Richmond Review

Filmmaker looks to collaboration to create unique short films

by James King

Eddie Ahn was at a recent screening of his team’s entry into CAAMFest 2014 when something went wrong. He was representing the Storycake Films group at the Center for Asian American Media’s annual film festival and his short film, “Choose Wisely,” had a problem with the audio. In front of a packed house at the New People Cinema in Japantown, the audio and video portions of “Choose Wisely” did not sync. There was a 10 second lag between the audio and the video.
When recounting the story, Ahn laughs that a CAAMFest staffer wondered aloud whether the short was an experimental film. Fortunately, Ahn solved the problem by switching the film’s feed from a computer’s hard drive to YouTube.
“It wasn’t as crisp as it would have normally been, but so it goes,” Ahn said.
Despite the hiccup, the audience saw this darkly comic short about a failing marriage, the mystery of memory, and love with audio and video in sync.
Ahn, a Texas native born to Korean immigrants, has an undefined role with Storycake Films. He is something of a producer, scriptwriter, publicist and, as he showed at CAAMFest, an audio-visual technician. He has always been a film fan and is happy to be working with the people at Storycake.
“It has been a real joy and I want to keep on doing it,” Ahn said.
However, filmmaking is Ahn’s hobby and passion but not his profession. He graduated from UC Hastings in 2009 and currently works as a lawyer for a non-profit organization called the Brightline Defense Project in San Francisco. Brightline works to improve the quality of life in low-income communities in the City.
Ahn credits a buddy from college with Storycake’s creation. In 2011, Edwin Chang, a software engineer, gathered several of his friends (including Ahn) who had an interest in film to start making short films. The group has been entering short film competitions around the country ever since and have completed five to date. The contests are unique because they are timed and the rules dictate that each entrant must make a two- to five-minute narrative feature that contains a predetermined prop, a certain line of dialogue, and must fit into a certain genre chosen by competition organizers.
For example, “Choose Wisely” was a dark comedy that contained a snow globe and the line, “I don’t think you’re supposed to hold it that way.” The team made the film for the San Francisco 48 Hour Film Project in 2013 and it was entered into CAAMFest for a series of shorts with the concept of love being the common theme.
The Storycake team is made up of young people from all over the Bay Area with various backgrounds. Ahn, a resident of the Richmond District, says, “The key thing is that there is professional diversity on our team.”
According to Ahn, there are lawyers, software engineers, a psychiatric nurse, professional composer and a playwright on the team. Diversity, he says, breeds creativity.
“What I enjoy the most out of doing these projects is the idea of creative collaboration. I think everyone brings a certain skill set to the table,” Ahn said.
Liz Ren, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and student at the University of California, San Francisco, adds, “Everyone contributes a lot of creative energy.”
The Storycake team embraces the mentality that filmmaking is a collaborative effort and Ren relates a story about “Choose Wisely,” in which nine members of the group simultaneously wrote and edited a script together using Google Docs.
Ren says short films must contain elements of surprise or humor to be successful because there is no time to develop characters or plot.
“Our team goes for the more bizarre, yet sophisticated storylines,” she said.
For more information about Storycake Films, go to the website at http://storycakefilms.com.

Categories: Richmond Review

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