leah Myerhoff from Austin, at TWFF'16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
A Skype session with I BELIEVE IN UNICORN director Leah Myerhoff from Austin, at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.

Screening Hide and Seek in celebration of Women’s History Month was especially meaningful, and I found the comments during the Q & A to be quite illuminating.

Victoria Place, Kayla O'Donnell, Melissa Kim and Phuong Nguyen at TWFF2016 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Victoria Place, Kayla O’Donnell, Melissa Kim and Phuong Nguyen at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
A Q & A with the cast and Stephanie Ramones, the director of SANTO, at TWFF2016 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
A Q & A with the cast and Stephanie Ramones, the director of SANTO, at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
SANTO filmmaker Stephanie Ramones is flanked by the dancers who appeared in her film at TWFF2016 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
SANTO filmmaker Stephanie Ramones is flanked by the dancers who appeared in her film at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
Garth Kravits at TWFF2016 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
Garth Kravits at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang.
Genevieve McPherson, Lia Chang and Kayla O'Donnell at TWFF2016 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Garth Kravits
Genevieve McPherson, Lia Chang and Kayla O’Donnell at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits at TWFF2016 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Melissa Kim
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Melissa Kim
Lia Chang at TWFF'16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang at TWFF’16 at the University of the Arts’ Caplan Recital Hall in Philadelphia on March 13, 2016. Photo by Garth Kravits

A special thanks to Phuong Nguyen, TWFF2016 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director, who has been so supportive of Hide and Seek, since our meeting at the Asian American International Film Festival in New York last summer.

Lia Chang and Phuong Nguyen, TWFF'16 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director. Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang and Phuong Nguyen, TWFF’16 Co-Founder/Co-Excutive Director. Photo by Lia Chang

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
The Women’s Film Festival (TWFF) is an emerging event, bringing in audience members from all over the area and filmmakers, actors, and leaders from around the world. The festival aims to showcase projects that engage, inspire, and connect our community and as well to shed light on women’s issues.

For more information about TWFF’16 visit thewomensfilmfestival.org and follow on twitter @thewomensfilmfestival.

‘Hide and Seek’ Starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits to Screen at The Women’s Film Festival in Philadelphia on Mar. 13 

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographerand a freelance Arts and Entertainment reporter. Chang recently received a Best Actress nomination at the 2015 Asian American Film Lab 72 Hour Shootout.  Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, a Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media and a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age. She is the recipient of the AAJA 2001 National Award for New Media and the OCA 2000 Chinese American Journalist Award. Avenue Magazine named her one of the “One Hundred Most Influential Asian Americans”. She is featured in Joann Faung Jean Lee’s book Asian American actors: oral histories from stage, screen, and television. She is profiled in  Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Dax Phelan’s JASMINE starring Jason Tobin, Eugenia Yuan and Byron Mann, screens at Pasadena International Film Festival on Mar. 8

12096085_10154485476229988_261567620710116889_nDax Phelan’s JASMINE starring Jason Tobin, Eugenia Yuan and Byron Mann, will screen as part of the third annual Pasadena International Film Festival on Tuesday, March 8th (Laemmle Playhouse 7, 7:50 p.m.). Tickets are $12.00 each and now on sale at LAEMMLE.com, or at the Laemmle Theatre Box Office. (Please note: The Safari Browser on MACs may not work with the Laemmle website. If experiencing difficulty, use another browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.) Cast and crew will hold a Q&A afterwards. Laemmle Playhouse 7 is located at 673 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91101.

Interview with Jason Tobin, star of Dax Phelan’s JASMINE, Screening at CAAMFest 2016 on Mar. 14th 

Leonard To (Jason Tobin) is a man who is struggling to come to terms with the unsolved murder of his beloved wife, Jasmine. After more than a year, he decides to come back to Hong Kong and move on with his life. He searches for a new job, attends group grief support meetings, and reconnects with Grace, a woman from his past. While he still calls the police, hoping Jasmine’s murder case will be resolved, Leonard does seem to start life anew.

A scene from Dax Phelan's JASMINE
A scene from Dax Phelan’s JASMINE

On the first anniversary of Jasmine’s death, Leonard visits her burial site and crosses paths with a mysterious man, who Leonard becomes convinced is a prime suspect for his beloved wife’s death. Leonard decides to investigate and follow this man, in hopes of finding connections to his wife’s murder, and reports the man to the police. However, when the police fail to arrest the man, Leonard realizes that the only way for him to stop his own fiery downward spiral and move on with his life once and for all is to take matters into his own hands. The result: a shocking and unforgettable final revelation.

Dax Phelan. Photo by Lia Chang
Dax Phelan. Photo by Lia Chang

In his directorial debut, Dax Phelan keeps us on an edge of our seats and takes us on a roller-coaster ride with his star-studded cast and crew. With a strong character-driven narrative and constant suspense all set in the bustling city of Hong Kong, Dax Phelan creates a story that is bold, riveting, and shocking with a theme that is universally relatable to anyone who has ever loved and anyone who has ever suffered. Jasmine is dedicated to Dax Phelan’s mother.

Jason Tobin. Photo by Lia Chang
Jason Tobin. Photo by Lia Chang

Jason Tobin is a Hong Kong actor and producer who co-wrote, co-produced and stars in Jasmine.  He is best known for his role as Virgil Hu in Justin Lin’s critically acclaimed 2002 film Better Luck Tomorrow (BLT)The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, #1 Serial Killer and Chris Chan Lee’s Yellow. In our interview over Skype, Tobin talks about the making of Jasmine, the challenges of low budget filmmaking in Hong Kong, and being a part of the Independent Asian American cinema scene including Better Luck Tomorrow.

Below is my interview with Jason Tobin.

Chang: How did you get into acting?
Tobin: I was 18. I had finished high school and was supposed to go to University in the UK. At that point, I didn’t know you could become an actor. I literally thought being an actor was a lark. I didn’t realize you could study to be an actor and try to get the job. I just didn’t understand. In high school, you are studying to go to law school or become a doctor, that ‘s your job. When I was 18, my father recognized that I loved movies and liked acting. He showed me an advertisement for an acting class in Hong Kong and I went to it. I was done for. Six months later, instead of going to university in the UK, I packed my bags up and moved to LA.

t16763gy719Chang: What have been your favorite projects?
Tobin: The Asian American features that I’ve done- Yellow with Chris Chan Lee, followed by Better Luck Tomorrow, #1 Serial Killer, Finishing the Game and now Jasmine. When I look at my body of work, I am really proud to have done these Asian American features.In my whole life I always wanted to be part of something important. I feel that having worked in these Asian American films that not only did it satisfy my creative urges as a performer and as an actor, they also satisfied me because I felt like I was part of something important. If I have somehow contributed to Asian American cinema and helped move it forward, you can’t pay for that. That’s a deep sense of satisfaction that you can’t get anywhere else.

Chang: You said, ‘Asian American cinema is where I belong; it is where I want to be.
Tobin: Obviously I lived in America, so I have a lot of friends who are Asian American actors or filmmakers. We frequently talk about how we want to be part of the mainstream. Why can’t they cast more Asians where they don’t have to be the Kung Fu fighter, or have to explain their Asianness? There’s all the talk about wanting to get into the mainstream. I’ve caught myself speaking in those terms too. Several years ago, it occurred to me that I don’t even feel comfortable working in that arena. Younger actors can speak with a lot of bravura. I am happy to stay within my community, my culture, making films that are important to us. To me at least. I’m never going to be a Caucasian man; I’m never going to be a black man. I’m never going to be French or Jewish. I am a Chinese, English speaking guy. I am really happy with that. The stories that I am interested in telling, I have always felt like a bird between two trees. Trying to fit in.

Chang: Are you working on something now?
Tobin: It’s a story about these two down and out Asian American actors who are completely unemployed and can’t get hired at all. They decide to go on a road trip to visit Bruce Lee’s grave in Seattle. That’s the premise. We’ll be shooting that in 2016.

I am working on a Martial arts film. It is not going to be an action packed martial arts film. It is going to be sparse, when you see it, it will be important. I talk about it like a martial arts film – meets American indie film. It’s another thing that we always talk about in Asian American cinema, why do we always have to be the martial arts guy? I completely understand that sentiment, and even though I have practiced martial arts my whole life, and watch so many martial arts film and am a massive Bruce Lee fan, as an actor I always steered clear of it. I wanted to be taken seriously as an actor. I’m getting older, I love the genre, I better do one now before I get older.

finishing-the-game-movie-poster-2008-1020406341I dipped my toes into martial arts films with Justin Lin’s Finishing the Game, the premise is that it’s a mockumentary and I am not in the film. I was cut out. My character Toby Jackson is not in America. The documentarian is in LA and as originally scripted, they would cut to me in Mexico as an underground street fighter, trying to get back into America. He can’t get back in so he’s becomes part of this underground fight club.I was in the best shape of my life, 4% body fat. After the shoot, Justin Lin came up to me at the end of the day and told me that this was the best acting he had ever seen me do. Several months later he calls me in Hong Kong, and says, “I love the footage It’s some of my favorite stuff we shot but I just can’t make the footage work in the film. It just doesn’t make sense.” It was heartbreaking. He says I’ll give you all the footage.

This is the impetus for this Bruce Lee road trip story. They are huge Bruce Lee fans, and one has just been cut out of the film where he’s playing a Bruce Lee type character. Finishing the Game was an important film for me even though I am not in it. Art director Candy Guitterez designed the poster and used a ghost image of me in the poster. It’s my face on the poster with all of the other Bruce Lees layered on top.

Han (Sung Kang), Virgil (Jason J. Tobin) and Ben (Parry Shen) are overachieving high school honor students in Orange County who live second lives at night as a gang responsible for criminal mischief in Better Luck Tomorrow. Photo: MTV Films
Han (Sung Kang), Virgil (Jason J. Tobin) and Ben (Parry Shen) are overachieving high school honor students in Orange County who live second lives at night as a gang responsible for criminal mischief in Better Luck Tomorrow. Photo: MTV Films

Chang: What was your experience with Better Luck Tomorrow?
Tobin: Better Luck Tomorrow was a blessing and an Asian American powerhouse. The gift that keeps on giving. I’ve gotten so much out of that film. When I was in LA at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, I met actors from Revenge of the Green Dragon and Soul Searching. They told me that because of BLT, they were really inspired by me. You can’t pay for that.  Every time I go back to America and I hear about the importance of that films in their lives, it validates me for all of the hardships of being an actor. An actor’s life is full of ups and downs.

BLT shook things up. My audition was on a Sunday, I was feeling jaded but luckily I went to it.  After one or two scenes, we improved and it was cool and fun. When I read the script I was blown away. This is the kind of role, specifically with my character,  an unbelievable role. This is the kind of role that makes careers, that wins Oscars. He’s such a live wire, shows such vulnerability. If this film were cast as a non Asian American film, Virgil would not have been the white guy. I felt incredibly lucky. The third day of shooting, I turned to Roger and said that this movie is a gift. This is a blessing. I am so lucky to be on this film. I have felt that throughout the whole journey.

I am a British citizen and in 2002 we’d gone to Sundance with Better Luck Tomorrow. The film hadn’t been released yet, so I went on vacation to Argentina. On my way back to America I was denied entry. Even though I had been in and out of America many, many times, for some reason, post 9/11 things were computerized and the infraction that I had overstayed my visa by 5 days several years earlier, showed up. They said I had to go back to the UK and reapply for a visa. A lot of people took that to be that I was deported but I wasn’t. It just meant that my Visa application was rejected. It meant that I spent a few years away right when BLT came out. Many people thought that I should have been there to capitalize on the success. I watched BLT’s success from afar.

better_luck_tomorrowI wasn’t there for the poster. That actually is not my body. The day of the photo shoot, the cast had a body double for me. They took my head from another picture and stuck it on. It was sad but I have no regrets. I spent a year in Argentina, learning guitar, learning Spanish. After a year of that I thought I better go back to work. Being a British citizen, I went to London, did a couple of movies, and TV shows. As much as I enjoyed working in the UK I was still an Asian man, an Asian person working in a predominantly white country. I’ve done this before; I’ve fought this battle before. I decided it was time for me to go back to Hong Kong and find a different challenge.

Jason Tobin and his wife Michelle. Photo by Lia Chang
Jason Tobin and his wife Michelle. Photo by Lia Chang

Chang: What is your experience of being Eurasian?
Tobin: I am from Hong Kong and have always loved Hong Kong, but I also have a love hate relationship with it. I am a real product of Hong Kong. I constantly get asked why my English is so good? They don’t understand the history of Hong Kong, that there is a British colony, with two school systems, Chinese speaking and English speaking, and that I’m Eurasian. My Father is white, a British guy; my mother is Chinese, a Cantonese woman from Hong Kong. I wanted to use as much of myself and even to the extent when we meet Leonard at the beginning of the film, he’s come back from somewhere, he’s been away. If you notice my accent changes quite a bit. In America, me as Jason, I grew up speaking Cantonese, speaking English, I went to a British School so I learned to speak English with an English accent. Subsequently I went to America, and learned to speak with an American accent. I spend time in Australia because my wife is a naturalized Australian, so frequently my accent changes depending on who I am talking too. If I am in America and speaking to American people, I am going to sound more American. When I am home and with family, I sound more British. It’s not phony either way. It’s just comfort. I don’t feel comfortable sounding like an American when I am talking to my dad. It doesn’t feel right. I brought little things like that to the character. Aussie, American, added something to Leonard, where is he from? It adds to the fact that he’s trying to be something that is not.

Chang: Dax said, “I wanted to go on record that I would be the first one to make a movie with Jason as the lead.” What is your response to that?
Tobin: I’m unbelievable grateful for Dax’s belief in me because no one else has done that. It really flatters me that he felt that strongly about me as an actor and as a performer.

It is tough to make a film, especially when you have very little money. It’s easy to test your relationship. Our relationship, thank goodness is all the better for it. We’re still friends. It’s something special when someone believes sin you.

Dax Phelan, Jason Tobin and Byron Mann. Photo by Lia Chang
Dax Phelan, Jason Tobin and Byron Mann. Photo by Lia Chang

Chang: How did you and Dax first meet?
Tobin: I had just got back to Hong Kong. I had just worked with Byron on a film and we really hit it off. We hung out a bit and he told me that he had a friend in town, a screenwriter named Dax Phelan. They were working on a project. We had dinner one night. Dax and I talked a lot about films, the kind of films that we liked, and the kind of actors we liked. A few months later in LA we met for coffee and talked about doing a movie together. Just getting to know him in Hong Kong, spending time with him in Hong Kong, it was very much the kind of relationship that I’ve always wanted to have with a director. As an actor, I’ve always wanted to have the kind of actor/director relationships like Scorsese and DeNiro back in the day, or Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris. In many ways Dax and I did have that relationship. We really got to know each other. We talked about things that I’ve never really spoken to another director before. We spent a long time talking about things, we spoke about things that we were deeply ashamed of, things that we felt truly embarrassed us, moments in our life that we were not proud or happy to speak of. We had that level of trust. That played into the story of Jasmine.

Chang: How did you and Dax develop the story together?
Tobin: Jasmine is not autobiographical. It did not happen to me and Dax. We did, however, try to channel as much of the loneliness and deep seeded shame.

In terms of the process of writing; I really wanted to use as many aspects of myself as possible. I wanted make the kind of a film that was really organic as possible, and to try and act the way it was organic. I wanted to use as much of myself as possible, whether it be pain, death, or loneliness that I felt in my own life. With regards to my character Leonard, my father’s name is Anthony Leonard Tobin, So I used my father’s middle name. To is actually my Cantonese name, even though my surname is Tobin.

I had never played an adult. I’d always played young people, college age. For the most part, I’d always played very young. Jasmine was an opportunity for me to channel certain aspects of my father. I’m not saying my father is Leonard To. There are all these aspects that I wanted to bring truth to the character. Dax already had an idea, about this unreliable investigator, narrator, and protagonist. To me, I had a lot of feelings that I had about Hong Kong, growing up here, certain isolation, even though it is a massive city and population. There is something about him- the clothes don’t fit him; the suit does not fit him. He’s always the outsider. There is a wealth gap, an elitist gap, the very elite Hong Kong, and people that are trying to be that. That is something I can relate to.

Chang: Why was the scene in the hotel room the scariest day of Dax’s life?
Tobin: We were shooting at Chungking Mansion. (Chungking Express). I think Wong Kar Wai may have grown up there. It’s a very seedy, rundown building and not the cleanest or safest building in Hong Kong. It’s pretty disgusting and full of life. It’s really, really fascinating. We ended up shooting in a very cheap low budget hostel on the 10th floor.

The scene that day was that Leonard was having a very very tough night. Leonard can get though the days because he is interacting with people, but the nights were problematic because that is when the loneliness would overtake him. This is the scene where he is alone in his room at Chungking Mansion. We did a lot of long takes. Improvisational- a lot of it was about behavior, how he spent his time. We start rolling as the scene progressed and he begins to spiral out of control. I started to do things that weren’t in the script. At one point, I opened the window. I was completely naked. I opened the window and stepped out the window and was on the ledge. And Dax said cut! Dax was terrified that I was going to jump. In that instant I knew I had perhaps gone too far as an actor. That was a very risky thing, not a safe thing to do. It really hit a chord in me. I just started crying and bawling my eyes out uncontrollably for half an hour. I stood in the room. It was just me, Guy and Dax and it was deathly silently. They just filmed me for a good 20-30 minutes, crying. That became a 3 second shot in the movie.

Dax and I had talked about Martin Sheen having a mental breakdown in Apocalypse Now. I’m not trying to compare myself to those kind of actors. We had talked about DeNiro, Marlon Brando, and Martin Sheen, so I wanted to step up. I wanted to push myself as much as I could. In that instant it really hit a chord in me. It made me think that my life did flash before me. It made me extremely, extremely sad. In a sense, that is the essence of Leonard To.

Chang: What character does Hong Kong play in the film? 
Tobin: I grew up in Hong Kong. I spent my life living in American, studying to be an actor. I spent a long time as this Asian guy working in a white country and trying to break through that barrier. I felt proud to be part of this Asian American wave of film. I always felt like I fought the good fight. I was glad to be part of Yellow and that whole movement. There was a part of me that wanted to come back to my hometown and make a film here.

In Hong Kong, I’m not local enough, I’m too westernized. Hong Kong movies are always about Hong Kong people. Very rarely are they about people like me who are English speakers. I wanted to make a film in my subculture. I wanted to use that aspect of myself. I wanted to tell this story. I’d always felt this sort of isolation living in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a big city, but it feels small, like a little village because it is such tiny bit of land. There’s something about the extreme wealth and elitist that is here and also this huge working class population. It’s like a microcosm of America. There’s this great wealth divide. Byron’s character represents the rich, powerful, that have everything, beautiful women, there’s Leonard who can’t fit in. he want it so bad and he can’t have it. He’s trying to fit into his suit. He’s trying to be something that he is not. Even though I am not Leonard To, I can relate to that. As an actor, I sometimes feel as if I am just an imposter. It is something that I wanted to explore.

Chang: What are the challenges of low budget filmmaking in Hong Kong?
Tobin: Low budget filmmaking is challenging regardless of where you are. If you are trying to shoot a film without permits, and you are trying to use real locations, Hong Kong is such a populated city that wherever you stick your camera, someone will be looking right into it. In LA, you can always find a street that is relatively quiet. You wait until people walk by, and you have it for a few minutes. In Hong Kong, you literally have three seconds before someone else starts looking in the camera. We did many, many takes. The other thing that was particularly difficult about our shoot, at the time, we were using the Red One camera. I believe at the time the native ISO wasn’t particularly fast. It is handheld with a wide lens, an unbelievably short lens with a very shallow depth of field. With the aperture wide open, just keeping me in focus was extremely difficult. The film looks great for it. We could have gone the other way and used longer lens. When you use shorter lenses, you are right in the action. I am glad that the visual style of the film is the way it is. it really helps tell the story. Especially with the 1:235 ratio as well. With other films shot in Hong Kong; you can always see someone looking in the camera.

In Hong Kong they usually use long lenses because there are so many people that it is better to be far away because no one knows you are shooting. Guy liked the look of using short lens. Dax believed using 235 was great for landscapes. He wanted to use that more for our faces, it’s unusual. It is not a style that is used that often in Hong Kong.

Byron Mann. Photo by Lia Chang
Byron Mann. Photo by Lia Chang

Chang: How were Byron and Eugenia cast?
Tobin: Byron is a really cool guy. He’s this suave, charming, charismatic kind of guy. He’s like this gentleman/playboy, which is not as an insult. It’s easy to want to be him. I love the guy. It was easy for me as Leonard to want to be Byron. There an ease there, and also he’s a great actor. From the very beginning when we started writing the script, he was always in our mind to play the man. He’s originally from Hong Kong. I think he has a home in LA, in Vancouver; he’s definitely an international jetsetter. He’s actually the kind of guy that I want to be.

Jason Tobin and Eugenia Yuan. Photo by Lia Chang
Jason Tobin and Eugenia Yuan. Photo by Lia Chang

I had known Eugenia for a long time and always thought that she was a great actress. I had never worked with her but we’ve known each other for a while.

Euguenia Yuan and Jason Tobin in #1 Serial Killer.
Euguenia Yuan and Jason Tobin in #1 Serial Killer.

She was someone we had always thought of. For me the shoot was incredibly difficult. As you know, the film is mostly on me. It was a tough shoot. I had to do take after take, long takes, and I had to do such emotional, every scene is emotionally draining. Long takes, and multiple takes. I was exhausted. After two or three weeks of filming, Eugenia showed up for a few days to do her scenes. I was so happy that I had someone to act opposite. As an actor she is really easy to work with. She’s very in the moment, responsive. She was always very organic and in the moment. It elevates your acting.

As scripted, the original cut was two hours and 40 minutes. We had gotten to a shorter edit, 90 minutes at one point, and I said to Dax and Chris, “You’ve been editing to the script for a long time, now you need to throw the script away, and edit the film that you have. You need to rewrite it. I told them to go Malick on it.” To their credit, they tore the film to pieces and rebuilt it with that in mind. They came away with a much better film. What that means is that in the process, a lot of performances, actors and scenes got cut out. You use a lot of clay, pottery, and sculpture, pack a lot on and take things out. Even though I am in a lot of the film, to get those scenes we had to do so much more to get that. In film they always talk about shooting ratio, it’s the acting ratio and writing ratio that makes up that backstory, that got cut out.

Euguenia Yuan. Photo by Lia Chang
Euguenia Yuan. Photo by Lia Chang

Chang: Who is Grace and what was the evolution of her character?
Tobin: As an artist you want to work on a subconscious level. Is she is real or not real. The story evolved and changed through the making of it. There are a lot more intimate scenes where Grace and my character Leonard are getting to know each other and getting reacquainted. If you notice, in Grace’s scenes, there’s a baby crying in the background. Whose baby is that? Could Leonard be the father? With Grace, to me she always symbolized the life that he could have, and that the audience should want him to have. She’s the path that could lead him to some sort of salvation. Psychologically he is unable to.

Those scenes didn’t make it in the final cut, but we had to go through those scenes in order to have one did make it into the film. Eugenia says more than one look, then a script full of dialogue. I sometimes describe it as acting beyond the frame.

Chang: How did your producer Stratton Leopold get involved in the project?
Tobin: Dax and Stratton have known each other for many years. I think he met him when he was working at Mace Neufeld. Stratton mentored him and always believed in him. When Dax approached him about Jasmine, Stratton was on board right away.

The night before the first day of the shoot, one of our investors pulled out. Can you imagine the amount of stress when a major investor pulls out the cash? You’ve hired the people; you’ve booked things out. Then you lose the money at the last minute. It wasn’t all the money, but it was a huge chunk and it would have shut us down. Stratton was literally a guardian angel, not just because he lent his expertise and his name to the project, but also because he literally saved us. Our boat was about to sink. He saved the day.

Chang: How long was the shooting schedule?
Tobin: A good month. A four-week shoot, six days a week. We had a terrible schedule. You could never do this in America. In Hong Kong, and I certainly wouldn’t do it again, we had really short turnarounds. Some days we had 8 hour turn around. That’s ridiculous. I honestly don’t put up with that anymore. The 8-hour turn around was good for my performance. If I was supposed to be tired, I definitely was.

In Hong Kong, there are no unions. As an actor you have to protect yourself. When you are in the states, in the west, there are rules. That being said, I was the producer on this film, so I could have put my foot down. With such a low budget film, with the tight turnarounds, I didn’t enjoy them, but we couldn’t afford not to do it. Fortunately, everyone on board the film, every cast member, every crewmember, really believed in the script and they persevered through it. I would never want to put a crew through that kind of pain and agony again. Dax said that everyone came on board because they wanted to help me, so I am very thankful.

Chang: What challenges did you face in postproduction?
Tobin: The biggest challenge we faced in postproduction was that we had zero budget. We had no money whatsoever. We had tried to raise money prior to the shoot, but we could only raise enough to shoot the film.

We did not have enough to complete the whole postproduction part of it. What that meant was that we had to make the film sporadically and then we had to go back to work. We would return to making the film as we made more money.

After the shoot, we didn’t have an editor, but in the back of mind I’d wanted to introduced Chris Chan Lee to Dax. I’d worked with Chris Chan Lee on his first feature Yellow. I have great respect for Chris. He’s the kind of filmmaker that can do everything. He can write, he can DP, he can direct, he can edit. He’s an all around filmmaker. He was working as an editor and knowing that this was Dax’s first time as a filmmaker, and knowing their personalities as well, I had a feeling that they would really hit it off and that both of their experiences would compliment each other. I feel like a genius for introducing them.

Chang: Why did the film take so long to complete?
Tobin: Right after the shoot, he suffered a few family losses, his mother and grandmother. That set him back. He needed to drop the film for a while so he could regroup and recover. What that meant was that we had an extremely long postproduction. Several years. It was never because the film wasn’t any good. Life got in the way.

We were not going to make this film in any sort of traditional way. We weren’t trying to make a commercial film. We stayed true to the spirit of it, this organic.

We were always very patient. We never rushed ourselves. We were going to make the best film that we could make. Traditionally when people think your film takes a long time to finish, they think it has problems. That was never the case.

After a while a couple of crewmembers and people that worked on the film got upset. It’s understandable. People work on a film; they want to see where their time and energy went. People were paid a pittance on this film. I totally understood it. We went into this film with a certain philosophy. We’re going to take our time.

Nicole Watson, David Tsuboi, Michelle Tobin, Dax Phelan, Jason Tobin, Eugenia Yuan, Jon Anderson and guest attend the #AAIFF2015 screening of Jasmine at Village East Cinema in New York on July 30, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Nicole Watson, David Tsuboi, Michelle Tobin, Dax Phelan, Jason Tobin, Eugenia Yuan, Jon Anderson and guest attend the #AAIFF2015 screening of Jasmine at Village East Cinema in New York on July 30, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Chang: How did you raise the completion financing?
Tobin: We needed to get sound design and music. Byron knew Nicole Watson, her and her partner Jon Anderson saw the film and loved it. They came in and paid for the postproduction. We could see the finish line. DPS in Hollywood. It would have been cheaper in Hong Kong.

2015 LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL GRAND JURY PRIZE FOR BEST FEATURE GOES TO JASMINE, DIRECTED BY DAX PHELAN. HERE, THE TEAM FROM JASMINE CELEBRATES ITS FIVE AWARDS. FIFTH FROM LEFT: CHRIS CHAN LEE (WINNER, BEST EDITING); SEVENTH FROM LEFT: JASON TOBIN (WINNER, BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA); THIRD FROM RIGHT: DAX PHELAN (DIRECTOR); SECOND FROM RIGHT: GUY LIVNEH (WINNER, BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY). (PHOTO: STEVEN LAM)
2015 LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL GRAND JURY PRIZE FOR BEST FEATURE GOES TO JASMINE, DIRECTED BY DAX PHELAN. HERE, THE TEAM FROM JASMINE CELEBRATES ITS FIVE AWARDS. FIFTH FROM LEFT: CHRIS CHAN LEE (WINNER, BEST EDITING); SEVENTH FROM LEFT: JASON TOBIN (WINNER, BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA); THIRD FROM RIGHT: DAX PHELAN (DIRECTOR); SECOND FROM RIGHT: GUY LIVNEH (WINNER, BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY). (PHOTO: STEVEN LAM)

Chang: Being on the Film Festival Circuit…
Tobin: We had our US premiere in Dallas, our LA premiere at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. In this day and age, everyone in Hollywood is talking about the West and China co-productions. Everyone is trying to figure it out. Everyone wants to make these films. We did it. Jasmine is a US –Hong Kong co-production. Jasmine is a little indie film that we made. That is the thing that I am most proud of. It’s as much an American film, as it is an Asian American film, as it is a Hong Kong film. For me, I spent my whole career training as an actor in Los Angeles. I spent so many years going to the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival for other films, Better Luck Tomorrow and Yellow. To finally bring my film, a film that I produced, that I co-wrote, that I gave everything to, bled for, to premiere in Hong Kong and in LA, to me that was fabulous.

I grew up in Hong Kong; I went to America to study to become an actor. My whole adult life, my acting life was LA. To me Hong Kong and LA are my hometowns. To make a film in Hong Kong, to premiere in LA, to be so well received. When I won the best actor award at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, I was in tears. I was so moved. Hong Kong is my home, but coming to LA with the film felt like coming home as well.

Lia Chang, Bea Soong, Phil Nee, Elizabeth Sung, Eugenia Yuan, Jason Tobin, Tzi Ma and Vic Huey at the #AAIFF2015 screening of Jasmine at Village East Cinema in New York on July 30, 2015. Photo by Ursula Liang
Lia Chang, Bea Soong, Phil Nee, Elizabeth Sung, Eugenia Yuan, Jason Tobin, Tzi Ma and Vic Huey at the #AAIFF2015 screening of Jasmine at Village East Cinema in New York on July 30, 2015. Photo by Ursula Liang

For a complete schedule visit www.pasadenafilmfestival.org.

About PIFF
Founded in 2013 by Jessica Hardin and Marco Neves, industry veterans and Pasadena residents, the Pasadena International Film Festival is the only competitive film festival in Pasadena, California. PIFF aims to bring high-caliber, independent cinema to a city renowned for its love of culture and the arts. Films that have won at PIFF have gone on to win at the American Pavilion Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at Asians on Film on March 10th, The Women’s Film Festival 2016 in Philadelphia on March 13th and the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2016 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at lia@liachangphotography.com