Chen Arvin was born in Boston and grew up in a suburb of the Bay Area, first aspiring to be a comic book artist, then a rock guitar player, and eventually an architect. After graduating from architecture school, he moved back to Taiwan to apprentice with filmmaker Edward Yang (Yiyi), before going to USC film school. He’s spent the last few years living and working in Taipei, Taiwan. Because both his first feature “Au Revoir Taipei” and his latest project, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” are very much Taiwanese movies, most people don’t know that he’s American.
What it’s about: A gay man has been living in a straight marriage for almost 10 years, but finds himself suddenly longing for love again and changing the lives of everyone around him.
What else should audiences know?: “The movie is based on stories I had heard about gay men and women in Asia “going back into the closet” – basically when someone who already knows that he or she is gay, and even has lived “out” for a while, but somehow decides anyway to marry in order to fulfill familial obligations. I’m sure this isn’t just an Asian phenomenon, but the more I learned about the subject, the more I realized just how prevalent these “sham marriages” are on this side of the world. The lead actors of the movie, Richie Jen (Weichung), Mavis Fan (Feng), and Stone (San-San) are all very well known singers/rock musicians in Chinese-speaking Asia with larger-than-life personalities. It’s been a shock to most audiences in Asia to see them playing such everyday characters.”
On the challenges: “The subject matter was inherently pretty heavy and quite sad (that someone would give up such a big part of themselves for societal/familial obligations), but we wanted from the very start to shoot the movie in a lighter and more playful, even romantic tone. This was probably the biggest challenge in the development, writing, casting, and filming…to achieve that tone while not taking away from the seriousness of the subject.”
What he hopes Tribeca audiences will walk away with: “Since I’m from the US and this is our first screening in North America, my biggest hope is that audiences will still be able to connect to the characters and the story despite it being a Taiwanese movie, and that the problems of everyday life and love in Taipei the movie depicts will still resonate with audiences in Tribeca.”
Films that inspired him: “This movie is like a mash-up of: Hannah and her Sisters, Singin’ in the Rain, Mary Poppins, The Wedding Banquet, Yiyi, and Late Autumn.”
What’s next: “I’m developing a movie that will hopefully take place almost entirely in the US, but feature Taiwanese, Chinese and American characters. It’s kind of a cross-cultural screwball comedy. I’m also working on a road-trip movie set in China about rich housewives.”
Indiewire invited Tribeca
Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired
them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be
publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.
Keep checking HERE every
day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.