Expanding your film community to build a career
In celebration of Asian Heritage Month this coming May, the Vancouver Asian Film Festival is kicking off its Mighty Asian Moviemaking Marathon campaign with a special “Diversity in Filmmaking” panel series provided virtually from May 9 to May 30, 2020 (every Saturday at 2:00 pm PST) to better cope with the monumental change that the pandemic has brought the world and the film industry.
In our second panel series we welcomed Albert Shin (director, writer, producer: In Her Place, Krivina), Jennifer Liao (director, writer, producer: End of Days, Inc.), and Gorrman Lee (Writer: Netflix’s The Order, Syfy’s Van Helsing) moderated by our creative producer Arnold Lim. These filmmakers gave us insight on building careers in film and challenges that they face within industry.
From a childhood passion, to entering film school with no safety net, Albert discusses the labour and dedication it took to now end up having co-owning a production company. Even with the pandemic he advises that, as filmmakers, the constant grind and finding ways to get work done remotely is important. Having worked on projects with small budgets to large scale productions, Albert emphasizes the importance of creating that network within the film industry and making yourself known to programmers will lead to greater opportunities.
For Jennifer, she has been focusing on her transition to LA while still keeping her roots to Vancouver. She also talked about expanding her opportunities and creating a greater playing field with this move. Jennifer gave insight as to the difference between the two industries and the importance of utilising agents to put you in the right rooms. Amidst the pandemic, her team is working with what they have, finding creative solutions that allow for work to continue as normal in the post production of Grandma Dearest.
As a writer, Gorrman has been actively keeping up in ‘virtual’ writing rooms with his projects. Beyond that, he thoroughly discussed how to make it as a writer especially when it may be discouraging at times to have your ideas dismissed. Working on a show, there are many components that make the reworking of ideas essential—from thoroughly discussing arcs, writing for commercial breaks, to creating the perfect cliffhanger. As an Asian Canadian working in the writer’s room, he adds that his diversity has helped him in that “people are looking to add new voices.”
The main heart of this panel is that, in the face of a pandemic, filmmakers must find creative solutions to advance their careers and passions. As Albert said, “there is opportunity for emerging filmmakers as well to use their ‘covid pass’.” While it may seem daunting to submit to film festivals, the importance of getting your name out there is stressed by all our panelists.
If you’re interested in watching the panel discussion, you can watch the recording here.
Stay tuned as well every Saturday afternoon to explore how CoVid-19 has impacted all aspects of filmmaking and filmmakers’ lives. Our creative producers Mayumi Yoshida, Nach Dudsdeemaytha and Joshua Lam, as well as producers Arnold Lim, Lynne Lee and Regina Leung will lead a panel discussion each week about different areas of film development and production and addressing issues arising in these unprecedented times. Reserve your ticket here.
Thank you to our sponsors British Columbia Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture – Multiculturalism and STORYHIVE and it’s also co-presented by Community Organizations explorASIAN, Crazy8s Film Society, Celluloid Social Club, Hapa-palooza Festival, Raindance Vancouver,, PCHC-MoM Society , Vancouver Short Film Festival and Women in Film & Television Vancouver.
Sara Cortes is the content and copywriter at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival. She is a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia where she majored in Economics with a minor in International Relations. Her passion for Asian representation in the arts led her to join the VAFF team.