INTERPRETATIONS UPDATE: We’re Live Blogging/Tweeting Our Panel (This Sunday, May 2, 2-4 PM PST)

That’s right, I’ll be live-blogging during our sold-out filmmaking panel INTERPRETATIONS: So You Really Want To Make Films? starting around 2 PM PST this Sunday, May 2, so if you can’t make it in person, you can follow all the action right here (keep clicking that refresh button). Looks like there is wireless available at the DGA where the panel is taking place, but if we were misinformed and there isn’t, you’ll be hitting refresh and seeing a blank page on Sunday which could be fun too. But never fear, fellow Offender Anderson will also be tweeting during the panel so you can follow him via our Twitter too.

We’ll be launching our Interpretations Film Initiative this weekend at the panel and on a new website devoted just to this program which will go live this weekend at I’m sure some of you may be confused about what exactly Interpretations is, so your questions should be answered this weekend. In the meantime, check out this cool teaser promo that my fellow Offender David put together:

One More Reason for Al Qaeda to Hate Us: The Weed Mobile!

Two weekends ago 15,000 people descended on the Cow Palace in San Francisco for the first ever weed expo where toking was allowed on-site. Obviously some kind of freaky deaky San Francisco loophole was found to make this legal. For $99 – cash only – attendees were able to get a temporary “recommendation” from a “doctor” that allowed them to get lit at the event. Feeling a little bi-polar this week? Fibromyalgia acting up? Vision a bit blurry? Come on down and see Dr. Nick!

The 2010 International Cannabis and Hemp Expo wasn’t, however, just an excuse for 15,000 people to compete for the title of Bong Kong. It was a place where American ingenuity and entrepreneurialism were on proud display. The showstopper of the event was Tim Ellis’ Grow ‘N’ Mobile, an eighteen foot trailer converted into a mobile grow house.

once loved was hated is now loved more pure

“Do you see movies differently?”

That was the question a good friend of mine asked me the other day.  He has nothing to do with the entertainment industry (that’s why he is sane) and was curious to know if I saw movies differently since I work in entertainment.  I imagine the fascination of the question stems from the same logic that if someone spent their entire life as a car designer, does he/she think, feel, and perceive the environment around them differently than the average driver every time he/she steps into a car.  I imagine this logic would also apply to painters attending an art show, off-duty chefs dining out, porno stars regarding sex, etc.

My answer?  “No.”  But it wasn’t always that way.

Unlearned Lesson of 4-29


At 82-years-old, K.W. Lee is considered the “Godfather of Asian American journalism.” He immigrated to the U.S. in 1950 on a student visa and became the first Asian immigrant to be hired by a mainstream news daily and has reported for the Kingsport Times and News in Tennessee, the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia and the Sacramento Union. He has covered stories ranging from the plight of coal miners in the Appalachians to the civil rights movement in the Jim Crow South to the unjust incarceration of Chol Soo Lee. K.W. founded the Korea Times English Edition and continues to work and lecture across the country.

“Round up the usual suspects.”

The corrupt Vichy French captain Renault tells his men at Rick’s gambling joint in a classic romantic drama film, Casablanca.

With the 18th anniversary of 4.29 (Sa-I-Gu) upon us today, I can’t help but hear his mocking order reverberated during the fiery siege of L. A. Koreatown in which Korean Americans witnessed their American Dream go up in smoke overnight.

Have we learned anything from America’s first media-fanned urban pogrom which gutted more than 2,000 Korean businesses and ruined 10,000 lives to the tune of nearly a half billion dollars in property damage alone in the City of Angeles?

“Round up the usual scapegoats.”

Come the next fire, we may end up as America’s favorite urban scapegoat.

INTERPRETATIONS UPDATE: Extra Ticks Available Today & Meet Our Industry Jurors

Tonight is the opening of Visual Communications’ Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and we got word that a limited number of tickets to our FREE, SOLD-OUT filmmaking panel INTERPRETATIONS: So You Really Want To Make Films? (taking place this Sunday, May 2, 2-4 PM at DGA 2) will be released to the public. But you can’t get them online, they’ll only be available at the DGA box office, which is the location of the opening night gala as well as our panel. So be sure to pick them up at the festival before they’re gone. And did I mention they were free? And did I mention the cool people who will be participating in our panel (see my previous post with all the details here)?

As our regular readers already know, we’ll also be launching our INTERPRETATIONS Film Initiative at our event. This is a new program we’re starting to support our community of aspiring filmmakers. We’ve been working hard to compile a list of prominent industry professionals to serve as jurors for our initiative. Here’s a list of just SOME of the people who have signed on to join us (more to come):

YomyomF Sports Challenge Winner

So who is the winner of the YomyomF Challenge winner?

You may never know. Why? Here’s the reply I got when I sent ‘MacLu’ the good news about his victory Spam–

HI Justin,

Thanks! One thing… do I have to pose for the pic? I don’t want to sound like an ingrate but at my day job I have somewhat of a public persona and I have to deal with super conservative wingnuts (who fwd me emails to join the Tea Party and elect Sarah Palin in 2012, no joke). It’s a super long shot but I don’t want my ugly mug to be associated w/ my comments on the site.

Tribeca Film Fest & the State of Movies

I went to New York City over the weekend for some meetings and to also attend the Tribeca Film Festival, which is in full swing, now in its 9th year. With the recent move of former Sundance Film Fest director Geoff Gilmore to Tribeca Enterprises as their new Chief Creative Officer, the festival, like most of the indie film world, is trying to reinvent itself and adapt to new models of distribution and exhibition. Aside from the traditional space of theatrical exhibition, seminars and panels, TFF launched new initiatives such as day-and-date Video-on-Demand of select movies that can be viewed across the country on major cable carriers like Comcast and Time Warner; and also launched TFF Virtual, an online film festival with select films that will be online, as well as webinars, twitter feeds to filmmaker q & a’s, etc. Instead of pay as you view, like what Sundance did with YouTube (it was deemed a disappointment but at least the Fest had balls to try something new), TFF Virtual is a full-fledged film festival with deeper programming and online patrons buy virtual passes to get all access to said virtual fest. You could be anywhere in the world for this. Now, if it was a success or not is still yet to be determined.

One of the best panels I attended was an afternoon with HBO Documentary head, the legendary Sheila Nevins.

To Attend, or Not To Attend. That is the question.

So as you all may or may not know, we have a special panel event for you at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, this Sunday, May 2nd at the DGA in West Hollywood.

For those of you cynics out there who suspect that most panels are for just a bunch of blowhards to toot each other’s horns and give useless advice, well you’re right about most of them.  But every once in awhile there’s a panel that sheds some true insights and forges connections.

So below is one positive experience I’ve taken away from a panel and one major reason why I suspect this upcoming panel at VC will be a good one…

Beers, The Draft and One Big Order of Wang

Tyson Alualu

Ed Wang

This past weekend in culmination of months of heightened, whispered anticipation, a group of well-into-thirtysomething men, temporarily gave the slip to their families and professions; and relinquished general responsibilities in order to secretly converge and engage in a private, annual male bonding ritual held sacrosanct since high school.

The guys are me and some friends.

No, we’re not Freemasons, militiamen nor are we on the down low.

We met, as we’ve done for the previous 18 years, to watch envelope ourselves in the NFL Draft. We are draftniks — people with a hyper-geekified interest in an annual, sensationalized, non-event event where collegiate football players are selected, round-by-round, by the professional football teams that will employ and pay them large amounts of cash to play a game they played as children.

An Open Letter to Asian American Actors Regarding Movie ‘Stardom’ (Part II)

(If you haven’t yet, read Pt. I here. It provides the context for this letter and may answer questions not specifically addressed here)

Dear Asian American actor:

In part one of this letter, I discussed the fact that there is currently no true Asian American star and what goes into the making of a star and how that might apply to Asian American actors i.e. you. Let me continue on this thread today and also humbly offer some advice on the subject. Again, this is just one guy’s opinion so take it for what it is, but it’s also an opinion formed from many years of working in the biz, the community and with hundreds of Asian American actors on all sorts of projects.

Now, let’s say you’re lucky enough to book a significant role in a Hollywood film or a series regular on a TV series. These are major accomplishments and you should be justly proud, but this does not make you a star. I repeat—this does not make you a star. I bring this up because I’ve seen this happen on numerous occasions: an Asian American actor gets cast in the aforementioned film or TV show and all of a sudden they think they’re Brad Pitt or Sandra Bullock.

Stories From the Set

I took my first dip in directing over the weekend, and if anyone is wondering whether any of Clint Eastwood’s greatness rubbed off on me, the answer is no.

People familiar with Clint Eastwood’s screen persona of “Mr. Tough Guy,” might be surprised to find out that he’s a softie in real life. Actors who were initially nervous to work with him, told me they were surprised at how relaxing the set was. There was no intimidation factor and I don’t believe he ever raised his voice on set. Clint Eastwood himself has said that he doesn’t like to yell “Action!” or “Cut!” because it’s disruptive to the actors’ concentration (and also because he’s used to working with horses that get jittery.)  In fact, some of the Japanese actors said they weren’t exactly sure when they were rolling. “Well, that’s enough of that shit,” is purportedly one of Mr. Eastwood’s alternatives for “Cut!”