Tag Archives: New York

Apollo Theater Presents an Advanced Free Screening of The HBO Documentary Film THE APOLLO on October 4

Harlem, NY – (September 16, 2019) – The Apollo Theater is presenting a free screening of the HBO Documentary Film The Apollo on Friday October 4th at 7:00 p.m., in advance of its HBO premiere. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with members of the creative team.

Directed by Oscar® and Emmy® winner Roger Ross Williams. The Apollo chronicles the unique history and contemporary legacy of the Apollo Theater over the last 85 years from a refuge for marginalized artists to being a hallowed hall of black excellence and empowerment. The film weaves together archival clips of music, comedy and dance performances; behind-the-scenes verité footage of the team that makes the theater run; and interviews with such artists as Common, Jamie Foxx, Savion Glover, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson and Pharrell Williams. In addition to the examination of its archives, the film offers an in-depth look at the present-day venue, spotlighting the 2018 multi-media stage adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ acclaimed book “Between the World and Me” as it comes together on the theater’s grand stage. In the film, Williams explores not only the struggle of black lives in America, but the role that art plays in that struggle, and the essential part the Apollo continues to play in the cultural conversation, lighting the path forward. Produced by Lisa Cortes, Jeanne Elfant Festa and Cassidy Hartmann. Executive produced by Nigel Sinclair, Dan Cogan, Nicholas Ferrall and Julie Goldman.

Last April, The Apollo made its debut on the opening night of the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival at the Theater. Notable attendees included Robert DeNiro, Smokey Robinson, Angela Bassett, BeBe Winans, Michael Keegan Key, Questlove, Dapper Dan, and Bevy Smith.

TICKET INFO
Tickets for The Apollo screening are free and open to the public. Advance tickets for this event are sold out. A limited number of standby tickets may be released on October 4. Standby tickets will be available on a first come, first-served basis in-person only at the Apollo Theater box office beginning at 6:30pm.

About the Apollo Theater
The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world.

With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella, the annual Africa Now! Festival, the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved, and the world premiere of Between the World and Me. The Apollo is a performing arts presenting organization that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and music works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens; global festivals including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Breakin’ Convention, international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme; and special projects, multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.

Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, H.E.R., Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben Ari, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy.

Support
The Apollo’s 2019-2020 season is made possible by leadership support from Coca-Cola, Citi, Ford Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, and the Jerome L. Greene Arts Access Fund in the New York Community Trust.

Public support for the Apollo Theater is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

NoMBe’s “Kemosabe” Music Video Starring Vincent Leong and Lia Chang

I’m thrilled to be featured in NoMBe’s stylish “Kemosabe” music video with Vincent Leong, directed by Matthew Dillon Cohen, with Anthony Carella as director of photography, edited by Andrew Litten.

Lia Chang in Kemosabe.
Lia Chang in Kemosabe.

Check out the feature on NoMBe below.

Noisey.vice.com: PREMIERE: WATCH NOMBE’S “KEMOSABE” VIDEO

NoMBe and Lia Chang on the set of Kemosabe in New York.
NoMBe and Lia Chang on the set of Kemosabe in New York.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

NoMBe’s new single, Kemosabe will appear on his forthcoming sophomore EP Mood Indigo, along with Miss California and Miss Mirage.

lyrics

We may never lock eyes, cause it’s bad exposure
anything but hard times seem to wash away,
and we’re not walking, we fly
a pair of hasty vultures
as these laws apply
our hearts decay

She made damn sure we
Never gon’ be friends (4x)

I’m burning novels online
modern Allan Poe, yea 
make confetti of times
you made thoughts of trees
ain’t it shockin love dies
only skulls and bones left
and these laws apply
till the end of me

it’s wild if i think about it
our lives are tied yet divided 
it might be fine, but I doubt it
boo, you know you’re too sensitive

you’re right to despise surprises
and why I might think you like it
in spite of feeling uninvited
no matter how I beg or plead you still made damn sure we

Never gon’ be friends 
She made damn sure we
Never ton’ be friends (3x)

For someone managing to fuse IDM, Indie and Soul so seamlessly into danceable beats and catchy melodies, 23 year old Noah McBeth (alias NoMBe) has kept a low profile on the LA music radar. A native of Heidelberg, Germany, the classical pianist turned producer wears the many hats of composer, singer/songwriter & engineer effortlessly.

NoMBe continues to make use of a wide range of obscure samples while leaving his own signature with a unique vocal sound, ranging from a strong bluesy tone to a chilly sweet falsetto.

His lyrics touch on topics like shady women, drunk uncles and loose morals, sticking to only the most delightful things. Since moving to Los Angeles from NYC in 2013, NoMBe has produced a number of up and coming artists while finishing up his own releases, making it his mission to take today’s world of “genre-less” music by storm.

tv.booooooom.com:NoMBe – “Kemosabe”
“A gorgeously shot video for NoMBe’s track “Kemosabe”. Directed by filmmaker and photographer Matthew Dillon Cohen.”

trendingvid.com: NoMBe – Kemosabe (OFFICIAL)

fringemusicfix.com: #FMFVIDEOPICK: NOMBE – KEMOSABE (2016) [OFFICIAL VIDEO] [POP]

Examiner.com: Recording artist NoMBe emerges onto the scene with a style that is all his own 

atwoodmagazine.com: TODAY’S SONG: POIGNANT CLOSURE ON NOMBE’S “KEMOSABE

NoMBe on Mood Indigo Tour in Chicago (12/16), Minneapolis (12/17) and Los Angeles (1/4)

Director of Photography Anthony Carella and filmmaker Matthew Dillon Cohen on location New York Chinatown for Kemosabe. Photo by Lia Chang
Director of Photography Anthony Carella and filmmaker Matthew Dillon Cohen on location New York Chinatown for Kemosabe. Photo by Lia Chang

Matthew Dillon Cohen is a New York based producer/director. Matthew’s creative career began in photography, and moved more toward film when he started making music videos for his musician friends. Today Matthew focus’s on narrative, commercial and documentary work.

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 produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers and musicians. 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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs, unless otherwise indicated: © 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

Actors James Hong, Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung Talk Shop

Elizabeth Sung, James Hong and Tzi Ma at the SIXTY Lower East Side Hotel in New York on December 11, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Elizabeth Sung, James Hong and Tzi Ma at the SIXTY Lower East Side Hotel in New York on December 11, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Veteran actors James HongTzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung were in New York in December to shoot the Season 4, episode 14 of “Elementary,” entitled, “Who Is That Masked Man?”,  which stars Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller, with Larry Teng at the helm. The episode aired on Thursday, February 25, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. For more information, click here.

Director Larry Teng, James Hong and Lucy Liu on the set of "Elementary". Photo courtesy of James Hong's Facebook Page
Director Larry Teng, James Hong and Lucy Liu on the set of “Elementary”. Photo courtesy of James Hong’s Facebook Page

When three gang members are murdered, Holmes and Watson are amazed when an elderly woman emerges as their prime suspect.

Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in "Elementary".
Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in “Elementary”.

The fact that they were working on the same set in the same city is a rare occasion. Their relationship is quite familial. They were gracious enough to sit down with me on their day off from shooting to talk about their collective histories in the business.

James Hong. Photo by Lia Chang
James Hong. Photo by Lia Chang

James Hong’s career as an actor, writer and producer spans seven decades. Hong has acquired credits of 500 roles in feature films and television, probably the most of any actor. His credits include Big Trouble in Little ChinaBlade RunnerChinatownWayne’s World 2, and “Seinfeld”. He also recently starred in “Agents of Shield” with Ming-Na Wen, Kung-Fu Panda 1, 2 & 3Balls of FuryThe Day the Earth Stood StillThe Lost Medallion and RIPD starring Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon and Jeff Bridges.

James Hong, Jack Nicholson in Chinatown Copyright: © 1974 Paramount Pictures
James Hong, Jack Nicholson in Chinatown Copyright: © 1974 Paramount Pictures

Hong is one of the founders of the East-West Players, the oldest and largest Asian American theater in Los Angeles. He served as president and charter member of the Association of Asian Pacific American Artists and was a former member of the SAG Board of Directors under Charleton Heston as president. 

James Hong as Hannibal Chew in Blade Runner. © 1982 Warner Brothers Pictures
James Hong as Hannibal Chew in Blade Runner. © 1982 Warner Brothers Pictures
Elizabeth Sung. Photo by Lia Chang
Elizabeth Sung. Photo by Lia Chang

Elizabeth Sung was raised in Hong Kong and is fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin. Her first TV role was with Hong in 1988, on the set of “The Equalizer” with Russell Wong as her love interest. From 1994-96, she was a series regular in the 1st Asian American storyline on the “Young and the Restless” as  Luan Volien Abbott and is memorable as the second wife in The Joy Luck Club.

Elizabeth Sung as Second Wife in "The Joy Luck Club"
Elizabeth Sung as Second Wife in “The Joy Luck Club”
Classic Soap Opera Digest Cover Date: January 31, 1995- Elizabeth Sung, Peter Bergman and Phillip Moon
Classic Soap Opera Digest Cover Date: January 31, 1995- Elizabeth Sung, Peter Bergman and Phillip Moon

Other roles on film include Memoirs of a GeishaLethal Weapon 4, Falling for Grace, Ping Pong Playa,  Finding Madison, The People I’ve Slept With, House Under Siege, Go for Sisters, Tango and Cash, China Cry, Death Ring and Yes And. Her television credits include “China Beach,” “Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes,” “Kojak: Flowers for Matty,” “Knots Landing,” “Charmed,” “Border Line,” “ER,” “Touched by an Angel,” “Passions,” “NYPD Blue,” “For the People,” “Crossing Jordan,” “House M.D.,” “E-Ring,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “The Sopranos,” “Ni Hao, Kai-Lan,” “The Suite Life on Deck,” “The Forgotten,”  “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Flashforward,” “Bones,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Awake,” “Mike & Molly,” “Shameless,” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”.  She has appeared in the short films GodlikeWoman in FragmentsNuptials of the DeadThe Boxer, and the webisodes Who’s in ChargeMiss Guidance and Meet the Kayak.

Elizabeth Sung and Joan Cusack in Showtime's "Shameless"
Elizabeth Sung and Joan Cusack in Showtime’s “Shameless”

Sung was in the Directing Workshop for Women at the American Film Institute where she made her first award winning film, Requiem (1995). Her graduate thesis film, The Water Ghost (1998), earned Sung an MFA in directing from the AFI. She garnered the 2013 Golden Angel Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 9th Annual Chinese American Film Festival, and the 2013 Asians on Film Best Supporting Actress Award for her role of the mother in Steve Myung’s Anita Ho, one of her favorite projects to date. She holds a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School and was a member of The Alvin Ailey Repertory Dance Company. Her current projects include the pilot “Lees of LA,” and she can be seen in the films Front CoverPali RoadFallen Stars and The Unbidden at film festivals around the country.

Tzi Ma as Cheng Zhi in 24: Live Another Day Photo: FOX
Tzi Ma as Cheng Zhi in 24: Live Another Day
Photo: FOX

Tzi Ma has worked in film, television, and on stage for four decades creating such memorable characters as the recurring role of Cheng Zhi, nemesis to Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer on the hit series 24 and 24: Live Another Day, and playing opposite Tom Hanks in Joel and Ethan Coen’s remake of The Ladykillers. Ma worked with Hong on the the film Red Corner (1997), and two TV series,” The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.” (1994) and  “Millennium” (1999).

Ryan Hurst, Tom Hanks, J.K. Simmons and Tzi Ma in The Ladykillers (2004). Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon, SMPSP – © 2004 – Touchstone Pictures. All rights reserved.
Ryan Hurst, Tom Hanks, J.K. Simmons and Tzi Ma in The Ladykillers (2004). Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon, SMPSP – © 2004 – Touchstone Pictures. All rights reserved.

Ma’s distinguished body of work, also includes roles in such films as Million Dollar ArmRush HourRush Hour 3The Quiet AmericanAkeelah and the BeeDante’s PeakChain ReactionGolden Gate, Diablo and Rapid Fire. His television credits include “Satisfaction,” “Commander-in-Chief,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Fringe,”” The Practice,” “Law & Order,” “ER,” “NYPD Blue,” “Boomtown” and “Chicago Hope”. I caught up with Ma last summer when he was in New York for a screening of AMC’s “Hell on Wheels” at the Asian American International Film Festival.

Byron Mann, Tzi Ma, Angela Zhou attend the AAIFF2015 screening of AMC’s Hell on Wheels at Village East Cinema in New York on July 31, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Byron Mann, Tzi Ma, Angela Zhou attend the AAIFF2015 screening of AMC’s Hell on Wheels at Village East Cinema in New York on July 31, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Since then, Ma has worked on Denis Villeneuve‘s sci-fi film Story of Your Life in Montreal and on The Jade Pendant directed by Po-Chih Leong, a wonderful Chinese/English director, in Salt Lake City.  He finished the second season of “Satisfaction” in his recurring role as the Zen Master in Atlanta; worked on Lorne Michael’s “Man Seeking Woman,”  with Simon Rich in Toronto; guest starred on the ABC procedural drama “Stitchers” and on the TNT sitcom “Angie Tribeca” with Rashida Jones. Ma is the youngest of seven children born in Hong Kong and was reared in New York City.

Grace Truman (Stephanie Szostak) and the Zen Master (Tzi Ma) in Satisfaction. (c) USA Network
Grace Truman (Stephanie Szostak) and the Zen Master (Tzi Ma) in Satisfaction. (c) USA Network

In-depth profile: In Conversation With Tzi Ma

Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma on location Hawaii for "Pali Road".
Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma on location Hawaii for “Pali Road”.

Sung and Ma are featured as husband and wife in the independent film Pali Road which is set for theatrical release on April 29, 2016, and is currently screening on the film festival circuit.

CAAMFest 2016: PALI ROAD starring Michelle Chen, Jackson Rathbone, Sung Kang, Henry Ian Cusick, Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung Screens on Mar. 12

Elizabeth Sung, James Hong and Tzi Ma at the SIXTY Lower East Side Hotel in New York on December 11, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Elizabeth Sung, James Hong and Tzi Ma at the SIXTY Lower East Side Hotel in New York on December 11, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What was your first project together?
Tzi: Elizabeth and I started out as lovers on a film called Half Ass by Vic Huey in 1986. We played lovers. We sang this Cantonese opera song. (they sing) For Pali Road, we were in Hawaii for 3 ½ weeks. We had a great time. I fed her everyday. (laugh)
Elizabeth: Fresh fish from the ocean that he caught with his bare hands. I first worked with James on an episode of “The Equalizer” in 1988. I was a poor dancer/maybe prostitute. James played my father. Mako was the gangster lord. Russell Wong played my love interest.
James: Kim Chan and Mako were in it. Mako was a very memorable person, actor. You can never forget him. He had that style of silence, when he goes hmm- it means yes and it means no. Wonderful guy.

Lia: Last April, the Japanese American National Museum in LA had a sold out screening of Big Trouble in Little China, and we enjoyed a reunion of our fellow cast members Peter Kwong, Gerald Okamura, Al Leong, George Cheung, James Lew, Jeff Imada, and screenwriter Gary Goldman. Please share your experience with Big Trouble in Little China.
James: There’s many more films on the horizon for me, but there will never be another Big Trouble in Little China. I’ll tell you why. I started East West Players, 51 years ago. We paid for the theaters ourselves, out of our own pocket to perform, now they are on a sizable budget.  I hope they keep going with new leadership, now that Tim Dang has stepped down. It means a lot to the Asian American actors to have an organization like East West Players, someplace to go to. And look at how many actors and actresses got their chance, coming out of East West Players. They perform such good plays. It’s getting a lot of recognition, nationwide. We need that to augment the actors that we have now, and the ones that are coming. I see so many faces on the television of people that have sort of graduated from East West. It’s a wonderful place for training.

A Big Trouble in Little China reunion with Peter Kwong, screenwriter Gary Goldman, James Lew, George Cheung, James Hong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, Jeff Imada, Joycelyn Lew, Al Leong and Eric Lee at JANM's Tateuchi Democracy Forum in LA on April 8, 2015. Photo by Tami Chang.
A Big Trouble in Little China reunion with Peter Kwong, screenwriter Gary Goldman, James Lew, George Cheung, James Hong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, Jeff Imada, Joycelyn Lew, Al Leong and Eric Lee at JANM’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum in LA on April 8, 2015. Photo by Tami Chang.
James Hong. Photo by Lia Chang
James Hong. Photo by Lia Chang

Big Trouble in Little China was the kind of movie for us, martial artists, the greatest of all, actors, writers, that movie, John gave us all a chance. In fact, Jim Lau, James Lew and Jeff Imada were stunt coordinators, choreographers, and were promoted to associate producers by the end, that’s how hard they worked. So that was the kind of atmosphere that existed on the set. I slept outside the stage, overnight in a little small trailer, got up and put on the makeup. In those days, we couldn’t afford much. It was a tough shoot but it was the best we could do at that time and everybody had high hopes. Believe it or not, that whole film was made for 25 million dollars. Now it would cost you close to 150. Everybody here put 150% of effort into that movie, way beyond what they were paid.  But for some reason, the studio did not put the publicity behind it. They put it into Alien, which became a huge hit, so Big Trouble lagged behind. It’s found it’s own cult audience.

Big Trouble in Little China Cast Reunion 

Peter Kwong, James Hong, and James Pax at HorrorHound Weekend Indianapolis, September 2015.
BTILC stars Peter Kwong (Rain), James Hong (David Lo Pan), and James Pax (Lightning) at HorrorHound Weekend Indianapolis, September 2015.

Lia: David Lo Pan is such an iconic character. What is the reaction that you get from fans?
James: It’s amazing, when you do a film, you don’t know which one is going to become popular. Blade Runner also was a great film, and you could see that coming. But Big Trouble, you didn’t know because it was so new for its time. John Carpenter got the idea from Raymond Chow of Hong Kong to do a film as such. But he put his own trademark on it. For some reason, the hidden values and gimmicks that Carpenter put in have become alive nowadays. When I do go to the conventions, that is the most popular role I have ever done, among the 100’s that I have done. They remember that one. I have no idea why. That’s the way films are, you don’t know which one will grow.

Photo of Leelee Sobieski from The Idol (2002) with James Hong
Photo of Leelee Sobieski from The Idol (2002) with James Hong

Lia: What are your three top favorite projects?
James: Big Trouble is my top favorite because I did do three roles rolled into one. Blade Runner, Chinatown. One of the movies that has never been shown here in America is L’Idole, a French film, which stars Leelee Sobieski. I went to Paris for two months and made it in 2002. It was all in French. I didn’t speak a word of it, but I learned approximately 400 words in French. I was about 80 or so. It was a taxing situation, but I loved it. The French people are so great. There is something about them that is very different from the American people. I wish them luck in the future. I play an older man, but a main character, as a human being, rather than being a cliché.

Lia: With the long career that you’ve had, is there some role that you’d like to play, or a director that you would like to work with?
James: I’d like to work for myself. I’ve produced and directed some films before. Now I’d like to get back into it and do a couple more films before I retire, travel a little and enjoy life. I look at these wonderful actors next to me and say yeah, I knew them before.

James: All of you listeners and readers, please let us know, we seldom get a reaction from an Asian American audience as to what is happening. Do they like our work, do they not like it? Please write in and we will answer your questions.

James Hong (Center) in "Elementary".
James Hong (Center) in “Elementary”.

James: Something about Tzi Ma, he is so busy these days, he reminds me a little bit of what I used to do. He’s hopping from one film to another. He was late getting here because he was on another set in another city. Congratulations on that.

Tzi: Thank you James. If I could follow in your steps, I’m good.

Tzi Ma in "Elementary".
Tzi Ma in “Elementary”.

Lia: What did you mean when you said that you are currently being accessed for your funny?
Tzi: It’s kind of weird, I don’t know where it came from. My last sitcom before “Man Seeking Woman” was “Head of the Class,” which was 1000 years ago, with that kid, Jonathan Ke Quan. I’ve always turned those things down, because we are the butt of the joke. I don’t want to be the butt of the joke. There are a lot of great sitcoms that ask for our participation, like “Seinfeld” or even “Friends”. And every time I look at those scripts, I can’t do them. We’re always the butt of the joke. Not really the participant of the joke. Whereas “Man Seeking Woman” and Angie Tribeca,” we are the motivators of the joke. So it is a big difference. I’ve often had a problem with sitcoms, but all of a sudden, two sitcoms back to back. I don’t know what generated that interest. I don’t know why they asked me to do it, because these are all straight offers.

Lucy Liu, Jonny Lee Miller and Tzi Ma in "Elementary".
Lucy Liu, Jonny Lee Miller and Tzi Ma in “Elementary”.

Lia: What is your character in “Elementary”?
Tzi: I haven’t had time to read the script. I will read the script over the weekend. The only thing that we are clear about it since these characters are Triad characters is that they need to speak Cantonese as opposed to Mandarin. The script was written in Mandarin. Liz and I had a discussion about it, so we brought it up to the director and he agrees. The director of this episode, Larry Teng, is Asian American. It goes to show you the advantage of having a director who knows the background. He knows that Triads do not speak Mandarin, they speak Cantonese. That is the advantage of working with someone who is Asian American or Chinese American because you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or recite the encyclopedia for them to understand what your motivations are, what you are doing, what your relationships are. It’s something that we do, practically on a per project base. We practically have to explain ourselves on a daily basis because they don’t know. It is a lot easier to work on a project when you have three actors who know what they are doing, who knows where they are, and a director that knows everything about us. That’s kind of cool.

12658051_1876241662657215_7739090337491590125_oLia: Pali Road is currently on the Film Festival circuit. Can you tell me more about it?
Tzi: Pali Road is a new experience. It is the first time for me working with a Chinese director who cut his teeth making films in China. He was educated in Australia and Vancouver. His directorial debut was a Chinese film. The film was financed and already had distribution in China. The lead actress is from Taiwan. She has done some films in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.

Lia: Did you like working in Hawaii?
Tzi: Yes. We were in the North Shore. The North Shore is not Waikiki. The North Shore is serene, spiritual, and it rains more on the North Shore. You really get all the benefits of all the native ions coming from the ocean. We were staying at Turtle Bay resort, and we were at the apex of the island. Every morning, I just opened the lanai doors and absorbed all that good energy. It was relaxing for us. It was something that I think given the circumstances on a low budget film, everybody is under the gun, and a lot of pressure on everybody to make the film within 18 shooting days, so I think that if we were in another location, it might have been very taxing for us. The fact that we were on the North Shore, it really gave us the opportunity to at least take a breather. We don’t feel like we’re constantly on edge, given the schedule and all the work that we had to do with the script, rehearsals, locations. I think as a location, it served us, served the project in a very meaningful and positive way.

Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma play husband and wife in the upcoming film Pali Road. Photo by Lia Chang
Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma play husband and wife in the upcoming film Pali Road. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Can you speak to your relationship? 
Elizabeth: I’ve known Tzi for more than two decades. When I heard of Tzi then, we were both dancers, coming from the dance world. When I saw his face at The Public Theater, Dance and the Railroad, I thought, “Who is this guy?” Then, I got to know him through friends. At that time, we’d not had the chance to work together until our friend created the film short Half-Ass in 1986. By then, we knew each other a lot better.

John Lone and Tzi Ma in a poster of The Dance and The Railroad. Courtesy of Tzi Ma
John Lone and Tzi Ma in a poster of The Dance and The Railroad. Courtesy of Tzi Ma

He’s always been an inspiration, like spearheading a lot of things. He never just takes a script at face value. He always digs and finds other angles. That’s very inspirational. If you have a mediocre script, or not so very good script, Tzi is going to make it live. He’s always been my challenge. To work with him, that’s what I love. You have a good sparring partner.

Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma in "Pali Road".
Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma in “Pali Road”.

One of the things that I treasure, with  Pali Road, how do we make the characters that we play, husband and wife, the parents of this girl- how do we make this relationship with her, the parents, live? We were from China, and yet we’re concerned for her. How do we make that intriguing, exciting, familiar, with depth to provoke thoughts within the audience’s mind? Or have them look at themselves to be reflective.

6da6dfb33058562e7e725fb65460eed3Lia: What was your favorite project that you worked on?
Elizabeth: For me, never the big budget projects. It has always been the independent project, where the script comes to you and it’s not quite there. And the filmmaker, the ones that I choose to work with are open-minded, you can have discussions and they will take input. You see the script evolve. My romantic comedy project, Anita Ho, the character, the mother’s character was not quite present. Through discussions and working at it, that became a major counterpart to the two leads.

"Anita Ho" 2013 Chinese American Film Festival Golden Angel Award for - Best Comedy - director, writer, actor / Steve Myung, producer, writer, actress / Lina So Golden Angel Award - Best Actress in a Supporting Role / Elizabeth Sung.
“Anita Ho” 2013 Chinese American Film Festival Golden Angel Award for – Best Comedy – director, writer, actor / Steve Myung, producer, writer, actress / Lina So Golden Angel Award – Best Actress in a Supporting Role / Elizabeth Sung.

Lia: And your favorite project with Elizabeth?
Tzi: I would have to say, Half-Ass. The first one. That scene was supposed to be the genesis of a script. It was like a sizzle reel. It was the beginning, a germination of a project that he wanted to do, which we participated in. Sometimes, you don’t see things at the moment. Sometime later, you realize that those things are the most valuable things that you could do. We got to know one another better. We formed a relationship. We know who we are. It just so happened that somehow the universe put us in the same city, because I went out to LA. Next thing you know, she was in LA. Before that, we were in New York together. Once we parted ways in terms of where we are going, and then to see each other, the bond became stronger. Through the years, these things lead to other things. Without Half-Ass, I may not even know Elizabeth. So really, hindsight is always quite rewarding when you look back and say, wow, if that didn’t happen, some of these things may not have happened.

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

Lia: How has it been navigating as an Asian American actress in the industry and directing?
Elizabeth: Not easy. As an Asian American actress, from my time in the industry, because what was available then, and what is more available now, it was either prostitutes or waitresses. Sometimes you may have some social worker roles, or reporter. But now, it’s a lot more professional women, not just fresh off the boat. It’s still an uphill battle. Not easy. That’s why I said, for the independent projects that I participate in or that I can lend my support, I really do enjoy them. Especially to Asian American directors who write a story that is compelling and that has something to say.

In terms of my directing, it all came from realizing after the Miss Saigon protest, where the role of the Engineer role was supposed to be half Asian and went to a Caucasian who put prosthetics on his eyelids. Tzi was a very vocal representative of all of us. We sweat and we fought for, after the show opened, that this part needed to go to an Asian American actors. In that big movement, what I did learn is somebody who put the project together, with the money, as long as you talk about it, they are the ones that initiate it. If you don’t have the story, and you don’t have the money to give life to a project. The voice many not be as powerful. I went to the director workshop at AFI first. I went back to school to get my degree in directing from the American Film Institute. I realized from my dance background that one short project does not make me a director. Coming from Hong Kong, I need structure. I’m not that self-motivated, like Tzi. I need to be in an environment where there are classrooms so that everything is there for me to do a few more projects. I have put my directing on hold for a little bit, strictly for financial reasons (student loans are high).

With the whole digital revolution, I want to reconsider. It is a very different time. Especially with the possibility of doing co-productions, with like-minded people with East and West. The chance of getting film projects off the ground is a lot easier, if one can find like-minded people.

Tzi Ma in "Elementary".
Tzi Ma in “Elementary”.

Lia: Have you ever considered directing?
Tzi: I have. I’ve directed theater. I enjoy the directing process. I think I can make some contribution as a director. I feel my strength would come from working with the actors. I do understand their journey, I understand their experience. It’s really a welcoming sight when you see a Chinese American director. With this particular episode, we don’t have to recite the Bible for this guy. At least you don’t have to worry about these little things like, I remember working on two or three projects back to back, when I go to the set, I see the same Qing Dynasty painting on three different shows. You run into these kinds of generalities of who we are. They don’t know it.

I think our contributions as directors, is that we have the innate understanding of the culture; we have experienced their experiences, so that they don’t have to go home and struggle and say how do I present the right picture for this director? Which is what we do all the time. We go home, beat our head against the wall. Ok, what are we going to say to this guy? How are we going to say it? In what context do we present it? I just want my actors to go home, do their work, do their preparation, come to the set and I will be there to protect them. I think that’s key, for our presence behind the camera.

Because the struggles that we went through, such as what Liz said about Miss Saigon, is that there’s also a genesis to that too. That character was not Eurasian. At first, the character was Asian. Then after Jonathan Pryce took the role as the Asian with prosthetics, and we saw the cast album, there were pictures of him in yellow face. That’s when we did the complaint. After we complained, that’s when the character became Eurasian. They said, “well why not, because it is a Eurasian character, we can cast Jonathan Pryce. Now the character is Eurasian, and it is okay to cast a white actor. So we know that again, we need to empower ourselves, in every aspect. That’s why I approach scripts the way that I do as an actor. I want to empower me as an actor. I don’t want to walk in a room and relinquish the creative process to someone else’s hand. I know it is untrustworthy. Now, if he is Asian American, then I feel a little better, because then I don’t have to worry about not trusting him.

It’s a process. My advice to young actors is never shy away from saying what you need to say. Eventually, you’ll get better at it. In the beginning, it was terrible. The stuff that came out of my mouth was offensive and abrasive. I couldn’t get anywhere. I didn’t know how. Eventually, I learned how to say it. That comes from experience. Every opportunity you get, speak your mind. Because the more you practice on how to present that, you’ll get better at doing it. You’ll become more articulate. Your points will become more precise. You have to be very specific about what those points are, because time is precious. Usually when a project gets going, once the actors get involved, it’s off. It’s a bullet train that’s left the station already. You’ve got to go in there with your guns loaded, everything laid out on the table. ‘These are my concerns. What do you think?’ So there is a point of departure.

Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in "Elementary".
Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in “Elementary”.

The beauty of working with somebody you know, like working with Liz, since we know each other, we can get together before hand. Like this project. We called each other over the phone, talked about what was important. How do we present it to the director? It’s about being specific. Where are we and at what time are we talking about? We are in New York Chinatown, current time. This organization, if you are a Triad or a Tong, they are a very specific organization. It’s not like they are one. The writers don’t know there is a difference. For us, as professional actors, ultimately, we hold the responsibility. You’re not going to see the director on the screen. You’re not going to see the writer on the screen. You’re going to see us on the screen. It’s like self-survival. I don’t want to look bad. I don’t want Liz to look bad. We really have to do our due diligence. That’s made our working easier because we know each other. We’re familiar with each other’s work. We have the respect and the admiration of each other’s work. We can sit down and speak openly about what are concerns are, how do we handle it, how do we deal with it. Some things are not just about reality. Not about the truth itself.

Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in "Elementary".
Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in “Elementary”.

For instance, Pali Road is a film for China. There are some things you cannot do because it is going to be shown in China. So now we have to figure out a way to help the director get over that hump. He doesn’t even know. This is an important part of the script and an important part of the scene. But it may not get past the censor. We need to think about strategies on how to say the same thing, get the same results and pass the censors too. That’s an added responsibility.

Elizabeth Sung in "Elementary".
Elizabeth Sung in “Elementary”.

Elizabeth: I have to give a shot out to the director Larry Teng. I worked with him on “Hawaii Five-O”. He told me that it was his first freelance project as a director. This time, after Tzi and I had a discussion about the dialect, we contacted Larry and he was open. He was raised in Queens. He had a conversation with each of us, so he said, “I agree.” So after the two voices, plus his initial instinct, it’s a triple reinforcement that he approached the writers to say that this language dialect needs to be authentically Cantonese. So, this way sometimes a director, an Asian American, needs support from the cast. Not just one person holding the banner. It’s not enough. We come in knowing the culture. Tzi grew up in Chinatown. I lived in New York from the 70’s to 80’s, 16 years. I have knowledge, watching TV and reading newspapers that Mandarin will not do. Another thing that I do appreciate Larry, when they were working on my first day, he said, “It is important to me to not perpetuate stereotypes. I want to go for the humanity of this character. Because he said it is too easy to do the other thing. This is one thing that I don’t want to perpetuate as a director.” He had this little sidebar conversation. I said I respect you and I support you 100%. I am there.

Aidan Quinn and Tzi Ma in "Elementary".
Aidan Quinn and Tzi Ma in “Elementary”.

Tzi: Most productions that hire one of us or both of us are very lucky because we know, at least to a point where the characters are properly written. For example, if we were shooting “Hell on Wheels,” it wouldn’t have simplified characters, and we’re able to catch it. This didn’t exist in 1870. It has to be the traditional characters. As far as the experience in Chinatown is concerned, we know that experience. I lived it; I lived at 34 Henry Street. IN that sense, we’re an asset.

Actor Tzi Ma attends the AAIFF2015 screening of AMC’s Hell on Wheels at Village East Cinema in New York on July 31, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Actor Tzi Ma attends the AAIFF2015 screening of AMC’s Hell on Wheels at Village East Cinema in New York on July 31, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Elizabeth: And the director appreciates that because he has back up. A lot of time, you pick your battles. As a director, there are many of them. If you are able to support him in presenting his case, then he has one less battle to fight. If we can do that for him, that’s great.

Lia: What’s next for you?
Elizabeth: I am working with an Asian American indie director, who has written a story for Asian characters, two sets of families- how they converge in LA, and how each of them affected each other. They went through a journey. It is an ensemble story. It will be an interesting story to tell and my character is a mother who has done all the wrong things with the best of intentions, and yet learned at the end of the day.

Tzi: I’m working on an independent film called Mediation Park by Mina Shum, who is a wonderful Canadian director. Sandy’s (Sandra Oh) in all her films. I think Sandy is like her alter ego. Sandy is also in this film. This film is really quite poignant. It’s about a woman, who all her life is dependent on the husband to do everything-to provide, to take care of the daily chores, bank account, insurance, and he dies. Now what is she going to do? She’s on her own now, completely. How does this woman learn to not only be self-reliant, but who she is. When you are with this husband who has done everything and has had full control of you, you’ve lost you. You’re only part of him. How does this woman find her? This is a woman’s story.

Here’s the funny part-when I was in Vancouver for a meeting with Mina, I was in a bank to get some money. There was a long line, and I saw that woman online, gorgeously dressed, quite elderly, she walks to the counter and she pulled out about 10 cards. She had no idea what any of those cards were. She said, “These are all my husband’s cards. These are all the accounts that I have. I’ve never even seen them. I don’t know what to do. If I need money, I don’t know how to take it out.” Good thing the staff was so nice to her. I’m standing there. Life is stranger than fiction. I was just mesmerized by this woman, because I just read the script. And there she is right in front of me.

Elizabeth Sung, Tzi Ma and Lia Chang
Elizabeth Sung, Tzi Ma and Lia Chang
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 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

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Elizabeth Sung, Tzi Ma and James Hong to Guest Star on ‘Elementary’ on Feb. 25

Elizabeth Sung, James Hong and Tzi Ma at the SIXTY Lower East Side Hotel in New York on December 11, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Elizabeth Sung, James Hong and Tzi Ma at the SIXTY Lower East Side Hotel in New York on December 11, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Elizabeth Sung, Tzi Ma and James Hong are guest starring in the Season 4, episode 14 of “Elementary,” entitled, “Who Is That Masked Man?” which airs on Thursday, February 25, 2016, at 10:00PM ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. For more information, click here.

Click below for my in-depth interview with the trio.

Actors James Hong, Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung Talk Shop

Elizabeth Sung in "Elementary".
Elizabeth Sung in “Elementary”.

Synopsis:
When Holmes’ investigation into the attempt on Morland’s life pushes their strained relationship to the breaking point, the identity of Sherlock’s mother is revealed. Also, when three gang members are murdered, Holmes and Watson are amazed when an elderly woman emerges as their prime suspect. The episode is written by Jason Tacey and directed by Larry Teng.

Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in "Elementary".
Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in “Elementary”.

“Elementary” stars Lucy Liu as Joan Watson, Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Homes, Aidan Quinn as Captain Tommy Gregson, Jon Michael Hill  as Detective Marcus Bell and John Noble as Mr. Morland Holmes.

James Hong (Center) in 'Elementary'.
James Hong (Center) in ‘Elementary’.
  • GUEST CAST:
  • Elizabeth Sung (Bai May-Lung)
  • Eddie Korbich (Sven Eklund)
  • Joe Mazzello (Griffin)
  • James Hong (Meng Zhou)
  • Tzi Ma (Xi Hai Ching)
  • Kevin Kilner (Michael Haas)
  • Charlotte Bydwell (Soleil)

In Conversation With Tzi Ma

Lucy Liu, Jonny Lee Miller and Tzi Ma in "Elementary".
Lucy Liu, Jonny Lee Miller and Tzi Ma in “Elementary”.
Tzi Ma in "Elementary".
Tzi Ma in “Elementary”.
Aidan Quinn and Tzi Ma in "Elementary".
Aidan Quinn and Tzi Ma in “Elementary”.
James Hong in "Elementary".
James Hong in “Elementary”.
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 which will screen at Asians on Film on March 10th, The Women’s Film Festival 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

Premiere Screening of NoMBE’s Kemosabe Music Video by Matthew Dillon Cohen in Little Lantern Film Screening at Pangea on Feb. 24

945276_10208817106251179_4741245171449084799_nIn December, I had the best time working with filmmaker Matthew Dillon Cohen and his crew on NoMBe’s Kemosabe music video, which will premiere as part of the Little Lantern Film Screening on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, in the Pangea Restaurant Private Screening Room, 178 2nd Ave in New York. The evening begins at 6:00PM, and the screening starts at 7:00PM.

NoMBe and Lia Chang on the set of Kemosabe in New York.
NoMBe and Lia Chang on the set of Kemosabe in New York.

In addition to Kemosabe, films by Cleo Samoles-Little, Kurt Devonshire, Artemiy Repin, Natalia Bougadelli, Joachim Pfefferkorn, David Scherker, Brian Haver-Scanlon, Jack Brown, Andrew Doty, Ellen Willis and Kulianna D’Intino will be screened.
72176e_4be02b48b3a648c880d8f2bab81d5aa3

Click here for more information.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

NoMBe’s new single, Kemosabe will appear on his forthcoming sophomore EP Mood Indigo, along with Miss California and Miss Mirage.

Click below to listen to Kemosabe.

For someone managing to fuse IDM, Indie and Soul so seamlessly into danceable beats and catchy melodies, 23 year old Noah McBeth (alias NoMBe) has kept a low profile on the LA music radar. A native of Heidelberg, Germany, the classical pianist turned producer wears the many hats of composer, singer/songwriter & engineer effortlessly.

NoMBe continues to make use of a wide range of obscure samples while leaving his own signature with a unique vocal sound, ranging from a strong bluesy tone to a chilly sweet falsetto.

His lyrics touch on topics like shady women, drunk uncles and loose morals, sticking to only the most delightful things. Since moving to Los Angeles from NYC in 2013, NoMBe has produced a number of up and coming artists while finishing up his own releases, making it his mission to take today’s world of “genre-less” music by storm.

NoMBe on Mood Indigo Tour in Chicago (12/16), Minneapolis (12/17) and Los Angeles (1/4)

Director of Photography Anthony Carella and filmmaker Matthew Dillon Cohen on location New York Chinatown for Kemosabe. Photo by Lia Chang
Director of Photography Anthony Carella and filmmaker Matthew Dillon Cohen on location New York Chinatown for Kemosabe. Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Matthew Dillon Cohen is a New York based producer/director. Matthew’s creative career began in photography, and moved more toward film when he started making music videos for his musician friends. Today Matthew focus’s on narrative, commercial and documentary work.

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 the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in Examiner.com, FebOne1960.com BlogJade 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

Sinovision Journal Video: Asian American Film Lab puts “Beauty” to the Test

This year, the Asian American Film Lab’s 72 Hour Shootout competition challenged filmmakers to explore the topic of beauty.

Lani Nelson, Sinovision Journal reporter.
Lani Nelson, Sinovision Journal reporter.

SinoVision Journal reporter Lani Nelson went to a screening for the top ten films followed by a panel discussion with innovators in the industry and brings you the story.

The Film Lab, Time Warner and the APEX group hosted a special screening of films from the 2015 72 Hour Shootout that focus on mainstream constructions of beauty and their consequences at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015.

Lia Chang in Hide and Seek, A Bev's Girl Film production. Photo: Bev's Girl Films
Lia Chang in Hide and Seek, A Bev’s Girl Film production. Photo: Bev’s Girl Films

Look Deeper: Beauty, Funny FacesBareThe Other WomanFinding YouPut It On,  Beautifully Something, Girl’s Knight, and our Bev’s Girl Films’ Hide and Seek were among the films screened.

 Lia Chang and Garth Kravits in a scene from Hide and Seek. Photo: Bev's Girl Films
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits in a scene from Hide and Seek. Photo: Bev’s Girl Films
Panelists Blue Michael, Becky Curran, Lia Chang, Rick Guidotti and moderator Jennifer Betit Yen at a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo: Sinovision
Panelists Blue Michael, Becky Curran, Lia Chang, Rick Guidotti and moderator Jennifer Betit Yen at a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo: Sinovision

I participated in the panel discussion that followed the screening about the societal implications of mainstream beauty images with Rick Guidotti, award winning fashion photographer and advocate for those with genetic differences; Becky Curran, SAG-AFTRA Coordinator for Equal Employment and Diversity; and Blue Michael, Model and Founder of Blue Michael Cosmetics, moderated by Jennifer Betit Yen, Actor and President of the Asian American Film Lab.

Panelists Becky Curran and Lia Chang at a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015.
Panelists Becky Curran and Lia Chang at a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015.
Award-winning filmmaker Lia Chang being interviewed after a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo: Sinovision
Award-winning filmmaker Lia Chang being interviewed after a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo: Sinovision
Award-winning filmmakers Garth Kravits and Lia Chang being interviewed after a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo: Sinovision
Award-winning filmmakers Garth Kravits and Lia Chang being interviewed after a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo: Sinovision

AsAmNews.com: 72 Hour Shootout Films Tackle Mass Media & Beauty

Lia Chang. Photo by GK
Lia Chang. Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographerand the Arts and Entertainment reporter for AsAmNews.com. 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 Jade Magazine and FebOne1960.com Blog.

Film Lab Screening of 72 Hour Shootout Films at Time Warner Theater & Panel Discussion of Mass Media Constructions of Beauty

Rick Guidotti, Becky Curran, Jennifer Betit Yen, Blue Michael, Daryl King and Lia Chang attend a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo by Lil Rhee
Rick Guidotti, Becky Curran, Jennifer Betit Yen, Blue Michael, Daryl King and Lia Chang attend a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo by Lil Rhee

The Film Lab, Time Warner and the APEX group hosted a special screening of films from the 2015 72 Hour Shootout that focus on mainstream constructions of beauty and their consequences, which was followed by a panel discussion and a networking reception at the swank Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015.

Panelists Blue Michael, Becky Curran, Lia Chang, Rick Guidotti and moderator Jennifer Betit Yen at a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo by David T. Kim.
Panelists Blue Michael, Becky Curran, Lia Chang, Rick Guidotti and moderator Jennifer Betit Yen at a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo by David T. Kim.

Look Deeper: Beauty, Funny FacesBareThe Other WomanFinding YouPut It On,  Beautifully Something, Girl’s Knight, and our Bev’s Girl Films’ Hide and Seek were among the films screened.

Lia Chang and Garth Kravits in a scene from Hide and Seek. Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang and Garth Kravits in a scene from Hide and Seek. Photo by Lia Chang

I participated in the panel discussion that followed the screening about the societal implications of mainstream beauty images with Rick Guidotti, award winning fashion photographer and advocate for those with genetic differences; Becky Curran, SAG-AFTRA Coordinator for Equal Employment and Diversity; and Blue Michael, Model and Founder of Blue Michael Cosmetics, moderated by Jennifer Betit Yen, Actor and President of the Asian American Film Lab.

Blue Michael, Becky Curran, Lia Chang, Rick Guidotti and Jennifer Betit Yen attend a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo by GK
Blue Michael, Becky Curran, Lia Chang, Rick Guidotti and Jennifer Betit Yen attend a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo by GK
72 Hour Shootout winners Toy Lei (BOXER), Grant Chang (FINDING YOU) and Lia Chang (HIDE AND SEEK) attend a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo by GK
72 Hour Shootout winners Toy Lei (BOXER), Grant Chang (FINDING YOU) and Lia Chang (HIDE AND SEEK) attend a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo by GK

It was such a treat for me and my filmmaking partner Garth Kravits  to have the opportunity to see our film, Hide and Seek on the big screen at the Time Warner Theater. We caught up with other 72 Hour Shootout filmmakers including Toy Lei (BOXER- Top Ten Film; Grand Prize Winner; Best Actress; and Best Action Film) and her team, Edmund Kwan and Diana Yanez, and Grant Chang (FINDING YOU- Top Ten Film; Best Actor, Best Director) and his team, Aimee Ng, Jake Manabat and Kerri Davidson at the reception.

#AAIFF2015: Top Ten Winning Films of the Film Lab’s 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition- Awards and Wrap Party

Daniel Cho, Eugena Oh, Sandy Lee, Architect, Systems Development at Time Warner, Inc., Roger Chu, Director, Corporate Human Resources at Time Warner, Inc., Lia Chang, Marissa Martin and a guest attend a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015.
Daniel Cho, Eugena Oh, Sandy Lee, Architect, Systems Development at Time Warner, Inc., Roger Chu, Director, Corporate Human Resources at Time Warner, Inc., Lia Chang, Marissa Martin and a guest attend a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015.

About the Asian American Film Lab
The Film Lab is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that promotes ethnic and gender diversity through outreach, education and production. The Film Lab provides free or low cost programming ranging from screenwriting workshops to panels to seminars to screenings. The Film Lab produces the television series “Film Lab Presents” and a wide variety of online content on AAFL TV. The Film Lab management team consists of Jennifer Betit Yen (President and Board Member, founder of AAFL TV Production Arm), Huseina Sulaimanee (Treasurer and Volunteer), Daryl King (Secretary and Board Member), Cecilia Mejia (Unfinished Works), Youn Jung Kim (2015 72 Hour Shootout Coordinator), Nick Sakai (Industry Spotlight), along with a dedicated Board, interns and event volunteers. Board members include James Kyson, Ed Wong and Aaron Woolfolk, among others.
www.asianamericanfilmlab.com

Peyton Worley, Christopher Bourne, Jennifer Betit Yen, Roger Chu, Director, Corporate Human Resources at Time Warner, Inc., Lia Chang, Sandy Lee, Architect, Systems Development at Time Warner and Rick Guidotti attend a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo by Diana Yanez
Peyton Worley, Christopher Bourne, Jennifer Betit Yen, Roger Chu, Director, Corporate Human Resources at Time Warner, Inc., Lia Chang, Sandy Lee, Architect, Systems Development at Time Warner and Rick Guidotti attend a special screening of 72 Hour Shootout films and panel discussion at the Time Warner Theater in New York on October 7, 2015. Photo by Diana Yanez

2015-10-7 film lab_Photo by Lia Chang51

AsAmNews.com: 72 Hour Shootout Films Tackle Mass Media & Beauty

Lia Chang. Photo by GK
Lia Chang. Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographerand the Arts and Entertainment reporter for AsAmNews.com. 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 Jade Magazine and FebOne1960.com Blog.

Hide and Seek, Look Deeper: Beauty, Funny Faces, Bare, The Other Woman, Finding You, Put It On, and Beautifully Something will been screened at Film Lab & Time Warner Screening on October 7; Panel on Media Constructions of BEAUTY featuring Rick Guidotti, Becky Curran, Blue Michael, Jennifer Betit Yen and Lia Chang to follow


Mass Media Constructions of Beauty: The Consequences of Allowing Judgment Based On What We Look Like Rather Than Who We Are
A Special Film Lab/Time Warner/Turner/HBO Event

Hide and Seek posterHide and Seek, a short film that I star in and co-produced with Garth Kravits, will be screened at Mass Media Constructions of Beauty, presented by Film Lab, Time Warner and the APEX group, during a special screening of films from the 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking competition, on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at the Time Warner Theater in New York. The films that are being shown have themes that focus on mainstream constructions of beauty and their consequences. Some of the other films that will be shown include Look Deeper: Beauty, Funny Faces, Bare, The Other Woman, Finding You, Put It On, and Beautifully Something.

The Time Warner Theater is located at One Time Warner Center, 10th fl. Screening Room (58th St. between 8th & 9th Ave. Columbus Circle) in New York. The event is from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Click here to RSVP.

https---img.evbuc.com-https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.evbuc.com%2Fimages%2F15218473%2F49855550916%2F1%2ForiginalI will also be on a panel moderated by Jennifer Betit Yen, Actor and President of the Asian American Film Lab, that features Rick Guidotti, award winning fashion photographer and advocate for those with genetic differences; Becky Curran, SAG-AFTRA Coordinator for Equal Employment and Diversity; and Blue Michael, Model and Founder of Blue Michael Cosmetics. We’ll address the societal implications of mainstream beauty images.  A networking reception follows the discussion.

Rick Guidotti
Rick Guidotti

Rick Guidotti, an award-winning former fashion photographer, has spent the past fifteen years working internationally with advocacy organizations/NGOs, medical schools, universities and other educational institutions to effect a sea-change in societal attitudes towards individuals living with genetic difference; his work has been published in newspapers, magazines and journals as diverse as Elle, GQ, People, the American Journal of Medical Genetics, The Lancet, Spirituality and Health, the Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly and Life Magazine. He founded Positive Exposure, an innovative arts, education and advocacy organization, working with individuals living with genetic, physical, cognitive and behavioral differences.  His photographic exhibition, Positive Exposure; The Spirit of Difference, premiered at the People’s Genome Celebration, June 2001, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in DC. and continues to exhibit in galleries, museums and public arenas internationally.

Blue Michael
Blue Michael

Blue Michael was born a raised in NYC from Puerto Rican parents. As a performer in Lower Eastside of Manhattan, he picked up the natural talent of Makeup Artistry. After many years of working with other brands he decided to start Blue Michael Cosmetics. A brand that mirrors his true belief in #BYourBeautiful “Let us celebrate You”.

Jennifer Betit Yen
Jennifer Betit Yen

Jennifer Betit Yen is an award winning actress, writer, producer, and a “recovering” attorney.  She is the President of the Asian American Film Lab, a nonprofit dedicated to the promotion and support of gender and ethnic diversity in media, the CEO of MyJennyBook, a company providing multimedia stories for children, and is currently in production on a film entitled “The Opposite of a Fairy Tale,” designed to draw light to the issue of elder abuse, funded by a grant from the Ms. Foundation.  As an actor, Betit Yen has appeared in productions at East West Players and Lodestone in Los Angeles and at the Manhattan Theatre Source and Snapple Theatre in New York.  Her television credits include Royal Pains, Dirt, Film Lab Presents, The Beacon Street Girls, Reading Rainbow, and America’s Most Wanted, among others.

Becky Curran
Becky Curran

Becky Curran is coordinator of EEO & diversity for SAG-AFTRA. Since joining SAG-AFTRA in April 2014, she has assisted with several diversity and inclusion efforts within the entertainment and news media industries. Curran graduated with a bachelor’s of science in marketing degree from Providence College in 2006, then moved to Los Angeles where she worked for one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies, Creative Artists Agency (CAA). After CAA, she worked at CBS Television Studios in casting. Curran also served as the marketing director and co-founding board member of the Catalina Film Festival.

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographerand the Arts and Entertainment reporter for AsAmNews.com. 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 Jade Magazine and FebOne1960.com Blog.

About the Asian American Film Lab
The Film Lab is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that promotes ethnic and gender diversity through outreach, education and production. The Film Lab provides free or low cost programming ranging from screenwriting workshops to panels to seminars to screenings. The Film Lab produces the television series “Film Lab Presents” and a wide variety of online content on AAFL TV. The Film Lab management team consists of Jennifer Betit Yen (President and Board Member, founder of AAFL TV Production Arm), Huseina Sulaimanee (Treasurer and Volunteer), Daryl King (Secretary and Board Member), Cecilia Mejia (Unfinished Works), Youn Jung Kim (2015 72 Hour Shootout Coordinator), along with a dedicated Board, interns and event volunteers. Board members include James Kyson, Ed Wong and Aaron Woolfolk, among others.

www.asianamericanfilmlab.com

HIDE AND SEEK named among Top Ten Film Winners of Film Lab’s 72 Hour Shootout; Lia Chang receives Best Actress nomination

Hide and Seek final copyMy Bev’s Girl Films producing partner Garth Kravits and I are now award-winning filmmakers. Our debut indie short Hide and Seek was named among the top ten films of the Asian American Film Lab‘s 11th Annual 72 Hour Film Shootout filmmaking competition, at the sold-out World Premiere screening at Cinema Village East during the 38th Asian American International Film Festival in New York on July 25, 2015.

11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout World Premiere Film Screening at Village Cinema East in New York on July 25, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout World Premiere Film Screening at Village Cinema East in New York on July 25, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Garth is a very talented actor, singer, composer and musician, so I knew we were more than up to the challenge of  writing, shooting, editing, scoring and delivering our 5 minute short film, within 72 hours of learning the theme – Two Faces – at the Shootout launch party on June 4th.

Lia Chang, Lori Tan Chinn and Garth Kravits at the 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout World Premiere Film Screening at Village Cinema East in New York on July 25, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang, Lori Tan Chinn and Garth Kravits at the 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout World Premiere Film Screening at Village Cinema East in New York on July 25, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

A worldwide filmmaking competition celebrating gender and ethnic diversity in film, Shootout teams compete for cash and prizes and the chance to have their films screened at the prestigious Asian American International Film Festival, the only festival of its kind on the East Coast, as well as at the Asians on Film Festival in Los Angeles, California.

Alicia Manns, Lia Chang and Garth Kravits on the set of Hide and Seek, A Bev's Girl Production, as part of the Asian American Film Lab's ‪#‎72HRSO‬ filmmaking competition. ‪#‎twofaces‬
Alicia Manns, Lia Chang and Garth Kravits on the set of Hide and Seek, A Bev’s Girl Production, as part of the Asian American Film Lab’s ‪#‎72HRSO‬ filmmaking competition. ‪#‎twofaces‬

I seized upon the idea to play a character with two very different personalities.

Garth Kravits and Evan Daves on the set of HIDE AND SEEK on June 5, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Garth Kravits and Evan Daves on the set of HIDE AND SEEK on June 5, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Garth Kravits and Best Actress Nominee Lia Chang in Hide and Seek of “Bev's Girl Films” (Top Ten Film
Garth Kravits and Best Actress Nominee Lia Chang in Hide and Seek of “Bev’s Girl Films” (Top Ten Film)

We co-produced, co-wrote and co-starred in Hide and Seek. Making the film was an exhilarating ride. No stranger to multi-tasking, Garth shared camera operator duties with Evan Daves, composed the original score by singing his vision of the soundtrack over the phone to guitarist Tyler Kent in the last two hours before our deadline, directed and edited the film. The cast also features Evan Daves and Alicia Manns.

Lia Chang during a photo shoot in the 90's with Guardian Angels, on the streets of New York.
Lia Chang during a photo shoot in the 90’s with Guardian Angels, on the streets of New York.

At the World premiere screening, filmmakers learn for the first time whether they have made the Top Ten winners, and individual prizes are awarded in numerous categories. You could feel the collective breath being held.

What?! In the darkness of the theater after the eighth film played, I sat there in shock as our title credits for Hide and Seek appeared on the screen. I was so overwhelmed that I had tears streaming down my face.

Hide and Seek speaks to the societal challenge that women, and especially women of color, endure every day.  To look in the mirror and to hope to see a face other than your own.  One that is closer to what magazines, television and movies define as beautiful or even normal. What face do you see when you look in the mirror?

Because of competitions like the Asian American Film Lab’s 72 Hour Shootout, we had the invaluable and rare opportunity to tell our fully realized story with an Asian American woman in the lead role. Hide and Seek is a very personal film to me as I began my life in front of the camera as a model at the age of 15, before working in film, television and theater.

The icing on the cake was to be recognized with a Best Actress, Film Lab 72 Hour Shootout of 2015 nomination.

Film Lab President, actor Jennifer Betit Yen, Lia Chang and Shootout Coordinator, videographer and vocalist Youn Jung Kim at the 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout World Premiere Film Screening at Village Cinema East in New York on July 25, 2015. Photo by GK
Film Lab President, actor Jennifer Betit Yen, Lia Chang and Shootout Coordinator, videographer and vocalist Youn Jung Kim at the 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout World Premiere Film Screening at Village Cinema East in New York on July 25, 2015. Photo by GK

After all of the winners had been announced and we filed out of the theater, men and women shared how they had been moved or touched by our film. They found it to be inspirational and self-affirming.  They related to the character’s feeling of being invisible, being unhappy with her looks and uncomfortable in her own skin, and having the need to embrace another form of beauty or attractiveness other than her own.

Award-winning filmmakers Lia Chang and Garth Kravits doing interviews on the Red carpet for #AAFLTV and Live at the 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout Red Carpet Awards Ceremony and wrap party at The Azure in New York on July 25, 2015. Photo courtesy of 72 Hour Shootout/Facebook
Award-winning filmmakers Lia Chang and Garth Kravits doing interviews on the Red carpet for #AAFLTV and Live at the 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout Red Carpet Awards Ceremony and wrap party at The Azure in New York on July 25, 2015. Photo courtesy of 72 Hour Shootout/Facebook

Check out our movie in the link below.

This year’s 72 Hour Shootout judges included Emmy nominated director Rodrigo Garcia, ABC Executive Director of Casting Marci Phillips, playwright David Henry Hwang, agent David Elliott, stuntman Lane Leavitt, and director Bertha Bay-Sa Pan. Several of the judges were in attendance at the premiere and awards ceremony and judges David Henry Hwang and Bertha Bay-Sa Pan, who could not appear in person, gave remarks via video and congratulated the filmmakers.

Click below to see all of the winners.

#AAIFF2015: Top Ten Winning Films of the Film Lab’s 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition- Awards and Wrap Party 

Garth Kravits, Lia Chang, FINDING YOU’s Grant Chang (Top Ten Film; Best Actor and Best Director) and co-star Jake Manabat at the 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout World Premiere Film Screening at Village Cinema East in New York on July 25, 2015.
Garth Kravits, Lia Chang, FINDING YOU’s Grant Chang (Top Ten Film; Best Actor and Best Director) and co-star Jake Manabat at the 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout World Premiere Film Screening at Village Cinema East in New York on July 25, 2015.

 For more information, check out www.asianamericanfilmlab.com

Lia Chang at the 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout World Premiere Film Screening at Village Cinema East in New York on July 25, 2015. Photo by GK
Lia Chang at the 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout World Premiere Film Screening at Village Cinema East in New York on July 25, 2015. Photo by GK

The top 40 72 Hour Shootout films can be viewed on the Film Lab’s online channel AAFLTV (subscribe for free at YouTube.com/asamfilmlab and many will also be featured on the Film Lab’s TV series, “Film Lab Presents.”

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. She has guest starred on “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “New York Undercover.” She is profiled in Jade Magazine.