Thursday, April 30, 2009

Malcolm X College presents SECOND MOON

Malcolm X College Diversity Committee
with the assistance of the Office of the Vice President
the Communication and Fin
e Arts Department
Asian American Heritage Month with readings and film screenings:
Wed. April 29, 2009
2-5pm Screening of SECOND MOON
followed by Q&A and discussion
with filmmaker Masahiro Sugano

Malcolm X College
Cultural Center
1900 W. Van Buren
Chicago, IL 60612

May 1, 2009

Masahiro's thoughts on the event:

It was not widely circulated, but there was a special screening of Second Moon at Malcolm X College in late April. It was part of the series of events held during the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month that was sponsored by Cultural Diversity Committee of Malcolm X College.

The screening facility was awful. It was actually non-existent. The film was screened at a space by the entrance lobby where you could look over the freeway 290. There was much foot traffic that was heading back and for classes. It was projected from a laptop as part of monitor projection onto a portable screen on a tripod, which was tilted by about 5 annoying degrees. The speakers that came on the cart were probably big enough to resound through an apartment kitchen. The screening space was a wide open lobby. So the sound was virtually inaudible during the first 30 minutes of the screening. It was by far the worst screening experience I've ever had.

I do not consider myself a sensitive type when it comes to the method of presenting my film. I mean, it's not like theater, so I would rather not impose any standards in appreciating my film to the audience or the hosting party. The only thing I would ask is the best intention. But this event really gave me a wake-up call. I need to look out for my own film. If I did not, nobody will. This was a horrendous injustice, despite all the good wills of the people who made the event possible, to my film, my audience and myself as a director. I never felt lower during the course of Second Moon production. This screening event was supposed to mark the relaunching of Second Moon. It was supposed to be a booster. I wanted to cry but I was too dumb struck. I wanted to walk out but that felt whimpish and it would have solved nothing. I lost a sense of pride. I wondered what the hell I got myself involved. I realized I betrayed my film.

The screening was interrupted at around 30 minutes point and a tech person showed up to reconnect the audio line to a bigger speaker. This was one of those mono speakers that would usually get put up during a speech event. So it was one big speaker, not two. I was just so happy to finally be able to hear the words, I could not careless whether the sound splits to left and right. "So what did we miss?" asked one of the students druing the interruption. I could not believe myself but I knew it was necessary so I recapped what went on during the first 30 minutes of the film.

The saving grace of this experience was the Q&A at the end of the screeningafter two thirds of the people walked out to go to class or home. Well, let's not make it a secret. This was a new version I screened at Malcolm X. Yes, after two years of getting series of refusals from all kinds of film festivals, I went back to re-editing the film. So this was the first time I was showing this new version. I made that known during the opening intro, and asked the students to give me critical feedbacks. The students who stuck around really watched the film and gave me a long and enthusiastic feedback. This was a refreshing experience. Most Q&As at filmfestivals consist of general questions, half of them are lame and the other half are philosophical. This crowd was different. These kids were pointing out for me what worked and what didn't in the narrative. It was very straight forward and unpretentious. I was actually quite humbled by their analysis. There was one young lady who insisted that I bring back all the background stories for Bom, which got cut out tremendously since the first rought cut almost 3 years ago. Bom in the original script had a murderous intention against Don Jim from the get-go. It was also made clear that Q and Bom used to hang out in old days, and that Q was unknowingly recruited into Bom's conspiracy to achieve Bom's goal of taking down the Art of Love organization. Anyway, the young lady wanted all that back and her conviction really shook up my conviction about the editing decisions I had made, which eventually lead to a sit-down session with my producer (Sanghoon) and marketing rep (my wife), during which I was chastized for being indecisive.?Anyway, it was inspiring to get instructoins from the audience directly as to how to make improvements on my film. If not the acutal advice, I took in a sense of immediacy about the audience.?Films are made to be watched by the audience. It was refreshing to be reminded of the most simple fact about movies.?At the end of the sit-down session with my committee, Bom's background stories were decided to remian out of the narrative, by the way. And I think it's better that way. I swear.

The experience at Malcolm X College started out like hell and it ended up being quite inspiring. I sincerely want to thank the students who stuck around to tell me what they really thought about the film. I hope you will be proud of this film when we finally put it out to the real world.