Monday, October 25, 2010

Wow.

This weekend was perhaps the most amazing thing to have happen to me in recent memory.

Hold on, lemme back up a bit.

This all started about two weeks ago, when the kind people over at theInterpretations Film Initiative sent me an email. I was half asleep at the time I received it, and it informed me that I was one of the five finalists for the Interpretations contest. Holy cow. I honestly had to read the email about three or four times until I was able to process what just happened. I was almost certain my entry was lost in the sea of entries (with about 150+ of them being submitted on the final day alone). How on earth could mine be one of the winners?

But it was real. I had won. They informed me that there would be a special screening and gala dinner during the San Diego Asian Film Festival, and asked if I could make it down for the event.

What.

I knew that they were going to announce the winners at the festival, but to actually go down there and attend it IN PERSON? Was I seriously going to do this?

Long story short, yes, I was.

After a short discussion and another week, Chie, my family, and I were on the road on a rainy saturday morning headed towards San Diego.

Not knowing exactly what to expect from this whole thing, I walked into one of the festival's hotels to pick up my badge. I was given the badge, along with a nice little swag bag (which included some random little souvenirs and a lot of asian snacks). I also went over to the box office to pick up tickets to the screening the next day. I walked down some stairs to the sight of a huge crowd, all gathering to get a glimpse of the next rising filmmaker. It was becoming pretty apparent that this was a big deal.

Back at our hotel, Chie and I readied ourselves for the gala while watching the Giants/Phillies game. With Chie looking lovely (as usual) and me putting on my best vest & tie, we prepared ourselves for something way bigger than we could imagine. Also, I don't know where the hotel was putting the cameras, but it was obvious that they didn't want me watching the Giants score, as every time I entered the bathroom, they DID SOMETHING GOOD. Oh well.

Upon arriving at the gala, we were pretty taken aback by the sheer fanciness of the event. Suits everywhere, dresses donned by every female in sight, red carpet interviews, and photographers snapping away literally every other second. This was a big deal. We met up with Philip, who had contacted me earlier about the Interpretations contest, and introduced us to some of the people at our table. (Including the other Interpretations winners and also Danny Pudi!)

We also almost saw the lady from Glee (also known as "the Glee lady" by me and Chie), but then it turned out to be the "not-Glee lady" after all. Fifteen minutes later, however, the "not-Glee lady" comes up to me and asks me where I got my shoes, because her husband loves them. Bizarre.

After finding out there were free Stella Artois and Remy cocktails, we headed into the dining room, which was freaking huge. We were seated right at the front of the stage, and I literally could not see all the way to the other end. Cue the jitters.

On the program for the night, there were some big names (John Cho, Daniel Dae Kim & Ellen Wong, among others), some amazing musical acts, and a lot of liquor. Seriously, they were handing out big jugs of Remy Martin XO to each of the winners. And speaking of alcohol, I was also carded while being served the wine. I guess that's what I get for cutting my hair and shaving the night before.

After a couple of speakers, there was a short break, which was PERFECT, since by then it was the 9th inning of the Giants game, so I (along with like, half the people in the gala) headed over to the bar to watch the Giants WIN THE PENNANT and head to the World Series. Wow, this night's just getting better and better.

When it came to presenting our award, we were presented with a plaque with our names engraved in them (along with the Remy) and had a chance to say our thank yous as well. I found myself completely calm behind the microphone, something that kind of eluded me in every other public speaking situation I've ever been in. Interesting...

When it end of dinner came, it was time to partyyyy. Sort of. I took some pics with the other winners of the Interpretations contest who were there (Aldous and Andrew), then it was off to the after party! Nonstop Stella and Remy cocktails! We roasted some marshmallows and relaxed for a bit. Just sitting there, amid all the celebrities, filmmakers, and important-looking people, it was almost like a dream. I hate to quote youtube videos, but was this real life? If the heat of the fire was any indication, it was indeed real life. Because I would hate for the marshmallows to be that delicious and fake at the same time.

After Chie was drunk enough to ask Ellen Wong to take a picture with her, we decided to head back to the hotel. We slept. Well.

You figure, with the whole San Diego Asian Film Festival gala, the free alcohol, and the Giants winning the pennant, it couldn't get much better, right?

Well, that was just day one...

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