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THE TRIP on CBC

April 29, 2017

THE TRIP is confirmed to air on Sunday night, April 30th at 12:30AM ET/PT   (so technically, the morning of Monday, May 1st) on CBC’s main network. CBC is Canada’s national broadcaster and this will be nation-wide. The film will be posted on the CBC Player online the following morning.

I am very glad for the film to finally meet its Canadian audience. Feel free to share your thoughts. For you night owls with TVs (a dying breed), check it out. This is a good one to see with family.

THE TRIP (2015) – trailer from Grace Wang on Vimeo.

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一一

October 6, 2016

I watched YI YI for the first time in more than six years. I last wrote about it on February 19 2010, and I have no memory of the event except a vague sensation of how I felt as the words flowed through my veins. I remember sitting on a saggy couch with a sore back that my youth was still proudly upholding, typing rapidly, gut wrenching, aware of encountering a meaningful piece of work that I will revisit throughout my life. I was so young then, and a vastly different person from who I am today, yet somehow I knew that much.

And I was right. Watching the film again tonight, I felt a familiar pleasure and a deep resonance. The film plays differently for me now. It plays shorter and sweeter. I remember being hyper-aware of its “epicness” six years ago, seeing it in theater at a top 100 retrospective. It was emotional and long, and I grew restless at the end even while enraptured, trying to grasp onto the truth blooming around me. This time, the feeling is one of peace and understanding. I was utterly absorbed throughout the film, and I felt deeply attuned to its rhythm. I also watched it with a much more careful eye, aware of the craftsmanship behind the shots. It’s nice to know somewhat how far I have come.

What surprised me is that it made me want to write, about this film at least, again.

I haven’t felt that need in a long time. I absorb films in a different way now. I choose to do so privately instead of publicly. Making films rewire a person. Shifts your chemistry. Over the years, I had wondered if I will ever write about films again. People have asked and I have brushed it off. Maybe I lost that string in my violin, I thought. It’s nice to know that it’s still there, however rusty.

Reading my words from six years ago, I became nostalgic of my naivete. It reads like a different person. I don’t recognize my thoughts. I see my idealism and chuckle. I see my keen observations and I am glad. I see my excessive adjectives and flowery prose and I wince and feel grateful that I was that girl and that I outgrew that girl.

The characters who most grabbed my heartstrings last time were Sherry and NJ. Unrequited love, first love, those themes reverberated with my youthful disposition. I projected my own desires and heartbreaks onto them and tried to declare them as my own, and of course missed the point.

This time, it was the conversation between NJ and his wife Min Min, after her return from  the mountains, that struck me. They sit on separate edges of the bed in their bedroom, out of reach and sight of each other, facing the camera. I relived my youth this past little while you are away, NJ lights up a cigarette. I thought it would be different, that if I had a chance to live life over maybe things would be different, but it turned out pretty much the same. Then I realize no matter what, it’ll probably turn out to be the same. He takes a drag silently. So even if there’s a second chance, I don’t think it’s necessary. Really not necessary. She nods in agreement with a small smile.

What does this say about me? Am I the wise one now?

I don’t know. I hope I grow more into Yang Yang, the little boy, who wants to show people what they can’t see because it will be fun, who jumps into the pool after learning in the sink, who doesn’t say much and sees a lot, who asks questions no one knows how to answer, who still has a lot of growing to do but already feels very old.

 

 

 

THE TRIP

January 19, 2016

 

My latest short film, THE TRIP,  is currently playing on Air Canada’s Inflight Entertainment on the Canadian Movies channel. We will be playing until end of April 2016 on all domestic and international AC flights. If you find yourself on such a plane, please reach forward, turn on that little screen, select “Canadian Movies”, then “The Trip”, turn off the overhead lights, plug in your headphones, turn the volume up, and press “play.” Do NOT select “full screen” mode. And if the film touches you, please tell your neighbour. Trust me, it won’t be weird.

This film has come a long way. THE TRIP is a personal story about a complicated relationship set in northern Ontario, Canada. It is winner of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival Pitch Competition and supported by National Film Board of Canada. Our world premiere took place at the Scarborough Worldwide Film Festival in Toronto last June where the film won the Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film, a pleasant surprise given that I didn’t even know there was a prize. We went on to screen in New York City in August as part of Cinema Club’s monthly short film showcase, a fantastic experience in a beautiful venue with an audience of film lovers. Could hear a pin drop during the film.

This is a story of two women written, directed, produced, shot, designed and edited by women of color, of which I am very proud of.

This is a hard film for me to talk about. It is my most personal film to date. Not autobiographical, and sometimes that is harder, because fiction allows you to explore things that exist beyond planes of real life.

The saving grace has been the audience responses to the film. Many people came up after a screening to tell me how the film touched them personally. I received emails from people who called their mother after the film and had a long conversation. I received emails of programmers showing the film to their students. I remember seeing my friend, sitting beside me during the premiere (chosen for her reliable coolness), repeatedly touching her face and thinking that maybe she was fidgeting because she’s bored, only to have her whisper to me as the credits rolled: “you jerk, you made me cry.”

All those things.

The past two years have been indescribable. They have been hard, because making art that is meaningful and sending it out into the world is hard. No regrets. Do the work. That is all I can do and will do.

Here is my first film poster. Designed and hand-drawn by the talented Tyler Rubenfeld, which captures the film wonderfully.

THE TRIP poster

 

For updates on how you can see THE TRIP, please join the film’s official fb page.

LONESOME TOWN

June 24, 2014

Two years ago today, I shot this film.

At the time, I didn’t know the song, the sounds, the images awaiting ahead. I was seized with this feeling of something familiar and strange, something soft buried in the dampness of my chest, toward the back, against my stubborn, proud spine.

The sense of loss was palpable when I stepped off the train… it was my first time — a last minute decision on a last minute trip.

Then it hit me.

Coney Island was a postcard of dreams. I knew it before I knew America. Years of elegant decay had rendered a place whose magic, once captured beautifully on film, felt like remnants of a potent memory.

(shot on iPhone 4 in the time it took to eat a popsicle and dance a salsa.)

Official Selection:
2013 Scarborough Film Festival
2013 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival
2013 San Diego Asian Film Festival
2014 Milton Film Festival
2014 CAAMFest

I REMEMBER Teaser

December 31, 2013
tags: , ,

Soul Train 2013

December 24, 2013

Soul Train 2013 track list

Made this mixtape for a friend’s cross country train journey, but we can all use a little soul in this season.

Soul Train 2013 mixtape

Happy holidays.

I REMEMBER

June 26, 2013
film still, I REMEMBER (2013)

film still, I REMEMBER (2013)

In ten hours, I will share my first film, I REMEMBER, in a private screening with close friends and family in Toronto, in a cinema on top of the building that houses TIFF Lightbox.

It’s been a long road. From the six weeks, zero-budget conception-production, to the year long post grind, to the world premiere in February at Berlin International Directors Lounge, to the North American premiere in April opening Ebertfest before one of the most beautiful films ever in a 1500-seats restored 1920s theater, this has been surreal.

They say that your first film is unavoidably your most personal. It’s where you make mistakes and throw them away and laugh about them later. I never wanted to make that film. Naive and stubborn (laughably so), I made the film I wanted to make the only way I knew how – with brutal honesty and everything within my reach.

In the process I stumbled and cracked and fell and got up and got lost and doubted and questioned and wondered and learned, I learned so much. I made mistakes. I didn’t throw them away.

They were right about one thing: it is personal. Always.

No matter what happens tomorrow and the days after, I am incredibly grateful and proud of this film. I gave birth to it, now it is in the world, and it will find its own life. Hopefully, there is still a long way to go.

Complete filmography and related press links can be found in the Films tab on top of the home page.
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