Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Butter Lamp "2015-Oscar Nominated Short Film"

California Crusaders Newspaper & Until TV
January 22, 2015
Hello Mr. Wei, my name is Quanda R. Graves and I am a journalist from the California Crusaders Newspaper in conjunction with Until TV. Thank you for allowing me to interview you.
Hello Graves. It's my pleasure.
Questions for Mr. Hu Wei:
§  How did you come to the thought of making Butter Lamp?
The idea of “Butter Lamp” has existed for a long time; but it wasn’t until 2008 at the FIAC Paris when I saw Michael Nash's photograph Warsaw 1946, did I finally decide to write the script. In this photograph, a photographer uses a backdrop with some rural scenery to mask the war ruins while shooting a portrait for a woman, it was taken in Warsaw in November of 1946. The differentiation of space presented in one photograph really impressed me and I think that is sort of a common agreement between the western culture and the oriental culture, after that I finished the screenplay of Butter Lamp.
§  Did you think that Butter Lamp would take the world by storm the way that it has?
The attention that Butter Lamp has received was not something that I expected when I first made the film; and the future of Butter Lamp is also something that I cannot predict. But one thing for sure is that I wish it will reach more and more audiences.
§  What does the film Butter Lamp mean to you?
 First of all, this film has strengthened my faith in the infinite possibilities and future potential of film language. And it allowed me to deliberate about the theme of diaspora and identity in the context of globalization. Lastly, because of the international attention this film has attracted, more young filmmakers in China are starting to value short film more. All those mean a lot to me.
§  How does it feel to have seventy (70) film prestige awards, as well as to have been selected by over two hundred (200) film festivals including majors such as Cannes, Sundance, Rotterdam and New York?
To hold on to the right to dream even when there's no hope, that's how I feel. We have encountered too many difficulties and frustration, but eventually it was our dreams that encouraged my team and I to keep going.
§  Two-parted question: Butter Lamp has been nominated for 2015 Academy Award. People dream all of their lives for this moment just to be nominated alone; was that one of your dreams? Or do awards matter?
The Academy Award is one of the most important awards today; for many filmmakers it is a dream; and for me, it is the beginning of my dream. The dream that drives me to make more films and have more freedom of expression.
§  I know you’re looking to do more but you have reached an accomplishment that take years to achieve, can you see what’s next in your steps?
I don't have a specific plan, but I am a person of adventure, I love doing what is challenging. So no matter what my next step is, it will be something that challenges my limits.
§  What is your favorite film?
This is an impossible question to answer for a cinephilia, but I can try to list out my top 10 of 2014: My top 10 films of 2014:1 From What Is Before (Lav Diaz) 2. Til Madeness Do Us Part (Wang Bing) 3. The Second Game (Corneliu Porumboiu) 4.Winter Sleep (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) 5.Fragile (Shigo Ota) 6. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting (Roy Andersson)
7. Adieu au langage (JLG)
8. Gyeongju (Zhang Lv) 9. Blind Massage (Lou Ye)
 10. P’tit quinquin (Bruno Dumont)
§  What is your favorite pass time?
When I have time, my favorite thing to do is to watch cartoons with my four-year-old daughter, or so some painting with her.
*Congratulations on your Oscar Nominated Film, Butter Lamp! I wish you many blessings and we at California Crusaders Newspaper look forward to hearing more from you.
Thank you and California Crusaders Newspaper; I wish you every success!
**This has been Quanda R. Graves from California Crusaders Newspaper and Until TV and I want to thank you for the interview. This article has been published in the California Crusader Newspaper, volume 27, No. 8, the issue of February 19th - 25th of 2015.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Thicker Than Water:

Thicker Than Water: The Tankards is a fairly new family show that first aired in November 2013. Now, back for its second season, which began airing January of 2015 is again taking the world by storm. Millions of viewers have tuned in for both seasons and we can’t get enough. CCN got a chance to speak with Mr. and Mrs. Tankard and ask them a few questions that some could be wondering about being a Godly based family on TV. See conversation below:
Good afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Tankard my name is Quanda R. Graves from California Crusaders Newspaper and I want to thank you for allowing the interview today.
CCN: Mr. Tankard, with reality TV having such a negative connotation, why do it?
Mr. Tankard: I’ve never allowed lemons to spoil everything. There are drunk drivers out there, but we all still drive.
CCN: So true. What did you do to prepare for this journey?
Mr. Tankard: We spoke to Bishop TD Jakes and asked his thoughts. He explained that if you’re going to do it, make sure you that you show your family creed. Understand there will be challenges, don’t be afraid of those challenges.
CCN: Wow, so you all went in prepared. Good job. Now, Mrs. Tankard, is this something you wanted to do? Was it easy for you?
Mrs. Tankard: Well, it’s funny I always like to say I’m so real, so it was good, until those camera’s came in (laughter). It was not that easy, it took a minute to grow into the authenticity for filming. Knowing that you can’t just cut camera’s off when an issue arises.
CCN: I can completely understand that. Now, you guys have a big family and you do so much, how do you handle it all?
Mrs. Tankard: I try not to think about it, take it day-by-day, prayer and the grace of God. I ask God everyday for wisdom and strength for my family and me.
CCN: Big prayer. Wow! Ok, so I understand you have created a church called Destiny Center Church and it is non-salaried. Why? That’s not what you hear most preachers do?

Mr. & Mrs. Tankard: Well, we do hope to get there one day so the church can sustain itself. But it just so happens that we already had the money to do it. It started from just bible study in our home and then we just thought well, let’s just do this. Get a building, this is the name and continue doing what we’re already doing/living. CCN: interjects, what makes you want to give back like that? Mr. Tankard says, well in Matthew 6 verse 33 ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteous; and all these things shall be added unto you. So, the higher you go in life, you must be a blessing to others.
CCN: I think that’s amazing. I commend that. Goodness. Now, Mr. Tankard, basketball, pilot, music, pastor, mentor, Mrs. Tankard and this big family, where do you find the time. Mr. Tankard, says you’d be surprised what you can do if you wasn’t in your phone twenty times a day. *Funny, yet true.
CCN: Mr. and Mrs. Tankard were very sweet, humble and a joy to speak with. A fun tidbit about them; Mr. Tankard loves deep-sea fishing and Mrs. Tankard is like us ladies, she is a spa and shopping woman. *smile*
Mr. Tankard has a new CD coming out called Full Tank 2.0, which will be released sometime in February of this year, which features Shirley Murdock, Kirk Whalum. He will also be publishing a motivational book called Full Tank Life, taken from some of the episodes, as well as a clothing line for men, entitled Full Tank.
Please watch Thicker Than Water; The Tankards, which comes on every Sunday on Bravo 9/8 Central.  Thanks for a great interview Mr. & Mrs. Tankard!
***This article has been published in the California Crusaders Newspaper, volume 27, No. 5, January 29th - February 4th of 2015 and written by Literary Columnist and Journalist Quanda R. Graves.