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Interviews

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An Interview
with Oxide Pang
(Part I)


  Interview


Foreword

Featuring seven directors and a group of fledgling actors, See You in Youtuvbe successfully captured the attention of the media as well as general audience. We're fortunate to have the opportunity to talk to the lead director Oxide Pang (Pang Brother) and several of the lead actresses, including Janice Man and Maggie Lee. Pang and his actresses generously share thoughts and experience working on the film.

Please enjoy the interview!

* The interview was originally conducted in Cantonese.


Who is Oxide Pang?

Oxide Pang, born in 1965, is a Hong Kong filmmaker. He started his career as a telecine color grader, and then moved to Thailand in the early 90s. There he began to film TV commercial. In 1996, he directed Who is Running?, the first movie that brought him reputation. Later he partnered with his twin brother Danny Pang and directed the widely acclaimed Bangkok Dangerous. This movie was invited to participate in many internationally renowned film festivals. The two brothers also managed to win many awards including best director at the local film award ceremony.

Later in 2001, the Pang brothers were invited by Applause Pictures's Peter Chan to come back to Hong Kong and direct their first Hong Kong movies, The Eye. This movie was well received in Hong Kong and got picked up for a distribution in the U.S.. In 2004, the two of them directed The Eye 2.

Oxide Pang made his first solo directing debut with Ab-normal Beauty and continued with Detective, another successful police thriller featuring Aaron Kwok.


  Oxide Pang  


Lead Director: Oxide Pang

Cinespot: This time you were leading six other student directors to co-direct this film called See You in Youtube. Why would you guys put "Seven's" in the director's credit but not seven names?

Pang: It's because there are seven directors, including myself. We didn't want the name to be too explicit, like "Seven Directors", that's why we simply called it "Seven's".



Cinespot: This film is quite different from the horror and thriller films you have done before, it is quite a surprise for the audience.

Pang: Yes, it is quite a surprise! I guess it's time for me to try something different. Before I became a director, I used to be a student, together with six or seven classmates, we made some student films. I still remember those days and somehow I just got the idea to do something using the same approach. I thought making a film about the youth would fit this approach, so I began to look for some young people to talk and understand the trend. Through the interaction, I asked myself, "why don't I just find them to work on the script together?"



Cinespot: Are the other six directors your students?

Pang: No, I am not qualified to be a teacher yet. I am still learning from others.



Cinespot: Judging from the reaction of the audience at the premiere, are you satisfied with the film?

Pang: It is ok, at least it looks fine. Although some people questioned my decision to make commercial films instead of art-house ones, it is not something I want to do now. Many film students are good at making artistic short films, I'd just leave the art-house film to them and concentrate on what I am doing now.



Cinespot: How was it like working with six other directors at the same time? How was the workload distributed?

Pang: The first thing was screenwriting. When we wrote the script, all of us sat down together to brainstorm. Perhaps I would list out some premises, and then they would help me fill in the gaps in between. As long as their materials fit in, it would be fine. Sometimes we knew a gag would work when all of us had the same reaction. That's basically how we worked together.



Cinespot: We heard that you were filming a lot of the scenes on location with hidden camera, did it make the process more complicated?

Pang: Actually the filming process could be divided into two parts, some were hidden cam and some were staged but pretended to be hidden cam. I wonder if the audience could distinguish which scenes are real and which are not?



Cinespot: So is there any unforgettable moment?

Pang: It is probably the bank robbery scene, because it was really done using the hidden camera approach. Perhaps the audience would think that the pedestrians are actors, but instead they are really just passer-by. But certainly the cop is actor. I think it looks pretty realistic and it is a good mix.



Cinespot: Is there any message you wanted to convey through this film?

Pang: If you talk about the story, it is mostly about love, like the loss of love, two girls fighting for a boy, etc. But if you talk about the film as a whole, what I wanted to do is to show to film students that, filmmaking is actually not as difficult and distant as people think. In the past, you probably needed a lot of professional equipments and labors, as well as big inbestment to make a film, which is almost impossible for newly graduated film students; However, nowadays we only need a very small and portable camera and we can make movies! In this film, we didn't even use set lighting, all of our interior scenes were lit using natural lights only, but certainly we did perform color correction during post production.



Cinespot: Without set lighting, was post production very difficult?

Pang: Even if we shoot in film, we still need to do color correction. The process is more or less the same.



Cinespot: Talking about the story, in the final scene at the cemetery, lead character Janice has probably learned some lessons from her mischief. Is it the lesson you wanted to tell the younger generation, that is, they need to make mistakes in order to learn and grow up?

Pang: It is good that you feel it that way! Actually when I wrote the story, I didn't really ask myself to present any lessons. If we try hard to lecture, the younger audience would not be interested to see it. Honestly, the younger generations now don't really care about consequence, they just want to be cool, if something bad happen, they just let it be. It is like playing online video games, they just keep playing for hours, but they don't even know who is on the other side playing with them, when they lose, they just turn off the computer and that's it! It is very different from my generation, when we need to think carefully before we make a decision, since one wrong step might lead to terrible blunder.



Cinespot: The last question, See You in Youtube is quite an experimental film, what do you expect from the audience and the box office?

Pang: Frankly speaking, if you do the calculation, you'd know that this film is not going to make a profit at all. We only hope that film students or recent graduates would go take a look. If we can make $2 millions at the box office, it would already be a success! But then, this success is not only attributed to "Seven's", nor is it to the film itself, it actually belongs to all the film students, it means that it is possible to make a film that way! If it fails to make $2 millions, then the dream is over, that means, we still need at least five to ten years for HD filmmaking to gain acceptance, and those who are studying films or just graduate, they really don't know what they can do after their graduation. As you know, my next project is already a big budget film, so I don't really need any benefit from this film, the people who actually gain from it are the ones I mentioned above. If it works, perhaps you can be the next "Seven's" too.



Cinespot: Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us.

Pang: Thank you.


  Pang and Man  


In part II of the interview, actresses Janice Man and Maggie Lee talk about their experience working on See You in Youtube. Please click here to go to Part II!