SECOND LIFE: A Dialogue With Malaysian Filmmaker James Lee
|From L to R: James Lee, Charlene Meng, Michael Chin, Low Chee Hong, Adrian Poh and Adrian Lai on the set of the upcoming martial arts action shortfilm SECOND LIFE|
Independent filmmaker James Lee recently officially launched his content creation platform this year, Doghouse 73 Pictures, with a brand new website to host his YouTube channel, and a variety of other cool merchandise for fans and viewers. In covering this for my previous article, I was eager to follow up on a shortfilm project titled Second Life, succeeding his 2012 martial arts feature-length contribution with The Collector starring Sunny Pang.
James Lee: I was originally trained as a graphic designer with a dream of becoming a comic artist back in the early 90s. And when the TV industry picked up in Malaysia in the mid 90s, I quit my job as a graphic designer and joined as a personal assistant and sometimes as part of the technical crew. And at the same time I was involved in the local theatre scenes learning stage acting & directing from the top theatre directors.
JL: I don’t particular have a favourite genre that I enjoy making as a director or even watching as an audience. I believe if it’s a good movie with a solid storytelling and interesting characters, the genre doesn’t really matter to me.
JL: Response has been generally positive locally for the fact that no one actually believes we could pull this off in Malaysia. I mean, sci-fi is a genre that is very foreign to Asians productions. Rarely do we see an Asian region produced or made sci-fi. So when we say we want to make one, there were a lot of skeptics. But of course the 6 minute short was just a concept of showcasing our technical and production capabilities and handling of English language material.
JL: The film will go into a crowd fund campaign via Indiegogo first, and then we will shoot in late May or earlier with whatever we raise. The plot involves a group of men who kills people as a pastime, but unlike most slasher movies, this film is about them, told from their point of view; At the end of the day when they’re not killing their victims they’re all normal ordinary folks with a day job and family. It slight resembles ‘Fight Club’ in that sense, but instead of beating each other up they hunt and kill others.
JL: My advice is don’t wait. Don’t wait for the money, don’t wait for the best cameras, don’t wait for the right opportunity, the thing I believe as a filmmaker is we make films with what we’ve got, then learn the business aspect of the industry if one intends to sustain in this industry. Art without a creative business mind will sometimes goes down into the drain. To quote from an old interview; “a good film doesn’t mean it’s a marketable film, and a marketable film doesn’t mean it’s a good film”. See the film business itself as one tough business.Doghouse 73 Pictures is currently airing the latest new trailer for Second Life, which is poised for webseries treatment if the fans approve. So feel free to check out the trailer in the embed below, and as always, feel free to subscribe to the YouTube channel, and visit the official website for information.