By Lia Chang
I am over the moon that my Bev’s Girl Films producing partner Garth Kravits and I are now award-winning filmmakers. Our debut indie short, Hide and Seek, was named among the top ten films of the Asian American Film Lab’s 11th Annual 72 Hour Film Shootout filmmaking competition. A sold-out World Premiere screening on Saturday afternoon took place at Cinema Village East during the 38th Asian American International Film Festival in New York.
Garth is a very talented actor, singer, composer and musician, so I knew we were more than up to the challenge of writing, shooting, editing, scoring and delivering our 5 minute short film, within 72 hours of learning the theme – Two Faces – at the Shootout launch party on June 4th.
A worldwide filmmaking competition celebrating gender and ethnic diversity in film, Shootout teams compete for cash and prizes and the chance to have their films screened at the prestigious Asian American International Film Festival, the only festival of its kind on the East Coast, as well as at the Asians on Film Festival in Los Angeles, California.
I seized upon the idea to play two separate characters with two different personalities.
We co-produced, co-wrote and co-starred in Hide and Seek. Making the film was an exhilarating ride. No stranger to multi-tasking, Garth shared camera operator duties with Evan Daves, composed the original score by singing his vision of the soundtrack over the phone to guitarist Tyler Kent in the last two hours before our deadline, directed and edited the film. The cast also features Evan Daves and Alicia Manns.
At the World premiere screening, filmmakers learn for the first time whether they have made the Top Ten winners, and individual prizes are awarded in numerous categories. You could feel a collective breath being held.
What?! In the darkness of the theater after the eighth film played, I sat there in shock as our title credits for Hide and Seek appeared on the screen. I was so overwhelmed that I had tears streaming down my face.
Hide and Seek speaks to the societal challenge that women, and especially women of color, endure every day. To look in the mirror and to hope to see a face other than your own. One that is closer to what magazines, television and movies define as beautiful or even normal. What face do you see when you look in the mirror?
Because of competitions like the Asian American Film Lab’s 72 Hour Shootout, we had the invaluable and rare opportunity to tell our fully realized story with an Asian American woman in the lead role. Hide and Seek is a very personal film to me as I began my life in front of the camera as a model at the age of 15, before working in film, television and theater.
The icing on the cake was to be recognized with a Best Actress, Film Lab 72 Hour Shootout of 2015 nomination.
After all of the winners had been announced and we filed out of the theater, men and women shared how they had been moved or touched by our film. They found it to be inspirational and self-affirming. They related to the character’s feeling of being invisible, being unhappy with her looks and uncomfortable in her own skin, and having the need to embrace another form of beauty or attractiveness other than her own.
Check out our movie in the link below.
This year’s 72 Hour Shootout judges included Emmy nominated director Rodrigo Garcia, ABC Executive Director of Casting Marci Phillips, playwright David Henry Hwang, agent David Elliott, stuntman Lane Leavitt, and director Bertha Bay-Sa Pan. Several of the judges were in attendance at the premiere and awards ceremony and judges David Henry Hwang and Bertha Bay-Sa Pan, who could not appear in person, gave remarks via video and congratulated the filmmakers.
Click below to see all of the winners.
For more information, check out www.asianamericanfilmlab.com
The top 40 72 Hour Shootout films can be viewed on the Film Lab’s online channel AAFLTV (subscribe for free at YouTube.com/asamfilmlab and many will also be featured on the Film Lab’s TV series, “Film Lab Presents.”
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. She has guest starred on “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “New York Undercover.” She is profiled in Jade Magazine.