Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Burgeoning Collaborators Bring Asian American Jesus to Houston

Filmmaker Yasmine Gomez and comedienne Samantha Chanse first crossed paths at San Francisco's Kearny Street Workshop, the country's oldest Asian-American multidisciplinary arts organization. Gomez was taking a film production class there while Chanse was artistic director.

Some time later, Gomez took in Chanse's one-woman show Back to the Graveyard, featuring the hilariously self-important spoken word artist Truth Is Real. Within a few short weeks, the pair were filming Asian American Jesus, a short mockumentary that screens Thursday in Houston as part of the one-night Slant Film Festival.

Embodying the delusional artist

In the beginning, there were no plans to have Chanse (pictured) play anything more than Truth Is Real. But as Gomez explained to festival organizers, the project quickly took on a life of its own:

“As the script developed, new characters appeared that Sam wanted to play as well. Before you knew it we had another one-woman show on our hands, which was a little challenging to direct, especially when the characters interact with each other, but Sam’s performances make it work.”

In addition to Truth Is Real, Chanse plays five other characters, including the auteur of the mockumentary, college freshman Suzette Law. The academic gal sets about filming Truth for her ethnic studies class “Performing the Diaspora: Asian Americans in the Arts.”

Gomez and Chanse have since made another film together, which they plan to take around the festival circuit in 2012. Meanwhile, this is the tenth anniversary for Slant, an event founded in 2001 by Hyphen magazine's Melissa Hung.

[Slant Film Festival]

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