‘Help’ is Here for Your iPhone

1398389_10153276101028496_7681429060426257712_o

We officially premiered Help, our 360 degree live action short, at Google’s 2015 I/O Developer Conference in San Francisco. Directed by YOMYOMF founder Justin Lin (currently helming Star Trek Beyond in Vancouver), this is the very first live-action Google Spotlight Stories film. What makes the Spotlight Stories different from other VR projects is that it’s VR for your phone and other mobile devices. You don’t need special goggles or cardboard or anything besides your phone or tablet. And now the Spotlight Stories app is available for ios so you can watch Help for free on your iPhone or iPad. Just download the app here.

Not only is Help, the first live-action project of its kind, but because it’s a Justin Lin project, it’s a cinema-quality action film. In this case, the story of an alien that crash lands in L.A.’s Chinatown and the ensuing chase that takes place across downtown. Other YOMYOMFers who took part in the project include Sung Kang who plays a cop that pisses off the alien and Alex Vegh, Sal Gatdula, Philip W. Chung and David Chan playing creative roles behind the scenes.

Now We are Six

Your-6th-birthday

Six years ago today, our YOMYOMF blog launched with this random but informative post about surviving plane crashes. And here we are. We have some major changes and announcements planned for 2015 so keep your eyes out for that. But to commemorate this birthday (since we can’t legally drink yet), here’s a poem by Winnie the Pooh creator A.A. Milne that seems appropriate:

From L.A. to Beijing to Paris with Love; or the Birth of My First Chinese Movie

36 snails can be hard to stomach for a spiritual vegan on his first evening in Paris

36 snails can be hard to stomach for a spiritual vegan on his first evening in Paris

It was 5:55 am. Jetlagged and recovering from a full day of diarrhea (my stomach finally broke down from all the food I’d been eating in China), I was lying awake in my hotel room in Paris. As I was struggling to get more sleep for the full day of meetings ahead with my line producer, casting director and costume designer, I began ruminating about the very first moment that began the adventure to make my first Chinese movie, Morning, Paris!. Has it been all worth it?

MorningParis01

Pulling out my iPhone, I scrolled back to the first picture from Shanghai Fashion Week that I posted on my WeChat on April 14, 2013 at 6:10 am. I was probably jetlagged then too. That trip was my first significant trip to China as an adult. Earlier that year, I serendipitously met a young gay activist, J, in Los Angeles while I was invited to speak a workshop for a Chinese gay activist conference. I fell in love with him.

New ‘Hollywood Adventures” Trailer and Pics

On the heels of my fellow Offender Justin Lin and Chinese stars Zhao Wei and Huang Xiaoming getting their handprints in the courtyard of the TCL Chinese Theatre a week-and-a-half ago, there’s a new trailer out today for the film that the occasion was commemorating: Hollywood Adventures.

11232937_10153908769748496_5149818465354518376_n

This is Justin’s first foray into the Chinese film industry through his Perfect Storm shingle and as you can see below, this trailer gives a little more detail about what the movie is about and the best look so far at my fellow Offender Sung Kang playing Manny–the cornrowed villain of the piece:

One of my favorite souvenirs from the shoot was the Manny Dollars. How many people can say they’ve had their mug on money:

‘Hollywood Adventures’ In the Desert

JimJodidesertroad

Today was the handprint ceremony for my fellow Offender Justin Lin and two of the biggest Chinese stars Zhao Wei and Huang Xiaoming at the courtyard of the historic TCL Chinese Theatre (read Anderson’s blog here). This is, of course, a huge deal–especially to have more Asian figures (and in Zhao Wei’s case, the first Chinese woman) alongside Hollywood legends such as John Wayne, Julie Andrews, Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington and others.

The event was also to celebrate the upcoming Chinese film Hollywood Adventures which is being released in most of Asia on June 26 and stars Wei and Huang with Justin as producer and writer through his Perfect Storm shingle. Many of the Offenders worked on the film both in front of and behind the camera (including Book Club’s Tim Kendall directing and Sung, Roger, Alfredo and myself in various capacities) so it was a family affair of sorts. Many of our readers here in the U.S. may not be as familiar with the project and the Chinese film industry so thought it’s as good a time as any to start sharing a little about the film in the weeks leading up to the release.

Justin Lin and HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURES honored at Hollywood Handprint Ceremony

CGmMNvNUkAACHsT

Today was an auspicious day in Hollywood. At the famed TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, which was bought by TCL, a Chinese conglomerate) was the handprint ceremony to honor director (and YOMYOMF fearless leader) Justin Lin, and Chinese superstars Zhao Wei and Huang Xiaoming. It’s auspicious because it was a true East meets West event, to highlight the upcoming release of HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURES, produced by Justin and starring Zhao and Huang, to be released in China this month.

Reinventing Asian American Cinema

(Not so much The Joy Luck Club from left to right: Amy Hill, Kimberly Rose-Wolter, Michelle Krusiec, Tamlyn Tomita, Julia Nickson, Akemi Look, Elizabeth Sung and Karin Anna Cheung)

(Not so much The Joy Luck Club from left to right: Amy Hill, Kimberly Rose-Wolter, Michelle Krusiec, Tamlyn Tomita, Julia Nickson, Akemi Look, Elizabeth Sung and Karin Anna Cheung)

If there is a cinematic genre called Asian American film, then every Asian American feature should be an invention until we find a formula that can do well and sustain the genre. If we don’t have a formula, every movie must be a new invention or a re-invention. That’s the real excitement about Asian American cinema; precisely because there is no formula for success every movie can essentially be experimental and innovative.

I keep thinking that the last feature I made would be my last Asian American feature, but then there are so many wonderful Asian American actors I want to work with and so many new ideas I want to try out.

A Return to ’0506HK’

birth

My ex-boss Director Peter Chan ruminated with me about my own future in 0506HK

My ex-boss Director Peter Chan ruminated with me about my own future in 0506HK

After almost 10 years since I started making my first documentary feature 0506HK, I was brought back to my little known and seen film by a festival in Kochi, India, which is showcasing it in their “Make Belong” program as part of Kochi-Muzuris Biennale. Right after Ethan Mao between 2005 and 2006, I picked up a prosumer HD camcorder and decided to make a film about my own search for identity. I had just turned 35 and I was wondering if I should return to my birthplace—Hong Kong—to live and make films.

Throwback Thursday: The First Time

I’ve been renovating my place over the holidays and with that comes going through old possessions to either box up or throw out and that’s when I came upon this:

Lois:Clarktitlepage

It’s the autographed title page from my very first paid Hollywood gig way back in the 1990s. It was for the TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (if you want to read my previous blog about what that experience was like, click here).

Adventures in Filmmaking: The Golden Horse Film Project Promotion

PHILANTHROPY

The Motley Crew: Producer Aaron Shershow, I and Producer Robert Wei

The Motley Crew: Producer Aaron Shershow, I and Producer Robert Wei

I’ve been hearing about the Golden Horse Film Awards since I was growing up in Hong Kong, and this year was its 51st edition. I met Christy from the Golden Horse Film Project Promotion at the NAFF project market at Puchon and pitched her my Chinese romantic comedy project Morning, Paris! Two months later, I got an invite to participate in the Film Project Promotion which, for years, my filmmaking colleagues have been telling me great things about.

Walking the Golden Horse Film Awards Red Carpet!

Making the First Asian American Psycho Thriller

MakingTheFirstAsianAmericanPsychoThriller

Writer/Producer NaRhee Ahn and I have been fans of the horror thriller genre since childhood and we have been talking about working on a genre project for years. As Asian Americans, we wonder why there hasn’t been a project like this earlier. Justin and I made Shopping for Fangs, which was initially branded as a thriller but it’s essentially a genre-hybrid dramedy. I also remember Offender Philip had an Asian American horror in the works several years ago.

But this genre has been virtually unexplored in Asian American cinema.

Annie Undocumented: How To Tell A Big Story With Almost No Money

guest_offendersBRIAN and DANIEL

Brian Yang is a professional airline passenger who occasionally attends film festivals, guest stars on HAWAII FIVE-0, and produces sports documentaries like LINSANITY. Daniel Hsia only leaves the house to write for TV and direct movies like SHANGHAI CALLING. They collaborated on ANNIE UNDOCUMENTED, winner of the Best Web Series prize at the 2014 New York Television Festival. You can watch the show at annieundocumented.com or embedded below. The two talk about why they decided to do a project revolving around a young Asian American who discovers she is an “illegal immigrant”.

Brian (l) and Daniel.

Brian (l) and Daniel.

BRIAN YANG: I was at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival when Daniel pitched me a web series about a teenage girl who suddenly discovers that she’s an undocumented immigrant. The story was inspired by real-life experiences of writer Elaine Low, who was undocumented growing up. Coincidentally, I had just heard Jose Antonio Vargas (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and undocumented American) give a speech in Washington, D.C. about his own experiences and the need for immigration reform. I felt like this was an important topic to make a film about, but the story sounded big in scope and I wasn’t sure how Daniel was planning to tell it on a shoestring budget.

DANIEL HSIA: Elaine is a friend I’ve known for several years, last year I learned that she was undocumented growing up. This blew my mind because she is very smart and ambitious and professional, nothing like the image of the “illegal immigrant” portrayed in the media. It made me think about undocumented immigrants in a new light, and I wanted to tell a story that could give others that same revelation, that the undocumented are just like the rest of us, normal people who want better lives for their children.