Project of the Week on in Feb, 2013
Timid and imaginative 7-year old Ashley has to stand up against the class bully in order to save her uninterested crush and let him know how she feels in an art class on Valentine's Day.
A sneak peek of some stills from the footage we have shot and behind-the-scenes with the cast:
First crush and bullying/being bullied are two issues that almost every child encounters directly or indirectly, yet most children don't openly talk about them. I experienced both when I was a child in an interesting way.
I was bullied throughout my elementary school years because I was the teacher's favorite and my mom liked dressing me up very nicely, which was almost taboo in China in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The sad part was, the class bully, who picked on me for years, wrote me a "love letter" a year after we graduated from elementary school, telling me he had a crush on me and was too embarrassed to tell me, so instead he picked on me. Needless to say, he didn’t win my heart.
My daughter Ilianna has been my motivation to refine the story through more than 15 drafts of the script. Ilianna turned 20 months old on December 13, 2012, the day we wrapped shooting for this film. She is friendly, happy and girly. She constantly reminds me of my own childhood. I want her to be a strong, compassionate, forgiving girl , who also has the courage to stand up for herself, knows how to use her brain instead of her fists to protect herself, and understands that it's absolutely OK for a girl to look pretty!
My Super Valentine is a gift for my daughter and the 7-year-old me. It is also a gift for all children today, who face the same issues that I faced almost twenty years ago back in China, that my daughter will most likely face when she goes to school. This is also a film for all the adults who love and care about children. Maybe it will bring back sweet, or bitter, or bitter-sweet memories from when you were a child.
WHY AREN'T THERE ANY ADULT FACES IN THE FILM?
My Super Valentine is shot entirely from a child's perspective. I had a lot of fun working with the children and becoming one of them in the process of making this film. I'm excited to take you on a fantastic journey with me in My Super Valentine!
WHY ARE THERE FANTASY SCENES IN THE FILM?
Because Ashley is a very imaginative little girl who has weird, quirky and funny fantasies!
WHY DO WE NEED FUNDING?
First of all, this film is not being made for any profit. All donations will be very helpful for us as crowdfunding is our only resource to help finish the film. We have been very budget-conscious, and will continue to do so with the money we raise. We have plans to submit the film to film festivals and screen it in elementary schools.
- We still owe some people money from the film shoot. The film will be screened in Austin, TX in May 2013 as part of the director's MFA program at the University of Texas at Austin. Most of the equipment (very professional equipment by the way) we used was free. We were also lucky to have a great, professional cast and crew who worked for little or no pay. However, we still spent a lot of money during the 5 days we were filming, mostly on food, equipment and truck rental, costume materials, and our gratuity fee for the lead actors, whose great work deserved so much more than what we were able to offer!
- We still need a pick-up shoot. We had to film a very key scene during only 20 minutes of sunrise when we did not have enough time, equipment or crew that day, so the lighting looks inconsistent. Part of the funds will go toward the food, transportation, and equipment rentals for the reshoot of that scene.
- The reality and fantasy scenes in the film have very different visual styles. Most of the money we raise will go toward postproduction for special effects, animation, color correction, sound design, folly, scoring, sound mixing, etc. We shot the film on a great camera (Sony PMW-F3), so we will make sure our postproduction quality matches and enhances what we have done.
NATIONAL BULLYING PREVENTION CENTER
Once we reach our fundraising goal, 5% of your donation will go to Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center for anti-bullying education and activities.
We had a hard time finding anti-bullying foundations or organizations to donate to. That only made us believe more that we need to do something for this issue.
Jing Yang - Writer, Director, Editor
Jing Yang grew up in China and now lives in Austin, Texas. Jing received her Master’s degree in Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin studying East Asian film. Jing is now pursuing her MFA in Film/Media Production at the same university. She has written, directed, shot and edited both narrative and documentary shorts exploring human emotions and relationships across cultural and social boundaries. Her directing work has won awards at film festivals. Besides filmmaking, she also enjoys spending time with family and friends, witty jokes, going to movies and concerts, filmmaking, good food, traveling, and filmmaking.
Deepak Chetty - Director of Photography
Deepak Chetty is finishing his final year as a MFA Film Production Student at UT Austin where he was recently nominated for the 2012 Kodak Student Scholarship. He earned his BFA in Film Production from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where he received both the Steve and Linda Horn Award for Excellence in Media Arts as well as the school's Princess Grace Award Nomination. His work as a cinematographer has been featured in festivals such as SXSW, Silverdocs, The Hamptons International Film Festival as well as Slamdance and the Seattle International Film Festival.
Shila Farahani - Producer
Shila Farahani is a Senior Fellows Honors student majoring in Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin. Some of Shila's extracurriculum projects include working as a videographer for the Daily Texan and assisting with the Austin Music Map program on KUT radio. Her current film involvement includes working on several short narrative film projects. Shila hopes to broaden her film horizon by eventually working on feature films and one day possibly directing a Bruno Mars' music video. Someday she hopes to climb Mount Kilamanjaro and travel the seven seas. Overall, Shila loves working with film and looks forward to broadening her experience with each new opportunity that comes her way.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP:
If you are unable to contribute but still would like to help us, please don't hesitate to:
-Share our Indiegogo campaign link on your Facebook, Twitter or blog.
-Tell your friends about our film and our campaign.
-Like us on http://www.facebook.com/mysupervalentinefilm.