Interview with Director Ron Morales (Graceland)

Kidnapping Gone Wrong: Interview with Graceland director Ron Morales

Morales’ gripping thriller begins when a politician’s chauffeur’s car gets ambushed, and kidnappers targeting the politician’s daughter for ransom take the driver’s daughter instead.

One way to get an actor ready to play a devastated father willing to do anything to get his kidnapped daughter back is to deprive him of sleep.

Director Ron Morales’ second feature film Graceland was shot in the Philippines in a little over two weeks, and because of the time restraint, the cast and crew worked up to 22-hour days, often shooting at night and napping when the sun was up. Lead actor Arnold Reyes was in almost every scene.

“Every time the makeup artist put makeup on him, I’d tell him to wash his face and run around until he was all sweaty again,” Morales says, laughing.

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Indian and Taiwanese Leading Ladies for Women’s History Month

For March’s Women’s History Month, Audrey Magazine is doing an “Asian Women in Film” series, highlighting 10 actresses you should know from various film industries. I did India and Taiwan. Of course.

Asian Women in Film | Ten Indian Leading Ladies You Should Know


Asian Women in Film | Ten Taiwanese Leading Ladies You Should Know

Click here for the full Taiwan list. 

Click here for the full India list.

Top 10 Asian American High School Girls Next Door!

Audrey Celebrates Women’s History Month | Top 10 Asian American High School Girls Next Door

High school: such a pivotal time in young women’s lives for college/career decisions, familial tension, first loves, first rejections, no-holds-barred attitude and unexpected self-discoveries.

by Ada Tseng

And when high school years are depicted on American film and television, extracurricular activities may involve solving murder mysteries (Pretty Little Liars), and unrequited love is sometimes best told through song (T.V. Carpio’s cover of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in Across the Universe).

One could argue that Tamlyn Tomita’s Kumiko was the ultimate Asian American high school “girl-next-door” crush, even if, back in 1986, the Karate Kid had to travel all the way to Japan to be in the right neighborhood. But in the past 25 years, there have many memorable Asian American girls – as well as British Asians, Asian-Scots and Asian Canadians that we snuck onto the list — that we can look up to (or reminisce with) in these classic tales of high school.

Click here to see our Top 10 Asian American High School Girls Next Door.

(OK I’ll cheat and show you my #1.)

Status Pending

ISSUE: Fall 2012

DEPT: Features

STORY: Ada Tseng

We’ve all heard of the stories of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as babies — culturally American but legally not. But what happens if you’ve been in the US legally for decades, but still can’t obtain a green card to stay in your home country because of holes in the US immigration system that the government has no plans to fix?

In 2006, Ana La O’ — at the time an undergraduate at UCLA — wrote a cover story for the alternative weekly newspaper LA Citybeat titled “The Hidden Classes,” about the first wave of undocumented immigrants that could afford to attend California public colleges after 2001’s AB 540 law allowed them to pay in-state tuition rates. The students she interviewed had been brought over to the United States as kids and educated in the American school system, yet they were unable to work legally and in danger of being deported to countries they hadn’t lived in for 15 to 20 years.

“It was the first time that I had spoken to people who had the same kind of psychology that I did,” says La O’, who moved to the U.S. from the Philippines when she was 11 months old. “I totally understood everything about being culturally American, but not having the same rights, feeling in limbo, and working toward this degree without knowing what I could actually do with it when I graduated.”

Except that La O’ was not an undocumented (what some call “illegal”) immigrant. By 2006, La O’ had been living in the United States legally for 21 years. Yet, for the next five years, she would continue to struggle to get a green card, until she was so fed up with the holes in the United States immigration system that she voluntarily self-deported in 2011, leaving her family and friends to move to the Philippines. Being plopped into a country she hadn’t lived in since she was a baby seemed like a better option than the hoops she would have to jump through just to be considered for – let alone acquire – a green card, after 26 years of living in this country.

Click here for the full story.

Arnel Pineda’s Underdog Story + Journey music = BRILLIANT

(Opened in limited release on March 8, 2013.)

Documentary Gold: Arnel Pineda’s First Year as Lead Singer of Journey

Ramona Diaz’s latest documentary Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey chronicles Arnel Pineda’s rise from unknown talent in the Philippines to lead singer of Journey – the classic underdog story she couldn’t believe no one else wanted to make.

by Ada Tseng

In the opening shots of Ramona Diaz’s documentary, Arnel Pineda is returning to the Philippines in 2008 for the first time after performing a successful tour with one of the biggest bands in the United States. After being greeted with much fanfare at the airport and meeting Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the president of the Philippines at the time, Pineda decides he wants to visit his elementary school, down the street from his old house. As Pineda walks over, a crowd of children start following him, and he happily poses for photos. But when he meets the principal in her office, she is stiff and unimpressed.

What’s the name of your band?

Journey, Arnel Pineda replies, politely.

What’s your name again?

“I always knew that was the opening,” says director Ramona Diaz, laughing at the oblivious principal who is not sure why her day is being interrupted. “I was like, ‘Arnel, why do you want to go to school? You were never a school guy. You never even graduated.’ But he wanted to see the kids there, so I said, ‘OK. We’ll do whatever you want.'”

A year earlier, in December of 2007, Journey announced that they had found a new lead singer. As legend has it, Arnel Pineda was discovered after Neal Schon saw a YouTube video of Pineda performing a cover of “Faithfully” with his band The Zoo.

At the time, Journey band members Schon, Jonathan Cain, Deen Castronovo, and Ross Valory were itching to go on tour again, but they didn’t have a lead singer. It was just months after the 2007 series finale of The Sopranos ended with “Don’t Stop Believin'” playing in the background, reminding America of the hit-making rock band who reached their height of success in the ‘80s but has never quite gone away because of beloved Soft Rock radio stations across the country. It had been a decade since Steve Perry, the quintessential voice of Journey, left the band. Two replacement lead singers, Steve Augeri and Jeff Scott Soto, had come and gone. The band was close to giving up, until Neal heard Pineda’s voice online and convinced his bandmates to fly this unknown Filipino singer out for an audition.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

How Did Tim Jo Get That Scar On His Head?

(Alternate Blog Title: How I Wrote Tim Jo’s Journey to LA as a Real-Life Bollywood Story/Korean Melodrama)

Audrey Behind-the-Scenes Extras: Tim Jo’s self-described “incredible” story of how he got to Los Angeles.

by Ada Tseng

It took a baseball bat to his head – literally – for Jo to take the leap of faith that would kick-start his professional acting career.

“Just give me 10 years,” Tim Jo told his mother, when she gave him her blessing to move to Los Angeles. “Maybe I’ll be on TV or something.”

Tim Jo was always a good kid. Growing up in Texas and Poland as the token Asian boy, he had his share of innocent rebellions – hanging out with the skaters, growing his hair out long, listening to punk music that his parents didn’t understand – but he wasn’t the type of son who risk worrying his mom and dad by impulsively moving to Hollywood if they did not approve.

After he graduated college, he was going to pursue acting the responsible way. He would stay close to home and chase local performing opportunities in Austin and Dallas. He would further his studies by earning a Master of Fine Arts in Theater.

Without two back-to-back strokes of bad luck, he might have stayed in Texas.
Click here to read the rest of the story.