Friday, November 08, 2013

I met Donnie Yen at the 4th Annual New York Chinese Film Festival Nov7, 2013

Donnie Yen and Hostess of 4th Annual NY Chinese Film Festival
Sorry for the crappy pic via my phone camera - I was holding the phone in my left hand and my crappy video camera in my right hand and couldn't focus properly.

It is said that accumulating life experiences is more important than accumulating money. After all, money buys objects and objects are lifeless. But experiences will live on. You grow and learn with experiences. It allows one to be a storyteller - to let others know of the wonderful experience, and thereby, story to tell them.  Everyone loves a good story right?

Yesterday I had an experience that was pretty much a "once-in-a-lifetime experience" for me that I would like to relate to you.  I don't get to go out much. My life is the life of a 'Family Man'. I go to work and then go home to my wife and kids. I help with the dishes, check my children's homework and help/teach them what may be a stumbling block for them. On the weekends I am the 'Chauffeur', driving my kids to their various enrichment activities as well as do the laundry, go to Costco and groceries shopping. Now that my Life is put into perspective, I will share my Experience. 

My friend on Facebook, Rosemary, alerted me to the 4th Annual New York Chinese Film Festival. One of the Guests of Honor was Donnie Yen, arguably one of the top, if not THE top, Asian movie star currently. She kept nagging me to go. As she lives in Memphis, if circumstances permitted, she would've attended!

There were a few factors contributing on my decision to go or not:

  • Would Donnie Yen be there as advertised? If so, would it be the Opening Ceremony only? Tickets were going for $100 each... a bit steep for me and my situation
  • Would he be there during the showing of Ip Man 1 and/or his new movie, Special ID (aka Special Identity)?
  • Would my boss be OK with me taking the day off?
  • Would tickets still be available?
Rosemary convinced me despite Donnie being there or not, at least go to the movies and have a good time watching them. She agreed Opening Night was too much. 
I called the theater Monday to find out tickets availability for Thursday's showings. My conversation with the young woman that answered went as follows:

Me:  "Hi, are there tickets still available for Thursday's showing of Special ID at 2pm?"
Young Woman (YW):  "Yes there is."
Me:  "How much are tickets?" (expecting it to be near-exorbitant like Opening Night)
YW:  "$14.50."
Me:  (Whew!) "Are there tickets also for Ip Man at 11am?"
YW:  (about 10 seconds of silence) "You mean Eye Pee Man?"
Me:  (Mental facepalm and sigh) "Why yes, Eye Pee Man."
YW:  "Yes and the price is $8 only because it's the matinee showing."
Me: "Thank you."

LOL at Eye Pee Man! I wanted to go to the theater immediately and Chain Punch her in the mouth until she could say "Ip Man"!

So I left work and walked over to the theater. It was a building that housed 25 theaters! 6 floors... an Applebee's restaurant as well as an arcade were on the lower levels and the theaters above. Bought the tickets for myself and my training partner J. I inquired about Donnie Yen's appearance or not. They didn't know but said there was a schedule up front. Went to the front to check and saw this:

WOOHOO! I didn't know that there would be a Q&A session, not One but Two! I was almost on Cloud Nine! I expected he was only going to be at the Opening Ceremony and resigned to the fact I would not be able to meet him. This was incredible! Yes, can you tell I don't get out much? I live the life of a Family Man and most of my time is spent on my family. We don't go to the movies due to the exorbitant ticket prices in NYC.

I was weighing the idea of just going to see Special ID and not both Ip Man and Special ID. Glad I went to Ip Man since Donnie didn't stay for the Q&A after Special ID. 

Come Thursday, both J. and I were at the theater expecting a long line. Slight disappointment as part of the line was for Thor 2! There wete no long lines. They let us into the theater at 10:30 as it started drizzling. 

I already watched Ip Man 1 at home on DVD, so it was an awesome viewing on the big screen. There were maybe 25 people or so in the audience. When the movie was nearing its conclusion, there was a sudden influx of people, mostly the Journalists. The Hostess came in and announced the arrival of Donnie Yen!

About six or seven people asked Q's and I was going to be eighth and they ended it. I made the mistake of not sitting in the front row!!!  Lesson learned! Not that I would probably be able to go to another one of these. Learned plenty of lessons during this one.

*SIGH* story of my life … almost-won, wannbe, always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride (I guess that should be groomsman/groom for me LOL)

A few answers I remembered (hopefully correctly):

  • He said he had a lot of obstacles in making Special ID and he's not happy about it (think he meant he was not happy with how the film turned out as well as his experience making it) but he assured us that the action is very good.
  • He has been in the industry for 31 years!
  • He said he is a martial artist his whole life but he is a professional filmmaker. Looking to expand his range.
  • He has some nagging injuries. Doctor advised him to take it easy.
  • His most successful movie is Ip Man which forced him to make more period pieces.
  • However, he prefers the modern action movies like SPL (aka Sha Po Lang aka Kill Zone) and Flash Point).
  • He likes the MMA style. 
  • His favorite project by far is the upcoming Monkey King (Jan 31, 2014)
  • If you have questions after watching Special ID, contact me via my site.

No real chance for autographs although he signed one on his way out. I wanted a pic with him but he was leaving being escorted out. He did stop and about to take a picture with me when a woman intercepted me (she Jeet me! LOL at her Interception and at my Jeet Kune Do geek humor!) and his attention focused on her as it sounded like she was proposing a collaboration/project with him.

I was one foot away from him and asked my friend Rosemary’s question:

Q:  "When will Hollywood be ready for an Asian leading man?
A:  "Hopefully soon." 

Although I was supposed to frame the Q this way:  “This question is from one of your superfans… Rosemary, a fangirl from Memphis… “ - I got to ask one question and he answered and almost took a picture with me. 

Donnie Yen with a picture-perfect Suplex in Flash Point
More animated GIF's here:

Donnie Yen, sir, if you are reading this, please know that you have a superfangirl by the name of Rosemary living in Memphis, Tennesee as well as a fan in me. I'm going to be making many more animated GIFs of you from your movies soon!

Sir, continued success in Asia as well as the rest of the world! And regarding Hollywood (and a reply to my email) ...

"Hopefully soon."

I also made some GIF sets from Special ID:

For further info on Donnie Yen, please check out:

This post humbly dedicated to Donnie Yen and Rosemary!



back to top
Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps