angry reader of the week: timothy tau

Once again, it's time to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is writer/director Timothy Tau.

Who are you?
Timothy Tau

What are you?
Writer and Filmmaker.

Where are you?
City of Angels, Angeltown, Southland a.k.a. Los Angeles.

Where are you from?
From everywhere and nowhere. Born in Torrance, grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts, lived in Texas, New Hampshire, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Orange County, and now, trying to stay in L.A. as long as I possibly can.

What do you do?
I tell stories, with a pen or with a camera. You may have seen my name on Angry Asian Man before as the winner of the Hyphen Asian American Short Story Contest for my short story, "The Understudy" which is published in the Winter 2011 issue of Hyphen magazine -- still on newsstands -- or for getting 2nd prize in the Playboy College Fiction Contest for my short story, "Land of Origin."

I'm here to tell you about a film I have coming up at the 2012 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival that will be making its World Premiere there: Keye Luke. The film was also done for a Visual Communications "Armed With A Camera" Fellowship for Emerging Media Artists, whose illustrious alumni include Daniel Hsia ('03), whose film Shanghai Calling is the Opening Night Film of the Festival, and Ernesto Foronda ('02), whose film Sunset Stories also screens at the Festival as well.

It's a film I made to honor the contributions of the very, very first generation of pioneering Asian American Actors in Hollywood, a generation of Artists/Filmmakers/Entertainers who broke new ground and who also blazed a trail that many of us walk on today. Keye Luke was actually the first and original "Kato" in the 1940s Green Hornet, even before Bruce Lee (but also like Bruce lived/grew up in Washington and attended University of Washington briefly), and was also known for playing the All-American "Number One Son," Lee Chan, in the popular Charlie Chan films of the 1930s-40s.

He was also a painter, had an eloquent, accent-less "voice of gold" (a rarity at the time), played "good guy" roles such as detectives, secret agents, lawyers and surgeons at a time when many Asian American Actors were cast as villains or servants, married out of his race when it was illegal to do so, and would later go onto act in over 200+ films and television shows. Even though in his later career he was most known for playing the "blind Master Po" in the 1972 TV show Kung Fu or the shopkeeper "Mr. Wing" in the Gremlins movies, our film focuses on the earlier life and work of "young" Mr. Luke.

The film not only remembers the work and contributions of Keye Luke (played by Feodor Chin) but also the work of his generation and stars an amazing cast, who, for the most part, play real-life historical figures. In order of appearance, the film stars: Archie Kao (Edwin Luke), Kelvin Han Yee (Lee Luke), Jolene Kim (Suzanna Kim), Britt Prentice (Warner Oland), Burl Moseley (Mantan Moreland), Robert Factor (Sidney Toler), Becky Wu (Florence Ung), Hedy Wong (Frances Chan), Jennifer Chang (Iris Wong), James Huang (Victor Sen Yung), Elaine Kao (Marianne Quon), David Huynh (Benson Fong), Cyndee San Luis (Anne Nagel/Lenore Case), Chris Cusano (Gordon Jones), Elizabeth Sandy (Ethel Davis Luke), Mei Melançon (Lotus Long), Jessika Van (Victoria Horne), Jennifer Field (Dr. Raymond), Narisa Suzuki (Takahari), Chadd Stoops (Lloyd Bridges) and Ina-Alice Kopp (Jan Wiley).

The film also features an amazing musical score from George Shaw, stunning RED EPIC-X cinematography from Emmy Award-winning DP Rick Darge and his team of Mark Armes and Devin Finch, an incredible wardrobe from Bao Tranchi, Anthony Martinez and Stephanie Pearl Minas, dead-on period-piece hair and makeup from Toni Chiang, was AD'd by Rock Chang and David Elkin, and finally boasts some killer titles and VFX from Michael Chang / New Blue Vision.

What are you all about?
I'm all about trying to bring awareness to pioneering figures like Keye Luke, who I am still somewhat surprised that not many people really know about. I, shamefully, didn't know too much about him until my co-writer Ed Moy brought the script about his life to my attention. So if people come walking out of the theater knowing the name "Keye Luke," then I feel that I have done my job. His story is part of a larger Feature idea where I focus on "The Pioneers" of his generation: not just Keye Luke but also Anna May Wong, Sessue Hayakawa and Philip Ahn. Like Joss Whedon's upcoming film The Avengers, I plan to tackle each of them piecemeal before assembling them together in a bigger project -- so think of Keye Luke as the "first" Pioneer, just like Captain America.

I think in this day and age, when Asian American Artists are making considerable strides in new mediums like Youtube, now, more than ever, we have to understand our past in order to better understand how to forge the future. In 2012, we remember. We remember our predecessors, those who came before us, those who paved the way. The First Ones Up. The Headliners. The Opening Act. We remember our history, our origins, our very roots. From every young Internet artist operating today to the most seasoned veterans of the stage and screen, we are all indebted to the pioneering work of Mr. Keye Luke.

That is why at the 2012 LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, I hope to remember Keye Luke and his generation, their work and what they stood for. So join me on Sunday May 13th, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Director's Guild of America, Theater One, for a unique cinematic experience that pays tribute to the very first among us, and watch a homage to the very first Asian American pioneers of the silver screen. Get your tickets here.

What makes you angry?
People who won't be coming out to the film. No, seriously, come out. Hopefully it'll make you less angry overall and long for the better, simpler days of the 1940s.

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