It was a beautiful night in San Francisco to celebrate the 30thAnnual San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. Presented by the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), this event was a must to attend. My photographer Erilou and I had the pleasure of attending this star studded event. The Opening night was held at the Castro Theater and a Gala reception at the Asian Art Museum followed. The world premier of White Frog, directed by Quentin Lee was featured. White Frog is a drama film about a teen named Nick (Booboo Stewart) with Asperger’s Syndrome who has to cope with the death of his brother Chaz (Harry Shum, Jr.). With an amazing and talented cast, many of the actors who are in White Frog were present at the movie premiere. I had the pleasure of interviewing and meeting many of the actors such as Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf), Harry Shum Jr (Glee), Booboo Stewart (Twilight), and many other talents within the film industry. Read on to read interviews with BooBoo Stewart, Ellie Wen, Harry Shum, Jr. and more.
Since this was my first time a red carpet event, I was nervous and ecstatic to meet all of the great people within the film and entertainment industry. I prepared myself for what might have been a difficult interview with some big names in Hollywood, but was relieved that the cast of White Frog were all down-to-earth and easygoing. When the crew and cast arrived on the red carpet, they all greeted one another with hugs and laughs. With the guys looking spiffy and the girls looking fabulous, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood overtook the Bay Area that night.
When I met producer Ellie Wen, I was very inspired by this quirky and bubbly girl. Coming straight out of Stanford University and pursuing her dreams, she wrote White Frog with her mother Fabienne Wen. The inspiration for this story is heartwarming and very real for Ellie. She says, “I know a few people with this syndrome (Asperger’s) and it really has affected me. I just want people to understand the uniqueness of these individuals and that on the whole, we should all be inspired to love our uniqueness.” On the red carpet, she was just ecstatic for her first premiere. “It feels so surreal. It’s like a dream!” I definitely feel like there will be many more red carpets for this Ms. Wen, and I’m glad to have met such a great up-and-coming talent in the film industry. You go Ellie!
Interviewing one of the werewolves from Twilight, I can’t help but stare in awe. With the lead role in White Frog as Nick, a teen who has Asperger’s syndrome, Booboo found his role to be inspiring and worth working for. “I really enjoyed working on this role. I think it’s an inspiring role and it really helps others to appreciate their individuality,” he says. With such a dramatic part, BooBoo really took his acting to another level. He works hard and is passionate about his career in acting. When asked how he prepared for this role, he explains, “I looked up YouTube videos on those with Asperger’s Syndrome. Many communicate through videos, so this helped me a lot.” With the sound of humility in his voice and eloquent answers, I didn’t even know that he was just 18. Even amongst the crowds, his presence threw girls off balance. And with a new lead role in a drama in which he did an amazing job, he may be the next big thing on screen!
“We’re a Family”
Throughout the majority of the interviews, all the cast compared one another to being like family or being really great friends. Having Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf) as my first red carpet interview, his easygoing personality made interviewing him fun. When asked how he liked working with the cast, he says, “These guys all basically became my friends. It was really fun to work with this crew, and even Booboo Stewart came out to support my band one night. We all became really good friends.” The director of the film, Quentin Lee, says that even during the selection process of the cast, he knew that they would all get along. “We became a family and even the boys became really close. They pulled pranks on each other and everyone really had a good time making this film.” Harry Shum Jr., who is continuously busy working in various films and his role in Glee, finds working with the cast of White Frog to be more fun than work. “I loved working with the cast of White Frog. Off-set, we were all good friends. Quentin’s great at providing direction and help, and so White Frog was a great time for me.” Even behind the scenes, the feeling of family was present. Actress Joan Chen says, “I’m very family-oriented myself. I love being a mother. With this cast, I would love bringing my daughter on set. She had a great time.” With other great actors like B.D. Wong goofing around on the red carpet, and a beaming playwright David Henry Hwang, it was a great time for everyone.
As the night continued on at the Gala at the Asian Art Museum, everyone was having a great time with delicious food and yummy cocktails. The cast of White Frog was present taking lots of pictures with fans and friends. There was a beautiful performance by Paperdoll’s Theresa Lee. (Paperdoll’s music is also featured in the film.) I had a wonderful time, and I look forward to seeing what’s next for Quentin, Ellie, and the rest of the cast of White Frog!
To see more pictures of this star-studded event, visit my website www.unfshnable.com
By Daisy Miclat. Photos by Erilou Bendo.