MEET AN AWC ALUM: SOO HYUN CHUNG

The Armed With a Camera Fellowship for Emerging Media Artists has recently opened its call for Fellows for its 2016-2017 cycle. Applications are due October 7, 2016. For submission guidelines and more info, click here.

What’s been keeping you busy? How has life been after AWC? What projects are you currently working on right now?
I just got a manager with my writing partner, Jonathan Sanford. We have a pilot about 70's Malibu called FAR OUT that we're preparing to take out. Mostly we are concentrating on developing ideas for TV.

How did you first hear about AWC? What made you decide to apply?
I first heard about AWC through Milton Liu who is awesome and a great supporter of emerging voices. After working in advertising, I had been thinking about writing/directing my first narrative piece and had been polishing a few drafts of a short that I had in mind. Once he told me about the program, I knew that this was an opportunity to jumpstart an idea and turn it into reality.

Tell us, how has the program experience challenged your filmmaking process?
I was challenged in every way possible. I had never acted as a producer on any of the commercials/spots that I wrote and directed, so that was an eye opening experience. And while we were not restricted to a budget, the grant amount forced me to keep my story sharp and succinct as I did not want to use my limited time/energy/resources to crowdfund. As well, there was a 5 minute time limit. But I found the constraints actually helped me craft the best story possible. There was no waste, no diversions. I had to be absolutely clear about what I was trying to say, the characters that I was portraying, the emotional shift that I wanted to see. I believe that kind of clarity is ESSENTIAL for filmmaking and I can't wait to carry that into my next project.

How did it feel to be a part of the AWC Fellowship - working amongst AAPI filmmakers?
This was my first time consciously aligning myself with other Asian filmmakers. I grew up as the only Asian in the room, so I had a lingering attitude that I was different, that I didn't have anything in common with other Asians. So this experience really opened my eyes to the fellowship that exists and the commonality that I share with other Asians. It doesn't mean that I have to tell a specifically Asian story or act a certain way. Rather it's opened up my world. I'm more comfortable with my culture, I'm less competitive, and I feel an acceptance that I don't think I ever felt before.

Who do you think would benefit most of the AWC Fellowship?
Anybody of AAPI descent who's interested in making a short film should apply. Even if you've made films before, this is a great bootcamp that can kick your filmmaking ass into shape. 

What did it mean to you to have your film premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival?
My first short film played on the best screen in town (the DGA theater!!!). What's not awesome about that????

The Armed With a Camera Fellowship for Emerging Media Artists has recently opened its call for Fellows for its 2016-2017 cycle. Applications are due October 7, 2016. For submission guidelines and more info, click here.