He is the man behind Ayana Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Calvin Jung: I’m an actor, you can look me up on IMDB. I’ve appeared in some of the most iconic films ever made. ROBOCOP, LETHAL WEAPON 4, THE FORMULA. MANY TV CREDITS AND THE LONGEST RUNNING COMMERCIAL ON TV “ANCIENT CHINESE SECRET. I was born and raised in New York City. At College the head of the Drama department got me interested in acting . I left college before my final year went home to New York pursued a career as an Actor.
SKSM: When did you make Ayana?
Calvin Jung: We shot the footage of AYANA in the Summer of 2013.
SKSM: Can you tell me a little about the production?
Calvin Jung: From the time of securing AYANA till the actual shoot took over a year. The original plan was to shoot a feature. The Producers Fabricio Cerioni, Chris Steinke and Richard Bradford had another investor which totaled 50k to work with. Unfortunately, he had to pull out and we went with the short.
SKSM: How much did it cost?
Calvin Jung: The cost was approximately $10,000, because we shot under SAG Union contracts. All talent and crew were paid under Low Modified Budget contracts. Post Production House and Music Composer were all paid.
SKSM: How long did it take to film it?
Calvin Jung: We shot AYANA in 4 days and one day of pickups for principal photography. Post production and Music was outsourced. that was at least two weeks of work. The camera work left a lot to be desired! We made a huge mistake and trusted the cinematographer because we didn’t have time to secure a monitor. The footage was horrible. We were going to scrap the film and reshoot.
I decided to take all the footage and edit a story with what we had. Fabricio did the actual physical cuts on Adobe Premier as I created a story with the footage we had.
The time frame is: We completed the Principal photography 4days in Autumn 2013. Scraped the idea of a complete reshoot. Finally in March or April took the footage and cut the film. We had to do a day of Pickups to make the story work. The completed film was May 2014.
SKSM: How come you picked Ayana to develop into a movie?
Calvin Jung: Actually AYANA picked us! Chris Steinke, and Fabricio Cerioni were aware of Dollar Baby and secured the rights to AYANA. The original idea with the 50K was to produce one of their original scripts. I was brought into the Project by Fabricio because of my experience and background in the business.
After the major money pulled out, I told them to do AYANA. Any Project that has Stephen King’s name on it will gather more interest then the best script any unknown person writes. That’s the way the business works, unfortunately. The Producers wanted to be part of the Hollywood world, write and produce movies. I was already established in the business, but AYANA allowed me an opportunity to Direct, Write and Produce a film, thanks to Fabricio.
SKSM: What is it in the story that you like so much?
We were trying to make a story that showed a person (AYANA) with the power to heal becoming a threat to the Pharmaceutcial Corporations. This is obvious in America if one is aware of the Pharmaceutial lobbyist in Washington DC. It’s almost a guarantee if there is a Holistic or Cultural healing technique that works and goes against Doctors and Pharmaceutical companies…They’re going to try and kill it!!
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations.
Calvin Jung: I personally am not a SK fan, the only movies I’ve seen are THE SHINING, SHAWSHANK (I think it’s great!) and GREEN MILE. I’ve tried to read 11/22/63 couldn’t get through it. But looking forward to see DARK TOWER. THE LONG WALK sounds interesting and may read it in the future.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wikd guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
Calvin Jung: As previously mentioned it was Chris and Fab who were aware of Dollar Baby and got the rights to AYANA. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the Dollar Baby story you choose is not yours alone. There were other people who were given the OK to make an AYANA Dollar Baby, if the King people want to give it to more then one they do.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Calvin Jung: The filming was so chaotic for 4 straight days! I was getting 3-4 hours a night sleep. There’s not one moment to single out! We had no dailies to watch, we did SO many things one shouldn’t do!
It comes down to ‘…no matter how well you prepare and think you’ve got it covered, shit happens!!
SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a internet/dvd release would be possible?
Calvin Jung: We have DVD’s of AYANA and by contract to King’s people cannot sell or show (internet or otherwise) to the public. Ironically it’s the deal with The Devil…hahahaha.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Calvin Jung: No reviews.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Calvin Jung: We submitted to 3 or 4 of the bigger festivals and were turned down. (Goes back to my mentioning the over the top effect). AYANA was screened at THE MONROVIA FILM FESTIVAL in the Los Angeles área in 2014.
SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?
Calvin Jung: No contact with King and don’t know if he’s ever watched our film. Here’s a funny moment; we sent the DVD to the King people and never heard back. Shortly after I read in the trade papers that he’s sold AYANA to Universal Studios to be developed as a TV series. Our film left the idea to be continued! I’d like to believe that he saw our film and it triggered the sale!
SKSM: What are you working nowadays?
Calvin Jung: I personally am working on a couple scripts. I take an acting job when they come. The year after AYANA, I Directed a made for YouTube series. It was four episodes each approximately 4 minutes. It’s no longer on, didn’t get enough hits.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one stroy to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Calvin Jung: I would’ve liked to be part of MR.MERCEDES, but that’s being made by heavyweights in Hollywood.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Calvin Jung: I wish they all could see the film if they haven’t and get their feedback about avoiding over the top effects and trying to be more cerebral!
SKSM: Would you like to add something?
Which brings me here from previous question. Last year I met a guy who has done lighting on a couple of the King films here in Hollywood. I told him about AYANA and how I didn’t go for the effects and King would be disappointed! He told me “NO”, because King wasn’t a fan of the effects Hollywood put in some of his movies! That made me feel GOOD!