With the Crazy 8s Gala coming up super soon, I had a rare opportunity to talk to one of the teams who had come up with an amazing idea. Lelinh Du who wrote and directed Anh Hung along with Frazer MacLean who co-wrote and produced came up with the fantastic life-like idea of a family struggle that takes place in Vancouver. 1st Generation Canadians didn’t always have it easy, and this story is video proof of that told in a dark creative tone.
Where did you find your cast and crew?
Lelinh: We got paired with a casting director named Ciarra Cook, she works with Judy Lee Casting. We had our breakdown services send it out to Ciarra, and she sent it out to all the other agents, and the agents pulled together their collection of actors and we held an audition. Then chose the ones we liked.
Frazer: And for the crew, I built most of it as well as had help from Lelinh, and a lot of them were people we knew: Our personal contacts, our friends, and different people we knew from the past.
How did you two get to know each other and come together to work on this project?
Lelinh: I work at a props rental house, so basically a whole summer at Props Master, so he came into my shop and that’s how we met. We found out that we had a lot in common.
Frazer: A lot. And we just basically started talking about Crazy 8s, Lelinh almost asked me if I wanted to produce the project for her and I just jumped at the opportunity from there.
It’s an interesting concept of an older brother protecting his sister in such a dark setting. Where did the truthful stories come from? Were they something that you experienced?
Lelinh: No, but it was inspired by how I grew up in my childhood, so I was a 1st generation, and my parents were immigrants. They kind of brought their own culture to Canada where there was gambling, and smoking. So it was likely based on childhood events. And my cousins and my aunts as well. They all had the same experience.
What was one of the biggest challenges with making Anh Hung?
Lelinh: Having a child actor is very, VERY hard, when she’s only 10 years old… We could only shoot her for 8 hours, and an entire day of filming is 12. But we kind of got away with it, by using her sister who is a year younger than her, who looks slightly alike. And we used her for 4 hours. Then we used the main actor for 8 hours. So it was a little Mary Kate and Ashley deal, but it was challenging. She’s in every scene.
Frazer: The challenge for me, as a producer, is it always comes down to money. This movie for $1000 is quite unrealistic, but you are definitely forced to pull some rabbits out of your hat and you get very good at selling your story, so much I’ve learned from having to deal with such a small budget, but I really wish we were given a couple more thousand…
What was the best part of making the film?
Lelinh: I’d say the cast and crew, because they’re all coming out and helping for free, and you ask for so much and they just give it to you.
Frazer: Just last night, I slept at the actor’s house, and we are up at 4:30 am, getting his project going, and we see how much pride and passion when they’re working for free, to make art. Something they’re doing to be proud of, not to get paid. That’s the inspiring part.
Will there be any other plans for Anh Hung in the future? Sequels or a full length?
Lelinh: Maybe… A full length?
Frazer: We’re toying with the idea of a feature, we’re going to see what kind of traction we get.