Author Archives: Jason

And now for something different…

Today, I’d like to not talk about films and share with you a little decision I made while running. ImageThis morning, it was 3 degrees Celsius outside out in Vancouver. A little on the cool side, but it was dry and I finally had some spare time so I decided to join my partner for a run around Stanley Park. For those of you who are not familiar with Stanley Park, it is a 1000 acres oasis right in the heart of Vancouver and it is surrounded by water on three sides. Our destination: Third Beach! The idea of running out in the cold did not appeal to me at first and to where ugly bulky layers in public did not help put my mind at ease. Our neighborhood is a tourist destination and home of the gays. However, the thought of doing something different was more satisfying than being on Facebook.

The temperature was bearable and there were lots of people out in the sea wall. As long as you kept moving, it was fine. The sea was calm and the tide was low so you can see all the birds rummaging through the rocks for their morning meal. I found solace in the imagery. Continue reading

Beautiful Thing

by Jason

What’s a queer film that hits you right in the gut? I’m talking about that film that made you come out, or reaffirm who you are. For me that film is Beautiful Thing (1996), the tender coming of age story between a young outcast and a high school jock who fall in love with each other in the outskirts of London. It was a straightforward romance!  When that film came out, I was on my way to becoming a geologist. I didn’t know what to pursue and a career in the sciences seem like a good option that would set the bar for my siblings, and satisfy my parents.

Continue reading

Blast From the Past: Home for the Holidays

Recently I discovered Home for the Holidays, a Jodie Foster film. I was surprised to find Robert Downey Jr. playing a gay sibling who is too afraid to announce to his parents that he was married to his boyfriend. For a 1995 film, this was a very progressive image to have in theaters and kudos to Jodie Foster for having the courage to make such a film so close to Hollywood. Home for the Holidays starred Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, Dylan McDermott, Steve Guttenberg, Cynthia Stevenson, and Claire Danes. It was made through Polygram Pictures, a film production company that differed from traditional Hollywood studios in that the power to make a film was decided by negotiations between producers, management and marketing rather than centralized in a small number of executives.

Fast forward 16 years and crowdsourcing (websites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo) have largely replaced Polygram Pictures as a way to green light stories that would normally not be made in a traditional Hollywood studio model. Continue reading

Technical Problems Bring People Together

New York filmmaker, Joyce Wu, experienced something that no filmmaker should ever endure. She traveled all the way from New York to the Vancouver premiere of her short film, “Withholding,” and witnessed the presentation of her hard work on the big screen with technical problems. I had the pleasure of meeting Joyce in San Francisco and saw her well-made film presented flawlessly. We could imagine the agony she must’ve endured as she silently watched strangers critique her abilities. Sadly, this is not the first time I have witnessed good work presented poorly. And here are some prevention tips: Continue reading

Take Me Out Square Dancing for Halloween

by Jason

On a recent trip to Washington, I was confronted by a member of the audience about my claim that it was difficult to find young square dancers. She had watched “Square Dance Story” at the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival, and perplexed by my claim. It happens that she was friends with organizers of Square Dance Collective. The Collective is a local DC group  that hosts a square dance in the sanctuary of a local, social justice-oriented church (St Stephens) every month and is changing people’s Saturday night going-out plans.  Yes, square dancing, contra dancing and many traditional folk dances have a public relations problem, but it does not mean that they are not fun! It also means that they can be open to re-interpretation, and what generation to do this than the youth.

I asked Anne Uebelacker, an established caller, what makes an outfit western and she just said western boots. They could wear mini-skirts, tank tops, spaghetti straps, but in order to make it a western outfit, they’ll need boots! This gave me room to experiment, and I even bent some by having my lead character, the outsider,  wear black ballet shoes while the rest of his outfit remained “western”. Continue reading

We are the Packaged Generation

by Jason

How will history judge us? The Occupy Wall Street protests are a revolt to everything that is wrong in society. We are seeking truth in an age of flashy packaging, spin doctors and increasingly intrusive marketing techniques.

Are you married, or you must get married?

What is your income level, or you should attain to have this income level?

Are you gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgendered? Therefore you must be this way, or why wouldn’t you want to openly come out? Continue reading

Living Photos

by Jason

Wall art can be eclectic, inspiring and bizarre, but there is one common item that I have seen hanging somewhere on everyone’s walls and that’s photographs of themselves, family or friends. However in today’s age of the iPad, flat screen televisions and digital picture frames, I am surprised that there are not any looping videos, a living photo frame, on our walls similar to those found in the world of Harry Potter.

Not everything has to be recorded, but there is an ephemeral quality to see the moment before and after a very special photograph. Still pictures can create a false sense of reality, and be downright boring, if one chooses to only show people smiling. We tend to take notice when we see imperfections. I love candid stills, especially because people are caught in real situations.

These looping videos should not be long, perhaps only 40 seconds maximum, and there should not be any audio. Continue reading