At the dazzling closing night gala for the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival last night it was announced that the flick "BANG BANG" (directed by Byron Q) got the nod for the Best First Feature by the Jury Awards Committee..
Frankly, the news came as no surprise to me!
As soon as the flick splashed across the screen earlier in the week at the trendy CGV Theatre complex in Hollywood, it was evident to me from the get-go that Byron Q possessed a rare gift - and a lot of raw talent - sure to catapult him into dizzying heights in the film business in the not-too-distant future.
If he keeps his nose to the creative grindstone, that is!
Although the low-budget project (which focuses a searing lens on an Asian street gang) was a bit ragged around the edges now-and-then - there were moments of brilliance which ultimately saved the film from disintegrating into mediocre bill-of-fare right before the filmgoers' eyes.
Needless to say, Mr. Q won this tough movie critique over, in a heartbeat.
For starters, there was an effective use of the RED camera, which set a dynamic overall tone which lent itself well to the gritty plot unfolding on the silver screen.
The unique way the 1st-time-out director weaved classical music into the sound track also bowled me over.
The haunting strains of strings strategically weaved in at an emotional arc in the storyline - at one point - resonated so sweetly that it caused a few members of the audience to weep.
Ah, powerful filmmaking that touches, resonates - and ultimately - heals!
"I love all music. That's why I tried to use hip-hop, rock, and classical in the mix," Byron Q responded to my query in the upbeat Q &A a few minutes after the curtain fell down.
His locales for the shoot were very natural, too.
"I was also the location manager," he fessed up.
"I scouted down locations (in San Diego) where I could shoot for free," he chuckled.
"One of the houses featured in the film is where I stayed when I was in town working on he project Bang Bang."
When a film director has a low-budget, he or she often ends up becoming chief cook-and-bottle-washer in the grand scheme of things.
The acting throughout the street-wise drama was first rate; in fact, a couple of the new faces on screen turned in performances which may launch their film careers, I expect.
Although the subject matter has been mined in the past by more-experienced directors - here - the director manages to rise above the obvious pitfalls and potential cliches to make his own distinctive cinematic mark.
I was particularly taken with the dialogue which was well-written and believable.
Not stilted or phony, in the least bit!
When one audience member asked Byron Q how he accomplished that, he joked that the production team enlisted the aid of a sort-of "gang-speak" expert to ensure authenticity.
A bit of levity always goes a long way.
And, I expect that Byron Q will too.
Two PR folks on staff at the Asian Pacific Film Festival (Eseel Borasa and Abraham Ferrer) would be wise to take a cue from Byron Q when it comes to manners and effectively reaching out to filmgoers.
Their standoffish (aloof) manner tends to turn-off white folks - who can't help but feel that they are crashing the Asian Community's private party each year - whenever they attend the annual Festival in Los Angeles each year in Los Angeles.
Lighten up, eh?
Sorry, just an observation which may be worth looking into, David Magdeal (co-director).