I flew back to Las Vegas on Tuesday and, after a day or two break, I am now in LA. While I'm in Los Angeles, wrapping up a film shoot for 'A Lone Lost Soul,' directed by the independent Vietnamese-American filmmaker Theone Ly, I had the opportunity to catch up with Andrzej Bartkowiak.
He is a renowned cinematographer and director who has worked with Jet Li in 'Romeo Must Die' and has made significant contributions to iconic films such as "Speed," "Lethal Weapon 4," and "The Devil's Advocate," leaving an indelible mark on the industry.
I first met Andrzej two years ago at the Asian World Film Festival, where he was a panelist. In my usual confrontional self, I recall raising my hand and asking him about the barriers faced by Asian women in the industry and he replied as an 'ally'. Since then, I've continued to stay in touch with him and share updates on the progress of 'Echo 8,' my first feature film.
Following the completion of the first film, I fully immersed myself in the process of getting the next two double-bill movies off the ground. This is highly unusual in Australia, where it often takes up to seven years to complete a feature film in the independent filmmaking realm. Many projects are either abandoned or lost in the shaky distribution process. But I'm making two and possibly posing as a nusiance to the mainstream industry. Those that survived and thrived, such as George Basha, are the unsung heroes of the movie-making industry, minus the funding bodies.
Andrzej's dual role as a director and his extensive experience as a cinematographer mean that he truly understands both sides of the camera, developing a strong relationship with his DPs. At 73, there are no signs of him slowing down. He actively works on scripts and getting projects off the ground, and he has a deep love for Asian cinema.
He generously shared his invaluable experiences from years on set and the lessons he had gleaned throughout his illustrious career. His profound insights into lighting, camera angles, and shot composition were nothing short of transformative.
I also got to meet Randy Mendelsohn, who is a very knowledgeable attorney in Hollywood and has executive produced a slate of projects himself.
I'm really looking forward to to sharing Echo 8 Trilogy and proud to be a part of the next generation of filmmakers who are resourceful, innovative, compassionate, and giving. We exist regardless of the 'system,' and our perseverance will only mean a brighter future where the craft becomes accessible to all. Kudos to those who have laid the path before us.