Who: Justin Chon, director, writer, actor and executive producer
Logline: Two Korean-American brothers struggle to operate their women’s shoe store during the first day of the L.A. riots and spend time with an 11-year-old girl, Kamilla, from the neighborhood.
The length of the shoot was: 22 days
Our crew size was: 25-30
Our camera, lenses and lighting package were: Red Dragon, Kowalski lenses.
The first spark of an idea for this movie came when: three years ago, I was wondering what an L.A. riots film would look like through the perspective of a blue-collar Korean-American in their 20s.
Budget range: under $250,000
My favorite scene (or shot) in the film is: between the girl Kamilla and her brother Keith. They talk about her never having spent time with their mother.
An audience watching my film probably won’t know that: my father played the liquor store owner, Mr. Kim, in the film. Also, I found the lead girl at a community arts center in South Central Los Angeles.
An influence or reference on this film was: my dad, who came to the U.S. with nothing and worked to support our family without speaking the language.
The weirdest or most difficult location we shot at was: a burger stand. Actual gang members came up to us and said we shouldn’t be shooting there.
The most expensive thing in our budget was: the on-set teacher.
The greatest flash of inspiration or brilliance we had making this film was: was when I decided the lead should be a female rather than a little boy.
The biggest lesson I learned making this movie was: that planning is everything.
A darling I had to kill along the way was: a bigger musical sequence I had wanted to shoot.
I need to give a special shout-out to: the Fernando Pullum art center for opening their doors to us.
When I heard we got into Sundance I: drove around screaming “Yes!” in my car for an hour.
My favorite film festival moment in my life so far is: getting my dad to agree to come.
I would love to meet the staff of Sundance that make it all happen in Park City. I’m so amazed by how organized and helpful they are.
I’m most excited about seeing Moonlight this year.