‘Dinner is Served’ Director on Trying to Fit in and Finding Himself in the Process

Hao Zheng is no stranger to creating stories that touches on the human spirit. The award-winning director, who was recently named a 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree and recognized at countless film festivals, has been recognized for his work with the 2019 First International Film Festival Directing Lab and now as a 2020 Disney Launchpad Director and 2020 HBO Access Directing Program Fellow, where he continues to explore themes of identity and belonging.

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‘Let’s Be Tigers’ Director on Being Vulnerable and Processing Grief

One of the directors, Stefanie Abel Horowitz previously directed theater for nearly a decade before pivoting to film. She was determined to tell important stories through her work like her previous short film, sometimes, i think about dying, a story about a woman’s existential crisis with death, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

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‘The Little Prince(ss)’ Director on Femininity, Toxic Masculinity, and Finding Acceptance

Growing up in a conservative town like Hunan, China, Peng was met with discouragement from the neighborhood over their femininity. As a queer and non-binary filmmaker who grew up in China, their focus has always been to address the working class and the intersectionality of the queer community. Peng was fortunate to have supportive parents who love them and always encouraged Peng to be who they were. The same could not be said of the parents of their friends. This is how The Little Prince(ss) was developed.

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NOC Interview: Faith Omole of ‘We Are Lady Parts’

Nida Manzoor’s We Are Lady Parts, a British series featuring a punk rock band of all Muslim women of color, premiered here in the US on NBC’s Peacock streaming service! It’s a landmark in Muslim representation for so many viewers worldwide, who haven’t been able to see themselves represented on screen like this in such a subversive, yet bold, way like this before.

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‘American Eid’ Director Aqsa Altaf on the Importance of Muslim Stories and Finding Her Voice

Disney’s Launchpad: Shorts Incubator — a filmmaking program dedicated to amplifying underrepresented voices — celebrates six directors in its inaugural year to create a story centered on the theme of ‘Discover.’

One of the voices came from Los Angeles-based filmmaker Aqsa Altaf who wanted to capture what it meant to be a Muslin American. Growing up in Kuwait by Pakistani and Sri Lankan parents in a Muslim home, Altaf realized there were not many stories surrounding Muslim stories, especially positive ones that celebrates the culture. Instead, Altaf only saw negative stereotypes of Muslims in the media. She wanted to change all of that and became fascinated with telling diverse stories that reflected on subject matters that are universal.

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The Middle Geeks Episode 27: ‘We Are Lady Parts’ Review

We are SO excited to discuss Nida Manzoor’s We Are Lady Parts, a British series featuring a punk rock band of all Muslim women of color, including MENA women, premiering today on Peacock TV! What did we love particularly about this series, and how well does it handle representation? We also discuss the news of the additional Sandman for Netflix, including the Lebanese Razane Jammal, American Eid debuting on Disney+, and much more!

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Disney’s ‘Launchpad’ Inspires Filmmakers to Tell Their Stories to Disney+

When you first hear the words Disney’s Launchpad, fans immediately think of the famous pilot from Disney’s DuckTales, Launchpad McDuck. It pops up in the Google search when you look up Disney’s Launchpad, but now, Disney is using the word for something greater (sorry, DuckTales fans) and something that will have a lasting impact on diversity and inclusion in filmmaking and storytelling in Hollywood. 

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Kickstart This: Marc Bernardin’s Directorial Debut, ‘Splinter’

Writer, and Friend of the NOC, Marc Bernardin had always hoped to direct a movie by the time he turned 50. Well, now he’s gone and done it!

Though he has already exceeded his original Kickstarter goal in less than 12 hours, Bernardin’s directorial debut, the short film Splinter, still has a month to go to raise even more money!

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The Middle Geeks Episode 26: ‘The Present’ in Palestine

We discuss the most recent IDF and Israeli government brutalization and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza and East Jerusalem and discuss what the world and the US need to do to help those affected and end the occupation. We discuss what the daily reality is like for Palestinians in the West Bank through Farah Nabulsi’s brilliant short film, The Present, which you can watch on Netflix. Please do what you can to help Palestinians in need.

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A ‘Gaze’ into the Soul of ‘The Underground Railroad’

by Barry Jenkins | Originally published on Vimeo

In my years of doing interviews and roundtables and Q&A’s for the various films we’ve made, there is one question that recurs. No matter the length of the piece or the tone of the room, eventually, inevitably, I am asked about the white gaze. It wasn’t until a very particular interview regarding The Underground Railroad that the blindspot inherent in that questioning became clear to me: never, in all my years of working or questioning, had I been set upon about the Black gaze; or the gaze distilled.

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From Amazon to Zombie Hunter: Samantha Win Reflects on Her Career

Samantha Win is blowing up. It’s only May, but it’s already been quite a year for the actress / martial artist / stunt performer / Amazonian warrior / zombie hunter. In March, she wrote, produced, and starred in a genre-bending shortfilm called Unwelcome. She can currently be seen on HBO Max as Euboea in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. On May 14, her latest Snyder-collab, Army of the Dead opens in theaters nationwide — making it Netflix’s widest release ever — before coming to the streamer the following week on May 21.

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Pixar’s ‘Float’ is Not Just About Representation, But an Authentic Experience

Representation is not just about putting a diverse array of faces on a product and calling it a day, but it is also about ensuring that this diversity actually empowers and puts authority into who it is telling the stories of. 

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NOC Review: ‘Us Again’ Charms Right Before ‘Raya’

If you have the great fortune of seeing Raya and the Last Dragon in a safe, socially distant drive-in theater this coming weekend, I’m happy to say you’ll be treated to a neat little short from Walt Disney Feature Animation called Us Again.

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Disney’s Short ‘Us Again’ is More Than Just Dancing

Director Zach Parrish knew he wanted to tell another story for Walt Disney Animation Studios. After the success of his Short Circuit film Puddles, Parrish wanted to touch on something that he was struggling with — aging.

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Meet the New Oddjob in 007 Short Film ‘A Kill From The Other Side’

Almost two years ago, Greg Pak took the reins of rebooting the James Bond 007 comic book series but this time, having a revisionist take on a familiar and iconic villain, first introduced in the 1959 novel Goldfinger: Oddjob. Not only was the reimagined take refreshing and very much needed, the series itself was incredibly well done with the plot moving at a brisk pace, the action fun and invigorating to read, and the rivalry/bickering between James Bond and Oddjob (now known as South Korean secret agent John Lee) extremely entertaining and amusing to read.

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Olaf’s Story Gets Told in Disney+ Short ‘Once Upon a Snowman’

There is a lot to be said about Disney films pushing their franchise further and further by releasing more media content to the masses. It makes you wonder, do we really need more side stories about Frozen?

Well, with Disney+’s digital short, Once Upon a Snowman, it proves that we really do.

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A Howlin’ Virtual Time at the 2020 HorrorHound Festival

We’re back with another horror film festival that’s coming to a monitor near you (which shouldn’t be pretty far as we continue the #PandemicLife), this time with the folks at HorrorHound, one of the most popular horror/genre conventions & film festival dual combos in the United States! And yes, once again, our Make A Wish short film starring Josephine Chang and yours truly will be playing at this festival. But first, an official press release statement from HorrorHound itself so you can know the full extent of how in-depth this event will go as it is not a typical film festival:

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A Bloody Virtual Good Time at the 2020 Horrible Imaginings Film Festival

With the pandemic still very much interwoven into our lives, so has it affected film festivals around the world as they had to adapt quickly and either convert their screenings to drive-in theaters or go completely virtual. And for folks like myself and my fellow NOC writing & real life partner, Josephine Chang, our timing couldn’t be any worse as our short film Make A Wish started its festival circuit run right when the U.S. shutdowns occurred in March (or at least it did for us Californian folks at that time).

But we’ve been very fortunate to be accepted by so many wonderful genre/horror film festivals that took a chance with our fun little project. And along the way, one in particular stood out and it is here that I want to bring a special spotlight to a horror film festival that’s coming up virtually on September 1 and running till September 7th (available only for the West Coast and South West United States areas as it is geolocked). That festival is the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival which is located in Santa Ana, California.

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RE: Anime Releases Trailer for Live Action ‘One Punch Man’ Short

Today, the RE: Anime YouTube channel released their trailer for the new live action short, One Punch Man vs. Genos. The film features the epic fight scene between One Punch Man and Genos based on the original anime and features Alfred Hsing and official Friend of the NOC, Yoshi Sudarso in the titular roles. Check it out below:

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Right Here, Right ‘Bao’

Oakland and the surrounding East Bay Area is a welcoming, casual town. The standard uniform of jeans and a hoodie is a ticket to pretty much anywhere: a Warriors game, a UC Berkeley lecture hall (as a student or even as the professor), a Michelin-star restaurant, R&B paint night at the Complex. The few exceptions are three-fold: the Piedmont School District, an available slice of sweet potato pie at Lois the Pie Queen after 10:00 AM, and Pixar Animation Studios.

I have lived in the East Bay for more than twelve years, and I have never gotten closer than peering through the iron gates while driving past to get my son to badminton practice. Until now.

To celebrate the upcoming in-home release of Bao and Incredibles 2, Pixar opened their gates to The Nerds of Color as well as other media outlets for dinner and interview opportunities with their creators.

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Southern Fried Asian: Stanley Wong

On the latest episode of Southern Fried Asian, Keith is joined by the hilarious actor/writer/director whose credits include 21 Jump Street, The Big Short, and the award-winning short film Hand Fart, Stanley Wong.

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Celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month with HBO’s APA Visionaries

With the coming of May is the celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and HBO is using that opportunity to showcase their Asian Pacific American Visionaries, a collection of three short films by emerging APA directors on May 1 across various HBO platforms. I had the pleasure of watching them during the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and I’m excited that they will available for the public to see starting today on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand, and HBO Zone throughout the month of May.

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Journey Into the Badlands with Co-Creator Al Gough

In the first part of a special podcast crossover with DC TV Classics, Keith chats with Into the Badlands co-creator Al Gough. They talk about Al’s start in Hollywood with his writing and producing partner Miles Millar; working with Hong Kong cinema legends like Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh, and Daniel Wu; how difficult it is to accurately portray kung fu on broadcast television; and the importance of representation and why the onus is on producers and directors to find and cast diverse talent.

Subscribe to DC TV Classics or download part two of this interview here.

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