“ON YOUR RADAR” IS A WEEKLY GRAD FILM NEWS SEGMENT THAT FEATURES A STUDENT PICKED AT RANDOM.
ALAN WU IS CURRENTLY A 3RD YEAR STUDENT AT GRAD FILM. WE ASKED HIM A FEW QUESTIONS AND HERE’S WHAT HE HAD TO SAY:
Where do you consider home and what is it like there?
I'm from Baltimore, Maryland, but to be honest, a lot of my life was spent in the confines of my home. When I was growing up in the suburbs as a child, I was raised with a strict Taiwanese upbringing. This usually meant mandatory violin practice and timed multiplication tables. Everything changed when I was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of ten. Bound to the hospital, I found solace in the screen. When I exhausted the hospital’s library of films like Star Wars and The Karate Kid, I would borrow from my cinephile cousin’s eclectic bootleg VHS collection spanning the likes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre to Tokyo Story. My parents became a lot more chill with me afterwards – they let me become a filmmaker.
What or who is inspiring you right now and why?
I’ve been watching Chef’s Table on Netflix because I love cooking, and the best inspiration to me comes from things outside our profession. There’s a segment on Alain Passard, the chef/owner of L’arpege and one of the gastronomic giants in Paris, where he singles out the most important element of a chef’s skillset – their gesture. That is, the subtle highly individualistic manner and ease in which they carry out basic tasks, whether its portioning meat or seasoning. The idea is that one's true personality and essence develops naturally after years of practice, which expresses itself in the final product.
I think this applies to filmmaking as well. The great masters have an ease and confidence in their storytelling that transcends ego or talent, it’s a product of discipline, practice, and maturation. You can see this so clearly in the works of Mizoguchi or Bergman. Look at their filmography, they completed at least 20 features before you see anything you recognize!
What has been your most rewarding experience at NYU Tisch Grad Film so far?
Any experiences collaborating with my classmates has been an absolute joy and eye opening in the most humbling of ways. I’ve actually really enjoyed shooting directing exercises with them - it can be an incredible bonding and therapeutic experience showing up in each others’ works and acting out our innermost fears and desires. And then getting torn apart in class, fun times.
Visit Alan's Vimeo here