Monthly Archives: June 2013

Meet Thai Phuong

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Thai Phuong. Photo by Lupo Porschen.

WHO:

Thai Phuong is an Asian-Australian actor. Born in a Thai refugee camp, his family fled to Melbourne Australia when he was just two years old. At seventeen his parents moved to the east coast of the United States, to North Carolina, to pursue the American dream. But Thai’s American dream lied elsewhere. At nineteen he packed his bags and hit the road, making the three-thousand mile journey alone to LA to pursue acting. Thai has had the fortunate opportunity to work with producers such as Todd Phillips, Scott Budnick and Joel Silver and opposite talent such as Ludacris, Terry Crews, Tia Mowry and Tichina Arnold to name a few.

AAFFN:

TV and films are some of the top mediums actors hope to work in, and you’ve been working in both on an international scale since at least 2009.  What types of characters have you found the most fun or rewarding so far?

PHUONG:

It’s funny you ask that because I thought my favourite characters to play were funny and quirky ones. But I recently got the opportunity to play a more dramatic character on a John Sayles film called “Go for Sisters”, and I got to say, that was one of the best experiences that I have had so far. Maybe it was because I got to step out of my comfort zone for the first time.

AAFFN:

Who have been some of your best supporters and mentors, or people who have given you golden advice in your journey as an actor and indeed, more recently as producer of the award winning The Boat? Who do you turn to for feedback when you need it?

PHUONG:

Definitely my co-producer Somchay Phakonkham, who is also one of my best friends. Somchay and I have been supporting each other since we began in this industry. He is always the one I go to for advice and he is always there to support me in this very hard journey. But I like to consider myself very fortunate to have many supporters in my life. My family and friends are all very supportive and believe in me.

AAFFN:

What are you currently working on and where can we catch it?

PHUONG:

I am currently working on a CGI sci-fi series called “The New Kind”. The script is amazing and there are over 200 people working in the animation department who have worked on some of Hollywood’s biggest films. The series is created and directed by Peter Hyoguchi and can currently be found on Youtube. I also just wrapped a feature film called “Go for Sisters”, directed by Oscar nominated writer/director John Sayles. It has recently been accepted into SXSW Film Festival, and is currently in the works for distribution.

AAFFN:

What would you love to do in the future?

PHUONG:

I would really love to have the opportunity to direct a feature one day. It has always been an interest for me, but that will happen when the time is right.

AAFFN:

What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?

PHUONG:

Well honestly it happened by chance. As a kid I just always knew I wanted to be good at something and be able to share it with the world. I had never considered acting because I grew up in Australia with immigrant parent who didn’t speak much English. The entertainment industry seemed more like a fairytale. Then when I was fifteen, I got a job working at a local supermarket and met a co-worker who had been in a Pepsi commercial. He recommended me to attend his theatre. I signed up, got trained there and immediately fell in love with performing. That was when I knew I wanted to entertain people all over the world. I want to have many professions in life, and acting allows me to do so. I can be so many different characters, live many different lives and when the director yells cut, I go home as me.

AAFFN:

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?

PHUONG:

Work your ass off! No but seriously, the entertainment industry is one of the hardest industries to get into, which makes it the most rewarding. Just be determined, persistent and proactive, and there is no reason you won’t succeed. But that doesn’t just apply to the entertainment industry, whatever field you want to get into, just believe in yourself and work hard. You WILL achieve what you want if you don’t give up and are willing to put in the work.

AAFFN:

An oldie, but a goodie. Or at least, this can be a fun question – If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?

PHUONG:

That’s a tough one! I think I would have to say:

1. Michael Bay. The guy really inspires me. As a music video and commercial director he took two television actors and created a blockbuster. I feel that his creativity, inspiration, and visions are honestly mind blowing. I have heard that he likes to shoot fast, allow his actors the freedom to improv, but at the same time, push them to their limits. I would love to pick at his brain and see what he looks for in an actor. I honestly can’t think of any movie that he has made that I don’t find entertaining. He doesn’t just blow something up, he blows it up with style!

2. Mila Kunis, she has been my celebrity crush for the longest! I would love to have the opportunity to sit down and get to know her personally. On top of that, she is very talented and I would love to work with her one day.

3. George W. Bush. I know nothing about politics but there has never been a President in history that is as hilarious! Watching interviews on the man gives me a sense of his personality and he’s actually a really funny guy. I would love to sit down and get to know him and maybe have a laugh or two.

Folks can find out more about Thai Phuong and see his showreel here:

Thai Phuong was interviewed by AAFFN’s Indigo Willing.

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Meet Matthew Victor Pastor

Matt Pastor AAFFN

Matt Victor Pastor in Hong Kong. Image by Alexander Lo.

WHO:

Matthew Victor Pastor is a young Aussie storyteller who communicates through the language of cinema. He has crafted a selection of films, which have been featured at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, Melbourne International Student Film Festival, The Age Fringe Festival and Colourfest. He stands alone because of his determination to document the identify crises that is pervasive amongst first/second generation Australian born Asians. A determination born from a love of his medium; after completing his first feature film at 21 (Love with the Poet) – a privately funded totally independent affair – Pastor became depressed with the expectations of his culture and refused to show the world his labour of love, starting a career as a property agent in Hong Kong. However the allure of the moving image was too ingrained on the young artist’s heart and despite advice to stabilize financially living as an expatriate in Hong Kong, he instead decided to jump headfirst into his feature film titled ‘Made in Australia’. Rounding up a Hong Kong film crew he completed the film whilst sleeping on couches and hustling for cash. Now residing in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia the young artist aims to continuously produce boundary pushing cinema and art in hopes to inspire others.

AAFFN:

You have been a filmmaker for a number of years now, moving from short films like RANDOM that screened at Colour Film Fest, GHOST MAN which will also screen in film festivals, to now your first feature, MADE IN AUSTRALIA.   You have a very existential quality to your films, that I’ve likened to a cross between a Wim Wenders and Hal Hartley tone of loneliness, but with a Stanley Kurbrick angst thrown in, and yet this really Australian, and Asian, and Asian Australian vibe at the same time.  Let’s talk about that:

How would you describe the emotive textures of your films and driving narratives?

PASTOR:

Instinctively I gravitate towards interesting people. Wanderers, outsiders, dreamers and artists. These are the people that I surround myself with. They populate my reality, so in turn my films tend to be personal and about these kinds of people. Much of film-making is out of one’s control, the concept of capturing emotion is limiting, so I tend to let go of all control to create a movie. For my last three films (RANDOM, GHOST MAN AND MADE IN AUSTRALIA), the films titles open with “THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERS ARE PLAYING THEMSELVES”, and with this text alone I’ve submitted to the person/performer to make my film work. Of course there’s a map, but that’s dictated by circumstance. For example, whilst making “Made In Australia”, which we filmed in Hong Kong, we were supposed to film a scene in which my character has destructive sexual relations with his lover. Before filming I went down to the 7/11 to buy some alcohol, some Hennessey to smash down and get me in the emotional zone, and on the way back there’s a construction site, so I call the team to come downstairs. As opposed to shooting the sex scene, I completely make up another scene (some metaphorical surreal scene which is now in the final edit) and we film it then and there guerrilla style in a construction site. So the next day I’m on the way to 7/11 and there’s this big wooden wall up, last night’s set is now enclosed from the public. If I had waited 8 hours I’d never had that amazing scene, but my emotional response was to film the scene then and there. This was the same with “Ghost Man” and how I met the street performer in Mong Kok after a random cold approach. Suddenly it’s 3am, I’m at his seedy Chung King Mansion apartment and this stranger is a living breathing part of my movie. Everything in my films comes from a real emotional response happening at the time including how one’s self-hood is revealed.

AAFFN:

You act in your films and direct, sometimes in the lead. Any special preparation? Is it hard to watch yourself and what do you learn about yourself each time from these experiences?

PASTOR:

I’m a terrible actor. If someone were to ask me to act, I would not know what to do. I only play myself in films, therefore it’s not exactly acting, kind of like shining my subconscious outwards. As I said earlier, everything is an emotional response to how I’m feeling at the time, and since my last three films have been about angst, infidelity and heartbreak, it would seem I’ve got some unresolved issues I’ve probably got to work out. Since “Made In Australia” is my autobiographical film, it’s near impossible for me to watch over without getting emotional. It’s the time stamp of when I lost my innocence and experienced an out of the body experience from a broken heart. For example in the opening of “Made In Australia”, I’m standing naked on the beach, and we focus on a self inflected wounds and scars over my body. This externalises that the following film is going to be raw, in fact it shows how much this film hurt to make. I’m massively insecure about my penis size, but I open with a close-up of it. It’s like I’m humiliating myself! The contradiction is I felt I needed to make this film to function as a human being, so in turn I hurt myself to create, but it’s essential to my well being.

AAFFN:

Tell us about working with your real life friends, associates and sometimes, partners. Is it hard to balance fact with fiction?

PASTOR:

I’m a sucker for sentiment. I think by capturing it as it’s happening I freeze time. I can watch the film and live in the past. Especially with my past relationships, many experiences which end up in my films, I can watch over these moments in my fictionalised world and linger there. With “Made In Australia”, it’s the narrative of a real relationship breakdown as it’s happening, and because of that it’s only brought me a deep sense of longing to live it all again. I loved every moment of making that film, because the love and the heartbreak was real to me. During the edit all I could think about was being back under those Neon Lights in Hong Kong, living all those moments for eternity. I don’t really see it as a negative anymore, I’m just too in love with everything that I went through to make the movie.

AAFFN:

There’s a growing number of Asian Australian stories making it to the screen and gaining audiences. Does anyone inspire you who has achieved this?

PASTOR:

I dug “The Home Song Stories” by Tony Ayres. That film was dope. I love Alice Pung and her writing, she’s hit the Australian market with her novels and it’s great to see there are artists in Australia making movies, writing novels about our experiences in Australia. I’m definitely inspired by these guys, Khoa Do included, but my favourite Australian Film would have to be HAIL. Now Amiel Courtin-Wilson might not be Asian Australian but that man made a damn good film. I think he filmed a movie in Cambodia recently. That’s cool. Regardless I want to see more Australian Asians unashamed, pushing buttons and stuffs like that.

AAFFN:

Who are your other inspirations?

 PASTOR:

I like Harmony Korine, Vincent Gallo, Sion Sono and Paul Thomas Anderson. They are all Gods of movie making. Musically I like Kanye West. That dudes a God of music. He even released a song called “I Am a God”, in which includes the lyrics “Hurry up with my Damn Croissant’s”. I think there’s something endearing about that kind of narcissism. I also like African American culture, they’re so damn creative. I like people who think out of the box and are unashamed.

AAFFN:

What kinds of stories or projects do you want to be involved with in the future

PASTOR:

I’d like to one day write/direct the great Modern Asian-Australian story. Like a Magnolia multi-narrative epic with an Ensemble cast of Asians in Australia as their lives intersect and collide. A movie which will do what Spike Lee’s, Do The Right Thing did for the African Americans. One day.

TRAILER: GHOST MAN
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Nbx33p9JTE

Matt Pastor was interviewed by AAFFN’s Indigo Willing.

TIME OF OUR LIVES teaser

Air date Sunday 16 June for Time Of Our Lives … Props to Michelle Vergara Moore and team
http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2013/04/airdate-cliffy-paper-giants-magazine-wars-the-time-of-our-lives.html

Kitchen Whiz with Kitchen Ninja Andy Minh Trieu on air

Are you watching Andy’s latest moves on Kitchen Whiz as Kitchen Ninja? We’ll let you in…he is the awesome!

Kitchen ninja

Official website: http://www.kitchenwhiz.com.au/#ourhosts

Tình Rồng | Dragon Love Song, Long Tran ft. Jai

Maria Tran and co have been filming an MV for Tình Rồng | Dragon Love Song at Cabramatta. Check out a preview here.

Daft Punk launch in Wee Waa

We loved every video from Tokyo Love In’s Mike Chin and his collaborators in their work for the Daft Punk launch in NSW’s country town of Wee Waa!

See all at ROAD TO WEE WAA:

http://www.youtube.com/user/RoadToWeeWaa?feature=watch

Made In Australia by Matt Pastor

Trailer – film to debut at festivals soon.

Lawrence Leung gonna knock you out…

It’s not come back, Lawrence Leung has been around for years…thank goodness he keeps coming back.

This time, to unpack reality programs.  Looking forward to it!

New from George Dot Play

George Dot Play

Candy crush saga

Asian Female 25-35 Actors – MINORITY BOX by Pearl Tan

Which minority group would you like to see featured? Let’s get the conversation cranking!
http://twitter.com/pearlyproducnts