Holy Shit. My first cousin Arvin Chen (my mom's younger sister's older son) won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for his short film Mei, which he shot in Taipei. It's a nice piece set in a noodle shop about the owner, his daughter who helps him out there but longs to study abroad, her young co-worker who's in love with her.It's just what a short should be. He'll be working on a new feature soon, which I've seen trailers for, and now that he has Das Bear, he's bound to find funding for it pretty easily. It's sort of Woody Allenesque (he compares it to Manhattan), and it promises to be very good. Arvin's a USC Film School graduate, and apprenticed under Edward Yang Te-ch'ang. He won't admit it, but he''s a heck of a good guitar player too. He's always been quiet and pretty modest, but he's actually one of the funniest individuals I know--savagely witty when he wants to be. With my younger brother Jay writing and producing musical theater in the Bay Area now--his second one, Homeland, just debuted in December--I'm betting I'll have a brother with Tony and a cousin with an Oscar before it's all over. (My Grammy hopes perished long, long ago).
Speaking of films at Berlin, one Chinese film I helped out on (translated the screenplay) was then called Lost in Beijing, but screened in Berlin, as I understand it, under the name Pingguo (Apple, the name of the female lead played by Fan Bingbing.) I haven't seen it yet, but read one pretty nasty review of it from the Hollywood Reporter, but the reporter lost credibility with me when he called director Li Yu a "first-time director," when she's done at least two films I know of--the Lesbian film Fish and Elephant and another festival success called Dam Street (or Hong Yan). I personally liked the "Lost in Beijing" screenplay quite a bit. Anyone seen it yet?