The People Behind The Film
We met Chris Chung at the Triforce Short Film Festival in which he had submitted his current short Lux, still currently on the festival circuit. It’s a visually beautiful film with a very simple character driven relationship at its heart. We particularly marked the dynamics of the relationship between Chris and his actor and fellow producer on Lux, Connor McKenzy. There was an obvious rapport and mutual support and what we like to call a give-and-take as they responded to our questions. You can see the interview on our blog but you’ll have to wait until the festival circuit has run its course before you get a chance to watch Lux on Snoovies. However, because Chris is such a nice person, he wondered whether we’d be interested in considering his Virgin Shorts entrance and finalist Handuken. So we asked him to send it to us.
It came. We saw. We were conquered.
I was very much involved with making short action videos inspired by Bruce Lee.
Handuken is both a parody of and an homage to the martial art films from Hong Kong, such as Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle and Bruce Lee’s Game of Death. From childhood Chris has been making mini video films on early digital cameras and, encouraged by his father, was particularly keen to copy his favorite action scenes. As he became more involved and eventually went on to study at university, his range grew and he now cites Martin Scorsese and Michael Mann as his strongest influences.
I do remember when we found out we were shortlisted it was pretty surreal!
Chris made Handuken specifically for the Virgin Shorts competition and the restrictions that they imposed strongly affected the ultimate result. Apart from the requirement to make a film that was less than three minutes, there was also a stipulation that there should be no violence. This meant that Chris and his colleagues had to come up with some pretty imaginative solutions in shooting what was supposed to be a Kung Fu flick. It’s a common claim with many of the short film makers we come across that the very fact they don’t have unlimited resources, or time or even props they might want, actually stimulates their creativity and forces them to produce a better film. There’s just not enough time for self-indulgent acting or long shots or simmering introductions. So we get straight to the point. Chris’ solution was to turn the fight sequence into a familiar game and the result is brilliant and funny.
I love short films, it’s great to experiment.
Having made “a whole bunch” of short movies, Chris is pretty certain that even when he becomes a household name, he would still continue to do so. Short filmmaking allows him to experiment and develop his own voice. He usually funds his films out of profits generated by his freelance corporate work which both gives him a greater sense of achievement and also more freedom. Of course another benefit of short films is that they can take as little as a day or two to shoot. It’s a long slog for a director on set – having to be there at 6am and not usually leave until 7pm. His job is to make sure everyone is comfortable and happy with what they’re doing long before he gets to call out ‘action’. Although his films are low budget they have high production values.
It’s the first time I’ve worked with an editor actually
One of the joys of writing for Snoovies is that we get the chance to really grill a director on how a certain shot was made. We wanted to know what Chris’ thought processes were as he sat in front of his editing suite with an hour of footage that he needed to cut down to three minutes. What’s fascinating is the subtle camera work that you didn’t notice but that explains how the audience’s feelings were manipulated. Although Chris is quite a retiring person his range and abilities are impressive. Lux has already gained a couple of awards on the circuit and, in contrast to Handuken, it is a very contemplative piece of work. He is now also completing another short film which is again in a different vein. It’s a thriller / drama sequence that is as yet unnamed. And then there’s what he’d been shooting on the interview day. He has to stay a little more discreet about this as it is a TV pilot and he is directing it for another producer called Bruce Chong (he who was floored by Paper punch in Handuken).
The plan is to pitch the concept with a finished pilot to commissioners rather than the usual approach, which is to just pitch an idea. The concept is close to Chris’ heart and it’s been a labour of love for over a year.
Get in touch with Chris via his website or via Twitter.
Aaron Ly also has his own website and can also be found on Twitter.
To learn more about Bruce Chong, check out his self introduction video on YouTube. Alternatively, reach out to him on Twitter.
Check IMDB for further info about Alan_kylow and Wai Wong. Alan is also active on Twitter.