1:15PM Saturday April 27
Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas, Costa Mesa, CA
TICKETS/NBFF PROGRAM PAGE:
Back on Being Lost
A Film by Claire Harvey
A crisis documented through intimate family photographs.
A filmmaker stumbles upon old family photos hidden away and realizes the trauma that often lies behind happy captured memories. There is always a story about our upbringing that affects us throughout our life.
Claire Harvey is a senior at UC Irvine, majoring in Literary Journalism and minoring in Digital Filmmaking. Her hometown is Scranton, Pennsylvania. She hope’s to pursue a career in communications or marketing upon graduation.
“Making this film was a process of revisiting some of the hardest moments of my life. Repeatedly listening to voicemails and stories of incidents that ended up coming together to be a very therapeutic process.”
“The audio at the end is a recording of a voicemail during the incident where our apartment was broken by my ex-partner. I had lost my phone under my bed and was calling it from his. After the fact, I was left with these voicemails I didn’t listen to until this project. The cycle of abuse that is so easy to be trapped in became clear when I was able to listen further away from the situation. I realized I felt like a child again, trapped in a cycle. There is a feeling of powerlessness.”
A Film by Nancy Nguyen
The sleepy city of Garden Grove once had over 15 gay bars. Frat House is the last.
Nancy Nguyen is a writer/director in her third year of the undergraduate studies at UC Irvine. Her latest documentary project explores the last of over 15 gay bars in her hometown of Garden Grove, a sleepy city on the outskirts of Disneyland. Her narrative works use the uncanny and offbeat to intimately investigate themes of sexuality, grief and family.
Frat House, the documentary, began as a documentary class project in the Digital Filmmaking program at UC Irvine. Over the past year, Nancy has secured interviews with Ted Heier’s family, employees, patrons, drag performers, and the Frat’s trans, Latinx community. Nancy can be found chasing drag queens around on stage with a camera, or carting treacherous stacks of photo albums.
Ted Heier, owner of the Frat House bar, was an avid photographer. Over 10,000 prints exist and are tended by Frat House manager Cris McKnight. These photos document decades of history and the community activism that laid the groundwork for Orange County, once a conservative bastion, to turn Democratic following the 2018 elections.
Research for this project has taken Nancy to the OC LGBT Archives at UC Irvine, as well as the ONE Archives at USC. Among the people she met was Barbara Muirhead, a devoted activist and meticulous record-keeper of Orange County’s queer history. Barbara recently passed away this year, along with long-time collaborator Dick Hitt. Their work was crucial to the making of this documentary.
A Film by Austin Quon
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin, with English Subtitles
Cinematography: Isaiah Walk
Cast: Christine Liao, Aaron Lu
During what seemed to have been the perfect date, a painful secret comes out.
Love Winds is about a certain aspect of life that keeps people apart. The film centers around on a couple that works through this problem. They discover that it really stinks.
Austin Quon is a student at UC Irvine from San Jose, California who is striving to make his mark in this new age of Digital Filmmaking. He just finished his term interning at Wong Fu Productions and is currently working on several new film projects. His goal as a filmmaker is to present an accurate representation of his faith and culture through Digital Filmmaking.
“One thing about Love Winds is that it’ll speak to different people in different ways. I think at first some people may find it to be a touching film, others may find it simply hilarious. I challenged myself to make a film in Chinese. As a Chinese American that couldn’t speak or understand Chinese I often had to take a guess on what people were saying to me, and I think Love Winds in many ways is a product of that.”
“Love Winds was pretty difficult to direct at times, mainly due to the fact that I only know a few words of Chinese. But I really did have an amazing cast that helped me bring the final product to life.”
Querer es Poder: Searching for Sustainable Education in Paraguay
A Film by Corey Cao Nguyen
Language: English, Spanish with English Subtitles
“Querer Es Poder: Searching For Sustainability” follows the story of a group of international undergraduate researchers in Paraguay struggle with the balance between personal friendships and the long term development of a ground breaking school.
“Querer Es Poder: Searching For Sustainability” is a nonfiction narrative documentary shot in the Latin American country of Paraguay. Corey Cao Nguyen, the director and cinematographer, spent five weeks at the San Francisco Agricultural High School, living amongst both the indigenous students and the international researchers who were sent as part of the Global Service Scholar program, started by the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation, in which undergrad UC students are sent to perform service in underserved communities. While in Paraguay, Nguyen worked closely with the nonprofit organization Fundacion Paraguaya to ensure a respectful representation of Paraguayan culture and assistance in projecting an early cut of the film at the school for the indigenous students so they could see themselves on the big screen.
Corey Cao Nguyen is an Asian-American filmmaker attending UC Irvine in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. He’s a third year student in the Digital Filmmaking program and is focused on cinematography. Nguyen prides himself on placing the story above all in his work as his naturalistic cinematography specializes in truthfully depicting characters within their worlds and building empathy and emotion through the use of light.
“Shooting this documentary was an incredible opportunity to not only visit an incredible country, but blend my passion for filmmaking with international service and help tell the story of those who traditionally don’t have a voice in mainstream media.”
A Film by Henry Liu
Cast: YangTao Xu, XuanYi Huang
A troubled young man imagines his problems through a woman’s gaze.
The visual is inspired from the works of Japanese famous photographer Hosoe Eikoh’s work. The strong black and white contrast and sound effects brings the audiences into the tension between the relationship of the man and the woman. It is a piece of black and white film that stimulates the audience’s sense.
Henry Liu is a cinematographer and photographer from ShenZhen, China and currently attending UC Irvine. He works on student films as a cinematographer and shoots black and white 35mm photography. He is a darkroom artist and is always working to create stunning images.
“I shot this experimental film to express the tension between man and woman relationship, in a way of shooting photography.”
“I shoot all my footage casually, like how I do my photography work. Most of the footage was shot without being planned.”
A Film by Karen Pham
Cinematographer: Sebastian Sarti Reyes
Have fun playing with delicious fruit.
We all have inner societal rules encased in us since childhood such as “Don’t play with your food” or “you don’t talk about sex.” “Smoothie” breaks that taboo and uses silence and everyday fruit to capture the raunchy, awkward uncomfortable emotions that we fear to feel when these rules aren’t met. Why are we so afraid of sex, silences, condoms, messiness, and our emotions?
Karen Van Pham is a Vietnamese-American, pansexual filmmaker who grew up in the heart of the Silicon Valley of California. As a pansexual woman of color, she intends to create content that gives a voice to femme folx and those in the LGBTQ+ community. With her double major in Arts and Computer Game Science at the University of California, Irvine, she also strives to innovate new forms of art and bridge the gap between STEM and the Arts.
“‘Smoothie’ forces Americans to confront their taboo of sex and the human anatomy.”
“You can make a pretty good penis from just a cucumber, a straw, some condensed milk, and water. Oh, and of course a mouth to blow it with.”
A Summer at Her Farm
A Film by Lynslee Mercado
UCI student researchers spend four weeks in the mountains in rural Nepal working on a farm dedicated to women’s empowerment.
‘A Summer at Her Farm’ documents how a group of students at UCI learn the power of being a woman in Nepal. Located in the mountain village of Dhading, Her Farm provides an inclusive space for women of all backgrounds to independently live and learn new skills despite their past or position in society. Their determination to master digital media skills such as photography, videography and radio reinforces the idea that woman in Nepal are capable of creating their own success without the guidance or restrictions of the patriarchy.
Lynslee Mercado observes the varying perspectives of life through her studies in literary journalism and digital filmmaking at University of California, Irvine. As a first generation woman of color from San Diego, she finds joy in appreciating and understanding the diversity of other cultures in relation to the past and present. She hopes to become a producer/director of films one day and plans to use her multitude of experiences to create stories of intersectionality, highlighting the narrative of oneness in humanity.
“When I was sent out to Her Farm, I was surprised by the independence and hospitality of the women. Her Farm is unexpectedly the embodiment of feminism and woman power — something you wouldn’t expect in Nepal where woman’s rights are scant. They show their capabilities without the help of men and work towards normalizing the importance of woman in the workforce and society. It was fascinating to see the abundance of technology and knowledge of media they have because contrasts with the rural scenery of their village.”
“One of the biggest difficulties for me was shooting this solo and relying on myself to get the work done through a lot of self motivation and independence. Some of the shots I wanted I wasn’t able to get because I didn’t know what I was going to find in this new place and it was a challenge balancing the navigation in a new place and properly documenting what I wanted to show. At one point the cameras broke down because of the humidity. The intense nature mixed with fragile technology provided an interesting challenge, but it was overall a wonderful and life changing experience.”
A Film by Ryan Wang
An imagined escape by a man searching for meaning.
Sometimes people have something they want to say, but they cannot express them because of the influence of their family, the places they stay and the things that they experienced. Suppressed is an experimental film showing these inner struggles inside an introvert human body. The film visualizes the human mind and shows that the suppression when people cannot express their speech.
Ryan Wang is a student filmmaker, currently studying at UC Irvine. Having grown up in mainland China and now attending college in the United States, Ryan has immersed himself in two different cultures. His work focuses on visualizing people’s inner self and revealing the conflicts he experienced throughout his childhood.
“It is suppressed when thoughts are trapped inside a human body and can hardly break through the restriction.”
Through the Knots
A Film by Lars Broussard
An exercise in identity and hair care.
‘Through the Knots’ is a short, experimental film detailing self-expression through natural hair care. It is a voiceover of a spoken word piece comparing the knots in my hair to the obstacles in life. Covering over a fresh, melodic hip-hop instrumental, I combine the roots of African-American hairstyle and music culture to generate a statement of proud individualism and positive mindset.
Larz Broussard, a graduating senior from UC Irvine, majoring in Literary Journalism and minoring in Digital Filmmaking. He grew up in range of cities between Los Angeles and Orange County. Broussard graduated high school from North Hollywood, where he hopes to return to for graduate school at CSUN. Hist goal is to combine his journalism and filmmaking skills into work as visual media reporter.
“There aren’t many people in UCI who look like me, specifically because of my hair. It became part of who people identified me as, and I took great pride in braiding to present myself to everyone I came into contact with. I thought, why not make something of it, give people an inside through my process and tie in a way where others can relate to it?”
“It’s quite funny thinking back about the filming day. I shot it all in one day, all by myself, on my iPhone, in my bathroom. I connected my phone to my tripod and set it at a potential angle, pressed record, got into the shot and came out, and checked to see if the angle was how I wanted it. No extra cameramen, no stand-ins, it was all me.”
Tricks of Mind
Directed by Theone Ly
Genre: Narrative Web Series
Producer: Julius Beronio
Writer: Murphy Chu
Editor: Neal Khodaskar
Cinematographer: Corey Cao Nguyen
Music: Yihui Liu
Cast: Christian Black, Nicole Cowans, Dan Ly, Cody Nguyen, Bobby Nguyen, Johnathan Tran
Join us as we roam through alternate realities, memory and time.
Whether it’s about how a child sees the world or how a college student carries out his mundane mornings, you are in for a twisted adventure. Tricks of Mind is a web series that unravels the different realities of different people through unique lenses.
Theone Ly is a 1.5 generation Vietnamese-American director, who was born in Vietnam and came to Orange County, CA when she was 12 years old. Growing up in a place where Asian representations were diverse and complex, she was baffled to see how reduced Asian characters (if there are any at all) are in Hollywood movies and made it her goal to portray Asian Americans in a more accurate light on the big screen. Since graduating from UC Irvine, she is now the co-director of Divercity Productions, a production company that aims to promote the underrepresented narratives of LGBTQ+ and POC people.
“Tricks of Mind reminds me of the pretend games I used to play as a child and the fantastical daydreams that I still have now as an adult.”
“I came up with the shot list of Pursuit in the morning of the shoot and basically improvised the whole way through, but it’s my most favorite episode.”