The New Hollywood Model: Crowdfunding?

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sig-fionamaThe New Hollywood Model: Crowdfunding?:  Save the Date:  Potsticker lovers start gearing up for this year’s 3rd annual Potsticker Eating Contest to honor the quality coverage and empowerment of Asian Americans by veteran political columnist Samson Wong in October. Last year’s champion chowed down 22 scrumptious squirtables but was unable to beat the prior year’s record holder at 26.  One of the brave contestants was Henry Chu, local SF enterpreneur, Partner of Liquid Nitro Energy Drink and current Producer of “All Men Are Thieves” who brought his crew to town last week to meet some locals and get them excited about investing in the film

From left to right: Henry Chu, Producer Steven Lee, SF Entertainment Commissioner, Owner/Manager of The Grand and The Drake Henry Kim, Director Lanny Joon, Actor Frederick Szkoda, Actor

From left to right: Henry Chu, ‘All Men Are Thieves’ Producer, Steven Lee, SF Entertainment Commissioner, Henry Kim, Lanny Joon and Frederick Szkoda

As we know in politics, “Donors = Fans” and as “investors,” Director Henry Kim and stars Lanny Joon and Frederick Szkoda, will seek investor input during the entire filming process via the internet and social marketing tools.  In addition, for those of you who want to get a taste of stardom…here’s your chance…they will be inviting fans to be part of the movie…and you don’t need to sign up with a Casting Agency or have an Agent…how cool is that?

Henry Kim is a Bay Area based filmmaker who has been making films since he was 13-years-old.  He originally wanted to be a comic book artist growing up but got hooked when his father brought home over 500 VHS tapes from a video store client who couldn’t pay him.  He’s taken lessons learned from his past two projects:   No Rest for the Wicked and At Dawn They Sleep and believes this new film will represent the best of all he’s learned to date.

Lanny Joon was born in S. Korea and grew up in LA and played Dr. Bae on Lost.  Unlike other typical immigrant parents, Lanny’s father dreamed of being an actor in S. Korea so he completely supports and lives vicariously through his actor son.  I’d like to give a special shout out to Lanny for being the first Asian Actor “Celebrity Ambassador” to use his star power to raise awareness of Hep B and help us move to the next level!   (

Playing Lanny’s compadre is Frederick Szkoda who father’s moved to the UK at 13 from Burma. He remembers fondly his Grandma’s Burmese Curry with all the tasty “smellies” (aka garlic, chilis and sorts).  He first met Henry Kim working on No Rest for the Wicked and has a long list of theater and film credentials under his belt as well as many special skills to boot including magician, juggling, skydiving, clowning, and breakdancing.

Check out the Team and current events at  BTW:  Linsanity surprisingly raised $200K through Crowdfunding so maybe they’re on to something.

True or False?:   Steven Lee, SF Entertainment Commissioner is the Guru in our Asian Community.  If it’s happening, it’s going to be at either the Grand Nightclub or at adjacent Drake Bar and Lounge at 4th and Bryant Streets in SF, both partnered and operations supervised by Steven Lee.  As you’re reading this column, Mythbusters, one of Discovery Channel’s oldest and most popular shows, is filming a segment at the Drake for their upcoming show.  Now in its 11th season, the show uses real science to test rumors, myths, movie scenes, Internet videos, and news stories.  Grant “the Geek” Imahara is the resident electronics and radio control expert.  Imahara grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from University of Southern California with a B.S. in electrical engineering.  After graduation, he was hired at Lucasfilm’s Home TXH division then Industrial Light and Magic where he was involved in many famous Sci-fi/animatronics movies such as Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and The Matrix.   When asked why he left movies to join Mythbusters: “where else might I be paid to make robots and blow things up?”  MythBusters was recently nominated for a 2013 Emmy in the Outstanding Reality Program category.

Ming the Mirthful:  My husband is a comic fan and a huge Kevin Smith fan, so he was bummed that Comic Con San Diego came and went last month and yet again, we missed out.  The four day “International” festival is the grand daddy of all Comic Cons held since 1970.  Thousands of fans get to mingle with comics creators, science fiction and fantasy authors, film and television directors, producers and writers and creators and get sneak peaks into what will hit the market.  Kevin Smith gave advice to 7,000 fans and talked about his background and working with his fellow podcast/co-stars including Ming Chen, the undaunted whipping boy in Comic Book Men, a reality TV set at Kevin Smith’s comic book shop. Back in 1995, as a college student and video store employee, Chen created an entire fansite based on the movie Clerks;  Smith was flattered and hired Chen to create a website for one of his production companies and today works on all of Smith’s online presence.  While we’re waiting for this year’s new Comic Book Men episodes (following Walking Dead), fans can also catch this rising star Ming Chen broadcasting live every Thursday on “I Sell Comics”. If you miss it live, you can listen and download at  I hear there are more Asian comic personalities coming up through the wings so perhaps we’ll meet some at Comic-Con’s next big show, APE (The Alternative Press Expo) in San Francisco on October 12 and 13 at the Concourse Exhibition Center.

Ming Chen

Ming Chen

The Circus is coming to town!  The famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is coming to the Bay Area August 15 – September 2, 2013 starting in Oakland, San Jose, then San Francisco.  Be sure to arrive 90 minutes early to tour the Animal Open House to get up-close with their amazing animals and meet the circus performers on the arena floor.   See if you can find Chinese Circus Clown Xianzeng Zhang! For more information, visit

clown alley

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