Writer/Director Alice Wu tackled a lot of themes with her feature length debut, Saving Face. In an age full of ignorance and stupidity (in the United States at least), making a film that tackles the gay issue with open and accepting arms is a pretty amazing thing. And that isn’t the only message she is trying to get across either. “Saving Face” is about being true to yourself and others around you, especially those you love, and accepting people’s differences no matter what they are, be it sexual preference or otherwise.
The first time I met Alice Wu, was at the Florida Film Festival this year. “Saving Face” was chosen as the opening night film, so she packed her bags and attended the screening, along with one of the films co-stars, Joan Chen.
About an hour after the film screened, I walked over to her area. She was busy speaking with another guy, so I stood near and listened in on the conversation. Not like I was trying to snoop in on their conversation, but one couldn’t help but overhear this particular guy’s enthusiasm he had for her movie. He was praising Wu, saying things like, “Of all the films that had ever opened this festival, yours was the most touching and honest I had ever seen.”
The man almost broke down in tears as he continued on about how much the film touched him and the look on Alice’s face was priceless – she too looked as if she was about to cry. She was deeply touched by this man’s appreciation for her film. I stood there in awe. I’ve tried my hand at filmmaking numerous times, each with failing results. I think deep down in every filmmaker’s heart, they await a response like this over something they created.
After a few more words and praises, the man hugged her and walked away. A look of awe came over her face and she covered her mouth with her hand and looked toward me.
“How am I supposed to compete with that?” I asked her.
“That was so nice… man,” she responded.
We talked for a bit and finally, I congratulated her for making such a fine and candid debut and wished her the best of luck in the future. A couple of days later, we met again at a Starbucks in downtown Orlando, where the following interview commenced.
The problem with interviews, especially when it is people you don’t really know (which is how it is 98% of the time), is how do you get them started? I ask her age and where she grew up, and she jokingly responds, “I feel like I am answering questions for one of those dating services…” We both laugh, and she was right.
So I tried a little harder.
Get the interview in part two of SAVING FACE WITH ALICE WU>>>