Someone made a poster of my film!

3 07 2016

Someone made a really cool poster for my short film, June, and uploaded it to the film’s IMDB page! Who are you, mysterious designer? I am impressed and flattered that you even did such a thing! Also, I love it!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3450012/?ref_=nm_knf_i2

june poster

 





Watch my short film!

13 09 2015

And please leave a comment on YouTube. I’m sad it’s not getting more views. 😦





Is this all really worth it?

8 06 2014

I’m killing myself looking up queer film festivals around the world to send my film to, but I bet it won’t be accepted in more than three-quarters of them. The more I go through film festivals’ programs, the more I see that they types of films they screen have the gay/lesbian/queer thing very much upfront — and that’s not necessarily the stories that I want to tell. Sure, I made Stay which was super gay, but with something like June, which I think is my best, most artistic film to date, I want to explore other issues than just being gay. Maybe my films are too weird/artsy to fit in to typical film festivals; I’ve been reluctantly submitting my film as an experimental film, which I never considered it to be when I made it. And when my mom came in as I was going crazy, flipping through multiple open tabs on my browser of different film festivals, she asked what I was doing. When I told her I was sending off my film to festivals to get super famous, she told me to stop dreaming and left. I don’t expect to get super famous from my films, but I’d like some validation that my art and my stories are worth seeing, worth showing to other people. I’m thankful June has been screened at the Vancouver Queer Film Fest, though they have screened legitimately weird things, so my film hardly qualifies as too weird for them.

Maybe I was right to give up on film. The acceptances of my writing in various lit mags (despite lots of rejection from other places) has made me feel confident that my stories are worth publishing. I guess I feel like I either have to make clear, narrative films with gay characters facing gay situations, or I shouldn’t be a queer filmmaker if I expect popularity. And I don’t know if I want to do that.

My brain is a pile of mush right now so I will leave my existential crisis at that.





Not part of this year’s Queer Film Fest

11 02 2014

Last term, I had the idea of making a short documentary about the rampant, insidious amount of sexual racism in the gay community in Vancouver. Unfortunately, taking five courses, working part-time, and trying to spend time sending out my writing didn’t allow for the many hours needed to make a documentary. Instead, I opted to write a personal essay about the subject (which I got an A+ on!). Because I wasn’t working on a film to submit to Out on Screen/Vancouver Queer Film Festival, I thought the doc would be a super idea.

But that didn’t happen. And as the deadline for submissions approaches, it’s kinda sad, at least for me, that I won’t be part of The Coast is Queer program this year, like I have been for the past five years. Every year, it’s been an amazing experience to stand in front of an audience and introduce a film that people paid to see. I can’t describe it. After last year’s QFF, I contemplated retiring from film and working more in writing, as it seemed that was a more fruitful avenue for my creative endeavours, but people advised me to keep making films while I write. It’s a lot of time, money, and effort to make a film, much more than writing, and while I would like to do both, realistically, it’s such a huge undertaking (did I mention the money?) that for the most part, I have to do myself. I wish I could, but I’m not sure it’s very sustainable.

So back to this year. Yeah, it’s a little sad that I won’t be seeing my name up on the website and I won’t be up on stage with other fantastic local filmmakers. I remember when I first sat in the audience at Tinseltown. It was minutes away from showtime.

“Are you nervous?” my friend Jacky asked me.

“No,” I responded.

A few minutes later. “Okay, now I’m nervous.”

I remember how fast my heart pounded as I watched On the Bus play, hearing people’s laughter, their “Awwww!” at the end of the film. And then hearing them clap after. It was surreal.

And then to return year after year with new films, some of which I had only recently completed before the screening (shhh, don’t tell anyone). I never felt like my films were guaranteed to get picked for The Coast is Queer program, so it was always a surprise and a delight when I got the email that they were.

I’ll miss that. I wonder if anyone will miss me and my films. I have no idea, since I’m not very popular. I guess I feel like it’s kind of like the end of an era, or the end of my film streak.

But maybe I’ll return next year with a brilliant film. Who knows.





I get shit done.

8 02 2014

Spent the day polishing up a TV episode for an original series I worked on with my classmates.

Read up on a couple articles for my Environmental Design class.

Watched Inside Llewyn Davis (fantastic film. One of my favourites from 2013, for sure).

Got super news today that a memoir piece I submitted to Existere has been accepted for publication. Hell yes! Proceeded to stomp around in pure glee in my kitchen upon reading the email.

Spent the rest of the evening looking up film festivals where I could submit my short film, June, and submitted to a whole bunch.

Sometimes, I think my personal motto should be I’m gay, and I get shit done.





The death of my film career

6 01 2014

I spent the past few minutes submitting my latest film I completed last year, June, to queer film festivals. Only I did it with a sense of defeat. I’ve been telling people for the last while that I’m starting to move away from film; having written and directed short films for the past few years and not gotten much out of it except for a cool thing I can boast about every now and then, filmmaking, as fun as it has been, is so difficult to not just make money from, but to get people interested in.

I’d love to get screened at Outfest, but they’ve rejected all my films, year after year. I’d love to win the Gerry Brunet Award, but I haven’t. I don’t make films for money, but when I put money (and hard work and time and all that) into something I do and don’t get nearly as much after, it leaves you feeling a little deflated.

As with music, the first artsy project I undertook when I was exiting my teens and entering the scary world of the twenty-something, I found that people just didn’t care. And it was hard to make people care, especially when I’m not the type to go around proclaiming how everyone should “listen to my cover on my youtube channel because I’m 5 years old and it would mean so much to me please!” I don’t know what it is. Maybe I just marketed myself poorly when I went around the city and played shows, shows where the other musicians were all guitarists and seemingly more approachable than a gay, Chinese kid playing sad songs on a keyboard.

I’ve been unpopular my whole life, but I guess I thought that people would see through that and get interested in my music because my music was quality. So when I quit music and turned to film, that cycle and that hope began again– only now, I’m declaring the film world the winner, and me the loser.

I like my films. I know they’re not perfect, and I know they may not be super fancy because they’re simple films, but I like to think they’re different and they have a certain quality to them. I like to think I have interesting stories to tell, especially with June, which I’ve spent almost two years developing. I guess I wouldn’t be so reluctant and unenthusiastic about sending out my short film if I didn’t have to pay a submission fee, since it’s not even guaranteed that my film will be shown. And even when it is shown, many film festivals don’t pay, at least not short film filmmakers. So I end up paying a festival to watch my work, potentially paying more money to send an exhibition copy of the film — all in exchange for some people watching my film for 6 minutes.

Is this good enough? Is exposure really good enough? Not for short films. Maybe for features, but most people, I think, don’t really think about short films after (unless they’re exceptional), and even then, it’s unlikely that short film filmmakers get their big break via exposure. It’s difficult for me to justify sending out my film to a festival I feel won’t screen my work when they won’t pay me for it, after I’ve spent a long time working on it. But what else can I do?

I’ll still be sending out June because I spent so much time and effort (and money) on it that it would be a waste to simply let it sit on my computer this year. In a perfect world, short film filmmakers would get more than just exposure. I make films — and music and I write — because I love it. But I can’t use love to rent out equipment for my next film and to pay for film transferring, and for all the people who worked on my film. Wish I could though.





Coast is Queer reviews? Anyone?

29 08 2013

Having trouble trying to find anyone’s reactions/reviews to the wonderful short films at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s Coast is Queer last week. I’m super interested in hearing what people had to say about my film, June  (does that make me self-centered?)

Please comment, someoneeeeeeeeee…………..





Article about me and my film!

22 08 2013

Look at me! I’m so cool.

http://gayvancouver.net/2013-vancouver-queer-film-fest/the-coast-is-queer-june-may-very-well-have-been-inspired-by-a-piano-playing-cat/

The Coast is Queer: June may very well have been inspired by a piano playing cat

A Vancouver Queer Film Festival veteran, June is the fifth short from Aaron Chan.  A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Aaron Chan, and I am a musician/writer/filmmaker/creative writing student at UBC. Oh, and I’m a Sagittarius, if anyone was wondering.

Who were your early filmmaking mentors or inspirations?

I started out in film making documentary shorts as part of the Playing It Safe project, co-funded by the National Film Board. Terri Wynnyk, who was one of the organizers of the project and a filmmaker herself, first got me thinking deeply about being selective about images and how they support a story on screen.

I also love older, classic films. Billy Wilder is one of my favourite filmmakers of all time; his natural gift for dialogue and humour and telling a story is amazing. Fritz Lang, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin are also great at how they convey story and emotion with little to no words; I learned a lot of how to show, rather than tell, from silent films.

In terms of more modern filmmakers, I adore Wes Anderson’s sense of humour and the indie-feel of his films, Ang Lee’s grand visual style, and Hiyao Miyazaki because he’s just awesome and tells wonderful stories.

What inspired you to make June?

I woke up in the middle of the night one night and saw that the light on top of my piano was on. It could’ve been my cat, but I began thinking it was a ghost. When I couldn’t fall asleep again, because I was thinking about the ghost, I began constructing a story about why this ghost wanted to turn the light on and why it might want to play the piano. After that, the story came naturally to me and I when I grew attached to the script, I knew I had to try and get it made.

What challenges did you face while making June?

Oh god, what challenges didn’t we face while making this film? I think our biggest challenge was synching up everyone’s schedules to find a day that worked for everyone to film. Case in point: we had originally planned to shoot in December of 2011, but after many, many delays and difficulties, including finding someone with a piano that would let a crew mess around for a couple days we finally got to filming in July of 2012. More than half a year later, we finally filmed. Scheduling is definitely not my favourite thing to do.

What’s been the coolest experience so far with the film?

I actually finished the film only about a week [or two] ago, so it hasn’t really been anywhere. I’d say that the coolest experience with the film is having it screened at Out on Screen, for sure. Other than that, I think it’s really cool when the cast and the crew were able to relate so much to the emotion behind the film even though it’s a silent film, and it makes me, as a filmmaker and a storyteller, feel like I’m doing something right.

Are you a film festival newbie or have you had another film(s) at the Festival?

This is my fifth short film at the festival! I’m always surprised and excited every year to be a part of it.

What are you most excited to do and/or see at this year’s Queer Film Fest?

Honestly, I’m just really excited to see a lot of diverse queer films. The Lot in Sodom + Vintage Porn program is really interesting, especially since I do love older films (and vintage porn? I’m there!). I’ll also be attending the workshop with Michelle Tea (Book Your Own F**king Career) since as an artist, I need all the help I can get to ever live as one. I’m also planning to catch In the Name of and G.B.F. which looks like a lot of fun.





Finally done.

6 08 2013

After a big fight with me and Premiere Pro last night and this morning/afternoon, June has officially been submitted to the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. Whether or not it the disc works and will play is a whole other story, muahahahahahahaha!

I went to bed after 3am last night so it’s been a long day. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrr





Could it be?

27 07 2013

Could it be that I have finally advanced one more step to finishing my film by having a final sound edit? Wow!

Also, Amber Dawn is awesome. But y’all should know that by now.