Tag, You’re It! – Evan Jackson Leong

Because it’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I feel it’s appropriate to start up this series… and well, I actually came up with this idea over a year ago, but never got around to launching it, cuz’ originally, I was going to include a mini interview with these spotlights. However, the first person I wanted to spotlight never got back to me with the list of questions I gave him (*ahem* Evan). Haha. ALL GOOD (we were busy with 1040). So, here’s what I wrote up a year ago:

***Tonight (3/16/09), I had the random inspiration to spotlight one of my friends once a week and share a bit of our history. I thought it’d be cool to call this series, “Tag, You’re It!” since I’ll be tagging the friend I spotlight in the note on Facebook.

For my first spotlight, it is appropriate that it’s Evan Jackson Leong as he was my first connection to the Asian American independent filmmaking scene. It all started with the grassroots movement behind BETTER LUCK TOMORROW in 2003 when Evan came to my college campus to promote the film with his behind-the-scenes documentary, BLT: GENESIS.

In late 2004, Evan encouraged me to apply for Visual Communications‘ Armed With a Camera Fellowship. I got into the program and it is partly because of this, that I took time off from UCSC to be in LA and it was during this time that I was certain I’d end up pursuing a career in LA.

In the next few years, I worked on a handful of projects directed by Evan. From set dressing his music video for FM’s “Round Round” to being an extra in a handful of other music videos to more recently, collaborating on “Kim Jong Il Eharmony” and “Girls on the Dance Floor ft. Kim Jong Il.”

Evan is one of the dopest, most talented, young filmmakers I know. His crew, Arowana Films, is probably the most “MacGyver” peeps out there. I’m talking about this crazy house they live in with a bunch of homemade production gear and a homemade entertainment system!***

Anyway, it’s now been over a year since I wrote all the above and a lot of things have happened. Since then, we’ve worked on a feature-length documentary together, 1040, as well as some other random web projects like “Manivore.” I’m sure there will be more collabs in the future, but literally the day after I came back to LA from my 3-month long Asia trip, Evan took off for the other coast. So, I’m excited for him and what’s in store for him over there ;]

Here’s something he put together recently which I think is dope:

Official Bio:
Evan Jackson Leong is a 6th generation Chinese American native of San Francisco, California. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s Degree in Asian American studies. As a short form filmmaker he has directed numerous music videos, commercials, shorts that have played on MTV in the domestic and international markets. As a long form documentary filmmaker, he has directed two half hour nationally broadcast projects: Him Mark Lai: The People’s Historian and Forging a Feature: The Journey of Better Luck Tomorrow. In his growth as a young filmmaker he has been mentored by Justin Lin, with credits in Better Luck Tomorrow, Fast & Furious and Finishing the Game as a co-producer. He currently completed his first feature length documentary, 1040, which explores the happenings of Christianity in Asia.

To see more of Evan’s work, go to arowanafilms.com.

  • Very dope write up. I’ve only known Evan for less than a year but he is a very talented director. I expect nothing but big things from him and Arowana in the future.

  • Pingback: BLT: GENESIS | PEACHiES.net()