This month’s feature on X1 International includes “100 DAYS” by filmmaker Weiko Lin in the Taiwan Stories Collection. We got the chance to speak with Lin about the inspiration behind this Chinese romance and his journey as an Asian-American film writer and producer.
Tell us about your film featured on X1 this month.
Weiko Lin: “100 DAYS“ is a Chinese romance feature shot on location on the beautiful Matsu Islands (the Chinese Mediterranean). It’s inspired by the southern Chinese and Taiwanese tradition of 100 Days (百日沖喜)— where if a parent passes away, the unwed son or daughter has 100 days to get married. I wrote the original story and produced this film to fulfill a promise to my late mother that I’d one day return to my motherland to make a Chinese movie. The best part was working with my great friend and mentor, director Henry Chan (“Scrubs,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Moesha”).
How did you get into filmmaking?
WL: When I was a sophomore English major at UCLA, I wandered into the film and TV department classes. The chairs of the screenwriting program Richard Walter and Lew Hunter graciously let me into their workshops, where we wrote a full-length screenplay in 10 weeks! Ever since then, I was hooked. They inspired me to become a writer and a professor of screenwriting. My dear UCLA professor Howard Suber taught us that the best gift human beings can give each other is helping bring out their fullest potential. I believe that with all my heart.
What are some of your favorite films and/or filmmakers who have inspired you?
WL: Ang Lee is the inspiration for me to pursue this art. I admire his ability to tell stories that resonate with a global audience regardless of whether it’s in English or in Chinese. Somehow, he is always able to organically infuse Asian soul into his characters and narratives. In terms of American movies, “Rain Man” is my biggest influence by far. It was a simple road trip movie fueled by grounded, moving character relationships that resonate with me to this day.
Do you have a favorite Asian-American film?
WL: Yes, Ang Lee’s “The Wedding Banquet.” Although it’s technically a Taiwanese production, it captures the core of how I define what an influential Asian-American film is. Its high-quality narrative is what I aspire to make.
How does your Asian heritage influence your work?
WL: It influences me a lot more today than when I first got started. Being an immigrant to this country, I’ve always looked at things with both an insider and outsider perspective. But since my mother passed away 10 years ago, I have become more intentional about it. Having awareness of diverse outlooks undoubtedly enhances the authenticity of storytelling in the global landscape.
What is your outlook on the state of Asian-American cinema?
WL: This might come across nostalgic, but I feel the standard bearers of Asian-American cinema, “The Wedding Banquet” and “Better Luck Tomorrow,” are guides that can elevate today’s and tomorrow’s Asian-American films to reach a wider audience. “The Wedding Banquet” moved global viewers without famous elements. “Better Luck Tomorrow” captured the contemporary Asian-American narrative and attracted the largest Asian-American audience. The future is very promising when we tell universal stories infused with Asian and Asian-American elements. We’ve done it before. And now with more tech and talent accessibility, there is nothing stopping us.
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