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Kenji Lui * official artist

Happy New Year

It has been ages since I last blogged.

This year I have been busier than before, working on various projects. After finishing a short film earlier the year, I began writing and making another short. As of now, it is still a work in progress.

Not much to share at this point yet, as I am still working hard on it.

Anyway, wish you guys a Happy New Year and every success in 2014.

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Fundraising for post-production

Please check out my indiegogo's fundraising page to find out more about my latest film and why money is needed to complete it! Your help is greatly appreciated.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/summer-snow?show_todos=true

###Synopsis:

This short film tells a story of two lonely hearts in San Francisco Bay Area. At a time when a great percentage of urban population relies heavily on social networks to communicate, it seems that a relationship can start and end on the internet instantly. Imagination becomes a key component of human bond. Does technology really bring us closer, or vice versa?What We NeedWe are almost done with shooting, and up until now, we have been spending our own money to cover all the production cost. The project started out small and casual so we didn't plan on spending too much in the beginning.

However, when the production moved on, we figured that the outcome, that is, the quality of our work is way higher than we expected, therefore, it began to force us to think more carefully about perfecting it.

We realize it'd be a little difficult to pay for the post-production expense ourselves as the scale of the project is escalating. That's why we decided to give indiegogo a try and see if we can raise some money to make it better. ###

Cost breakdown

A brief explanation of the areas we need money:

  • sound editing / design (We need to hire a sound expert to build up the soundtrack from scratches as we didn't spend too much time on sound recording during production)

  • special effects (There are few scenes that require special effects touch-up)

  • festival submission and participation (We plan to submit the film to various film festivals around the world, and hopefully attend some if possible)

  • promotional events and materials (We plan to produce some promotional materials, as well as organize some small screening events to promote the film)###Other Ways You Can Help

We understand that not everyone can contribute, but even if you can’t, please help us spread the words out and make some noise about our campaign. Thanks a lothttp://www.indiegogo.com/projects/summer-snow?show_todos=true

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second trailer of my work in progress

Second trailer of my work in progress...

Video: http://vimeo.com/59714671

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Teaser of Work in progress

Teaser trailer of a short film I am working on. Well, technically, it is more like an exercise, since the entire setup is very simple, just me and a few friends trying to experiment with our equipments and various cinematic language.

We spent a sunny afternoon shooting this one, and perhaps expect one or two more days to finish the rest.

Video: http://vimeo.com/53307642

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Support Yip Wun's new film "The Next Minute"!

If you are in Beijing, please support my friend Wun Yip's new film "The Next Minute"'s screening!  Both Wun and the producer Joe Lau are fellow AND artists!

如果你身在北京﹐請支持好友葉韻新片"下一分鐘"的放映交流會!

葉韻和本片監製劉澤源都是AND的藝術家!

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Ben Ainslie

I've been pretty busy working lately, not much to update...

came across four time Olympic golde medalist Ben Ainslie at the America's Cup event in SF, his team is competing at the tournament with ten other teams, including team from China...

I did ask him how he managed to maintain top form for such long period of time, i mean, winning four gold in four consecutive olympic is something that is difficult to surpass... (if you include the silver in 1996, that makes it five consecutive awards in 16 years...)

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A Sweet taste of freedom

Make a stand!

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Table Tennis Olympians: Ariel Hsing, Lily Zhang and Timothy Wang

The Olympic game is just right at the corner, last week I got to meet with a few US Table Tennis Olympians before they head to London in July: Ariel Hsing, Lily Zhang and Timothy Wang.

Ariel Hsing, the most charismatic and charming among the three, and she also did remind me of a Korean actress

Lily Zhang, the youngest

Timothy Wang, the tallest

All three of them are really nice, sincere and down to earth. All have unique stories that are inspiring and worth sharing. Ariel is lovely and  is filled with positive energy that really make people around her happy; Lily is young but really stay focused when playing; Timothy always shows a calm posture that naturally makes him the big brother of the trio.

I wish them all good luck at the Olympics, and yeah, I've certainly become their fans already! Perhaps it is time to think of doing a documentary soon. :)

(Yes, I know I look kinda strange in suit, it was partly for work, so that's why)

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How media controls what we see

It has been ages since I last posted an entry. I've been spending my time writing two screenplays and also working on a video project with some friends.

Anyway, my friends and I went to Oakland and shot some footage last week, it was partly for the project we are doing, and partly because we just wanted to learn more about what is happening after seeing/reading so much about the Occupy movement there.

In the Bay Area, Oakland is always the spotlight of the occupy movement, violent protest, conflicts, gun fights, we just read about it so much on the news, and in fact the day before we decide to go there to take a look, a murder case just happened near the camps and again it became the headline news.

so here below is the footage we shot and compiled (somehow it's in mandarin coz of the nature of our project):

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLX-Y26VvjY

After we went there, we understand why many people who used to support the original purpose of the movement now begin to show hatred toward the group. Just as what we expected, there were a lot of weird people camping there, homeless, drug addicts (there were strong smell of weeds in the entire area...), lunatics, tree lodgers, kids trying to sell snacks... When you saw these strange people hovering around the camps aimlessly, it began to make you doubt whether these people are really there for civil right movement, or simply for the free food and lodging...

But then, we also saw quite some people who are really disappointed with the current institution and decide to stand up and voice out their concerns there. There are all perfectly sane people in clean clothing and don't mind to reiterate intellectually the reason of their staying.

However, the interesting thing we witnessed is that the large amount of media people there just seemed to be only interested in finding weird people to interview... we saw two reporters intentionally approached a woman who is so obviously having mental problem, provoked her and ended up getting kicked out. (and this is mainstream media, not tabloids)

perhaps it's coz the event has been going on for quite a while, it might seem kinda pointless to look for real protesters to talk, as it probably has been done million of times before, but it still seems little awkward to see them trying to build up some perspectives on purpose.

I mean, if I haven't been there and only rely on the news to see what is going on there, there is no way for me to learn what is really happening. What i see would be a group of weirdo gathering and talking nonsense, showing violent attitudes and attacking reporters...but the truth is there are indeed still quite a number of real protesters there, and those who are unfriendly to the media would just represent a small group...

that's why i always feel that nothing is objective.. even for news coverage (and it is america already), the so called truth it reveals is always controlled by those who present it....

p.s.: just wanna clarify that my friends and I are not supporters of either side...

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Is film festival as important as it used to be?

I've just read an article and the writer (who is also a filmmaker and film festival programmer) questions the existing value of film festival as the technology of streaming video is becoming more and more advanced.

While I don't totally agree, it is true that if your sole purpose is to reach a wide audience, film festival is no way comparable to streaming video venue like youtube. Say if you get into a film festival, you usually have 3~4 screenings the most, and even if all screenings are sold out, consider the average seat numbers of a theater is 200~, you get 800~ audiences the most. But then if you put your work on youtube and with some appropriate viral strategy, you can get 800~ viewers in a day, or I mean, in less than an hour...

But certainly, we all know a prestigious film festival is much more than just about viewership. What filmmakers care most is that name attached to it. That is, if your film become an official selection at Cannes or Sundance, what it means isn't just about how many people are going to see the film, but that the eventual benefit and credit it brings. For instance, if you want to look for investment or work partner for your next project, it's undeniably much easier to get people to talk to you if they know you are a Cannes alumni. Especially when you have to understand that people in the film business are all busy folks. If you are nothing, no matter how talented you are, people will not look down on you, as they simply won't even want to spend their valuable time to look at you or your work...

Another biggest attraction of film festival is without doubt the film market, especially for indies, film market is always an important channel for finding distribution. The parties and events at a film fest also allow you to meet with fellow filmmakers, distributors and possible investors for future projects. It is something a streaming video at a virtual world can't achieve.

So that's why I think film festival still has its own value. NEVERTHELSS, it only applies to the big names like the ones I mentioned above, Cannes, Sundance, Venice, Berlin, etc. As for the minor ones, I do agree with the writer that the advance of streaming video is going to create a deadly impact on them.

Take the above benefits a film festival can provide as an example, if a small film fest happens at a remote town in an unknown part of the country, you can pretty much expect no distributor will be willing to attend, and with the usually ridiculously high submission fee (they rely on the fee to survive), it makes it difficult to attract submission too (with so many film fests in the world, why would a filmmaker want to submit to one that is small, with few attraction and high fee while he can achieve the same level or even bigger success on the web?). So no distributor, no high quality film, how to get audience in? Ok, so no audience too, then it doesn't require any calculation to conclude the final destiny of this kind of film fest.

So I would foresee that more and more mid-small size film fest will fold up in the future as streaming video become a more and more viable outlet for indies to show... unless those fests are willing to spend some time to explore any possibilities to incorporate this new technology into their obsolete structure...

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Kenji Lui * official artist

Director, Producer, Screenwriter

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http://t.sina.com.cn/kantorates just opened a weibo, add me if you are interested... thanks ...Read more

Member Since May 14, 2007
Hometown HK, LA, SF
Interested In just_looking_around
Birthday 01-01