MILLIONS Film Festival Update 6 and a CBC Appearance!

Hey guys, I just wanted to quickly mention that our upcoming TORONTO PREMIERE on SAT, APRIL 5TH at 8PM is nearly sold out, so the ReelWorld Film Festival has graciously added another screening to accommodate demand the next day on SUN, APRIL 6TH at 2PM in the same Toronto venue. Tickets are already going fast, and the Markham screening on SAT, APRIL 12TH at 5PM, which is twice the size of the Toronto theatre, is more than half sold out already. So if you are making plans to attend, please buy your tickets online right away at the links above. For clarity, here are the details on the screenings once again:

SAT, APRIL 5TH at 8PM
SUN, APRIL 6TH at 2PM
Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas
2190 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario
To Purchase Tickets Online for April 5th: http://reelworld.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=637033
To Purchase Tickets Online for April 6th: http://reelworld.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=647809

SAT, APRIL 12TH at 5PM
Cineplex Odeon First Markham Place Cinemas
3275 Highway 7 East
Markham, Ontario
To Purchase Tickets Online: http://reelworld.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=637037

If you can’t make any of the screenings, watch for the ONLINE PREMIERE shortly after on MON, APRIL 28TH at 8PM EST, right here!

And before I go, I also wanted to mention that Melanie, Tanya (who plays LIA), and I will be making an appearance on “Our Toronto” with Marivel Taruc on CBC this Sat, April 5th at 6AM, April 6th and 7th at 11AM chatting about our journey making MILLIONS!

We look so happy.

So it’s the morning of our ReelWorld Screenings. We had a blast with Marivel, who is an absolutely lovely woman. Don’t miss it!

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MILLIONS Film Festival Update 5 and an ONLINE RELEASE DATE!

Hey guys, just wanted to make a few big announcements. First, we’ve been selected to screen at the 2014 LA Web Fest between March 26 and 30 in Los Angeles, California, and the 1st Annual 2014 Vancouver Web Fest between May 2 and 4 in Vancouver, Canada. Please visit LAWebFest.com and VancouverWebFest.com for more details on locations, times, and ticket prices.

Second – and this is a screening we’ve been hoping would finally happen for quite some time – we’ll be making our Feature-Length TORONTO PREMIERE at the 14th Annual ReelWorld Film Festival on SAT, APRIL 5TH at 8PM at the Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas (2190 Yonge Street) in Toronto, Ontario, and SAT, APRIL 12TH at 5PM at the Cineplex Odeon First Markham Place Cinemas (3275 Highway 7 East) in Markham, Ontario. Tickets are ONLY $10 for Adults, and $5 for Students and Seniors! This is some of the most affordable ticket prices for any large film festival as ReelWorld works to make it accessible to everyone. There are very few seats in these venues (Toronto – only 113 seats, Markham – only 250 seats), so please buy your tickets online now to ensure that you reserve a seat! Tickets are already selling very fast. Click HERE to buy your tickets now! Save the dates!!! We are extremely excited about this one as we finally get to screen the series in front of a home audience for cast, crew, family and friends. Cast and crew will be in attendance for both screenings. Toronto was a huge part of making this project happen, and it’s only fitting that we have one of our last screenings here before we debut online. Which leads me to my last announcement…

A little over a week after the Toronto screenings, MILLIONS will make its Online World Premiere on MON, APRIL 28TH, 2014 at 8PM EST at youtube.com/MillionsTheSeries. So please subscribe to the channel to make sure you don’t miss it! The series will be airing eight episodes for eight consecutive weeks, every Monday at 8PM EST. The premiere will be a special double episode, split up into two parts, totaling up to almost 40 minutes of material. It’s been a long time coming, so we thought we should release as much as we can right off the bat. Mark the date in your calendar as it’s only a little more than a month away! We can’t wait for you guys to see what we’ve been working so hard on. We were determined to do things the right way and not right away with this series, and we hope you can see that upon release. A series like this can only succeed with the online support it receives, so please please please tell your friends about it and inform them of the release date. Spread the word as much as you can, because without an audience, the less likely we’ll ever see more projects like this in the future. We can’t do this without you! Thanks again for everyone’s continued support!!!

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MILLIONS Film Festival Update 4

I’ve made it back from Vancouver in one piece, and just settling back in, nursing a cough that I came down with on my last day there. The lack of sleep has definitely caught up to me. There were a lot of long fun nights and catching up with old friends. I had a crazy good time, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience from the event. Everyone at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival went out of their way to make me feel welcome and ensure that I was taken care of, which I was more than appreciative of. I have to give a huge thanks to the entire staff who worked tirelessly to put the event together. Without the outlet you guys provide filmmakers, it would be tough to get our projects seen by a large audience, so for that I thank you. I want to specifically thank the Founder and President, Barbara Lee, Festival Director, Grace Chin, Senior Programmer, Kathy Leung, and Volunteer Coordinator, Mark Oh, who were fantastic hosts and made me feel like I was at home again. There were so many others that I didn’t get the chance to chat with too much, but were all very gracious in my stay there, so thank you to all of you as well!

Festival Director, Grace Chin, and myself (gesticulating a little too much).

The screening itself was, for all intents and purposes, successful! We probably had about a 70-80% full house, which was more than I could have asked for. I got some great feedback on the film, which, for the most part, was overwhelmingly positive. The Q & A afterwards was full of questions, and people seemed to genuinely want to learn more about the project, its process, and history. Most of my Vancouver friends and family were there, so I also have to thank them for all of their unconditional support. Without them, I wouldn’t have the courage to keep doing what I’m doing. During the screening I couldn’t help but feel so grateful to have such amazing people in my life who supported my work, despite the fact that I’m a novice at this. My filmmaking peers gave me some humbling compliments afterwards, and it inspired me to work harder and get better as a filmmaker. Community is a big thing for me, and I really felt it.

The crowd.

However, there was one specific encounter I had after the screening that took me aback, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. An audience member approached me and told me he had randomly chosen to watch the film, without any knowledge of it or the festival. He just happened to be in the theatre, wanted to catch a flick, and serendipitously chose ours. But he wanted to tell me how much he loved the film, and genuinely hoped that it would continue as a series in some form on TV, film, or the web. He asked me a lot of questions about why it was so difficult to get off the ground when I had a quality product, and I explained the barriers we face in filmmaking and the TV business. We chatted for quite a long time. I told him that all the cards were stacked against me and I still had a very tough road ahead. It made him pretty frustrated to hear that because he felt like more people needed to see it and couldn’t believe projects like ours would go unnoticed. I was humbled and flattered to say the least, and couldn’t believe that I had reached someone in a way that evoked such passion. But what was more gratifying than that, and this may sound a little strange, was that this passion was coming from a young White man. It reaffirmed to me that universal stories with Asians in them can reach anyone. All this bull about there being no market for films with Asians in them was just that. This is what I hoped would happen. Stories are just stories. And human beings are just human beings. The fact that the most passionate audience member was not of Asian descent, meant more to me than I can express. It’s why I wanted to get into film. That interaction alone solidified my purpose as a filmmaker. To tell stories that almost anyone could relate to – and show that we’re all the same.

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MILLIONS Film Festival Update 3

Hey friends! I’ve been back from New York for about a week, frantically catching up on work, but I’m finally getting a chance to write a little update.

New York City was, of course, a blast, but the New York Television Festival was quite the eye opening experience. We had attended countless panels and chats with almost every major American network, and even had a handful of meetings with some networks regarding MILLIONS. The conclusion? No one’s looking for a drama. And this is not even counting the whole all-Asian cast thing in our show, which will always be a hurdle. I probably shouldn’t call it an eye opening experience however, because numerous industry types have always warned me from the get-go that doing a drama would be an absurdly tough road, so I wasn’t the least bit surprised. It was more a disappointing experience, I guess. Mostly because, over the course of the week, I really got the sense that it didn’t matter at all what type of drama you had on your hands or even its quality – it just wasn’t going to be considered. The NYTVF naturally leans very heavily on comedies because that is what almost all networks are looking for. So the development deals that were handed out at the end of the festival went 100% to comedic filmmakers. Not a single deal was handed to a dramatic filmmaker. But that doesn’t really say much because there were very few of us. The festival itself is fantastic, and offers comedic filmmakers amazing opportunities, I’m just not sure it’s a place for dramatic serial filmmakers at this point. Maybe things will change in the future, but in a lot of ways, it’s the networks that dictate the content of the festival, so it’s out of NYTVF’s control. Ultimately, that is why this series was created for the web. Regardless of whether a network believes in the series or not, what we’ve produced will be seen by an audience, which I couldn’t be more excited about!

The public screening of MILLIONS at the festival, for the most part, received a great response. Many seemed to enjoy it, and most just kept telling us that they wanted to see more (since we screened only a half hour cut). We also had a lot of people approach us afterwards to tell us how much they related to the story despite the Asian cast. It was humbling to hear, and was always what I had hoped for. I’m hoping the Internet will feel the same way when we release some time next year, but we shall see. Tubefilter also did a short write up about the NYTVF and gave us a very cool mention. You are not boring Aymar! Thank you for being a drama fan, and for the shout out! I salute you.

Now for the big one. Our World Premiere of the complete first volume of MILLIONS screens at the 17th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival as the Closing Night Film on Sunday, November 10th at 7:45PM in the Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas (88 West Pender Street). Save the date! It’s in 9 days! You can purchase tickets online here. As I mentioned in my last post, it feels fitting that I’m having my first major project screen in Vancouver. It’s the city I first studied film in, and began my film career. It’ll be pretty special, I think. If you live in the area, I hope to see you there. If you’re a friend of mine from Vancouver, and you’re reading this, I also hope to see you there! Not only would it mean a lot to me, but I’d love to see you since I don’t get back to the city very much. You’ll probably be getting a personal invite from me in any case.

Before I sign off, I just wanted to thank every single person that’s been involved in this project and has supported us these last few years. This screening is the culmination of all the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears we have put into this, and none of it would have been possible without you. So from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

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MILLIONS Film Festival Update 2

Took a minute to settle in, but we’re back from France and the Marseille Web Festival. Before I get into how much of a BLAST it was, I have another major announcement to make…

MILLIONS will be having its feature-length World Premiere on November 10th, as the Closing Night Film at the 17th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival! I am extremely excited about premiering in Vancouver with one of my favourite festivals. It’s a little bit of a home-coming party for me as my film career started in this city. I have so many people I love there, both friends and family, and am hoping to see all of them while I’m there. So I, and possibly a couple of others from our cast and crew, will be in attendance for the screening. My anticipation is through the roof for this one. If you’re in the city at that time, I hope you can make it out and see what we’ve worked on for the last few years. Vancouver, I will see you soon!

Now for Marseille. We had an absolutely amazing time in this beautiful city. It was only a two day festival but I had one of the best film festival experiences I’ve ever had. We met a ton of very very talented filmmakers, partied with like-minded individuals, and celebrated the future of film. I have to give a huge heartfelt thanks to Jean-Michel and the entire Marseille Web Fest staff. Not only were they extremely hospitable and gracious, they also put on a first-class film festival to rival any of its larger counterparts. I’ve spent so much time holed up working on MILLIONS, that I didn’t realize how strong and supportive the web series community was out there. It’s a growing force in the industry, and I couldn’t be more excited about its future.

I want to give some special shout outs to a few of my favourite series that I checked out at the festival, because they deserve far more attention than they’re getting.

The first is DAEMONIUM, a sci-fi Argentinian series, by Dany Casco. We had the pleasure to get to know Dany, who’s a ridiculously talented prop artist, costume designer, writer, and actor, but also a large hulking man with an awesome sense of humour and a big heart. He created the series, wrote it, acted in it, and made every single prop and costume in the series. I can’t imagine the amount of work that’s gone into the show, but it’s been his labour of love for the last few years. It’s an epic five chapter story, with the third chapter releasing soon. Check out the first and second chapters here and here.

The second series is THE BOOK CLUB, a YOMYOMF action comedy, by Timothy Kendall. This dude. We got to know Timothy really well over the course of the festival also, and like his work, the man’s a riot. I was already a fan of the series, as I’m a big follower of YOMYOMF, so I geeked out for a second, meeting the man behind it. I’d love to get into more comedy work some day, so hopefully a collaboration is in the future. Check out the first episode here. You can find the rest of the first season on the YOMYOMF YouTube channel.

The third series is TUBE TUBE, a British voyeuristic faux-natural dramedy that takes place on London’s Tube, by Ben A. Williams. Each episode is a random snippet of a conversation or encounter on the train. All done in one take. We got to know Ben pretty well too, and he’s a thoughtful and (almost stereotypically) refined English gentleman with a sharp wit. He’s a lot like his series, which had me rolling unexpectedly at unexpected times. Check out one of my favourite episodes here.

The last one I only managed to check out after the festival, but wanted to make a mention of it here because I enjoyed it. It’s called EVENT ZERO, out of Australia, by Enzo Tedeschi. It’s an action/sci-fi series about 7 people after a train crash. But it just so happens that it’s about a lot more than simply a train crash. Unfortunately, Enzo let me know that the series would not continue, but he does have a new series on its way called Airlock, so you should definitely check that one out. You can see the first episode of EVENT ZERO here.

I probably should also mention that we did manage to go home from the Marseille Web Fest with some hardware…

Friends tell me that I can now call myself an “Award-Winning Director”.

The New York Television Festival is up next for us! MILLIONS will be screening on Wednesday, October 23rd at 9:45PM and Thursday, October 24th at 7:15PM in the Tribeca Cinemas. It is a free public screening, so please reserve your tickets on the NYTVF website before it sells out. This is another one I am ecstatic about. It’s a huge opportunity for us, and I can’t wait to meet a ton of new talented folk, and of course party it up in New York City. I’ll be back with a summary of those events when we return!

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