In case anyone actually is still visiting this blog, I thought I'd add the latest news about my new film "4 Wedding Planners" (aka " Knots"). The film is now available nationwide (and in Canada) on VOD and the web. Taking a virtual vacation to Hawai‘i with our little film is as easy as a mouse click. CHECK IT OUT AT: YOUTUBE:
http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Movie/4-Wedding-Planners/413f3dd0-4c7d-4c94-b66c-d0506e5ea63b OR CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL CABLE PROVIDER. 4 WEDDING PLANNERS
a film by Michael Kang
written by Kimberly-Rose Wolter
featuring Kimberly-Rose Wolter, Illeana Douglas, Sung Kang, Janel Parrish and Mia Riverton Synopsis: Lily Kim returns to Hawaii in order to escape an engagement trigger-happy boyfriend in LA. Once home, she reluctantly joins her dysfunctional family’s wedding planning business. Her mother and sisters have very different ideas about what marriage means and for Lily it means only one thing - divorce. As the family’s newest wedding planner Lily learns about love, life and floral arrangements. About The Film: In the UN-romantic comedy “4 Wedding Planners,” matriarch Miriam (Illeana Douglas) is three times divorced, with one daughter born from each husband. What ensues is a recipe for comical family strife as the daughters finally reach the breaking point of addressing feelings repressed thanks to mom’s poor choices in men. When eldest daughter Lily (Kimberly-Rose Wolter) rejects her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, she decides to return home to Hawaii for family support. It turns out the family is having troubles of their own -- their wedding planning business is being run into the ground by Lily’s two half-sisters Twinny (Mia Riverton) and Hoku (Janel Parrish). It’s left to Lily to get things on the right track. If things couldn’t get worse, Lily’s ex-boyfriend Kai (Sung Kang) enters the picture, as does a surprise reveal that makes reconciliation no easy matter. With “4 Wedding Planners,” director Michael Kang (The Motel, SDAFF ’05; West 32nd, SDAFF ’07) vibrantly interweaves multiple storylines together in this brisk, delightful film. – Eric Lallana, San Diego Asian Film Foundation Below is a little essay I wrote about the film. Enjoy: Why 4 Wedding Planners Is The Edgiest Film I've Ever Made
by Michael Kang
If you are familiar with my other films (“ The Motel,” “ West 32nd”), you probably can surmise that I like to take on stories that have some bite to them. Whether I'm talking about a kid in the throes of puberty stuck in a world surrounded by the clandestine affairs at an hourly rate motel or two men from different worlds both driven by blind raw ambition in the gritty crime underworld of New York's Koreatown, I never shy away from challenging subjects (both for me and the audience). I'm sure that for most that my moving on to a comedy about a dysfunctional family business of wedding planners in Hawaii may not have seemed like the natural next step. But I want to explain why I think this new film may actually be the edgiest of the trio.
I have always been attracted to the stories that I don't get to see on the big and little screen. When I first got a hold of Kimberly-Rose Wolter's scrīpt, I was immediately struck by how unique the story was. This was a Hawaii I'd never encountered before on screen. It was not centered around a tourist experience where Hawaii was simply used as an exotic backdrop and nice place for the production to spend a couple months a la “50 First Dates.” Nor was the story filled with over-exoticized local flavor like a pupu-platter of heavy-handed pseudo-spirituality and too essoteric to have a decent pop culture reference.
“4 Wedding Planners” is a story about people -- real people with real problems. The people in the film are folks that deal with things that we all do - family, relationships, home-life, professional life, and did I mention FAMILY? They struggle the ways we all do, just trying their best to find happiness. But what makes this story unique is they are struggling with these problems in the middle of paradise.
And here is why “4 Wedding Planners” is probably the edgiest film I've ever made. Spike Lee said that the most controversial thing we can do is be ourselves. That is what lies at the heart of this movie - it dares to show people just being people. The film embraces both its Hawaiian-ness and its universality. By being very culturally specific it in fact becomes more universal.
The film centers the story around the kinds of people who are usually relegated to the sidelines of mainstream stories (if given a place at all). They are also the kinds of characters who put off most indie filmmakers because they are so, well... normal -- these are the people those filmmakers are probably desperately trying to hide from in their own lives. I recognized immediately that these were characters I never get to see on screen.
I could easily latch on to certain aspects of the race identity politics of the film like: having a story about the Hapa (half-Asian) experience (a minority within a minority). Or having an unconventional Asian American male romantic lead (Sung Kang) who is a fully charged sexual being. Or having a story that gives a wide swath of representations of women in three dimensions. But if you know my style, I don't like to get didactic in my storytelling and it would be misleading to tell you I made the movie to lead the charge on any of those fronts. To me, all of the aforementioned were the fruits of putting together a very sweet simple story about unique characters in a unique place.
The film is not dark and gritty enough to be a film festival darling. But on the converse, we still shot this film on a shoestring indie-sized budget (in fact the lowest budget I've had to work with to date which is only a testament to the great aloha spirit of the cast and crew for pulling off such an ambitious and beautiful film). We don't have the resources to give the film the Hollywood studio- sized pomp and circumstance it deserves. Regardless, I think there is an audience for this film. I think it is an audience of people that want to be entertained and introduced to new experiences. An audience that is daring and edgy enough to handle a story about wedding planners. And I hope you are part of that audience.
Hey, all, this is from my friend and producer extraordinaire Karin Chien. It's a call for all you hip club kids in NYC to come be extras in a new movie she is producing. I know from experience how hard it is to get a club to look like a real club in a movie in the middle of the day. If you are around, you should definitely help out. SUPPORT INDIE FILM!
[Please forward far and wide]
We need your help in finding non-union background actors to work with us on an indie feature shooting in Chelsea on June 21 - 22. The film is a love story involving two teenage girls, Jack and Diane, who meet and fall in love one summer in New York City.
We will be shooting a club scene on Monday 6/21 and Tuesday 6/22 for which we need 50 clubgoers (in club wear), 2 bartenders, 2 bouncers (in all black) and 1 Transvestite (in Transvestite club wear). We are looking for both males and females of all ethnicities in the "young adult” range (18 - 35).
The shoots will happen from roughly 10a – 11p on both days. You must be able to commit to a 12-hour day on set. It would be great if you are able to make it on BOTH Monday and Tuesday; those that come both days will be compensated $50.
If you are interested we'd love to hear back from you. Please e-mail a headshot, or recent photo, and your available dates to email@example.com.
In case you hadn't heard about this, here is some info on the development of the plan to destroy the image of Korean Americans.
Here are some random thoughts I had about the challenges faced in putting this together:
*Though I do believe there are fame-whores in the Korean American community, I think there is generally a duality in these Korean knuckleheads that party -- on one side, they definitely drink, fight, fornicate, do drugs, sing noh rae bang, etc. But in my limited experience I have found that these same people usually are also hyper-aware of how they represent for the Korean community, they tend to be church-goers and they don't like to be public about their indiscretions. *The ones that may not have the latter qualities stated above, tend to be involved in criminal activities and equally would not want to be showcased on a national television show. *The deeper crevices of Koreatown (e.g. room salons) seem like highly unlikely participants in a show like this. Also many times, club staffs are commonly sprinkled with people with questionable immigration status which would make it even more difficult to get releases. In addition, the sensitivity of the Korean American community may cause a swell in boycotts by business owners ( I speak from experience on this). I think these producers have their work cut out for them. I am not sure which side to root for. On one side, I am bothered with the idea of exploiting Korean Americans with some of our collective worst qualities. On the other side, if it's going to happen, I'd at least like it to be done right. My prediction is that they will need to create a watered-down incomplete portrait of K-town nightlife and the participants will hold back and not create the "situation" the producers are hoping for. But you can never underestimate the power of Patron and the allure of fame.
I've been getting some unusual spam emails recently. No links to viagra sites or Nigerian princes. Just odd sections of prose. Here's one:
"What do you mean? How much is it that you need? He's about done the job now. Her father shook his head sadly. But I know I am right.
That was where I got Eliza. What else could it point to?Let us hope it's the opposite here. Have you seen it? And I have about as much more. Perhaps you are right.
Keep your head down and hang on! During the last days after Dr. Cherie perked up. That is quite a different matter. Leakage of magic? You're compelled to fend for yourself."
Anyone else get these? What do they mean?
Thought you might want to know that I'll be serving on the Narrative Jury for Tribeca All Access this year. If you are at the festival, look me up.
The 2010 Tribeca All Access (TAA) program will hold six days of events taking place April 19 – 24 during this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, held from April 21 – May 2, 2010. A year round program of the Tribeca Film Institute, Tribeca All Access supports the careers of filmmakers who hail from communities traditionally under-represented in the film industry.
20 U.S.-based filmmakers will participate with narrative scrīpts and documentary work-in-progress. In addition, 4 international projects will participate through partnerships with the UK Film Council and Canadian Film Centre. The selected filmmakers along with their accredited team members will have access to workshops, networking opportunity, and one on one meetings with registered industry at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Please visit the industry corner for more info on the selected filmmakers and projects.
This year’s program will begin with a Kick Off celebration that will help build the relationships of the selected filmmakers and the industry. The celebration will include a tribute honoring the 20th anniversary of the film House Party and feature a special performance by guests of honor and original cast members Kid & Play and Full Force along with producer Warrington Hudlin and DJ Whiz. TAA alumnus K’naan, will also perform his song Wavin’ Flag, the official song for the upcoming 2010 FIFA/Coca Cola World Cup. The participants will gather the next day for a welcome lunch , where the selected filmmakers and Tribeca All Access supporters can meet and discuss the events and goals ahead. The selected filmmakers will also get to participate in special workshops with respected Industry personnel and later get feedback on their pitch before taking part in three days of one on one scheduled meetings with the registered Industry. A special TFI award show will conclude the week of networking, pitching, and advancement of their careers.
At the 2010 TFI Award Celebration a total of $35,000 will be awarded in juried cash prizes to selected TAA winners through the TAA Creative Promise Award. Amongst the 2010 Tribeca All Access narrative jurors are Anthony Anderson, Anika Noni Rose, Hill Harper, Michael Kang, Kadeem Hardison, Victoria Rowell, and Kelly Rutherford . The 2010 Tribeca All Access Documentary jurors are Rebecca Cammisa and Linda Goode Bryant
For your edutainment, here is a list of all the Asian Americans who have made a narrative feature film. The list is limited to people of Asian decent who are at least 1.5 or 2nd generation US resident/citizen and who have made at least one narrative feature film that can be verified (e.g. IMDB, official website, festival screening, etc.)
Examples of filmmakers not included in the list:
ex. 1: Ang Lee ( ) is not included because he spent his formative years in Asia.
ex. 2: Julia Kwan ( ) is not included because she is Canadian.
ex. 3: Rena Tajima ( ) is not included because she makes documentaries.
ex. 4: Danny Boyle ( Slumdog Millionaire) is not included because he is not Asian nor American. If we combined all the co-directing efforts and hapas, we hover around 100 total. Pretty inspiring. These are the pioneers. The Film Committee of 100 so to speak.
BTW many of these films are available on DVD -- get to know your history and support Asian American film!
Help me if I missed anyone.
THE LIST (in alphabetical order)
*NARHEE AHN “Purity”
*STEVE AKAHOSHI “Hollywood Vampyr”
*FRANCISCO ALIWALAS “Disoriented”
*GREGG ARAKI “Mysterious Skin”
*BERNARD BADION “Leave It To Chance”
*DARSHAN BAGHAT “Karma Local”
*RAMIN BAHRANI “Man Push Cart”
*JAMES BAI “Puzzlehead”
*DANTE BASCO (with co-directors Darion, Derek and Dion Basco) "Naked Brown Men"
*DARION BASCO (with co-directors Dante, Derek and Dion Basco) "Naked Brown Men"
*DEREK BASCO (with co-directors Dante, Darion and Dion Basco) "Naked Brown Men"
*DION BASCO (with co-directors Dante, Darion and Derek Basco) “Naked Brown Men”
*RODDY BOGAWA “Some Divine Wind”
*JAMES BOSS "White Wall
*Q. ALLAN BROCKA "Boy Culture"
*TONY BUI “Three Seasons”
*TIMOTHY LINH BUI “Green Dragon”
*ERIC BYLER “Charlotte Sometimes”
*GENE CAJAYON “The Debut”
*CHRISTOPHER AD. CASTILLO “The Sky Is Falling”
*GARY CHAN "In My Life"
*JAY CHANDRASEKHAR “Supertroopers”
*ARVIN CHEN “Au Revoir Taipei”
*HUY CHHENG "Sweet and Sour"
*TIMOTHY CHEY "Fakin' Da Funk"
*ADAM CHIN “Maladaptive”
*KRIS CHIN (with co-director Ron Oda) “Asian Stories (Book 3)”
*TANUJ CHOPRA “Punching At The Sun”
*JON CHU “Step Up 2 The Streets”
*TZE CHUN “Children of Invention”
*ISAAC CHUNG “Munyurangabo”
*JUWAN CHUNG “Baby”
*MARK DECENA “Dopamine”
*NEILL DELA LLANA (with co-director Ian Gamazon) “Cavite”
*JOY DIETRICH “Tie A Yellow Ribbon”
*DAYYAN ENG “Waiting Alone”
*PATRICK EPINO “Mr Sadman”
*CARY FUKUNAGA “Sin Nombre”
*IAN GAMAZON (with co-director Neill Dela Llana) “Cavite”
*NISHA GANATRA “Chutney Popcorn”
*STEPHANE GAUGER “Owl and the Sparrow”
*PATRICIO GINELSA JR. “Lumpia”
*CELLIN GLUCK “Sideways (サイドウェイズ)”
*PHILIP KAN GOTANDA “Life Tastes Good”
*MANISH GUPTA “Indian Fish In American Waters”
*VU T. THU HA “Kiều”
*STEVEN HAHN “Pretty To Think So”
*GREGORY HATANAKA “Until The Night”
*KAYO HATTA “Picture Bride”
*JAMES WONG HOWE “Go, Man, Go!”
*GEORGE HUANG “Swimming With Sharks”
*JAMES HUANG “The Perfect Party”
*TOM HUANG “Freshmen”
*INSUNG HWANG "Justify"
*CECILIA HYOUN (with co-director Sara Hyoun) “Score!”
*SARA HYOUN (with co-director Cecilia Hyoun) "Score!"
*MICHAEL IDEMOTO (with co-director Eric Nakamura) “Sunsets”
*AMYN KADERALI "Kissing Cousins"
*JOSEPH KAHN “Torque”
*MICHAEL KANG “The Motel”
*SO YONG KIM “In Between Days”
*SUNG H. KIM “Book of Rules”
*ERIC KOYANAGI “Hundred Percent”
*DUANE KUBO (with co-director Robert Nakamura) “Hito Hata: Raise the Banner”
*NATHAN KUROSAWA “The Ride”
*KARYN KUSAMA “Girlfight”
*JOHN WOOTAK KWON “Always Be Boyz”
*STAN LAI “Feixia Ahda”
*RINGO LE “Saigon Love Story”
*BENSON LEE “Miss Monday”
*CHRIS CHAN LEE “Yellow”
*DENNIS LEE “Fireflies In The Garden”
*GRACE LEE “American Zombie”
*JIEHO LEE “The Air I Breathe”
*JOHN H. LEE “The Cut Runs Deep”
*FAY ANN LEE “Falling For Grace”
*GEORGIA LEE “Red Doors”
*ABRAHAM LIM “Roads and Bridges”
*JUSTIN LIN “Better Luck Tomorrow”
*DAVID MACQUILING “Too Much Sleep”
*BRIAN T. MAEDA “Buddha Heads” (a.k.a. “Savage boys”)
*EDWARD J. MALLILLIN “Brown Soup Thing”
*STEVEN E. MALLORCA “Slow Jam King”
*RICO MARTINEZ "Desperate"
*PAUL MAYEDA BERGES “The Mistress of Spices”
*ANURAG MEHTA “Amercan Chai”
*HP MENDOZA “Fruit Fly”
*ANNE MISAWA “Eden’s Curve”
*RON MORALES “Santa Mesa”
*JON MORITSUGU “Mod Fuck Explosion”
*JIMMY T. MURAKAMI “Battle Beyond the Stars”
*MIRA NAIR “Mississippi Masala”
*ROBERT NAKAMURA (with co-director Duane Kubo) “Hito Hata: Raise the Banner”
*ERIC NAKAMURA (with co-director Michael Idemoto) “Sunsets”
*DESMOND NAKANO “White Man’s Burden”
*STANN NAKAZONO (with co-driector Dom Magwili) “Much Adobo About Nothing”
*CHARLIE NGUYEN “The Rebel”
*MIKE NGUYEN “My Little World”
*LANE NISHIKAWA “Only The Brave”
*RON ODA (with co-director Kris Chin) “Asian Stories (Book 3)”
*STEVEN OKAZAKI “Living On Tokyo Time”
*GREG PAK “Robot Stories”
*BERTHA BAY SA PAN “Face”
*PIYUSH DINKER PANDYA “American Desi”
*SUNMIN PARK “Too Pure”
*LEENA PENDHARKAR “Raspberry Magic”
*JENNIFER PHANG "Half-Life"
*LOU DIAMOND PHILIPS “Dangerous Touch”
*ROD PULIDO “The Flip Side”
*ALBERT PYUN “The Sword and the Sorcerer”
*EDWARD AKIRA (ED) RADTKE "Bottomland"
*BEN REKHI “Waterborne”
*DAVID REN (with co-director Kern Konwiser) “Shanghai Kiss”
*GENE RHEE “Trouble With Romance”
*PHILLIP RHEE “Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back”
*GRACE ROWE “I Am That Girl”
*DAVID RUIZ “Proctor”
*RYAN SHIRAKI “Home of Phobia”
*M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN “Praying With Anger”
*MORA MI-OK STEPHENS “Conventioneers”
*REA TAJIRI “Strawberry Fields”
*IWAO TAKAMOTO (with co-director Charles A. Nichols) “Charlotte’s Web’’
*HAM TRAN “Journey from the Fall”
*SANDY TUNG “Across The Track”
*MICHAEL TOSHIYUKI UNO “The Wash”
*VICTOR VU “Spirits; First Morning”
*WAYNE WANG “Chan Is Missing”
*JAMES WONG “The One”
*MICHAEL WONG “Li Cheng (aka Miles Apart)”
*RICHARD WONG “Colma: The Musical”
*ALICE WU “Saving Face”
*SAMSON YI “Cats and Mice”
*JESSICA YU “Ping Pong Playa”
*DAVID YUN (with co-director Laura Zaylea) “Hold The Sun”
THIS IS NOT A CHINATOWN BOOTLEG! It's the real thing and it's finally here -- West 32nd on DVD (packed with extras!). You've been waiting a long time for this day to come. This is the movie you've heard about or caught at its festival run throughout the world (Tribeca Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, etc.). Get it where all DVDs are sold or rented. Tell your friends! FIGHTING! -West 32nd Team Pre-order on AMAZON: http://www.amazon.comAdd to your NETFLIX Queue: http://www.netflix.comOFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://www.w32nd.comFACEBOOK FAN PAGE: http://www.facebook.comPATHFINDER PICTURES: http://pathfinderpictures.com/****Pathfinder Pictures presentsWest 32nda film by Michael Kangfeaturing John Cho, Jun Kim and Grace Park>"Korean-American director Michael Kang gives the classicdetective genre a fresh twist as he tells the untold story of a Koreathat exists in the heart of the Big Apple."- Korea Times
"What separates Michael Kang's second feature from the rest, however, isthe location: New York's shady Koreatown. By transplanting the roomsalons and hierarchies to Queens, Kang has created a film that's bothfresh and familiar."-Hollywood Reporter DVD EXTRAS:*16:9 Anamorphic Aspect Ratio *Audio Commentary with Director Michael Kang and Actors John Cho and Jun Kim
Deleted Scenes *Production Gag Reel *Music Video for Heather Park's "Leave Me To Dream" *Interview with writers Michael Kang and Edmund Lee *Official Trailer SYNOPSIS:When John Kim, an ambitious young lawyer, takes on a pro bono case to exonerate a fourteen-year-old boy from a first degree murder charge, he finds a world he never knew existed in the underbelly of Manhattan -the Korean underworld. Infiltrating the knotty and complex realm of Korean organized crime to search for clues, he meets his match, MikeJuhn, a rising soldier in the syndicate. Recognizing John's determination and daring, Mike brings John into his confidence, furtively drawing him into his scheme to re-shuffle the Korean underworld. Though they become fast friends, they just as quickly end up trying to outfox each other as they discover they'll both do anything to win. A NOTE FROM JOHN CHO:When I came to Los Angeles to pursue acting 10 years ago, it felt like I was one of very few Korean American guys in town. In the years since, the situation has changed dramatically – I would never have guessed then that there would be so many prominent Korean American actors working today. And it’s been so exciting to see that growth paralleled by the growth of Korean cinema in the global market.
I began to wonder what it would be like if resources and talent flowed both ways, from the United States to Korea and back? One of the first answers to that question is a Michael Kang movie I acted in called West32nd. It’s set in New York’s Koreatown; it’s often bi-lingual; itstars Korean American and Korean actors; and it was financed by CJ Entertainment, a Korean company that took a chance on this uniquely entertaining thriller.
On a personal note, the experience of making this film is among the most gratifying of my life. My character’s discovery of his own culture mirrored my own experience with a largely Korean American cast and crew. It was a special time for me.
But the opportunity to give birth to a new category of film – theKorean/American co-production – is also special. In success, I hope this film is a catalyst for stories, talent, and resources to be shared between Koreans and Korean Americans. It would be a shame for us to drop the ball on this now.
West 32nd is available on DVD October 13. We ask that you please alert those you know. This is the way it happens – people emailing friends and family. Thank you very much for reading. -John ChoActor West 32nd A NOTE FROM GRACE PARK: Themaking of West 32nd, with its story, characters and cast, was an absolute gem of an experience. From the moment I read the openingsequence I was enthralled with the tapestry of visual stories that spun around you, seducing you into the underground world that lives andbreathes on Manhattan's West 32nd. Upon meeting the cast at ourtable read the first day, it was apparent that we were in the presence of casting magic, which became transformed into charismatic, compelling, inviting and dark performances and characters. It is hard to take your eyes off of these people as they live on screen. Being a part of this film was really important to me. It represents discovery. Discovery of myKorean heritage, peers, working in the Korean language, and the Koreanfilm market. As well for the audience, there's an unveiling, learning and exploration of this unique covert subculture. And finally I had apersonal revelation of myself involving self-image, perception and awareness because of my experience of and interactions from playing"Lila". This film comes at an excitingtime with Hollywood and Korea reaching out to each other, broadening and deepening their horizons. This film is a rich symbol of thatconsummation. Support and watch West 32nd and be a part of history. ThanksGrace ParkActress West 32nd
Sorry, I haven't been updating much recently. But if you are still a reader here, my friend/producer Karin Chien is working on a short film. It sounds like it could be a fun opportunity for someone's Auntie. If you know anyone, please get in touch with her. Here's the casting notice:
CASTING FOR OLDER CHINESE WOMAN IN NEW YORK CITY
Looking for a 50s-70s Chinese woman to star in a short film by acclaimed indie director ROSE TROCHE (THE L WORD, GO FISH). The film will be featured in an exhibition about New York's Chinatown for the Museum of Chinese in America. Non-professionals ok, Chinese speakers preferred. Film will shoot one day in New York's Chinatown over the next 2 weeks.
Please send any interest, referrals, inquires, or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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