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LAFF 2015 Women Directors: Meet Emily Ting – ‘It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong’

LAFF 2015 Women Directors: Meet Emily Ting - 'It's Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong'

Emily Ting
is a graduate of the film/TV program at NYUs Tisch School of the Arts. Ting has directed
several shorts that have screened at film festivals across the nation and
broadcast on cable and/or streamed online. Her feature
documentary, “Family Inc.,” about her experience of working for her family toy
business in Hong Kong, screened at several film festivals nationwide and was
picked up for distribution by 7th Art Releasing and was broadcast on the
Documentary Channel.

Ting’s producing credits include serving as the Associate Producer for Yen Tans “Pit Stop,” which premiered at Sundance in 2013 and was picked up for distribution by Wolfe Video; Executive Producer for Dave Boyles “Man From Reno,” which won Best Narrative Film at
Los Angeles Film Festival; and Co-Executive Producer for Aaron Katz and Martha
Stephen’s “Land Ho!,” which premiered at Sundance in 2014 and was picked up for
distribution by Sony Pictures Classics. All three films were nominated for the
John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards, with “Land Ho!” winning. (Press materials) 

“It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong” will premiere at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival on June 12. 

W&H: Please give us your description of the film playing.

ET: “It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong” is a walk-and-talk romance about two people forming a connection during a chance encounter in the bustling city of Hong Kong, and exploring what they decide to do when their brief encounter is given a second chance a year later.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

ET: I had lived in Hong Kong for five years as an expat prior to moving back to the US. As much as I found the city exciting and gorgeous, I never quite felt at home there. I found it quite hard to connect to people for some reason. I’ve always wanted to make a film about two people connecting in this occasionally alienating city and build a love story around that.

The idea sat with me for a long time until, one night, I actually met a fellow expat, and we spent a night wandering around the city and talking together. I thought we were building a connection, but then I found out later that he had a girlfriend. I felt like a fool for making this flirtation up in my head. So I went home and wrote the screenplay that eventually became the film.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

ET: The nature of shooting everything on location in the streets of Hong Kong was very challenging. We had permits to shoot all over the city, but we didn’t have the budget to shut down any streets. So we would literally just plop our actors into the middle of bustling Nathan Road, Lan Kwai Fong or Temple Street Market and shoot our scenes among the real crowds of Hong Kong.

I would say that at least half of our scenes were shot in an uncontrolled environment. And shooting at least 80% of our scenes in exterior night locations at the start of typhoon season in Hong Kong also posed a whole new set of weather-related challenges!

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theatre?

ET: I want people to feel a sense of longing upon leaving the theatre, the same way you would sometimes think about an old flame you had a brief encounter with years ago, and wonder from time to time how they’re doing. And then I would want them to go home and look up ticket prices to Hong Kong.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

ET: Don’t wait for anyone to give you permission to make your film. Just go out and do it by whatever means possible. If I had waited around for someone to give me permission, I would’ve never gotten this movie made.

W&H: What’s the biggest misconception about you and your work?

ET: That I’m only interested in making chick flicks about two people falling in love. That may seem to be the case based on my body of work so far, but I would actually love to tackle a psychological thriller sometime!

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

ET: I decided to take a job with my family business shortly after graudating from film school so that I could be financially stable enough to pursue my art some day. I feel really proud of the fact that, eventually, I was able to finance the film on my own. I didn’t get to make a movie when I was 25, but I am now able to at 35.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

ET: “Lost in Translation” by Sofia Coppola. After all these years, it has remained one of my favorite films of all time. I thought Coppola perfectly captured the magic of connecting with someone in an alienating metropolis. I felt giddy with excitement upon leaving the theatre, the way you do after a promising first date, when you feel like you might have just met your soulmate.

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