By Andrew Hamlin
Northwest Asian Weekly
The new action film “Awesome Asian Bad Guys” has its Seattle premiere at a free screening on Sunday, August 24th, at 1212 King Street in Seattle, starting at 7 pm. The film, centered around a group of colorful Asian villains, was co-directed by Stephen Dypiangco and Patrick Epino, and the cast includes Seattle actor Yuji Okumoto. Mr. Dypiangco, who will host a short program after the film with Mr. Okumoto, took some questions over email.
NWAW: Where did you grow up, and what were your most important formative experiences there?
Stephen Dypiangco: I grew up in Montebello, which is a Los Angeles suburb. In high school I started watching a lot of movies and realized that I wanted to make them someday. One of my most vivid movie going experiences was watching “Karate Kid 2” during its opening weekend. The line to get in was enormous, and there was so much excitement. I’ll never forget that.
NWAW: What were your favorite films growing up, and why?
Stephen Dypiangco: I remember seeing “American Ninja” on TV as a kid and thinking that it was incredibly awesome. I definitely watched a lot of television as a kid, especially action-oriented cartoons like “G.I. Joe” and “Transformers.” I think the action genre always appealed to me. “Awesome Asian Bad Guys” is my first real experience working in action, and it was a real dream come true.
NWAW: What were your first film projects, and what did you learn from them?
Stephen Dypiangco: I started making really silly videos with friends in college. None of us really knew what we were doing, but we were having a lot of fun making stuff and then showing it to others. It’s hard to say what I learned from making them, but they certainly reinforced my passion for filmmaking and drove me to get better. I eventually got the chance to study filmmaking at NYU’s graduate film program, which was amazing.
NWAW: How did the “Awesome Asian Bad Guys” film get its start?
Stephen Dypiangco: My partner Patrick [Epino] and I originally shot a two-minute YouTube video called Aweomse Asian Bad Guys, where we talked about all of the cool Asian bad guys who would show up in action movies and them immediately get killed. In that video we said it would be cool to create an Asian version of “The Expendables.” So that’s what we set out to do. We eventually reached out to the community to fund the project via Kickstarter, and we were successful in reaching our $50K goal.
NWAW: Where was the film shot and what were the most difficult things about the shoot? How did you get through the difficulties?
Stephen Dypiangco: The film was shot in various locations around Los Angeles, including my apartment and my parents’ home. The hardest part of the shoot was cramming everything into a really short schedule. We were always rushing to make our days, but we were fortunate to have an incredible crew that helped us pull off amazing things.
NWAW: What are your favorite and least-favorite aspects of the finished film?
Stephen Dypiangco: My favorite aspect of the finished film is pulling it off with so many talented people involved both in front and behind the camera. When we first came up with this crazy idea, it seemed like nothing more than a crazy idea. But to actually bring it to life and with such awesome people, I couldn’t ask for more.
The project certainly has its flaws, but I’ve grown to embrace them over time. It’s nearly impossible to make something perfect, and any imperfections can serve as lessons on what to avoid the next time around.
NWAW: What are your plans for the future, both with the film and beyond?
Stephen Dypiangco: We’re in the midst of screening the film at various venues around the country. We’re developing our online release strategy and hope to announce our plans in the next few weeks. We’d love to screen “Awesome Asian Bad Guys” at colleges, so we’re certainly open to hearing from student groups interested in that. (end)
For more information on the film, visit http://www.awesomeasianbadguys.com.
Andrew Hamlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.