Tag Archives: PALI ROAD

Elizabeth Sung Guest Stars on NBC’s “The Night Shift” on June 15; talks THE UNBIDDEN, PALI ROAD, FRONT COVER and FOR IZZY

Elizabeth Sung. Photo by Lia Chang
Elizabeth Sung. Photo by Lia Chang

In the Season 3, episode 303 of NBC’s “The Night Shift,” entitled “The Way Back” which airs on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 10:00PM, Elizabeth Sung guest stars in the role of Sumei Zia.

“The Night Shift” focuses on a team of doctors and nurses at San Antonio Memorial’s emergency room that are anything but ordinary. The risks they take to save lives straddle the line between heroic and impulsive, but are always worth it.

updated: 6/16/16

The series stars Eoin Macken as T.C. Callahan, Jill Flint as Dr. Jordan Alexander, Ken Leung as Dr. Topher Zia, Brendan Fehr as Dr. Drew Alister, Robert Bailey Jr. as Dr. Paul Cummings, JR Lemon as Kenny, Tanaya Beatty as Dr. Shannon Rivera and Scott Wolf as Dr. Scott Clemmens.

(l-r) Ken Leung as Dr. Topher Zia, Elizabeth Sung as Sumei Zia and Eoin Macken as Dr. TC Callahan on NBC's "The Night Shift".
(l-r) Ken Leung as Dr. Topher Zia, Elizabeth Sung as Sumei Zia and
Eoin Macken as Dr. TC Callahan on NBC’s “The Night Shift”.

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In this episode, Drew returns from deployment in Afghanistan and can’t seem to shake off the stress of being back from overseas. Things get crazy right away as he, Jordan and Kenny treat a bride and her wedding party who have been injured during the festivities, as well as her father, whose presence is not making things easier. Meanwhile, TC helps Topher entertain his demanding mother, whose extended visit is putting stress on the family.

(l-r) Elizabeth Sung as Sumei Zia and Ken Leung as Topher Zia on NBC's "The Night Shift".
(l-r) Elizabeth Sung as Sumei Zia and Ken Leung as Topher Zia on NBC’s “The Night Shift”.

Click here to watch the episode. Ms. Sung returns to “The Night Shift” on July 13, 2016.

(l-r) Ken Leung as Topher Zia and Elizabeth Sung as Sumei Zia on NBC's "The Night Shift".
(l-r) Ken Leung as Topher Zia and Elizabeth Sung as Sumei Zia on NBC’s “The Night Shift”.

In Albuquerque, where “The Night Shift” is shot, Ms. Sung was delighted to be reunited with Ken Leung, having worked with him on “The Sopranos” as his mother and in Fay Ann Lee’s indie film “Falling for Grace”.

Ken Leung, Fay Ann Lee, Clem Cheung and Elizabeth Sung in FALLING FOR GRACE. Photo by Joe Tam
Ken Leung, Fay Ann Lee, Clem Cheung and Elizabeth Sung in FALLING FOR GRACE. Photo by Joe Tam

Elizabeth Sung was raised in Hong Kong and is fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin. From 1994-96, she was a series regular in the 1st Asian American storyline on the daytime soap “The Young and the Restless” as Luan Volien Abbott, and is memorable as the second wife in Wayne Wang’s “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 Geisha,” “Lethal Weapon 4,”  “Pali Road”, “The Unbidden”, “Fallen Stars”, “Front Cover,” “Falling for Grace,” “Ping Pong Playa,” “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 “NYPD Blue,” “For the People,” “Crossing Jordan,” “House M.D.,” “E-Ring,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “The Sopranos,”  “The Forgotten,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “FlashForward,” “Bones,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Awake,” “The Suite Life on Deck,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Mike & Molly,” “Shameless,” and “Elementary”.

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

She has appeared in the short films “Godlike,” “Woman in Fragments,” “Nuptials of the Dead,” “The Boxer,” and the webisodes “Who’s in Charge,” “Miss Guidance” and “Meet the Kayak.”

PING PONG PLAYA, center: Roger Fan, Elizabeth Sung, 2007. ©IFC Films
PING PONG PLAYA, center: Roger Fan, Elizabeth Sung, 2007. ©IFC Films

Ms. 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. It was aired on Lifetime channel’s “Women Directors Series”. 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 Festival for her mother’s role in Steve Myung’s “Anita Ho,” one of her favorite projects to date.

"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.

Sung also has 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 the indie feature “For Izzy”.

In the wake of her whirlwind schedule, we had a moment to chat by phone about “The Night Shift” and her latest film projects.  

Lia: What was it like on the set of “The Night Shift”?
Elizabeth: My first day was a party scene. I really felt like I was being swept into a family. I found the cast and crew to be extremely welcoming. The episode was written by Janet Lin, who I worked with on “Bones.” It was wonderful to reconnect with Ken and Janet. The director, Tara Nicole Weyr, is great. I was very inspired  to see two women helming key positions. This says a lot about “The Night Shift” production, a female friendly set, with a lot of women on the crew.

Lia: What are you working on?
Elizabeth: I am currently shooting “For Izzy,” with an Asian American indie director/writer named Alex Chu. We worked together on his indie debut, “Yes, And. Our cast features “Fear the Walking Dead” star Michelle Ang (we worked together on “Fallen Stars), Jim Lau (we worked together on “Ping Pong Playa” and “Yes, Andand Jenny Soo (we worked together on “Yes, And,” and “Godlike”). It’s fun to be working with friends.

From the set of FOR IZZY (l-r) Elizabeth Sung, Michelle Ang, Alex Chu, Jenny Soo and Jim Lau. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Sung
From the set of FOR IZZY (l-r) Elizabeth Sung, Michelle Ang, Alex Chu, Jenny Soo and Jim Lau. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Sung

Alex is a very creative director, a risk taker, and is interested in tackling subjects that are important issues. The film is about addiction, family, autism, but, most of all, second chances. He’s written a story for Asian American characters – two sets of dysfunctional families.

From the set of FOR IZZY (l-r) Director of Photography Irvin Liu, Michelle Ang, Elizabeth Sung, production manager Tash Ann, Jenny Soo, director/writer/producer Alex Chu and Jim Lau. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Sung
From the set of FOR IZZY (l-r) Director of Photography Irvin Liu, Michelle Ang, Elizabeth Sung, production manager Tash Ann, Jenny Soo, director/writer/producer Alex Chu and Jim Lau. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Sung

I play the mother of a recovering drug addict photojournalist, from Hong Kong. I’ve left my job as a banker in Hong Kong to come help my daughter in LA clean up her act. We move next to a family with a single father who has a 28 year old high functioning autistic daughter. As time passes they can’t help but influence each other’s lives, giving and getting a second chance!

Elizabeth Sung in "For Izzy"
Elizabeth Sung in “For Izzy”

“For Izzy” Facebook Page

6da6dfb33058562e7e725fb65460eed3Lia: What are your favorite projects? 
Elizabeth:  “The Night Shift” and my work on indie films has instilled in me the belief that by committing to each role, making them personal and truthful, I grow as an actor in my ability to portray three dimensional characters that have compelling and universal stories. It is also heart warming to see there are an increasing number of budding Asian American filmmakers, making ground breaking stories. What I can contribute is my experience through acting. For me, it has always been challenging and rewarding to work on independent project, where the script comes to you and it’s not quite complete. The filmmakers that I choose to work with are open-minded enough to welcome input. The smart ones will listen, consider, then implement at least some of the ideas. Then you see your character and the script evolve into a fuller and more complete story.

Other indie films that I enjoyed working on were “Pali Road,” (currently in theaters), “Go For Sister,” “ Front Cover ,” (in film festivals and will be released in August) “The Unbidden,” (will be released in June) , “Fallen Stars,” (will be released in September) And currently, “For Izzy”.

PALI ROAD by Jonathan Lim
Jonathan Lim’s powerful drama Pali Road starring Michelle Chen, Sung Kang, Tzi Ma, Henry Ian Cusick, Jackson Rathbone and Ms. Sung was the closing feature at the LAAPFF and is currently in selected theaters across country. Click here to see where it is playing in a city near you.

Pali RoadPali Road is a mesmerizing and chilling journey into the mystery of the human psyche and the power of love. Lily (Chen), a young doctor, wakes up from a car accident to discover she is now married to her boyfriend’s affluent rival, Dr. Mitch Kayne (Kang), has a five-year-old-son, and an established life she has no recollection of.

Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma in "Pali Road".
Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma in “Pali Road”.
Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung. Photo by Steven Lam
Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung. Photo by Steven Lam

Everyone around her, including her parents (Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma), deny that her boyfriend, Neil (Rathbone), ever existed, sending her on a desperate search for the truth. Determined to reclaim a life everyone insists is nothing more than an illusion, Lily eventually begins to doubt her own sanity. Struggling to overcome her seemingly hopeless situation, Lily endures a series of unexplainable and haunting incidents while bravely making her way to an ultimate mind-bending truth about the power of true love.

“Pali Road” Facebook Page

Pali Road starring Michelle Chen, Sung Kang, Elizabeth Sung, Tzi Ma, Henry Ian Cusick and Jackson Rathbone, closes 2016 LAAPFF on April 28 

THE UNBIDDEN by Quentin Lee

Julia Nickson, Amy Hill, Tamlyn Tomita and Elizabeth Sung in THE UNBIDDEN
Julia Nickson, Amy Hill, Tamlyn Tomita and Elizabeth Sung in THE UNBIDDEN

“The Unbidden,” Quentin Lee’s female driven supernatural thriller starring Tamlyn Tomita (“Teen Wolf,”” The Joy Luck Club”), Julia Nickson (“Rambo,” “Double Dragon”), Amy Hill (“50 First Dates,” “Lilo & Stitch”), Elizabeth Sung (“The Joy Luck Club”) and Michelle Krusiec (“Saving Face,” “The Invitation”), Jason Yee, Karin Anna Cheung, Kimberley Rose-Wolter, Akemi Look and Hayden Szeto, had the world premiere screening at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in April.

“The Unbidden” is directed by Quentin Lee (“White Frog,” “The People I’ve Slept With”) with a screenplay by NaRhee Ahn (“Purity”). North American distribution rights were acquired by genre visionaries Viva Pictures and international rights were acquired by Korea’s hers Entertainment.

THE UNBIDDEN- Elizabeth Sung (Left) plays Anna comforting her best friend Lauren played by Tamlyn Tomita (Right).
THE UNBIDDEN- Elizabeth Sung (Left) plays Anna comforting her best friend Lauren played by Tamlyn Tomita (Right).

Synopsis: Mystery novelist Lauren Lee (Tomita) is haunted by the ghost of a tortured, bloodied man. She tries to forget the apparition’s terrifying warnings and her unstable mental state by hosting dinner with her best friends (Nickson, Sung, and Hill). Each of the women has her own idea and opinion to make Lauren feel better. In the midst of a séance that Rachel believes will exorcise Lauren’s demons, a mysterious young man (Szeto) arrives brandishing a gun. He holds the women hostage in order to get to the truth of the whereabouts of his missing father.

Elizabeth: I’ve known Quentin since 1996. Working on” The Unbidden” was a fun journey and a chance for me to work with friends over 12 days that I don’t have many opportunities to work with.

 “The Unbidden” Facebook Page

FRONT COVER by Ray Yeung

FRONT COVER
FRONT COVER

Ray Yeung’s “Front Cover” starring Jake Choi and James Chen has been having great success on the film festival circuit and is slated for
national distribution by Strand in August.  The film also features  Ms. Sung, Ming Lee, Jennifer Neala Page, Sonia Villani, Li Jun Li, Benjamin Thys, Rachel Lu, Kristen Hung, Wayne Chang, Peter Benson, Ben Baur, Tom Ligon, Brian Knoebel, Shennell Edmonds, Chris Kies and John Cramer.

“Front Cover” tells the story of Ryan Fu, a gay Chinese American who detests his Asian heritage and through talent and hard work, has attained his dream job as a celebrity fashion stylist.

One day Ryan’s boss assigns him to style Ning, an actor who has just arrived from Beijing for a top magazine photo shoot. Ning dismisses Ryan’s initial Western styling and demands Ryan creates an image for him which represents the power of the new China. Their egos and opinions clash resulting in a strained and difficult working relationship.

Over the following days, they slowly discover that they have a lot in common, and a mutual attraction begins to develop. As they become closer, Ryan reveals that he rejects his Chinese heritage because he is ashamed of his impoverished upbringing. Ning opens up and confesses that he is in the closet.

After a night out on the town together, a Chinese tabloid magazine exposes Ning as gay. Terrified of the impact it will have on his career, Ning implores Ryan to help him deny the story. Ryan must now decide to help Ning or stay true to himself.

Elizabeth: I play Yen Fu, the mother of Jake Choi’s character, Ryan. I was recommended to the director by associate producer, Min Ding, and shot in New York over a five day period. I got on board this film, because I believe it is important to support people, whatever their sexual preference. Love has no borders.

“Front Cover” Facebook Page

Tune in NBC to see Elizabeth and Ken on ” The Night Shift” on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 10:00PM ET. (Check your local listings).

ElizabethSung.com

Actors James Hong, Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung Talk Shop

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.

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Pali Road starring Michelle Chen, Sung Kang, Elizabeth Sung, Tzi Ma, Henry Ian Cusick and Jackson Rathbone, closes 2016 LAAPFF on April 28

Jackson Rathbone and Michelle Chen in Pali Road
Jackson Rathbone and Michelle Chen in Pali Road

Jonathan Lim’s powerful drama PALI ROAD starring Michelle Chen, Sung Kang (FAST FIVE, FAST & FURIOUS), Elizabeth Sung, Tzi Ma, Henry Ian Cusick (The 100, Lost) and TWILIGHT’S Jackson Rathbone will close out the 2016 LAAPFF at the Directors Guild of America,  West Hollywood, 7920 Sunset Blvd. (at Hayworth), West Hollywood, CA  90046, on Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 7:00p.m. Click here for tickets.

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In attendance for the red carpet premiere, Q & A and after party —  Jackson Rathbone, Sung Kang, Henry Ian Cusick, Lauren Sweetser, Maddox Lim, Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma.

The film will have its theatrical release on April 29th. List of Locations and times here http://bit.ly/1XBGs18

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

Actors James Hong, Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung Talk Shop 

In-depth profile: In Conversation With Tzi Ma

Sung Kang in Pali Road
Sung Kang in Pali Road

PALI ROAD is a mesmerizing and chilling journey into the mystery of the human psyche and the power of love. Lily (Chen), a young doctor, wakes up from a car accident to discover she is now married to her boyfriend’s affluent rival, Dr. Mitch Kayne (Kang), has a five-year-old-son, and an established life she has no recollection of. Everyone around her, including her parents, deny that her boyfriend, Neil (Rathbone), ever existed, sending her on a desperate search for the truth. Determined to reclaim a life everyone insists is nothing more than an illusion, Lily eventually begins to doubt her own sanity. Struggling to overcome her seemingly hopeless situation, Lily endures a series of unexplainable and haunting incidents while bravely making her way to an ultimate mind-bending truth about the power of true love.

Shot entirely in Hawaii PALI ROAD is a story about the search for true love between two different worlds. Her search for the truth to her past life will lead her to question everyone around her and her entire existence.  PALI ROAD (aka Highway 61) is an idyllic, winding road through some of the most enchanting parts of Oahu and maintains an important if not infamous place in Hawaiian history. Being at the center of many of Oahu’s supernatural activities, it is said the road is haunted and various mysterious figures can be seen wandering the area at all hours. Numerous otherworldly sightings have been confirmed along Pali Road, both by longtime residents of the area as well as tourists who come from all over the world to visit the region.

Jonathan Lim is a graduate of Beijing Film Academy and New York Film Academy. In 2009, Jonathan Lim wrote and directed his feature film “SLAM” which was acquired and distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Television & release theatrically in Mainland China. In 2010, Jonathan Lim co-wrote and directed Sony Pictures “Sophia’s Diary,” an interactive web/TV drama series which successfully grabbed a viewership of over 100 million viewers in Mainland China.

PALI ROAD is produced by Daxing Zhang, Kenneth Burke, and Jonathan Lim. Executive Producers are Anthony Lim of Cuixing Media, Jon Chiew of Huace Media Group Grace Zhang and Geng Ling of Dadi Digital Cinema & China Film Assist, and Ricardo S. Galindez and Roy J. Tjioe of Island Film Group, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. This is the first project in a slate of three films that Crimson is co-producing with Dadi Digital Film, China Film Assist, and Cuixing Media Group who will distribute the film in China.

About Crimson Forest Entertainment
Crimson Forest Entertainment is a publicly traded, independent motion picture studio that finances and produces theatrical quality feature films and television series. Management’s experience in the China entertainment industry has allowed the company to successfully conceptualize, produce and distribute various film and television projects into the local Chinese market and to position itself as a valuable partner in the ever-growing Chinese theatrical marketplace.

For more information, visit the Crimson Forest Entertainment website at www.cfeg.tv.

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.

Lia Chang and Garth Kravits’ HIDE AND SEEK Screens in 11th Annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon on May 1; Complete Lineup

Hide and Seek Postcard red

My Bev’s Girl Films partner Garth Kravits and I are delighted to have our short film, Hide and Seek as an official selection of the 11th Annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival in Eugene, OR., which screens in the Sunday Shorts Program: Conflict, on May 1, 2016 at Bijou Art Cinemas, 492 E 13th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401.
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Click To Get Your FREE Pass

Hide and Seek is a short film that 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?

Examiner.com: Q&A with ‘Hide and Seek’ director Garth Kravits and Actress Lia Chang

In addition to Hide and Seek, the Sunday Shorts Program: Conflict Lineup includes Distance BetweenChristmas in AmericaFishbone, Frank and Kass, I Hate the Color Red, Too Fast,  Carnal OrientSpaceship and The Waltz.

DisOrient,  a social justice film festival committed to the honest portrayals of the diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander American experiences, will screen a curated collection of 14 feature films, 17 short films, and 2 music videos at Bijou Art Cinemas and Bijou Metro, Eugene, OR, from April 29-May 1, 2016. Over 25 filmmakers and actors will be in attendance for post-screening Q&A’s.

Check out the complete schedule below.

500FRIDAY, April 29, 2016

BIJOU ART CINEMAS

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Bijou Art Cinemas
6:00 – 6:15 PM

up in the cloudsTYRUS and Up in the Clouds
$15 – CLICK TO BUY NOW

Bijou Art Cinemas
6:15 – 8:05 PM
Q&A

Tyrus Wong
Tyrus Wong
JORDAN SCHNITZER
MUSEUM OF ART

Opening Night Reception
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
8:30 – 11:30 PM

SATURDAY, April 30, 2016

 BIJOU ART CINEMAS

Saturday Shorts Program
$6 – CLICK TO BUY NOW

Bijou Art Cinemas
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

  1. Sakura Sakura: 4 min
  2. American Hero: Shiro Kashino: 20 min
  3. Drone: 4
  4. Resilient: 29 min
  5. Meet Me At A Funeral: 11 min
  6. Moment: 4 min
  7. Goodbye: 9 min

Painted Nails
$6 – CLICK TO BUY NOW

Bijou Art Cinemas
12:20 PM – 1:40 PM

Breathin’: The Eddy Zheng Story
$6 – CLICK TO BUY NOW

Bijou Art Cinemas
2:00 PM – 3:20 PM

Someone Else
$8 – CLICK TO BUY NOW

Bijou Art Cinemas
3:40 PM – 5:12 PM

Persona Non Grata
$10 – CLICK TO BUY NOW

Bijou Art Cinemas
5:32 PM – 8:22 PM

Pali Road
$10 – CLICK TO BUY NOW

Bijou Art Cinemas
8:42 PM – 10:32 PM

BROADWAY METRO

Right Footed
$6 – CLICK TO BUY NOW

Broadway Metro
11:45 AM – 1:02 PM

9-Man
$6 – CLICK TO BUY NOW

Broadway Metro
1:22-2:52

Cantonese Rice
$6 – CLICK TO BUY NOW

Broadway Metro
3:12 – 4:02

Live From UB
$6 – CLICK TO BUY NOW

Broadway Metro
4:22-5:42 PM

SUNDAY, May 1, 2016

 BIJOU ART CINEMAS

Sunday Shorts Program: Conflict
Click To Get Your FREE Pass
Bijou Art Cinemas
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

  1. Distance Between: 9 Min
  2. Christmas in America: 9 Min
  3. Fishbone: 9 Min
  4. Frank and Kass: 7 Min
  5. I Hate the Color Red: 19 Min
  6. Too Fast: 3 Min
  7. Carnal Orient: 9 Min
  8. Hide and Seek: 4 Min
  9. Spaceship: 7 Min
  10. The Waltz***: 11 Min

To Climb A Gold Mountain
$6 – CLICK TO BUY NOW
Bijou Art Cinemas
1:20 PM – 2:55 PM

Harvey leads his team in the haka, a traditional warrior dance..
Harvey leads his team in the haka, a traditional warrior dance.

In Football We Trust
$8 – CLICK TO BUY NOW 

Bijou Art Cinemas
3:15 PM – 5:05 PM

It Runs in the Family/ Pamanhikan
$8 – CLICK TO BUY NOW 

Bijou Art Cinemas
5:25 PM – 7:05 PM

Comfort 103 –
$10 – CLICK TO BUY NOW

Bijou Art Cinemas
7:25 PM – 9:35 PM

Closing Night Reception – FREE 
10:00 PM – 11:30 PM

Check www.disorientfilm.org for updates and schedule TBA. Purchase All Access VIP Passes for $75 in advance on www.brownpapertickets.com, or $80 at the door. The Opening Night Reception is at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art with a live musical performance by Portland band- The Slants, that is included with tickets to “TYRUS” or VIP Passes. Front man Simon Tam will also speak on “How Being Asian Got Me Into Trouble.” General tickets ($15) to the Opening Night show will be sold at the door at 8:45 pm. Admission to the Sunday Night Awards Gala at LZ Chinese Dish will be included with VIP Passes or ticket stub for “Comfort. Individual film tickets will be sold on-line starting in April or at the door until sold out. There is a Free Sunday Shorts program.

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 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

Sneak Peek at the Featured Films and Lineup for the 11th Annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon, April 29 – May 1

My Bev’s Girl Films partner Garth Kravits and I are delighted to have our short film, Hide and Seek as an official selection of the 11th Annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival in Eugene, OR.

Hide and Seek Postcard

Examiner.com: Q&A with ‘Hide and Seek’ director Garth Kravits and Actress Lia Chang

disorientDisOrient,  a social justice film festival committed to the honest portrayals of the diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander American experiences, will screen a curated collection of 14 feature films, 17 short films, and 2 music videos at Bijou Art Cinemas and Bijou Metro, Eugene, OR, from April 29-May 1, 2016. Over 25 filmmakers and actors will be in attendance for post-screening Q&A’s.

Tyrus Wong
Tyrus Wong

The festival starts on Friday, April 29th at 6:00 pm with the Opening Night Film, Pamela Tom’s TYRUS, which presents the life and career of 105+ year old Chinese American artist, Tyrus Wong, from his immigration to the U.S. as a child to his artistic contributions to animation and classic American cinema, preceded by Ed Moy’s award-winning animated short, Up in the Clouds.

up in the cloudsTom and Moy will be in attendance for the Q & A.

© 2015 "SUGIHARA CHIUNE" SEISAKU IINKAI
© 2015 “SUGIHARA CHIUNE” SEISAKU IINKAI

DisOrient’s Centerpiece Film, the epic and spectacular feature narrative Persona Non Grata – The Chiune Sugihara Story, produced by Cine Bazar will screen on Saturday, April 30th.  Director Cellin Gluck is planning to attend for a highly anticipated Q&A after the film, which is based on the true historical accounts about a Japanese diplomat who, during World War II, faced a moral dilemma that affected the lives of thousands of European Jews in Lithuania.

Harvey leads his team in the haka, a traditional warrior dance..
Harvey leads his team in the haka, a traditional warrior dance.

A must see is the documentary In Football We Trust, which made its world premiere at Sundance and permits a rare and intimate access to the families of 4 Pacific Islander football players who have hopes of making it into the NFL.

12640395_751576961653247_5373255653134646795_oDisOrient closes with Comfort, accompanied by Director William Lu and lead actor, Julie Zahn. Lu’s feature film debut brings Cameron (Chris Dinh) and Jasmine (Julie Zahn) together as they explore the after-hours food scene in LA while Cameron hides his dreams away in the darkness of the night.

Below is the complete lineup of films:

  • Up In The Clouds
  • TYRUS
  • Sakura Sakura
  • An American Hero:Shiro Kashino
  • Drone
  • Resilient
  • Moment
  • Meet Me At A Funeral
  • Goodbye
  • Right Footed
  • Someone Else
  • In Football We Trust
  • Persona Non Grata –The Chiune Sugihara Story
  • Cantonese Rice
  • To Climb A Gold Mountain
  • Painted Nails
  • Pali Road
  • Live From UB
  • Distance Between
  • Christmas In America
  • Frank and Kass
  • Too Fast
  • Fishbone
  • The Waltz
  • I Hate the Color Red
  • Carnal Orient
  • Hide and Seek
  • Spaceship
  • It Runs In the Family
  • Pamanhikan
  • 9-Man
  • Breathin’: The Eddy Zheng Story
  • Comfort

Check www.disorientfilm.org for updates and schedule TBA. Purchase All Access VIP Passes for $75 in advance on www.brownpapertickets.com, or $80 at the door. The Opening Night Reception is at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art with a live musical performance by Portland band- The Slants, that is included with tickets to “TYRUS” or VIP Passes. Front man Simon Tam will also speak on “How Being Asian Got Me Into Trouble.” General tickets ($15) to the Opening Night show will be sold at the door at 8:45 pm. Admission to the Sunday Night Awards Gala at LZ Chinese Dish will be included with VIP Passes or ticket stub for “Comfort. Individual film tickets will be sold on-line starting in April or at the door until sold out. There is a Free Sunday Shorts program.

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 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

2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Opening Night Film- World Premiere of Lena Khan’s “THE TIGER HUNTER” Starring Danny Pudi; Centerpiece Film – “TYRUS”; Closing Night Film – “PALI ROAD”; Festival Runs Apr. 21- 28

Danny Pudi checks out the goods in a scene from the film THE TIGER HUNTER - directed by Lena Khan - the Festival's Opening Night and World Premiere. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Danny Pudi checks out the goods in a scene from the film THE TIGER HUNTER – directed by Lena Khan – the Festival’s Opening Night and World Premiere. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

March 15, 2016 – LOS ANGELES   Visual Communications (VC), the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced the Opening, Closing and Centerpiece film programs for the upcoming 32nd edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running April 21-28, 2016. This annual film celebration will be presented across Los Angeles from Little Tokyo to Downtown Los Angeles to Koreatown and to West Hollywood featuring 140 films from over 20 countries.

VC will celebrate 32 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind.  The LAAPFF launches the pre-celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 130 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international directors from over 20 countries.  For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films and shorts by Asian American and Asian international artists.

Opening this year’s Festival at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo is the World Premiere of dramatic comedy THE TIGER HUNTER from an amazing new director Lena Khan. The film centers upon Sami Malik (Danny Pudi of NBC TVs – COMMUNITY), a young South Asian man who travels to America to become an engineer in order to impress his childhood crush and live up to the legacy of his father — a legendary tiger hunter back home. When Sami’s job unexpectedly falls through and he ends up living in a tiny co-op with two oddball roommates, he must resort to constructing an elaborate charade with the misfit accomplices in hopes of convincing his sweetheart that he’s far more successful than he truly is…or perhaps ever could be. As Sami tries to pull off the farce of a lifetime, what ensues is a series of adventures involving outlandish schemes, an arch-nemesis in an absurd office environment, and a somewhat functional Dodge Charger with a character of its own. Together, although their plans may contradict each other with terrible consequences, Sami and his rag-tag group must work together while meeting the usual host of obstacles — the “usual,” that is, if back-alley brawls, trips to prison, or catastrophic LSD-related misunderstandings are just your usual, everyday fare. The film also stars Rizwan Manji, Jon Heder, Karen David, Kevin Pollak, Sam Page and Iqbal Theba.

Jackson Rathbone and Michelle Chen in a scene from PALI ROAD - A FILM BY JONATHAN LIM is the Festival Closing Night film. Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Jackson Rathbone and Michelle Chen in a scene from PALI ROAD – A FILM BY JONATHAN LIM is the Festival Closing Night film. Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Jonathan Lim’s powerful drama PALI ROAD starring Michelle Chen, Sung Kang, Elizabeth Sung, Tzi Ma and Jackson Rathbone will close out the eight – day film extravaganza at the Directors Guild of America on April 28, 2016.  PALI ROAD centers on Lily (Michelle Chen), a Chinese doctor doing her residency in a Hawaiian hospital under Dr. Kayne (Sung Kang).  She had fallen in love with schoolteacher Neil (Jackson Rathbone) — at least this is what she remembers. But after a terrible car accident, Lily wakes up to discover, in horror, a married life with Dr. Kayne, that includes a 5-year-old son she has never seen. With everyone around her denying Neil’s existence, Lily begins to question her own sanity, but memories of Neil force her to embark on a journey to retrace her past and discover the truth.

The amazing artist Tyrus Wong in his kite studio in a scene from the acclaimed documentary TYRUS - A FILM BY PAMELA TOM, the festival's centerpiece film. Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
The amazing artist Tyrus Wong in his kite studio in a scene from the acclaimed documentary TYRUS – A FILM BY PAMELA TOM, the festival’s centerpiece film. Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

The LAAPFF Centerpiece offering this year is the moving and insightful documentary TYRUS on Saturday, April 23rd, from director Pamela Tom which brings the life of Chinese American painter, production illustrator, lithographer, and kite builder Tyrus Wong to the big screen.  Wong is best known for his concept art for Walt Disney’s feature animated film BAMBI. His strikingly beautiful concept paintings and sketches continue to influence the work of generations of animators and production designers. TYRUS celebrates not only the beauty of his art, but reveals to a larger audience a lesser known part of the Chinese American experience — that of its artists and creators.

“We are excited and proud to present these three films as our celebrations,” states VC Executive Director Francis Cullado.  “Having Lena Khan’s THE TIGER HUNTER as our opening, Jonathan Lim’s PALI ROAD as our closing night, and Pamela Tom’s TYRUS as our centerpiece film certainly highlights the amount of Asian American directorial talent out there. The big word this year in Hollywood has been ‘diversity’ and the Festival is one of the ways we address this issue at Visual Communications and for our community. For us, it’s not just about diversity – it’s about inclusivity. We will be releasing more of the Festival line up in the next week and everyone will be able to celebrate inclusion and diversity on the screen, as it should be.”

For program information, a complete listing of sponsors and partners, and to purchase tickets, log on to www.vconline.org/festival or contact Visual Communications at (213) 680-4462. Tickets are available to the general public on Monday, March 21st.

Screening Venues:

  • Aratani Theatre @ Japanese American Cultural & Community Center – Little Tokyo, 244 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA  90012
  • Tateuchi Democracy Forum @ Japanese American National Museum – Little Tokyo, 111 N. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
  • Downtown Independent – Downtown LA (DTLA), 251 S. Main Street, (between 3rd and 2nd Streets), Los Angeles, CA  90012
  • CGV Cinemas – Koreatown – Mid-Wilshire, 621 Western Avenue (between 6th Street and Wilshire Blvd.), Los Angeles, CA 90005
  • The Great Company – Downtown LA (DTLA), 1917 Bay Street (between Wilson and Mateo Streets), Los Angeles, CA  90021
  • Directors Guild of America – West Hollywood, 7920 Sunset Blvd. (at Hayworth), West Hollywood, CA  90046
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 the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Variety: Ang Lee, Other Asian Oscar Winners Protest ‘Racist Stereotypes’ to Academy 

Enter YOMYOMF’s INTERPRETATIONS Initiative, a Short Film contest to find the next generation of talented Asian Pacific American filmmakers, March 31- June 17

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

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

Jackson Rathbone and Michelle Chen in Pali Road
Jackson Rathbone and Michelle Chen in Pali Road

 Crimson Forest Entertainment (OTCBB: CRIM) is presenting the  the mystery thriller PALI ROAD at CAAMFest 2016 at the Alamo Drafthouse, 2550 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 9:10PM. Click here for tickets. The film will have its theatrical release on April 29th.

12658051_1876241662657215_7739090337491590125_oPALI ROAD stars Chinese superstar Michelle Chen, TWILIGHT’s Jackson Rathbone, Sung Kang (FAST FIVE, FAST & FURIOUS), Hawaii’s own Henry Ian Cusick (The 100, Lost), Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung.

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

Actors James Hong, Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung Talk Shop 

In-depth profile: In Conversation With Tzi Ma

Sung Kang in Pali Road
Sung Kang in Pali Road

PALI ROAD is a mesmerizing and chilling journey into the mystery of the human psyche and the power of love. Lily (Chen), a young doctor, wakes up from a car accident to discover she is now married to her boyfriend’s affluent rival, Dr. Mitch Kayne (Kang), has a five-year-old-son, and an established life she has no recollection of. Everyone around her, including her parents, deny that her boyfriend, Neil (Rathbone), ever existed, sending her on a desperate search for the truth. Determined to reclaim a life everyone insists is nothing more than an illusion, Lily eventually begins to doubt her own sanity. Struggling to overcome her seemingly hopeless situation, Lily endures a series of unexplainable and haunting incidents while bravely making her way to an ultimate mind-bending truth about the power of true love.

Shot entirely in Hawaii PALI ROAD is a story about the search for true love between two different worlds. Her search for the truth to her past life will lead her to question everyone around her and her entire existence.  PALI ROAD (aka Highway 61) is an idyllic, winding road through some of the most enchanting parts of Oahu and maintains an important if not infamous place in Hawaiian history. Being at the center of many of Oahu’s supernatural activities, it is said the road is haunted and various mysterious figures can be seen wandering the area at all hours. Numerous otherworldly sightings have been confirmed along Pali Road, both by longtime residents of the area as well as tourists who come from all over the world to visit the region.

PALI ROAD is produced by Daxing Zhang, Kenneth Burke, and Jonathan Lim. Executive Producers are Anthony Lim of Cuixing Media, Jon Chiew of Huace Media Group Grace Zhang and Geng Ling of Dadi Digital Cinema & China Film Assist, and Ricardo S. Galindez and Roy J. Tjioe of Island Film Group, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. This is the first project in a slate of three films that Crimson is co-producing with Dadi Digital Film, China Film Assist, and Cuixing Media Group who will distribute the film in China.

About Crimson Forest Entertainment
Crimson Forest Entertainment is a publicly traded, independent motion picture studio that finances and produces theatrical quality feature films and television series. Management’s experience in the China entertainment industry has allowed the company to successfully conceptualize, produce and distribute various film and television projects into the local Chinese market and to position itself as a valuable partner in the ever-growing Chinese theatrical marketplace.

For more information, visit the Crimson Forest Entertainment website at www.cfeg.tv.

GENERAL FESTIVAL INFORMATION
CAAMFest is a presentation of the Center for Asian American Media. CAAMFest, formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF), is a celebration of film, music, food and digital media from the world’s most innovative Asian and Asian American artists. CAAMFest takes place March 10‐20, 2016 in the Bay Area. San Francisco venues include: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street; New People Cinema, 1746 Post Street; Alamo Drafthouse, 2550 Mission Street; Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street; Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, 2665 Mission Street; Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin Street; Slate Bar, 2925 16​Street; City College of San Francisco ‐ Chinatown/North Beach Campus, 808 Kearny Street; Chinese Historical Society of America, 965 Clay Street. Oakland venues include: The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street; Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street; SomaR Bar, 1727 Telegraph Avenue.

FESTIVAL TICKET INFORMATION
Pricing for all regular screenings: General admission tickets ‐ $14. Tickets for students, seniors (65+) and disabled adults ‐ $13 (Limit 1 per program with ID only). Tickets for Center for Asian American Media members ‐ $12 (Limit 2 per program per membership ID). Pricing excludes special events and galas. Tickets can be purchased online now and in‐person at our CAAMFest box office at Alamo Drafthouse starting Thursday, March 3, 2016.

About CAAMFest:
CAAMFest, formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF), takes place March 10‐20, 2016 in the Bay Area. CAAMFest is a celebration of film, music, food and digital media from the world’s most innovative Asian and Asian American artists.

About CAAM:
CAAM (Center for Asian American Media) is a non‐profit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. CAAM does this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media. For more information on CAAM, please visit www.caamedia.org.

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 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

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

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World Premiere of PALI ROAD at 2015 Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) on Nov. 16 & 21st

Jackson Rathbone and Michelle Chen in Pali Road
Jackson Rathbone and Michelle Chen in Pali Road

 Crimson Forest Entertainment (OTCBB: CRIM) is presenting the  world premiere of the mystery thriller PALI ROAD  at the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) on November 16, 2015 with an encore screening on November 21, 2015 at Consolidated Theatres, 1044 Auahi St., Honolulu, Hawaii. Click here for tickets.

The film has been nominated for the prestigious Halekulani Golden Orchid Award, which is bestowed upon the narrative and documentary films that best express artistic and technical excellence and promote cross-cultural understanding. PALI ROAD stars Chinese superstar Michelle Chen, TWILIGHT’s Jackson Rathbone, Sung Kang (FAST FIVE, FAST & FURIOUS), Hawaii’s own Henry Ian Cusick (The 100, Lost), Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung. HIFF will also be hosting the 1st Annual Asia Pacific Entertainment Finance Forum during this year’s festival.

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
Sung Kang in Pali Road
Sung Kang in Pali Road

PALI ROAD is a mesmerizing and chilling journey into the mystery of the human psyche and the power of love. Lily (Chen), a young doctor, wakes up from a car accident to discover she is now married to her boyfriend’s affluent rival, Dr. Mitch Kayne (Kang), has a five-year-old-son, and an established life she has no recollection of. Everyone around her, including her parents, deny that her boyfriend, Neil (Rathbone), ever existed, sending her on a desperate search for the truth. Determined to reclaim a life everyone insists is nothing more than an illusion, Lily eventually begins to doubt her own sanity. Struggling to overcome her seemingly hopeless situation, Lily endures a series of unexplainable and haunting incidents while bravely making her way to an ultimate mind-bending truth about the power of true love.

ImageProxy.mvcShot entirely in Hawaii PALI ROAD is a story about the search for true love between two different worlds. Her search for the truth to her past life will lead her to question everyone around her and her entire existence.  PALI ROAD (aka Highway 61) is an idyllic, winding road through some of the most enchanting parts of Oahu and maintains an important if not infamous place in Hawaiian history. Being at the center of many of Oahu’s supernatural activities, it is said the road is haunted and various mysterious figures can be seen wandering the area at all hours. Numerous otherworldly sightings have been confirmed along Pali Road, both by longtime residents of the area as well as tourists who come from all over the world to visit the region.

PALI ROAD is produced by Daxing Zhang, Kenneth Burke, and Jonathan Lim. Executive Producers are Anthony Lim of Cuixing Media, Jon Chiew of Huace Media Group Grace Zhang and Geng Ling of Dadi Digital Cinema & China Film Assist, and Ricardo S. Galindez and Roy J. Tjioe of Island Film Group, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. This is the first project in a slate of three films that Crimson is co-producing with Dadi Digital Film, China Film Assist, and Cuixing Media Group who will distribute the film in China.

About Crimson Forest Entertainment
Crimson Forest Entertainment is a publicly traded, independent motion picture studio that finances and produces theatrical quality feature films and television series. Management’s experience in the China entertainment industry has allowed the company to successfully conceptualize, produce and distribute various film and television projects into the local Chinese market and to position itself as a valuable partner in the ever-growing Chinese theatrical marketplace.

For more information, visit the Crimson Forest Entertainment website at www.cfeg.tv.

About Island Film Group
Island Film Group is a Hawai‘i-based entertainment production and financing company. Through its related companies, Island Film Group works with local, national and international filmmakers to develop and produce film and television projects in and about Hawai‘i for domestic and international distribution. To learn more, visit www.islandfilmgroup.com.

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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.

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AsAmNews.com: The King and I’s Special Performance Benefits The Actors Fund 
Playbill.com: Hugs, Laughs and Photobombs By Tony Winners! Go Backstage at the Special Actors Fund Performance of The King and I
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BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Cast Reunion featured in BLACK BELT MAGAZINE August/September 2015
Drumhead Magazine: Living Colour Drummer Will Calhoun, Photos by Lia Chang 
AsAmNews.com: AAPI Heritage Month: My Grandmother’s Detention on Angel Island 
Crafting a Career

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All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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.