The Short List: A THOUSAND WORDS
This week, we ask 5 questions to Ted Chung, the director of A Thousand Words. You can watch their film here:1. How did you come up with the concept for this short?
I lost my cell phone at a screening of Andrea Arnold’s film Red Road. By the time I’d realized it was missing, the theater had closed and I had to wait until the next day to retrieve it. Red Road, a voyeuristic thriller, definitely puts you in a certain kind of mood – and I wondered if someone found my phone, they might get a glimpse into my life via the information stored on it.
2. Any challenges or setbacks during the production?
The train and platform scenes were all shot without permits, and we were asked to stop filming a few times. We would just get on the next train and continue on. Eventually we hid the camera by clamping it to a seat rail and draping a jacket over it with the lens poking out.
3. Any interesting stories from the making of this film?
The movie wouldn’t be what it is without Yoyao Hsueh’s dedication to playing this character. He completely changed his look to suit the part – and soldiered through a lot of pre-dawn mornings. We filmed at sunup so the light would be right and the streets and the train would be empty. I think you can feel the character’s loneliness and the incremental steps he takes towards connection – and this is all because of the subtle emotions Yoyao evoked through his performance.
4. Where has your film played? Festivals or other places around the world?
It’s played at several places around the world, including the Vimeo Awards and the Cannes Short Film Corner. It also reached a wider audience when it was reviewed on Critics.
5. What’s been going on with you, filmmaking wise since the completion of this short? What are you working on next?
After A Thousand Words, I directed a short at the Berlin Film Festival. I then wrote and directed a project in one of Film Independent’s development programs. You can check out these other films here.
I’m currently working on a feature that I wrote and will be directing.
A Thousand Words opened up valuable new opportunities. I’m also glad we got some good mileage out of the title before the Eddie Murphy movie came along.