Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Raw Truth

Everytime I tell someone I'm in film school, the first thing they ask is how much longer I have left. Well, to answer that question, the program itself is 3 years but that doesn't count the time you take to make a thesis. There are many ways to still get out of film school in 3 years (you can write your way out, edit your way out, etc. if you don't want to direct a thesis). You can also direct a narrative (546) or a documentary (547) and USC selects 3 each semester.

This semester, I get to direct one of these, a documentary, about the raw food movement in LA. But, I STILL don't get to graduate in 3 years because I forgot to use my summers efficiently and I basically have thus far only taken 28 out of 52 credits. I'm hoping that switching over to the new curriculum is going to help me out a little because as much as I love film school, I'm dying to get out there and get paid for doing what I love.

Anyway, before I go on and rant more about my not graduating in 3 years horribleness, here's the project's website that I'm doing this semester in case you want to follow it.

It's not as updated as it should be but you can get a good glimpse of it. Check out the sexy Adam and Eve photo shoot! ;)

The final screening is on December 10, 2010 so save the date!!!

Here is a trailer that Billy Sullivan and Barbara Steele (our editors) cut together. PW is rawfood. Enjoy.

The Raw Truth Trailer from The Raw Truth on Vimeo.
PS. The statistics are higher than that actually. 75% of Americans are overweight.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Understudy, the Movie

We are wrapped with Polar Opposites and now I'm on to my next project, producing a USC thesis this summer called "Understudy."

Understudy is a dance film, which is why I gravitated towards it. Better yet, it's going to show off salsa funk, a new fusion dance movement that combines salsa, hip hop, jazz, etc.

The director, Cristina Malavenda, is an editor-director and she did a 547 documentary called No Kill, which has been extremely successful and has had a great run in festivals and now it's even going to be shown on KCET next week. She's an extremely talented editor and director so I'm really excited to work with her.

Maritte Go, my fellow producer, is in my semester at USC School of Cinematic Arts, and she was a dancer/actress all her life so it's really fun working with her. Plus, she's just an awesome person.

Desi Jevon is the choreographer and is so talented, innovative, and a great teacher. I'm writing this blog post as we are casting right now, watching him work with eight people at the same time, doing both the girl and boy moves, never losing patience.

This movie is going to be dazzling and amazing. At this point in the process, we are just starting to cast. Next week, we will be casting the actors and actresses. Hopefully, we will find great dancers this week that we will be calling back for the acting process.

At the same time, we are raising funds to make this film. Please watch me, Marty, Cristina, Desi talking about the film and what we are hoping to accomplish and if you can find it in your heart to invest in the arts, please support us. We are all trying to do something innovative, visually compelling, with a story of an underdog trying to make it in competitive LA.

Our fundraising page where you can donate as little as $5 to be credited in a film (you can see your name come up in the end credits! What a great souvenir for the price of your daily coffee).

The Trailer

Fundraising page

Monday, March 22, 2010

Docs on Food

When I interned at Causecast, I had the pleasure of watching Food Inc. when Causecast helped with one of their theatrical screenings with Participant Media. Since then, I saw this film take off, and even get nominated for an Oscar for feature documentary. Today, Robert Kenner, the director of the film, came to our documentary class to screen and talk about his journey and the challenges he faced making this documentary.

Since watching Food Inc., making my Foodie Nation doc last year (which is still a work in progress - ahem, I need editors to help me edit it), reading books like Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Politics, Fast Food Nation, Health Food Junkies, watching documentaries like King Corn, Super Size Me, along with some raw food documentaries, I'm now more than inspired to continue embarking on this food + documentary journey.

Last night, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, backed by Ryan Seacrest Productions, launched and is getting a lot of hype. Jamie is undertaking the huge effort to overhaul the school cafeterias in Huntingon, VA. He's being met with a lot of resistance but he's really brave for doing this. Along with Michelle Obama's efforts to fight childhood obesity and even with corporations starting to "go along" with the organics movement, our eating habits are slowly changing and SHOULD be changing.

If you haven't seen Food Revolution, you can catch the first episode here.

All this food and film and activism talk is making me really excited!! Three things I really love.

For next semester, I'm hoping to pitch a documentary about the raw food movement. Please let me know if you have any comments for me. I pitch on April 16th! I'll be making an oral pitch as well as a video pitch. As of now, I'm looking for medical doctors to comment on the raw food movement and raw foodists who are trying to repeal the laws banning raw milk.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MANAA Scholarship

I forgot to mention that at the end of last year, I won the 2009 MANAA scholarship.

It was really a great surprise that I got the scholarship and just in time, too! I'm going to be using the money to finish the film I started this summer as a work of love. It's currently in post-production right now and in desperate need of ADR and sound design. With this money, I can make this film come into completion. The film is about two Asian Americans falling in love over, what else? Food.

MANAA is a great organization that continues to strive for Asian American representation in the media. Without organizations like these, where would Asian American filmmakers be?

Thank you, MANAA.

Read the full interview here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

3rd Semester at USC Film School

I can't believe I haven't updated in such a long time! I guess I must have been busy. I am now about a month into my 3rd semester at USC and having so much fun and learning quite a bit. I am producing a documentary for a 547, which is a course where three projects are green lit. This semester, the greenlit projects are Lines, Living in Limbo, and Polar Opposites.

Lines deals with teens going to a skateboarding school in Venice, Living in Limbo explores the Iraqi refugees coming to and living in California, and Polar Opposites examines the reasoning behind the underground phenomena of women suddenly flocking to pole dancing.

I am co-producing Polar Opposites, with the fierce Meera Menon, aka Meownun. Apparently I'm not supposed to give away people's real names if they have a Jersey Shore nickname but I've already failed at that so many times so there. My Jersey Shore nickname is Jinnernut. The director, Caitlin Starowicz, was my directing SA my first semester and probably the most multi-talented, multi-tasking person I know. Does she ever sleep? Katie Walker, our cinematographer, can walk into any room, blink her eyes a couple of times, and form a vision in her head that we can only just stand and watch her realize it. Adair Cole, one of our sound people, is the only man on set so we give him a hard time but of course, if anyone can handle it, it's AY-DARE. Lindsay Ellis, our other sound person, can outwit anyone while innocently batting her lashes. She'll have super pole arms by the end of the semester from holding up that boom pole. Neil Williams, one of my partners in 508 (last semester) is one of our awesome editors. He can stylize anything to make it look visually enticing. Erika Edgerley is also one of our editors, and she brings characters and stories to life. We have such a strong team this semester and our documentary is so much fun. I'm sad we only have a couple more weekends of shooting left.

Being on a documentary set is so much different from a fiction set. The stress levels are much lower, the working hours (though it could be as strenuous as fiction depending on each project) are shorter, you meet subjects that could easily become your friends after the project is over, and there is a sort of adrenaline rush you get from the spontaneity of being able to create the story as you're going along. Of course, there are rules and thematic elements that cannot be changed for the sake of budget and time, but there is more freedom in shaping the story week by week and of course, in editing. I am super excited to see what the editors will do with the footage that we shot and at the same time, because we know that editing can be stressful if we don't have a vision, we are more responsible with footage allotments and planning to make sure we don't "hose down the scene," or shoot things with no purpose.

If you want to read more about our day to day process, please visit the blog that we made for our documentary. I'll be updating there for the rest of this project!

Our Blog:
Our Facebook Fan Page: Polar Opposites
Our Flickr: Plropposites
Our Twitter: PlrOpposites

Me, fooling around on set.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Go To Kenny now online

A film I produced a few years ago. Go To Kenny was written and directed by David Ngo.
It played in a few film festivals, and now it lives online! Check it out~!