A mix of comedy, action, cultural and social commentary, and even a little fantasy, Jessica Han’s award-winning Bill, Please! is a film short that takes paying the bill at the end of a restaurant meal to a whole new level. Bill, Please! screens as part of The Coast is Queer at the 2013 Vancouver Queer Film Festival.
We asked Jessica to tell us about Bill, Please! and what inspires her as a filmmaker:
Tell us a little about yourself.
I graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2011 with a BFA, majoring in film production and a minoring in theatre production. Over the four years of ‘art school’, I have made six short films and worked on a whole lot other ones. Having grown up half in Taipei, Taiwan and half in Burnaby & Vancouver, I find myself to be a hybrid of both cultures, as well as being a “gaysian” (gay Asian). I would like to showcase the distinct flavour and personality of Asian-Canadian generation in my films.
Tell us about Bill, Please! in 40 words or less.
Two friends take paying for the bill at the end of the meal to a whole new level.
Who were your early filmmaking mentors or inspirations?
My early filmmaking mentors were mostly my classmates and instructors. I basically started out knowing nothing about making films the day I started film school (for example, which shot cuts to which nicely, how to frame my shots) whereas some of my classmates have already made videos or amateur films in high school. My inspirations mostly came from my family or friends, as well as pieces of writing I have been working on.
What inspired you to make this film?
Bill, Please! was born out of a lunch date with my best friend. When the bill came, she managed to get a hold of it without my attention, and when I noticed it, I reached across the table and attempted to take it from her hands. But she was quick to dodge my grasp. Then we caught ourselves fighting for the bill and laughed at how we were like our parents!
What challenges did you face while making this film?
We couldn’t find a cafe/ restaurant location to sponsor us (lend us the space for free or cheap) until one or two weeks prior to shooting, when one of the actresses asked for her aunt’s permission to use her cafe in White Rock. We had to shoot the film in two days, which was a tight squeeze.
What’s been the coolest experience so far with the film?
Seeing the audiences’ reactions and how they personally connected with the film (usually with excitement), or just talking to people about my film before they even see it and how they would instantly understand the experience (of fighting for the bill).
Are you a film festival newbie or have you had another film(s) at the Festival?
This is my first film that has been accepted into festivals, so I’d consider myself a festival newbie! But Bill, Please! has entertained audiences in the Montreal World Film Festival (2011), Illinois International Film Festival (2011), Athens International Film + Video Festival (Ohio, 2012), Female Eye Film Festival (Toronto, 2012), the Enzaubert Film Festival (Berlin, 2013), and finally the Vancouver Queer Film Festival (2013). So six festivals and one award – Best International Comedy Short at the Illinois International Film Festival – to date, which is a pretty good feat for a four minute short, I’d think.
What are you most excited to do and/or see at this year’s Queer Film Fest?
Using my artist’s pass and taking my wife to see some queer talent! I am anticipating The Coast is Queer screening (because lots of friends will be there, including my actors), as well as Mama Rainbow – it addresses issues that hit close to home because I just came out to my conservative Chinese Christian mother.
Plays as part of the 2013 Vancouver Queer Film Festival on Friday, August 23, 2013 at 9pm at the Rio Theatre. Visit http://www.queerfilmfestival.ca for more information. GayVancouver.Net is once again proud to sponsor The Coast is Queer Award recognizing a distinguished film from this year’s program.
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