Interview with Michael Wong (Filmmaker)
Michael Wong is currently working as an independent film director, after having spent 16 years as an ad agency art director and creative director. In the late 90s, he left his native Malaysia and arrived in China, where he’s worked at such leading agencies as Ogilvy, BBDO, TBWA, Grey and Saatchi & Saatchi.
His short film The Story of 90 Coins has won Best Direction award and 4 Nominations at Whatashort India International Film Festival 2016.
How did the 90 Coins inspired you to direct this film?
We were out brainstorming and research for some real-life stories. One day, my writer came to with 3 very interesting story plots and the one we liked most was based on a real situation that happened to a friend of her. I’ve always wanted to direct a film that is real to life; something that will resonates with the people’s heart. As a filmmaker, it’s important to give the viewers something in return; either a warm smile, an advice or a message to ponder upon.
90 Coins is an excellent production, has it transformed you to go for the big films?
As a directorial debut short film, I think we’ve done pretty well giving it a good production value but I think there are still room for improvement. Directing a feature film is definitely what I’m aiming to do in the near future.
You have a lot of experience shooting commercials. What is the main difference you found in shooting a commercial as opposed to a short? How is your process different for the two?
Personally, I think there’s vast difference between shooting a commercial as opposed to a short film. It’s a different animal!
Length wise, determined that we need to shoot much more footages and of different angles so to make the film language more interesting. For narrative film, that means shooting from a few camera angles and in my case, we had to do multiple takes and more angles of the same thing. We nearly never do that in tv commercial shoot.
It’s a great learning experience!
What sort of impediment did you face while making film?
For this project, the lack of time was a problem. As the storyline itself depicts a love relationship of the couple that spans a few years, we have to shoot a lot of to depict different time line, which means different locations, locations and weather condition.
As a short filmmaker how do you think a short film could get its dedicated viewers?
One could exploit the great tools of the Internet to gain the right viewers. With the Internet boom in India and especially in China, the situation is phenomenon!
How did you come across Whatashort and What you have to say about us / the online platform?
I came across Whatashort via Filmfreeway. As a festival in an infant stage, I think WIIFF is very well organized; in fact it is better than some other older film festivals. I hope WIIFF will get more recognition from the filmmakers & film establishments (IMDB, film publications, etc) from around the world.