(video) LOVE Talk 幸福定格 (7 years filmed 8 couples) director Shen Ko-shang 沈可尚 interview

Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

I recently had the great pleasure of having an extensive 2-hour interview with Taiwanese award-winning director of LOVE Talk 幸福定格 (see below for synopsis) Mr. Shen Ko-shang 沈可尚. after watching his new documentary (spent 7 years to film 8 couples) which I really enjoyed and found insightful.

最近慶幸有機會訪問台灣得獎導演沈可尚兩小時,詳談他非常好看及發人深省的新紀錄片”幸福定格 LOVE Talk” (七年時間拍攝八對夫妻) (影片簡介見文章末).

20180925 沈可尚導演訪問 Interview with Director SHEN Ko-shang

LOVE Talk 幸福定格 movie poster

LOVE Talk 幸福定格 movie poster

Trailer 預告片

Ko-shang was very accommodating in letting me asked questions in English (with some Mandarin translation when necessary) and then he answered in Mandarin.

沈導演非常包容合作, 樂意讓我用英語發問(必要時加上一些普通話翻譯),然後沈導演用普通話回答。

Since Ko-shang gave some very broad, in-depth, very insightful and sometimes unexpected answers, I wasn’t sure if it is useful or unhelpful to break the Q&As down and provide precise time codes to help viewers access a specific section.

由於沈導演給出了一些非常廣泛,深入,有見地且有時出乎意料的答案,我也不確定是否應該把每一段問答(Q&A)分開,並提供時碼 (time codes, 時分秒)以幫助觀眾跳到訪問特定的時碼是否有益。

My suggestion is to watch the whole interview from beginning to end so it flows better. But if you must, see below for linked time codes and my questions.

我建議從頭到尾觀看整個訪問,以保流暢。 但是,如果你覺得有幫助,訪問片段之後有我的題問和相關的時碼 (time codes) 連接。

LOVE Talk 幸福定格 director Mr. Shen Ko-shang 沈可尚 interview

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Here are some of the questions asked: 以下是訪問中的一部份問題:

Question @1m45s I heard from a HK organizer of Chinese Documentary Festival (第十一屆華語紀錄片節) the first screening of “Love Talk” was sold out on the first day of ticket sales. And the second screening are almost sold out. So they added a third screening.

How do you feel when hearing this good news? Do you feel pressure from anticipation of the audiences?

Question @3m52s Are you looking forward to Q&As with HK audiences?

Question @5m10s In 2010, you pitched 幸福定格 with the English title “Double Happiness Limited” at the CCDF pitching forum (華人紀錄片提案) and now 7 years + editing time later, 幸福定格 has evolved into “LOVE talk” (with the letters
L.O.V.E. in upper case).

Can you talk about what did you try to capture in the beginning and what did you get at the end?

Question @14m07s So it took 14 months to make: 賽鴿風雲 RACING PIGEON IN TAIWAN, 3 years to make: 築巢人 A Rolling Stone, and now 7 years to make 幸福定格 LOVE talk filming 8 couples.

How did you feel during the 7 years of filming and about one year of editing? Were you very worried about not getting what you want or need?

Question @21m28s When you decided you to start editing, did you ever go back to film more footage?

Question @29m03s Are there cases after their chats were filmed, they asked you to delete the footage or promise not to use them? If not, what would you have done if you were asked?

Question @37m26s If you had a time machine and could time travel to 10, 20, or 30 years into the future to talk to the grown up children of the couples, what would you tell them? Would you thank them? What would you say?

Question @44m11s How did you decide to place the funny moments, the heart warming moments, the tense and stressful moments in the film? In a sense, how did you discover the flow of the film?

Question @1h03m14s Since LOVE talk has already screened at film festivals in places like 西寧, 武漢, and 北京, and you’ve Q&As, something I understand you enjoyed. Can you give examples of three memorable audience questions that you were asked and your answers?

Comment @1h12m01s Mr. Shen: “In the three screenings, audiences all have asked this question.

Question @1h15m20s Some viewers who have watched a promotional clip would have learned one of the women in the movie had stage 3 liver cancer. After rematching the film, I realized it wasn’t mentioned it the movie. Can you explain a little of your reasons of actually NOT giving much details about the couples and what happened to them as some scenes ended mid-argument?

Comment @1h16m42s Mr. Shen: “The most important message of this film is “TALK“.

Question @1h18m56s My question about naming the film “TALK love” since TALK is so important?

Question @1h20m56s In the end of the film, we learned one of the husbands was in HK? Is he still working in HK? And do you know if he plans to attend one of the screenings?

Question @1h23m37s German director Werner Herzog is known for making some great documentaries and drama. I love his documentaries: Grizzly Man , Cave of Forgotten Dreams and his dramas like Rescue Dawn. You yourself have made both dramas and documentaries in your career. Can you briefly talk about your processes in coming up with ideas, planning, and making documentaries vs dramas? Do you have a favourite genre: documentaries or dramas?

Question @1h33m10s When you write your script, do you have actors/actresses in mind playing those roles? And how do you cast actors/actresses to act in your movies? Canadian director David Cronenberg once used YouTube interview videos to help him cast a movie (Twilight superstar Robert Pattinson in his movie Cosmopolis).

Question @1h44m42s What next for you with “LOVE talk”? Which festivals are you scheduled to attend? And will people in Taiwan get to see “LOVE talk” in film festivals or main theatres?

Question @1h47m25s What do you look forward in your upcoming trip to HK? What do you like to eat? What do you usually do in HK?

Question @1h48m33s Some of your HK friends make documentaries. Do you end up talking shops and each others’ movies with your documentary filmmaking friends?

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Here are some official film stills of LOVE Talk 幸福定格:

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LOVE Talk 幸福定格 @ The 11th Chinese Documentary Festival 2018
Date Time Venue
17/10 (Wed) 2:30 pm Lecture Hall, Hong Kong Science Museum*
18/10 (Thur)【Additional Screening】 9:50 pm MOViE MOViE Cityplaza*
20/10 (Sat) 3:30 pm MOViE MOViE Cityplaza*
*Q&A session with the director

** From LOVE Talk 幸福定格 promotional materials **

//LogLine:
He spent 7 years looking for the secret to the preservation of marriage. Taiwan director Shen Ko-shang, after his first year of marriage, started to question his marital life, and with these questions, he had been shooting 8 couples for 7 years. He invited them to have conversations in front of the camera, while the topics ranging from their in-law issues, children upbringing problems, to the division of responsibilities in their marriage, in order to seek for the answers to two questions: Do people really need marriage? How exactly do two people get along with each other for a lifetime?

Synopsis
One finds love, marries and then expects happiness. Once in marriage, love alone ceased to be the only thing that bonds the two together; things of more complexity are added to the play. A conversation, an exchange, is the only possible means of dissolving the boundary between two individuals. The film focuses on daily conversations between eight couples. In their trivial dialogues of love, husband and wife question each other on topics ranging from sex, parenting, housework division, problems with their mother-in-law, and even dullness of marital life. The conversations reflect the authenticity of characters’ conditions of living, exploring the depth of intimate relationship in marriage while at the same time shedding a dim light on the significance of happiness. Perhaps this sort of happiness lies in the journey where seeking is the end itself, and it can certainly not be captured in frame.//

//影片簡介
作品曾獲亞太影展最佳紀錄片、臺北電影節首獎導演沈可尚,歷時七年,執著記錄八對邁入婚姻殿堂、時間長短不一的夫妻生活對話,他們開誠佈公、質問著對方日常生活中不會觸及的話題,從為什麼要與對方結婚到不再有激情的婚姻生活;是否厭倦對方到一觸及發的婆媳問題;還有關於性、關於生孩子、關於受不了對方的點點滴滴…。
其中中國大陸的小夫妻阿飛和樂會,他們在共同打工的地方認識、相愛、結婚,通過質樸的對話,可以看到內地年輕一代農民工的婚戀觀念;來自臺灣的白領年輕夫妻勇諴和薇之,他們展現了城市新潮夫妻的對於婚姻生活的期待與妥協;另外還有教授、小吃店老闆、白領職員、藝術工作者、創業家、家庭主婦等來自不同地方不同處境的夫妻,將帶領觀眾再次反思自身對婚姻與幸福的定義。//

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Further exploration (interviews & news):

*) Ko-shang did an insightful and fun to listen to hour long interview with 人氣心理專家鄧惠文 (精神科醫師/心理治療師) on her radio show. You can listen to the full News98 radio show on YouTube.

*) 《幸福定格》導演沈可尚:婚姻,比愛情深刻,比親情好玩 (ref)

*) 导演沈可尚:爱比我们想象中的复杂得多

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A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

Thursday, 25 August, 2016
A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

Ten years ago in June 2006, I was awarded a CTV Fellowship to attend the prestigious Banff World Television Festival. Since then I’ve attended to report on most of the yearly Banff World Media Festival (Banff’s new name). Based on my personal experiences, I recommend the annual Banff gathering be something someone working in media/entertainment industry should attend at least once in her/his life (and may be even yearly). Great way to pitch projects to concentrated groups of decision makers from around the world, to meet and make friends with industry peers, and learn from the many Master Classes you given by some of the best creatives in the industry.

Take this year as an example, knowing HBO Chairman and CEO Mr. Richard Plepler will attend the 2016 Banff, I did some research including watching these two videos to prepare. And I ended up learning lots from attending and meeting Richard in his Company of Distinction Keynote: HBO’s Richard Plepler Banff World Media Festival Banff. And yes, I felt totally honoured when Richard compared me to his mother after I asked him about his work experience at “RLP International quoting what I learned from his commencement speech to the Franklin & Marshall College Class of 2015!

Let me share just another highly insightful and fun to watch video from the 2016 Banff:  In Conversation with Sir Peter Ustinov Comedy Award Recipient Russell Peters. I love Russell Peters even more as I heard the etalk co-host Lainey Lui asked Russell, “You’ve been making this kind of money for the last few years and you are still hustling, 250 shows, 120 cities, 25 countries, you are still hustling with an immigrant work ethic!

(More info on Russell‘s new show “The Indian Detective“)

In the last 10 years, I’ve met and interviewed a lot of creatives and senior executives at Banff. The following are some samples of my video interviews.

*2010) Meeting someone I really admire like Ricky Gervais was epic and wonderful for me. I was able to capture his “Award for Comedy Speech” which I think is better/more fun than the official Banff version shot with more expensive video equipment. (watch and read my full 2010 report of Ricky here)

And asking Ricky a brief question on the 2010 Banff red carpet was something I still remember fondly today, six years later.

*2008) Two years before I met Ricky, Banff attendees had the pleasure to meet the highly successful producer Jon Plowman (photo) who came to Banff to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as former head of BBC comedy and producing/executive producing great shows like Absolutely Fabulous, The Office, Little Britain, and The Vicar of Dibley! I wrote a brief report in 2008 but didn’t shoot any video. I did walk up to meet Jon and personally thanked him for his great work!
*2011) Mike Farah, President of Production, Funny or Die
,
*2010) TiVo CEO Tom Rogers interview,
*2013) Watching “VICE co-founders Shane Smith & Suroosh Alvi at Banff 2013” was a lot of fun and then interviewing “Shane @ Banff ” was awesome given how much VICE Media has grown since 2013! (Aug 18th, 2017 update: CNN, “‘Vice News Tonight’ has breakout moment with Charlottesville coverage“, full short doc segment on YouTube Aug 14th “Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News Tonight on HBO“)

*2012) “Masterclass with Terence Winter creator of Boardwalk Empire at #banff2012” (more info on Boardwalk Empire)

*2012) And my video interview with “Terence Winter, Creator of Boardwalk Empire at banff 2012

*2011) Tom Perlmutter, NFB Chairperson,
*2010) Tony Lacavera, Globalive & WIND Mobile Chairman audio interview, (It was fun for me interviewing Tony, an University of Toronto alum, over the years. In March 2016, Shaw Communications Inc. closed its acquisition of Wind Mobile for $1.6 billion.)
*2008) David Hoselton (Producer of House) (I LOVE House so it was interesting for me to know that creator David Shore and producer David Hoselton were University of Toronto Law School buddies.)
*2012) Duncan Fulton, SVP Canadian Tire, talks about cutting edge advertising/e-commerce technologies at #banff2012 (Since then, Duncan has been promoted to President FGL Sports Ltd in March 2016.)
*2007) Jane Mote, Director of Life Style, UKTV,
*2007) Vicky Taylor, Editor, Interactivity, BBC Television,
*2007) Dale Herigstad, Chief Creative Officer, Schematic,
*2007) Greg Goodfried, Co-creator and Executive Producer, Lonelygirl15, (note: In 2012, AdAge reported that “Everyday Health Buys Lonelygirl15 Producer EQAL in Expansion to New Genres” quoting TechCruch which “pegged the price at $15 million plus a $5 million earn-out“. EQAL founders are Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried.)
*2007) Dawn Airey, Director of Global Content, ITV,
*2012) Paul Chard – The most interesting person at #banff2012 to me,

One of the most insightful people I’ve met at Banff
*2009) Gary Carter’s Storytelling in the Digital Age (2009) (Long list of videos, highly recommended even the 2009 content may seem a bit dated)

Attended and filmed,
*2012) “In Conversation with Chuck Lorre (Creator of Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory)“,
*2010) “William Shatner speaks with ‘The Big Bang Theory’ creator and showrunner Bill Prady“,
*2012) “Conflicts in Reality TV and psychological profiling – The Chicken or The Egg – Most fascinating and controversial session at 2012 Banff
*2010) “Ian Brennan, creator/writer Glee (19 Emmy nominations) @ 2010 Banff” (extensive video)
*2013) “Julia Louis-Dreyfus talks about Veep and other topics at Banff World Media Festival 2013

*2012) This was a lot of fun and insight for me, “Master class Q&A with Glen Mazzara – The Walking Dead at 2012 Banff World Media Festival

*2006) Finally, It was my honour to meet and listen to Oscar winning director & writer Paul Haggis at my absolute first Banff in 2006. I wish my “professionalism” hadn’t stopped me from asking for a photo! Oh well, something I have regretted ever since. Anyway, the story of how Paul broke into Television is something I will likely remember for the rest of my life! Enjoy!


*** More
2016 Banff World Media Festival stuff and one 2012 Master Class with Chuck Lorre (creator: Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory).

*2016) I think Girls is one of the most cutting edge and funny TV comedies in recent years. I had the pleasure this year to attend and listen to Jenni Konner talk in person. And I enjoyed the session very much.

Comedy Master Class with Casey Bloys and Jenni Konner (note: Casey Bloys is senior vice president, HBO Entertainment)

*2016) I didn’t know the name Jay Baruchel but after watching this, I discovered I’ve watched A LOT of Jay‘s stuff without knowing his name and I LOVE them all! Very insightful: “In Conversation with Canadian Award of Distinction Recipient Jay Baruchel

Further references:

*2016) Richard Plepler: Stick with the Optimists (background research for Banff 2016)

*2016) HBO CEO Richard Plepler: Full Discussion @The Paley Center for Media (background research for 2016)

*2016 Banff) “The Night Of” Master Class: A Closer Look at HBO’s Limited Series Model featuring Academy Award-winning writer Steven Zaillian. After watching the video, I realized one of my favourite films “Searching for Bobby Fischer” was written and directed by Steven and he talks about it at timecode 16:10.

*for 2016) Westworld: Teaser Trailer (HBO) (brand new to viewers at Banff, publicly released after 2016 Banff)

*2012) In conversation w Chuck Lorre (Creator: Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) at #banff2012

P.S. On a personal note, I want to thank Scott Benzie, Lindsay Nahmiache, Robert Montgomery, and, for the last 10 years, many other team members for their kind help at Banff and arranging my press credentials, etc. I really enjoyed attending Banff and I’m happy to share what I learned with my readers/viewers.

It has taken me some time to create this post and I am still amazed how many great creatives and industry senior executives I’ve met and tried to learn from all these years. And there are still some that I haven’t listed! Like in 2009 when I met and interviewed Ron Moore who amazingly re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (BSG)!

Let me mention something most people might have missed. For a few years in a row, I noticed Tony Lacavera, Founder and Chairman of Globalive & former WIND Mobile Chairman, was sponsoring the Banff CRTC Breakfasts. (see my 2010 report) A side benefit was Tony got some “face time” to chat with CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein (photo of the two at CRTC Breakfast). Well, to me, that was money well spent in the long game of business! As you may know, this March 2016 WIND Mobile was sold to Shaw Communications Inc. for $1.6 billion.

If you ask me, I say the C$1.6 billion deal has to be one of the biggest deals that Banff World Media Festival has *indirectly* facilitated! Pretty cool!


父親節快樂 Happy Father’s Day – 與 Simon 談書法的創意 Talk Chinese Calligraphy Creativity with Simon

Sunday, 19 June, 2016

父親節快樂! Happy Father’s Day! In 2013, I had the pleasure of LIVE chatting (unedited LIVE streaming) with my father about Chinese calligraphy creativity.

與 Simon 談書法的創意 Talk Chinese Calligraphy Creativity with Simon

My father has taught me, by personal examples, how to maintain life-long curiosity and learning. Dad LOVEs to learn. And he is a much better teacher than I ever will be. I sometimes lack the infinite patient that he seems to have.

During the LIVE chat, dad told me (amongst many things), on a purely calligraphy level, Dr. Sun Yat-sen 孫中山, Chinese revolutionary, first president and founding father of the Republic of China, loves to write the four Chinese words 「天下為公」 (The world is a Commonwealth). A photo example of Dr. Sun’s writing: 孫中山在故題的「天下為公」四個大字。(Google image search of 孫中山 Dr. Sun’s 天下為公 samples.) And Chairman Mao’s 毛澤東 loves to write the five words「為人民服務」五個字. (Google image search of 毛澤東 Chairman Mao’s「為人民服務」samples.) We had some fascinating discussions on top of the calligraphy in the LIVE video chat.

After my chat with dad talking about 鄭板橋’s words「難得糊塗」, the curious me (thanks dad!) conducted some research Zheng Xie 鄭板橋 (formally 鄭燮) and ended up reaching out to Dr. Lee Shew-Hua in Taiwan to ask her if she could kindly share her PhD thesis with me. As Dr. Lee had conducted her research 20+ years ago, she didn’t have an electronic copy of her thesis. But after finding out which pages/section I am most interested in, she was so kind to arrange and scan an excerpt of her Phd thesis 李秀華博士 〈鄭板橋書法之研究〉博士論文 (4.5 MB, PDF image file) for me. As all PhD thesis are in public domain, I am now sharing Dr. Lee’s PhD thesis excerpt 李秀華博士 〈鄭板橋書法之研究〉博士論文 on this Father’s Day to celebrate the teachings and inspirations by fathers from around the world.

Thanks Dad! Thanks for your continue teachings and inspirations! You rock!

Happy Father’s Day! 父親節快樂!

P.S. Upon further research, I found this Chinese TV show about Zheng Xie 鄭板橋. Enjoy.

《老梁故事汇》 20151023 郑板桥的糊涂人生

There are two Chinese series: 扬州八怪 YouTube playlist and 鄭板橋外傳


Watch “Revolution Trilogy” 睇「革命三部曲」

Friday, 18 March, 2016

Director/producer/independent reporter Kempton Lam has made three full-length documentaries from 2004 – 2015. Kempton’s debut documentary Long Hair Revolution 「長毛革命 has been collected by the Canadian National Archive since 2009. The three documentaries are collectively known as “Revolution Trilogy「革命三部曲」 and are in Cantonese with English subtitles (廣東話、英文字幕). You can watch the three films at this YouTube Playlist (beautifully projected on your big screen HDTV or on your computer). Enjoy!

Long Hair Revolution 「長毛革命」 (full-length 2005) (read film & Canadian national archive info)

HKtv Revolution 「香港電視革命」 (full-length 2015) (read Director’s Statement)

Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection 「雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡」 (full-length 2015) (read Director’s Statement)


Interview with Adler Yang, director of Taiwan documentary “If There is a Reason to Study” (學習的理由)

Monday, 15 September, 2014
If there is a reason to study

If there is a reason to study

Taiwan documentary “If There is a Reason to Study” (學習的理由) by Adler Yang (楊逸帆) will be screened at Chinese Documentary Festival 2014 in Hong Kong. This reporter has the great pleasure to have an in-depth video interview with the young 19 years old director to talk about the film. Here is a brief film description from the festival,

Humanity [RenWen] Junior High School is a non-traditional school in Taiwan. To encourage free development, there is no ranking based on grades. On the other hand, however, students must face the same standardised tests as students from traditional schools in order to progress to senior high.

The director, aged only 14 at the time of filming, used his camera to record what his classmates said as they faced the challenge, and to explore the motivations behind studying.

When Yang was only 14 years old in 2009, he started filming footage for an earlier 6 minutes version of this film called 《不想考基測 The Soul》(2010)). Majority of the filming for Reason to Study was completed in 2010 with brief update footage of the documentary subjects at the end of the film. Readers may be amazed to hear that Yang already had 70+ hours of footage to work with to create his 6 minutes short 2010 film《不想考基測 The Soul》 (viewable on YouTube). And then 300+ hours of footage to work with in his latest 93 minutes feature  “If There is a Reason to Study” (學習的理由).

The film is a frank and interesting look at education in RenWen and it even features the film director taking a public exam specifically for this film in order to experience what his schoolmates experienced through the eyes of the young director (14/15 years old at the time). The film is screening on 17/9 (Wed) at 7:30 pm & 21/9 (Sun) at 2:30 pm at agnès b. CINEMA, Hong Kong Arts Centre (香港藝術中心 agnès b. 電影院).

Here is my in-depth video interview with Yang to talk about the film,

Here is a trailer,


Cantonese interview with Jo Ho, co-director of HK documentary Women’s Horizon (好風景)

Tuesday, 9 September, 2014

Jo Ho Ka Wui (何嘉滙) is the co-director of HK documentary Women’s Horizon (好風景) with Bryan Chang Wai Hung (張偉雄). A documentary that recorded the lives of five Hong Kong women from 2010 to 2012. Here is a description of the five women from the film outline,

“Kitman, a big fan of online sweepstake; Charlene, a dance instructor and urban fashion shop owner; Esther, growing up in in a christian community aspiring to live the life within the church; Chan Hei, was an advocate for the fair treatment of sex workers and is employed at a bookstore; Kai Kai, Representative of the League of Fanling North Villages and Residents.”

Here is a trailer,

When Jo and Bryan were first planning to shoot Women’s Horizon in 2010, they talked about being inspired by the British Up Series documentary that has “followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old.” The directors of Women’s Horizon hopes to revisit the lives of the five Hong Kong women in a few years to make another documentary. Over the two and a half years, the filmmakers made the documentary with their own money and shot ~60 hours of footage and editing the footage down to a 58 minutes documentary.

Here is an extensive and exclusive interview with co-director Jo Ho Ka Wui (何嘉滙) conducted on the eve of the film’s world premiere on September 9th at the Chinese Documentary Festival 2014.


Hello Kitty is not a cat! Video interview with LA Times reporter who started worldwide debate

Saturday, 30 August, 2014

Hello Kitty is NOT a cat? Really?! In recent days, people from around the world have expressed shock as they found out Hello Kitty is not a cat from articles quoting “Hello Kitty is not a cat, plus more reveals before her L.A. tour” by Los Angeles Times reporter Carolina A. Miranda. My in-depth and exclusive Skype video interview with Miranda talks about what lead her to write the article and different aspects of the Hello Kitty brand. Have a watch of the interview as it was a ton of fun to conduct and should be a lot of fun to watch.

To be honest, this reporter is one of the people who was shocked to find out Hello Kitty is not a cat from reading Miranda’s article. And then changed my mind again Read the rest of this entry »


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