Monthly Archives: September 2012

Sept/Aug 2012 News Updates

It’s been a very busy couple of months as always for the Asian Australian screen scene which is always sweet music to our ears!

Most recently, we were very excited to attend the Colour Film Festival directed by Gary Paramanathan. The film program included a number of Asian Australian filmmakers such as Corrie Chen’s WONDER BOY, Matt Pastor’s RANDOM, as well as Mike Kang’s IT’S ABOUT SURVIVAL and another film he directed called KEMI which followed the stories of several African Australians in Sydney’s Blacktown to name just a few.  Read more about the full program here.

wonder boy



Photos:  Kemi, Wonder Boy, Random and It’s About Survival. Pics by Indigo Willing.

To celebrate Colour FF and to catch up with a range of local arts networks, the AAFFN also held a meet up on the following day at the QLD State Library. Attending were: Dr Indigo Willing, Dr Sukhmani Khorana, Dr Susan Leong, filmmaker Feal, Amadeo Marquez-Perez, Anna Yen and Gary Paramanathan.  The AAFFN’s Indigo and Amadeo then caught up with Contact Inc’s Lenine Bourke the following day. Thanks to everyone who came along to discuss their projects and show their support for diversity on the screen!

AAFFN bris2012

FF Pics

 Other exciting news includes:


– Casual Melbourne AAFFN and AASRN Asian Australian lunch meet up Sunday 21st October at Melbourne central – cheap and cheerful:

– Shout out to Matt Pastor whose film is screens at Footscray Community Arts Centre:


– Colour FF visits Tasmania 25 Sept. Find out more  here.


KOFFIA hits town 27 Sept to 30 Sept and have kindly given us double passes to give away to the screening of Leafie on Sun 30th at 1pm. Find out more about how to enter here

– The Brisbane International Film Festival is looking for volunteers. Apply here.

– Casual Brisbane Asian Australian meet up Sept 23 to coincide with Colour FF – cheap and cheerful:

– Performing arts workshop by Contact Inc. Contact Academy will be starting in 4 weeks! Spaces are limited so don’t miss out on your chance to learn some amazing performing arts skills for free.When: 24th and 25th of September from 9:30 to 4:30


– Earlier this month, Sept 5: Opening Thursday night at The Zenith Theatre in Chatswood, Stories East & West. Six storytellers in a profoundly moving show directed by William Yang and Annette Shun Wah for Performance 4a. Book at

– Sydney peeps: Colour FF is also on at the Chauvel on the 12th Sept (plus look out for Melbs dates on their website)


– Don’t forget to check out our new page for AAFFN articles:

– Shout out to Other FF: – five days celebrating international cinema dedicated to the richness of the lived experience of disability.

(Directed by Mike Kang and with actors Felino Dolloso and Renee Lim and more). See more news  in Destination Flavour at:

– FWD from ‘Lost Years’ documentary maker: We are interested in screening Lost Years in Australia and NZ. Our documentary was shot in Canada, Australia, NZ, USA and China. We just won the Grand Prize, Best Feature Documentary at RIIFF in Providence, RI, USA. Please check us out at .

& here (thanks Pinoy news for info):


– The Boat, a film by Australian director S. Phakonkham, screening in So Cal FF – read more here
and read more about Somchay here:


– Casting For Better Man
A four-part television drama series, Better Man, to be directed by Khoa Do is currently seeing Vietnamese actors for main and supporting roles. Produced by FreemantleMedia, the series will air on SBS in 2013. The se

Series revolves around the story of the last Australian to have been executed overseas, Van Tuong Nguyen. Auditions are currently being held in Sydney and Melbourne. Previous acting experience is not necessary butl will be an advantage. See below for more information. See more at Performance 4a or email:Info: bettermantv@gmail.com you have news you would like to add here or share for the future you can email us at:

We are also looking for volunteer writers and journalists to assist us to develop more articles and our news bulletins.  Thanks for your support!

Interview with Rachel Jessica Tan, Actor, Writer & Creative Producer, ‘For Evie’

An AAFFN feature article about Rachel Jessica Tan
Interview by Indigo Willing
1. How did you come to get the idea to make ‘For Evie’?
The idea for the script came to me about two and a half years ago.  I was actually visiting my partner at the time’s grandparents, and these scenes involving flashbacks of my childhood kept coming in my mind so I typed it all into my Blackberry and that’s when the first draft of the script was born.
2. What’s the main narrative that the film shares?
Evie remembers her father (played by Alfredo Nicdao) playing guitar to her when she was young, and the special bond they shared throughout her childhood. When he leaves the family unexpectedly, it takes her all her teenage years to deal with his absence, until she’s finally ready to reconnect with him as an adult. She journeys to Singapore to find him and rediscover the bond they once had through the love of playing guitar.
3. Your characters are central to driving the film. Can you tell us a bit more about them?
There aren’t many characters in the film and it’s mainly based around Evie and her father.  Though as we see Evie growing up in the film at ages 4, 9, 16 and 23, we can see her development from a girl to a young adult and we follow her emotional journey over those years, dealing with her father leaving the family.
The father and mother characters are pivotal to the story also as they have their own emotional journeys to go through and the affect that has on the whole family dynamic.  It is a story about the bond in a family and how that shifts and evolves through crisis.
4. What are some of the things you can tell us about your co-star/s backgrounds?
Alfred Nicdao (Father), has been in the Australian entertainment industry for over 20 years and has starred in popular Australian television shows such as Bootleg, City Homicide, Neighbours, Blue Heelers, Stingers and most recently appeared in a guest role on Sea Patrol.Amanda Ma (Mother), has appeared in numerous Australian television and film in a career that has spanned over 20 years, having starred in the Jammed (nominated for 7 AFI awards, winning 3 IF awards) most recently on The Slap, Bed of Roses, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mystery’s (currently airing on ABC) and theatre production Taxi which has been nominated for 4 Green Room awards including Best Ensemble, Outstanding Production, Writing and Mis en Scene.

Kate Williams (Evie, 9), from Mount Gambier, South Australia has grown up in front of the camera thanks to her cinematographer half brother David Williams.  This is Kate’s first film role.

Grace Tanner (Evie, 4) has appeared as an extra on several television projects.  This is Grace’s first speaking role

5. How did you come to work with your production team?
I had already worked with the director Rob Innes and cinematograhper David Williams previously and so after our last project, I had told them about this film. They were both keen to come on board and from there, it wasn’t until we began pre-production that we pulled together a really fabulous crew that were all very passionate about the story.
6. You have multiple roles in this production. What are they and any advice for others wanting to do similar?
In this particular project I am the writer, producer and actress (Evie 16/23).  I think to take on multiple roles you really have to understand the responsibilities of each role well and know what you can leave for someone else.  The great thing about this production is that everyone knew what their role was and there was a lot of trust within our production team to leave each creative to fulfil their role with freedom and creativity.  As a writer you need to be able to let go of your script to allow the director to put their own vision to it.  It’s a bit of a collaborative process, though I do believe you really need to trust your director.
As a producer and actress, particularly on set on lower budget productions like this, I believe it’s important to delegate tasks and know when you need to concentrate on your performance rather than running around taking care of the catering.  I had a great co-producer and production assistant who took over production tasks whilst I was performing in scenes, so that my focus was 100% on my performance.
7. What kinds of themes will audiences see in ‘For Evie’?
Evie is about happiness just as much as it is about sadness and grief. It’s about forgiveness and ultimately it’s about familial bonds particularly between father and daughter and how that evolves and changes over time.

8. What’s next?

We’re submitting the film to festivals around the world so we’re very excited about our first public screenings, which will probably be at the beginning of 2013.  The whole creative team really have a strong belief in this film and we’re hoping we’ll get a lot of interest in the film and future projects!

See the trailer and making of ‘For Evie’ here
People wanting to find out more can contact Rachel through Pick Me Up Productions

‘Dumb, Drunk and Racist’: On Looking at the Self through the Other

When this innovative new ABC2 series first went to air, and in the viewers’ discussion of each of its episodes, many wondered why a group of Indians had been chosen to reflect us back to ourselves. Those with or without Hansonian tendencies posted their varying degrees of outrage on ABC2’s Facebook page, on the Daily Telegraph column by host Joe Hildebrand, and on countless personal blogs and media stories. They could not believe that a country with a rigid caste system, the lowest rungs of poverty, and frequent eruptions of communal violence was pointing the proverbial finger at ‘us’. I do not wish to portray the people making such comments as racist or intolerant. Having said that, I was more than a little surprised when acquaintances who I would otherwise classify as ‘worldly’ posed similar questions about the series. Self-reflection through the eyes of the other, it appeared, is still antithetical to most national self-projections.

Source: Channel 2 (ABC)

Given the above, I am inclined to try and justify why it was a good idea to pick four urban, middle class Indians to tour Australia and view a wide spectrum of its contemporary social practices. I am not sure, however, if such a justification would achieve anything other than a further culture war, or a thinly veiled show of unreflective patriotism. What I suggest is important about this series is not the nationality of its participants per se, but what they symbolise, especially in relation to contemporary Australia’s views of itself in a world with a rapidly shifting geo-political order.

Not only are international relations in a state of flux, with the Asian region playing the role of usurper and catalyst, but so is the state of global media production, reception and subsequent influence. Michael Curtin has written extensively on the rise of the ‘new media capitals’, and their impact on current and future flows of information and goods. In this new emerging media world order, the BRIC nations (or Brazil, Russia, India, China) are set to de-stabilize the thought leadership of the imaginary community that is ‘the west’, and to query the very artificiality of the distinctions between the east and the west. Whether these nascent powers will imitate their hegemonic forebears, or resist and produce alternative modernities is a debate that is beyond the scope of this piece. What appears to be certain, however, is that the narratives of economic and social development being generated by these nations is sending tremors through the constructed national sense of self in the developed world (both economically and culturally).

It is in the above context that ‘Dumb, Drunk and Racist’ ought to be viewed by activists, scholars, politicians and wider audiences alike. The series is as much a national self-allegory as it is a topical examination of why Aussies may be viewed as intolerant in light of recent events such as the Cronulla Riots and the attacks on Indian students. It is like holding up the mirror to see oneself thoroughly and courageously though an-other lens that reflects a sometimes uncomfortable reality. What must be celebrated, still, is that denial has been cast off and branded inappropriate for the current cultural epoch, at least by the nation’s public service broadcasters. As for those still holding on defensively to their larrikin self-image, Hildebrand has this to say” “I am surprised at that attitude as well. I think a lot of people live sheltered existences where they are not exposed to the sort of comments we received – and which I still do every time I talk about the program. I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to expose and shame such views rather than just shrugging their shoulders and saying ‘that’s life’. In a sense that’s almost condoning it” (in email interview with author, transcript available on request). Can we rise to the challenge instead of disowning it as someone else’s problem? That televisual mirror may not be accurately reflective, or even adequately representative, but it doth tell a significant cultural tale.