Saturn Return

Happy Chinese New Year, Happy Lunar New Year, and Happy February to you all!  You know my birthday’s coming up.  I won’t say how old I’ll be, because I’m just so young at heart.  ^_^

FILM UPDATES

So I just got back from Sundance recently, and I had the greatest time.  I met some incredible people and got to see the films I needed to see.  The sad part was that after all the marvelous luck we had getting in to Salvation Boulevard, I never got to see my scene, because it was a victim of the cutting room.  Fortunately, I ran into George Ratliff after the Q&A, and he was so extremely kind about it, and said that it would be on the DVD extras.  Yay, something to look forward to!  He’s a great director, and the film itself was very hilarious.  After having seen his last Sundance baby, Joshua, I had no idea what to expect.

I also saw Cedar Rapids, directed by Miguel Arteta, and starring Ed Helms, and boy oh boy was it a riot.  I really liked the relationships they showed in the film, they were very real, and the cast chemistry was great.  It was nice seeing Ed Helms in a new role, too, as a small-town Iowan who has never been to the big city.

The most controversial film at Sundance (no, not Red State) was The Woman.  I had the extremely fortunate experience of getting to see it twice.  I had to support my friend, Lauren Petre, of course.  She played Miss Hindle, a smaller role in the film, but she was great!  And she looked great on film. The Woman was definitely great horror.  I had nightmares after the first viewing and spent the entire night tossing and turning, thinking evil little boy actors would sneak into the house where I was staying and knife me!  Lucky McKee knows how to elicit some raw emotional responses, and on the night of their first screening, a girl fainted, and he being the great and wonderful man that he is, tried to get the theater to halt the screening, but they didn’t.  Then, an irate viewer got up and started spewing all sorts of horrible things ignorant thoughts about the film.  He obviously didn’t see the bigger picture, the ENTIRE POINT OF THE FILM…Some people.  Anyway, if you get the chance to see it, I highly recommend it.  Lucky said, “It’s designed to be viewed multiple times.” So I’d say get it on dvd, and watch it a couple times, within the week.  It’s one of those films that keeps you thinking and processing, and I hope you’re able to see beyond the gore and evil to see what Lucky is trying to show the audience.  Sometimes evil hides in plain sight.  Pollyanna McIntosh was stellar, actually the entire cast was.  Angela Bettis, Sean Bridgers, and oh the children, (I’ve got to say that again) oh the CHILDREN!  It should also be noted that the soundtrack is amazing, and I need it!  Sound design was also superb, and really added to the feel of the film.

Q&A at The Woman screening at Sundance

Q&A at The Woman screening at Sundance

Cindy Chu in front of The Egyptian for Sundance 11, in her Snow Leopard Spirithood

Cindy Chu in front of The Egyptian for Sundance 11, in her Snow Leopard Spirithood

Lauren Petre and Cindy Chu at Salvation Boulevard screening, Sundance 11

Lauren Petre and Cindy Chu at Salvation Boulevard screening, Sundance 11

The Woman

The Woman, what I told Lucky...

PRESS

While I was at Sundance, Robert del Valle of Real Detroit Weekly contacted me about their biweekly local stars’ Michigan Motion Picture column.  My friend (she’s so pretty!!!) Treasure Groh, also staff at RDW, had asked awhile ago if I’d like to be interviewed for it.  Of course, I said yes.  I’ve also got tons of people that I think they should interview in the future, too!  The link to the article is here.

OTHER STUFF

When I returned from Sundance, I was on this inspirational kick!  I had a drive to make some videos pure awesome Youtubeness!

So for your viewing pleasure:

A sneak peek of my Sundance adventures.  This wonderful woman who hosted us took us to this delicious sushi place called Yamato’s a few times.  Her “roundeyes” son works there as a sushi chef, and I gotta tell ya, he’s good!  So the fish in the aquarium clip was from there.  Those fish weren’t for eating, LOL.

And then we got hit by Snowpocalypse 2011 in the Midwest (although it really wasn’t that bad in Ann Arbor) so I had to make a cutesie little video for that, and used a song from Scott Pilgrim by Anamanaguchi “Another Winter” for the backing track

Aaaaaand I was in the mood to play my ukulele after being away from it for a week, and uploaded TWO songs in one night!  Then a third the next night! Talk about feeling inspired.  So the first one I’d been working on learning the strum pattern for awhile, and I was sick when I made these so I didn’t sing them as well as I would have liked.  The second one was the song that was in the trailers for Blue Valentine, the one Ryan Gosling’s character plays for Michelle Williams’ character while she tap dances.  The third one is a cover of a song by Soko (from Paris!) called “I Will Never Love You More” and it’s very funny.

Last Friday night, Fitz and the Tantrums played at the Magic Bag in Ferndale, and it was a sold out show (it was free, but filled up immediately upon doors opening).  Luckily, I had met the female vocalist, the very beautiful and talented Noelle Scaggs, back in LA a few years ago, so my friends and I were able to sneak in the back with her.  I shot a decent live video of their final encore song, their hit single, “Moneygrabber”.  (<—Did I get that punctuation right???)

And one last one, because I miss warm weather and am feeling nostalgic for warm sunny days.  I switched the audio on my skydiving video, and now it looks and sounds cool.

Alright, my lovely readers, that was my huge February update.  Remember to smile, spring is just around the corner.  Appreciate the little things in life.  Don’t forget to laugh, especially at yourself.  And always tell your family you love them.  They might not always be there.

Peace, blessings, joy,

~cindy

Gorgeous icicles outside my balcony

Gorgeous icicles outside my balcony



SUNDANCE 2011

Sundance 2011

Sundance 2011

So it’s almost upon us!  I’m talking about the Sundance Film Festival, of course!  And I’m going.  😀  You may recall in an earlier post, that I played the part of Alisa in the film Salvation Boulevard.  Well, George Ratliff is premiering it at Sundance, so I felt it would be the perfect opportunity to attend for the first time.  My only qualms are that I decided so late in the game, and the ticketing procedures were unfamiliar to me, so I will have to see if I can get tickets once I’m there.

Here are some images from the film (they all link back to what site they’re from if you click on them):

Pierce Brosnan as Dan Day in Salvation Boulevard

Pierce Brosnan as Dan Day in Salvation Boulevard

 

Salvation Boulevard--Dan Day

Salvation Boulevard--Dan Day

Greg Kinnear as Carl VanderVeer in Salvation Boulevard

Greg Kinnear as Carl VanderVeer in Salvation Boulevard

 

I’ll have a partner in crime for my SLC/PC trip: my actor friend Lauren Petre!  She’s also represented by my talent agency, Charlie’s Talent Agency, or CTA.  She also has a film in which she acted premiering at Sundance.  It’s a horror film directed by well-known director Lucky McKee, called The Woman.  We’ll be attending the Wednesday night showing together!  Here are a couple creepy images from the film:

 

Still from Lucky McKee's The Woman--from ShockTillYouDrop.com

Still from Lucky McKee's The Woman--from ShockTillYouDrop.com

Behind the scenes shot of Lucky McKee's The Woman--from soundonsight.org

Behind the scenes shot of Lucky McKee's The Woman--from soundonsight.org

In preparation for the festivities, I picked up a couple more sweaters and some good solid snow boots, so I’ll be ready to wait outside in the cold!

 

The North Face Nuptse Fur IV Boots

The North Face Nuptse Fur IV Boots

It had been awhile since my last haircut, too.  I had my stylist, Josh Thiele of Orbit Hair Salon in Ann Arbor, Michigan, give my mop a good cleaning up today.

 

Cindy Chu haircut

Cindy Chu with her fresh coif

Looks like 2011 is off to an exciting start for me.  I can only hope that this year will be even more successful for me in my pursuit of acting.  As with all actors, learning new skills or just having other skills can be important sometimes.  Take Christina Hendricks, who has been learning how to play the accordion.  Well, while the writers of Mad Men were brainstorming ideas, they decided they wanted an episode in which she played a song at a dinner party.  They found out she played accordion, and so they wrote the scene for her.

This brings me to my point.  I have been earnestly practicing on my ukulele, and recorded another song the other night.  Right now, I’m working on learning yet another, and as soon as I feel I’m performing it at my best (difficult strum pattern!) I will post it, as well.  This one was “Sentimental Heart” by She & Him, and I definitely should have practiced it longer than 15 minutes before uploading any performance, but c’est la vie!   (Pretty sure I can perform it a bit better than in the video now… 🙂 *shrugs*)

And in other skill areas, I finally got out my Nikon D70 to shoot my friends’ event.  The Ann Arbor hip hop duo made up of J Thrill, and D Train, aka Thrill$Train, had a show at Sava’s last weekend, and I was there with my camera to capture the magic.  They were pretty happy with the photos!  They’ve got a show in Detroit next month at The Old Miami.  Check out their website for more details or to download their album free!  These were a couple of my favorite images from the night:

 

D Train says J Thrill looks like "The Most Interesting Man in the World's Son" here

D Train says J Thrill looks like "The Most Interesting Man in the World's Son" here

 

Thrill$Train in all their hot hot glory

Thrill$Train in all their hot hot glory

D Train thrilling the crowd

D Train thrilling the crowd

Thrill$Train playing to a packed house at Sava's in Ann Arbor

Thrill$Train playing to a packed house at Sava's in Ann Arbor

 

As with other posts, I like to promote friends, and I went to a show recently at the Crofoot and discovered this AMAZING new band from Monroe, Michigan.  They are called Jack & The Bear and they play instruments like the banjo, violin, trumpet, accordion, etc.  Absolutely brilliant.  One of their friends uploaded some live video footage from the show which you can check out on their Facebook fanpage.  From what I heard, they are in the midst of recording their first album.  I wish them the best of luck, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see them blow up big time in the next couple of years.

Alright, I guess I’ll hopefully have a few more updates for you when I get to Salt Lake City/Park City, UTAH!  It’ll be my first visit to the state.  Huzzah!

~cindy

 

Red Dawn, New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wonderful news today!  My scene co-star, Dwight Sora, from Red Dawn sent me a message today with a link to an article about the release of Red Dawn in 2011.  It seemed late last year that this film could be in limbo forever, but apparently MGM has gained a $500 million dollar credit line to go towards making the next James Bond film and also continue with The Hobbit project.  This also means that they now have the money to market and release Red Dawn!  This was my first acting role in a major feature film, and its release in 2011 means that I will have at least 2 major theatrical releases this year, Red Dawn AND Salvation Boulevard.  Let’s up the ante for 2011, eh?  I’d like it to grow harmonically this year.  😀   Click the photo to link to the article!  (I had a very small role in the film and was not part of the central cast, just FYI.)

Red Dawn remake cast photo

Red Dawn remake cast photo

I also had my first audition of the new year today.  My fingers are crossed for some more good news this month!

I always like to share any useful acting tidbits, and here’s a useful one if you’re a paid-up-to-date SAG member in SE Michigan.  You can go view any SAG-nominated films that are currently screening at the Phoenix or Emagine Theaters for FREE if you show your current SAG card.  It’s the gold one.

Here’s the list from my SAG email:

Thanks to the generosity of two of our local theatres, Phoenix Theatres and Emagine Entertainment, Screen Actors Guild members in Michigan can attend showings of SAGAward nominated films free of charge. A great member perk, this is a valuable opportunity for you, the member, to view the nominees before you cast your vote!

Here are the rules:

  • You must present your SAG card (paid-thru April 30, 2011) and photo ID.
  • The free ticket is for SAG members only, not accompanying friends or family.
  • This offer is valid between December 27–January 25, 2011 for Phoenix Theatres and January 3–25, 2011 for Emagine Theatres.
  • This offer is valid Monday thru Thursdays only; not valid on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

This offer is valid for the following films with nominations:

“127 Hours”

“Black Swan”

“Conviction”

“The Fighter”

“Get Low”

”Green Zone”

“Inception”

“The Kids are All Right”

“The King’s Speech”

“Rabbit Hole”

“Robin Hood”

“The Social Network”

“The Town”

“True Grit”

“Winter’s Bone”

Here are the participating locations:

Phoenix Theatre: The Mall of Monroe in Monroe

Phoenix Theatre: Laurel Park Place in Livonia

Emagine Theatre: Novi

Emagine Theatre: Canton

Emagine Theatre: Woodhaven

Cinema Hollywood: Birch Run

We thank both Emagine Entertainment and Phoenix Theatres for their continued support of Screen Actors Guild members.

Have fun, vote and return your ballot to arrive by January 28!

Don’t forget to watch the 17th Annual SAG Awards live on TBS and TNT at 8 p.m., Sunday, January 30, 2011.

And one last little tidbit for any fellow outrageous hat lovers!  I became the recent proud parent to a beautiful SpiritHood!

SpiritHoods

Image from the SpiritHoods.com site

Click on the image to get to their site and order your own, and join the tribe!  They have different animals, and some of them are Product Blue, which means they donate a portion to a conservancy group that helps that particular animal species.  I ordered the Snow Leopard, which is among the Product Blue offerings.  =^_^=

 

Meow--Cindy Chu

Meow--Cindy Chu

Paws--Cindy Chu

Paws--Cindy Chu

That’s it for now.  Hope to have more good news very soon!

Happy 2011!

~c

Other Ventures

While this site is mostly used for posting about my acting career, I figured I can also tie in some notes about my film friends’ achievements/updates.

If you’ve seen my film Qing Lou Nu, then you’d know the name Bryan D. Hopkins.  Earlier this year he drove down to Louisiana to shoot a ton of coverage on the Gulf oil spill for a documentary he’s putting together.  Here’s a peep at the trailer he just released for Dirty Energy:

Dirty Energy featurette from Bryan D. Hopkins on Vimeo.

Dirty Energy featurette

A new buddy of mine that I met on the set of a GM commercial I was recently working on shared a short film he did with me, that I also feel needs to be passed on to more potential fans.  It’s hilarious, and it’s about Death.  Good work, Clark Birchmeier!

no harvest:the intern from clark birchmeier on Vimeo.

This short film is called “no harvest: the intern”. It is a dark-comedy about the Grim Reaper. It was produced by Rebel Cow Productions LLC, and was directed by Clark Birchmeier.

Another personal venture I haven’t mentioned yet is that I recently joined the band Origami Cat Plan, and we just played our first gig. Having had only 2 practices with the band, I didn’t perform my best, but I think it was still pretty impressive for the amount of time we had to prepare.

 

Cindy Chu as Princess Koneko of Origami Cat Plan

Cindy Chu as Princess Koneko of Origami Cat Plan

Origami Cat Plan at the Blind Pig 12/15/2010

Origami Cat Plan at the Blind Pig 12/15/2010

 

Origami Cat Plan Groovin at their first show with Cindy Chu

Origami Cat Plan Groovin at their first show with Cindy Chu

 

In my thirst for learning, and owning musical instruments, I even obtained a baby jimbay or djembe yesterday, at the encouragement of my best friend Ris Tena, who is a master of the hip hop and fashion worlds.  I’ll be able to add it to my tambourine/vocals skills for Origami Cat Plan!

Cindy Chu with her new jimbay or djembe (various spellings)

Cindy Chu with her new jimbay or djembe (various spellings)

And in other news, had a few more auditions recently, but I don’t really like saying what any of them are because like I mentioned in my previous post, the majority of the time you don’t hear anything back afterwards.  So I usually do the auditions, and then forget about them and if I DO hear anything, then of course I jump for joy like I won the lottery.  I will say, though, that I am extremely excited about Fox picking up a live-action adaptation of Joe Hill’s Locke & Key!   My current fantasies are to play a part in a live-action version of a graphic novel, and to do some more animated voiceovers!

 

Cover of Joe Hill's Locke & Key

Cover of Joe Hill's Locke & Key

A page from Joe Hill's Locke & Key

A page from Joe Hill's Locke & Key

If you’re curious about what I’ve been watching recently, wonder no more.  I just caught up on Dexter, amazing amazing show, and I have to give it to Julia Stiles for shocking me with her great portrayal of Lumen in Season 5.  I’ve also been re-watching Firefly, and am about halfway through.  I had seen bits and pieces of it before when I was younger, but never got to view the entire series.  Guess I was too busy with Buffy, The X-Files, and Charmed?  Joss Whedon is a genius, and I have a soft spot for Mal.

 

Captain "Mal" Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly

Captain "Mal" Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly

Julia Stiles as Lumen in Dexter S.5, with Dexter

Julia Stiles as Lumen in Dexter S.5, with Dexter

For films, I can’t wait to see Black Swan and TRON LEGACY this weekend!  The Michigan Theater starts screening Black Swan today.

 

Natalie Portman as the Black Swan

Natalie Portman as the Black Swan

Production Still from Tron Legacy with Olivia Wilde, Joseph Kosinski and Jeff Bridges

Production Still from Tron Legacy with Olivia Wilde, Joseph Kosinski and Jeff Bridges

And if you enjoy graphic novels, one of my all-time favorite and most beloved books is now available as a graphic novel: The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.

 

A page from the new graphic novel version of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

A page from the new graphic novel version of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Hopefully I’ll have some good news to share with you all when I post again!  And thanks to my awesome agent, Curt Howe of Charlie’s Talent Agency, aka CTA, who believes in me and keeps getting me auditions!  One of these days…(fingers crossed)

If I don’t update before Christmas, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with loved ones, and remember to appreciate all the goodness in your life.

~cindy

Michigan Movie Magazine!

I recently did an interview with Michigan Movie Magazine, held at my agent, Curt Howe’s office in Ferndale.  Jordan Trovillion and I were both being featured in the local movie mag as up and coming young actresses.  Also in the same issue was an article about Sucker, in which Jordan played the female lead, Evelyn, and I was makeup and hair assistant.

Still from Big Screen Entertainment's upcoming Sucker

Still from Big Screen Entertainment's upcoming Sucker

Kimberley Kates in Sucker

Kimberley Kates in Sucker

Monty Bane with Jordan Trovillion in scene from Sucker

Monty Bane with Jordan Trovillion in scene from Sucker

The last photo is from an article on DreadCentral.com, a nice piece they wrote on Sucker.

Anyway, back to that interview!  The videos were posted awhile ago but I just came across them and wanted to share them with you!

Part One

Part Two

Also, some fellow web-savvy chicks in the EU contacted me recently to ask about my experience filming with Ciaran Hinds on Salvation Boulevard!  They were gracious enough to include a link to my site, and in case you’d like to check theirs out, click here!  Thank you Sylvie!  They do have a lovely photo of Mr. Hinds as Jim, his character in Salvation Boulevard.

As always, thank you for stopping by my blog and stay lovely!

~cindy

Qing Lou Nu wins Best Short at the 3rd Annual Philadelphia Independent Film Festival

The official winners were announced yesterday for the 3rd annual Philadelphia Independent Film Festival, and I am proud to tell you that Qing Lou Nu took home the Best Short award!  That’s a 2 for 2 weekend for us.  Congratulations to Bryan D. Hopkins, my wonderful director.

Here’s the list of winners excerpted from the PIFF blog:

Benjamin Barnett
Festival Director
Philadelphia Independent Film Festival
June 23 – 27, 2010

++++++++++++++++++
OFFICIAL WINNERS
++++++++++++++++++
3rd Annual Philadelphia Independent Film Festival 2010

————————————–
Best Feature:
Kandahar Break (David Whitney ~ Director)
Honorable Mention – Feature
The Beginner (Benjamin Coccio)
Honorable Mention – Feature
Putt Putt Syndrome (Alan Cognata– Director)

Best – Short:
Qing Lou Nu ( Bryan Hopkins ~ Director)
Honorable Mention – Short
Furs ( Jill Knox-Gosse)

Best – Political
Who killed Chea Vichea? (Rich Garella ~ Producer / Bradley Cox ~ Director)
Honorable Mention – Political
Auf Wiedersehen: Till We Meet Again (Linda G. Mills ~ Director / Producer)

Best – Special Feature
Letters from the Desert: Eulogy to Slowness (Michela Occhipinti – Director / Producer)
Honorable Mention – Special Feature
Blue Wonder ( John Shenk / Akemi)

Best – Feature Length Music Documentary
Average Community (Fred Zara ~ Director and Christopher Zara ~ Writer /CoProducer)
Honorable Mention – Feature Length Music Documentary
Riot Acts – Flaunting Gender (Madsen Minax ~ Director)

Best Film – Foreign
Stockholm (United Arab Emirates) (Tiffany Yoon Director/Producer)
Honorable Mention – Foreign
Bruja (PANAMA) (Jason Yamas ~Producer)

Best – Animation
The Lift (Robert Kohr)
Honorable Mention – Animation
The Cow Who Wanted To Be A Hamburger (Bill Plympton)

Best – Music Video:
Nicolas Maranda – “646” (Nicolas Maranda ~Director)
Honorable Mention: Music Video
Ruse of Fools – “The Flood” (Mark Gonzalas – Composer)
Honorable Mention – Music Video
DJ Ease Back / Prince Lord – The Light (DJ Ease Back – ~Director)

Congratulations to everyone who screened at PIFF and to all the winners.  Thank you for letting us screen with you, and sorry we couldn’t be there in person as our screening at DWIFF was the same night.

The next official screening of Qing Lou Nu will be at GlassCityCon, the premier Toledo-area anime con, taking place at Owens Community College in Perrysburg, Ohio.   The event, which is scheduled for July 17, 2010 from 11AM-12PM, will consist of a screening of Qing Lou Nu, followed by a Q&A conducted by me where I can answer any questions you may have about the film, or the acting industry.

Thank  you for stopping by my blog and stay fabulous!

~cindy

Qing Lou Nu wins BEST SHORT FILM award at DWIFF

Hello everyone.  I’m long overdue for an update!  Sorry it’s been awhile.  I have a lot of exciting news to share, though.

I’ll start off with discussing Salvation Boulevard.  They are currently in post-production.  My shooting date was actually in their second-to-last week.  I was mistaken when I thought my scene was with Pierce Brosnan.  I actually filmed with Ciaran Hinds, who was super nice to work with, along with the rest of the production.  I really enjoyed being directed by George Ratliff, and I recently watched his film Joshua.  It was very disturbing and dark, and I actually had nightmares as a result.  While I like watching scary movies at times, I often do have bad dreams after.  It wasn’t the typical blood and gore type scary movie, it was definitely more disturbing in a psychological way.  It’s about a boy who takes sibling rivalry to a new level and attempts to destroy his family in the process.  Definitely worth checking out.

Ciaran Hinds

Ciaran Hinds

On to Riddle.  Due to a scheduling conflict with Salvation Boulevard, I was unable to portray the role of Michelle.

Since I was Taft-Hartley’d on Red Dawn, after booking Riddle and Salvation Boulevard, I received a must-join letter from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and I’ve since joined!  I actually just attended my first SAG conservatory workshop, taught by my old friend Ben Ketai.

Cindy Chu

Cindy Chu with SAG card

Moving on, my short film Qing Lou Nu just screened this past weekend at the Detroit Windsor International Film Fest (DWIFF) and the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival (PIFF).  We even got a mention in Daniela Vitola‘s culturemob blog!  I am pleased to announce that we took the Best Short Film Award at DWIFF.  Congratulations to my director, Bryan D. Hopkins!  He is currently working on creating a documentary about the oil spill, and you can check out more information on that project and donate to the project through the link, Dirty Energy Movie.

If you missed the screening at DWIFF, you can also check it out July 17, 2010, at 11AM during the GlassCityCon in Perrysburg, Ohio, very close to Toledo.  I will be conducting a screening of the film, followed by a half-hour Q&A about the film and the acting industry.  This will be my first official appearance at an anime convention as a guest.  It is a 2-day event taking place at Owens Community College and is free and open to the public.  My event will be limited to guests 18+ with ID.

Besides the screenings this weekend, I also filmed for a SAG new media project directed by John Monnich.  This was shot in affiliation with DWIFF, and will be released online when it is finished.  I’m not sure what details I can release about it, so I won’t say much besides that it will be funny, and I played a pissed off office employee.

And as always, I love to promote my friends and their projects, and I have the perfect gift for you today.  Check out the new hip hop songs by Thrill Train here.  Downloads are at the top of the page.  They just added a few new tracks.  Did I mention the downloads are FREE?  Add them to your club mixes, workout mixes, whatever, they’re great for breaking a sweat to.  You can also be their fan on Facebook.  And you can be a fan of my acting on Facebook as well. Thrill Train on FB.  Cindy Chu–Actress on FB.

A-maize-ing March!

March was truly a blessed time for me!  Here are the big updates.

1) I was cast for a print ad for Brunswick, which I had to travel down to Chicago for.  A lot of fellow Michigan actors/actresses were cast as well, including my friend, My-Ishia.  We definitely held our own on the shoot, along with the Charlie’s Talent Agency talent from Chicago.  We had to do many different setups over two days in the Brunswick Zone XL in Algonquin, IL.

2) I auditioned for Salvation Boulevard through Pound-Mooney, and subsequently got a callback (with the director, George Ratliff) and then cast!  I am proud to announce that I will be playing Alisa, a grad student, in 2 scenes opposite the very wonderful and talented Pierce Brosnan! (JAMES BOND!!!!)  Also starring in this comedy thriller by Larry Beinhart are Ed Harris, Jim Gaffigan, Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, and Marisa Tomei.

Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan

Ed Harris

Ed Harris

Greg Kinnear

Greg Kinnear

Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan

Jennifer Connelly

Jennifer Connelly

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei

Director George Ratliff

Director George Ratliff

Author Larry Beinhart

Author Larry Beinhart

3) Voice acting is another field I’d like to add to my acting resume, and I have just received the chance to build on that dream.  I was cruising through Craigslist the other night and saw a posting for voice acting auditions for a CG-animated sci-fi feature called The Phoenix Armageddon.  I dropped by the audition, and the next day, got the call that they wanted me for one of the leads!  It’s a local, indie project, so there may not be pay involved, but I’d love to add it to my repertoire regardless.  We have our first cast meeting tonight!  I’ll be running over to Detroit for that in between being on set for…(leadup to #4)

4) I am the makeup/hair assistant to the lovely and talented Andrea Syron on the feature film Sucker, starring Michael Manasseri and Jordan Trovillion.  Today, we get to do some sfx makeup.  Or at least Andrea does, and I hope I get to help!  Puncture wounds!

Michael Manasseri

Michael Manasseri

Jordan Trovillion

Jordan Trovillion

In other news, Qing Lou Nu has been submitted to many festivals with the wonderful help of some very generous friends.  Now we just have to wait with fingers crossed…

Red Dawn‘s premiere is slated for Wednesday, November 24th, 2010, Thanksgiving Weekend!  Look for my giggle/scream scenes in that!

For more regular updates, feel free to follow me on Twitter.

Peace and love

Cindy

Post-DIFF followup

Hello again!

Good news, we took home two awards from DIFF, for the Michigan Film Awards.  My wonderful director, Bryan D. Hopkins, won for Best Director.  And Mark C. Davis, Jr. won for Best Cinematography!

I also got my hands on a PDF copy of The Tower, my old high school’s newspaper.  Thank you to Miss Carly Engel for the wonderful interview.  Here’s a jpeg of the article itself:

The Tower article

The Tower article

I’m also updating my headshots and here’s one  I just touched up last night, shot by the very talented photographer Darren Michaels.  He’s based out in LA, and I met him while he was the stills photographer on Whip It! If you’re interested in booking him for YOUR headshots, check out his information here.

Cindy Chu Headshot

Cindy Chu

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a music video my friends Josh and John shot for their new single, called “Naughty Body” by Thrill Train.  It’s kind of Mike Posner-meets-Lil’ Wayne or something like that.  🙂  All I can say is that it was fun having a cameo in the video and I think the song is infectious and fun, and I know they’re going to be a Youtube sensation.  So hop on the bandwagon and enjoy this video!

And for my last bit of news for this post…

It’s quite exciting!  I was approached by Brad Rowell of the Blue Water Film Festival after our screening of Qing Lou Nu at DIFF.  He was a fan of the film and wants us to screen at this year’s festival which will be in October, in Port Huron, Michigan.  So that is at least one more festival we’ll be screened at, yay!

And that’s it for now!

Stay classy,

Cindy

March 4, 2010 Updates

With the DIFF awards ceremony happening this Saturday night, we’ve been getting some press!

Here’s the article they posted on AnnArbor.com:

Detroit Independent Film Festival features the work of four University of Michigan grads this week

The inaugural Detroit Independent Film Festival — wherein indie filmmakers were invited to submit their work at no cost — kicks off on Tuesday, March 2 at the newBurton Theater, in the Chinatown/Cass Corridor neighborhood of Detroit.

More than 80 films will be showcased at DIFF, including the U.S. premiere of George A. Romero‘s “Survival of the Dead,” and the event will play host to the first-ever Michigan Film Awards.

With four University of Michigan graduates among the nominees, it’s possible that these Wolverines may get to take home some hardware.

U-M grad Cindy Chu is nominated for an MFA best actress award for the short “Qing Lou Nu,” which will be screened March 6; U-M grad and writer/director Lance Kawaswill have his film “Street Boss” (about a real Detroit mobster who was brought down by the FBI) screened on March 4 at 3:30 p.m., and Kawas has earned MFA nominations in the categories of best Michigan feature and best director; and U-M grads Wad’ih Arraf and Stephen Day‘s absurdist, MFA-nominated short “Forth, William” will screen on March 6.

To learn more about this week’s festival, and see a detailed schedule, visitwww.detroitindiefest.com.

Jenn McKee is the entertainment digital journalist for AnnArbor.com. Reach her atjennmckee@annarbor.com or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.

There was also a mention of Qing Lou Nu and Bryan D. Hopkins in today’s Detroit Free Press:

Detroit’s Burton Theatre launches indie film fest

Romero’s ‘Survival of the Dead’ among the premieres

BY JOHN MONAGHAN
FREE PRESS SPECIAL WRITER

The Burton Theatre, which opened late last year in the auditorium of Detroit’s old Burton Elementary School, continues its ambitious mission this week by throwing the first Detroit Independent Film Festival. The event, which began Tuesday, continues through Sunday with a lineup of offbeat local films and the premiere of George A. Romero’s “Survival of the Dead.”

“We wanted something that would foster the creative impetus in Detroit and in Michigan,” says festival programmer Nate Faustyn. “We wanted a festival that was really filmmaker-friendly.”

More than 70 short and feature-length films will play over the weekend, among them Bryan D. Hopkins‘ “Qing Lou Nu,” Robert Joseph Butler’s “Solitude” and “Another Day, Another Dime” from former Detroiter Kathy Kolla.

For many fans, the big ticket will be “Survival of the Dead,” the latest in a long series of Romero horror films that began with “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968. The new entry finds warring families on an island battling each other and a zombie epidemic. Though the movie isn’t directly related to 2007’s “Diary of the Dead,” it shares some of the same characters.

Acquiring “Survival” was a coup for the local festival, as the film has been seen only in Toronto, Venice, Italy, and Austin, Texas. Romero says a limited theatrical release is expected this spring.

“I really didn’t know what to make this one about,” the revered cult director, 70, said during a recent phone interview. “So I went back to the theme of that enmity that won’t die, people that hold onto these grudges even in the face of disaster.”

Romero, who had his dance with Hollywood in the 1980s, prefers to keep his movies far away from studio control — and meddling. “No, they can’t compete against ‘Avatar,’ ” he said, “but I have a loyal fan base. The films do extremely well on video.”

The DIFF runs through Sunday at the Burton Theatre, 3420 Cass, Detroit. 313-473-9238 or detroitindiefest.com. $10 for “Survival of the Dead,” $5 for other screenings.

Russian-made ‘Sun’ shines at DFT: “The Sun” (***), playing this weekend at the Detroit Film Theatre, examines the surrender of Japanese Emperor Hirohito to Allied occupiers near the end of World War II. The new movie from Russian director Alexander Sokurov (“Russian Ark”) boasts a haunting performance by Issey Ogata as a man hailed as a deity who must now walk among mortals. He appears to have lots of mumbling conversations with himself in the film — something that may lead viewers to think the sound is skewed. 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday (also 4:30 p.m. March 14).

Then, as part of the ongoing DFT Docs series, Michel Orion Scott’s “The Horse Boy” follows a Texas family on a journey to Outer Mongolia to find a cure for an autistic child. It screens at 4 p.m. Saturday. DFT at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward, Detroit. 313-833-4005 or dia.org/dft. $7.50, $6.50 students, seniors.

Oscar party at Dino’s in Ferndale: They’re calling it the Foscars, or “fun Oscars.” So says Greg Russell from “Movie Show Plus” on WMYD-TV (My TV 20), host of Sunday night’s Academy Awards Party at Dino’s Lounge in Ferndale. The free event, beginning at 7 p.m. and running through the end of the show, will feature a limo parked out front, red carpet, champagne, snacks and prizes.

During the commercials, contestants in a Micro Mini Challenge will screen their short films as a prelude to this fall’s Ferndale Film Festival. 22740 Woodward, Ferndale, 248-591-3466. Film fest info: 248-534-5354 or ferndalefilmfestival.org.

Redford bets on ‘Day at the Races’: Among the Marx Brothers’ most entertaining vehicles is 1937’s “A Day at the Races” (***), which finds the comic trio saving a sanitarium while playing the ponies at the racetrack next door. 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Redford Theatre, 17360 Lahser (at Grand River), Detroit. 313-537-2560 or www.redfordtheatre.com. $4.

Hitchcock rarities play Penn: 1956’s “The Wrong Man” (***), starring Henry Fonda as a jazz musician wrongly accused of robbery, is tonight’s offering in a new Penn Theatre series of Alfred Hitchcock thrillers. The 7 p.m. Thursday series will focus on rarely seen Hitchcock works, all screening in 35mm prints. The other titles: “Suspicion” (March 11), “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (March 18) and “Rope” (March 25). 760 Penniman, Plymouth. 734-453-0870 or www.penntheatre.com. $3.

Contact freelance writer JOHN MONAGHAN: madjohn@earthlink.net

With so much interest in the film festival and my rising career as an actress, I also gave a few interviews in the past couple of weeks.  One was with my old high school, Grosse Pointe South.  The other two were with Seaholm High School and lastly, my friend Roborobb.  When I have access to the articles/interviews, I will post them here.

The newest episode of The Midnight Hour also premieres tonight at midnight, and every Saturday (10:30PM) and Thursday (midnight) for the rest of the month in the Troy, MI broadcast area.  More below:

Comcast 52 & WOW! 18:

March 4, 11, 18, 25 (midnight)

March 6, 13, 20, 27 (10:30pm)

A drunken, murderous circus clown (Jamie Wheatley) gets a new lease on life as a travelling nightclub hypnotist. His sensuous assistant, Wan (Cindy Chu) begins to suspect a connection between his bizarre stage act and a series of brutal homicides in the towns in which he plays. John Tynan, Jr., Curtis Lee Vest, Angela Roberts, Jonathan West, Carol McClure, Michael J. Vanderpool, Dave Dork (30 min.)

Those are all my updates for now.  I hope some of you can make the awards ceremony!  In case you need the info for that again:

Tickets may now be purchased online:
http://www.burtontheatre.com/diff1/

Come see Qing Lou Nu screen at the first annual Detroit Independent Film Festival Awards Ceremony! Description of the awards ceremony follows below.

7 :30 PM – 2010 Michigan Film Awards Best Short Nominations/Award Ceremony @ Deroy Auditorium 5203 Cass Ave, Detroit MI 48202

Qing Lou Nu (2009, USA, Bryan D. Hopkins)
Walls collapse with tragic consequences when a Chinese prostitute hears the words, “I love you.” Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “Qing Lou Nu” is an edgy reinvention of the timeless classic that explores the collision of east and west.

Running Time 25 Mins

**7 Michigan Film Award Nominations including Best Narrative Short, Best Editing and Best Director Bryan D. Hopkins, Best Actress-Cindy Chu, Best Actor-Axel Harney, Best Cinematography-Mark C. Davis Jr., Best Supporting Actor-David G.B. Brown

Ciao!

~c

UPDATE on March 5, 2010

We got some more press in The News Herald!  Read the article below.

East meets West: Banker-turned-filmmaker finds niche with indie film

Published: Friday, March 05, 2010

Cindy Chu pictured in incense scene from Qing Lou Nu

Click to enlarge

By Andrea Blum

Bryan Hopkins, 34, says he’s done enough living for 100 lifetimes, and now wants to use those experiences to tell stories to make people think and feel in different ways.

The Riverview resident abandoned corporate life as a mortgage banker at Quicken Loans to find his niche as an independent film director.

“The same mortgage crisis that hit everybody hit me,” he said.

After becoming unemployed, he decided to pursue one of his passions.

“I was working to get paid and trying to have fun on my off hours,” he said. “I decided that philosophy wasn’t working.”

He cashed in his savings and enrolled at the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan.

“I found that I was a perfect fit for it, and I fell in love with it,” he said.

“Now I’m trying to claw my way up and make up for 30 years I spent doing other stuff.”

Born in Dayton, Ohio, Hopkins was drawn to music and photography at a young age, but set his creative tendencies aside to serve as a parachute medic in the 82nd Airborne Division.

At Kent State University, he discovered a passion for world culture that led to a three-year trip around the world.

During that time, he studied religion, culture and international politics primarily in Asia.

“I got my degree in comparative religious studies,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in philosophy and religion.”

He met his wife in Taiwan and spent a year as an English coordinator for the Taiwanese military.

And it’s those experiences among others that Hopkins uses to inspire his creativity.

“Being a filmmaker allows me to take my business background and unique experiences and culminate them into one artistic expression,” he said.

“It’s the perfect blend of philosophy, art and corporate expression.”

One of his latest efforts, “Qing Lou Nu (The Prostitute),” is nominated in seven categories at this weekend’s first Detroit Independent Film Festival.

The DIFF was started by indie filmmakers for indie filmmakers.

The free five-night festival held at the Burton Film Theatre in Detroit will showcase short films from Michigan and around the world.

Hopkins’ 25-minute film is an edgy reinvention of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart,” with a twist that explores the collision of East and West.

His first non-student film, the idea sprang from his membership in a director’s club at MPI.

“We were going to do a version of Poe’s story and I had spent a lot of time in Asia so the director of MPI asked what I thought about going Asian with it,” he said.

Hopkins said the story fell in line perfectly with his storytelling method.

“I write dark stuff,” he said. “I’ve been through more downs than ups in life. I relate to a funeral more than I can relate to a wedding.”

The stylistic bilingual picture explores the life of an Asian prostitute trapped in a contradictory world of passion and obligations, and the stunning climax when a naïve, unsuspecting client confesses his love for her.

“I started seeing certain images in my head,” he said. “The incense ritual at the beginning of the film and mixing between something so sacred with something that a lot of people see as dirty.”

When it came time to cast the film, Hopkins said it was quite a challenge to find a willing actress to take the lead.

“I put Craigslist ads out and tried to find people everywhere, and no one would take the role,” he said.

The sexual nature of the movie prevented many Asian actresses from agreeing to take part, according to Hopkins, because overt sexuality is taboo in Asian culture.

In the end, local actress Cindy Chu was the last person seen for the role only a month before shooting began, Hopkins said, and she gave an amazing performance.

The film, made on a $1,000 budget, is nominated for Best Narrative Short, Best Director, Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography and Best Editing at the DIFF.

It also earned the “Audience Choice Award” at the Mitten Movie Project in October.

“The response has been great,” he said. I’m so glad that people get it.”

Hopkins, along with a cast and crew of 32 people, spent roughly a month filming in Troy and Royal Oak. The work was completed last summer.

“I’m trying to really explore a different side of things,” he said. “It’s not a love story, but I love the idea of playing with people’s definitions of things.”

For him, the greatest aspect of filmmaking is causing someone to walk away with a changed view of the world.

“It’s one of the most challenging times in Michigan’s history,” he said, “but if someone could watch this film and see that with this darkness there’s also a lot of powerful experiences and great art that can come from it, then that’s great.”

“Qing Lou Nu” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Burton Theatre.

Also on the bill is “The Tank,” a short film by written by Wyandotte Police Det. Scott Galeski and directed by Joe Johnston.

Filmed at the former Wyandotte Police Department, the movie chronicles the interaction among five men in the holding cell known as “the tank,” as they await arraignment.

“The Tank” will show at 4 p.m. tomorrow.

For a full schedule of films showing at the festival, visit www.detroitindiefest.com.