It was truly a personal disappointment that I had missed the premiere Everything Before Us at the opening night of the LA Asian Film Festival. I…was…so…close. I prepped the area as a volunteer (a tradition of mine), always hoping to catch a glimpse of the famed Wong Fu trio: Wesley Chan, Ted Fu, and Philip Wang. Wong Fu productions is a huge thing and to see them make the leap into a feature movie at a film festival is HUGE. Did I mention this is a big thing?!
If your main entertainment has been Youtube and online content AND you’re Asian american, then Wong Fu Productions is familiar. These guys are huge celebrities in the Asian-American online media scenes. Over a span of 10 years, they have produced multitudes of online videos featuring their signature use of diverse casting and soft story lines mixed with humor.they are essentially proud, nice guys (check out their merchandise). Their videos are high quality and full of sentiment, humor, and sweet content. Stories of love, life, loss, and everyday happenings can be found in their videos. Finally, they are able to present a movie with their trademark style. What makes their videos even more meaningful is that their casts are diverse with Asian Americans often occupying the lead roles. These actors are ALL talented.
HEAR THAT CASTING DIRECTORS??!?! If you need Asian American talent check out the Wong Fu videos!!!
Everything Before Us has a bit of a soft science fiction flair. Imagine your relationships, both past and present, results in a score similar to a credit score rating, called the EI number. Everyone starts off at 70. Once you register your relationship at the DEI (Department of Emotional Integrity), your score is influenced by how the relationship was terminated and who gets the blame. Those whose scores are above 80 are considered elite and reap the benefits of job security and high class. Those below 70 are pretty much screwed. Your EI number determines your placement in society, acceptance to programs, being offered dream jobs, and even loans. You are even required to register your relationship for one year before getting married.
Two couples are the focus of the story. Seth (played by Brandon Soo Hoo) and Haley (played by Victoria Park ) are a high school couple who are very much in love. They are each others first and only love. So both have decided to register their relationship to the DEI–right before starting their long distance relationship as one goes to college and the other does not. While this couple moves forward, another couple is forced to look back. Ben (played Aaron Woo) asks help from his ex-girlfriend Sara (played by Brittany Ishibashi) to help rectify his EI score so he can land his dream job. This move forces both to look at their past and rehash memories. Coordinating all of their EI mediation is Randall (played by Randall Park, famous dad of Fresh Off the Boat). With their signature soft and mellow story telling ways, Wong Fu tell a story that is chock full of sorrow and heartache. By the end of the movie, there is an uplifting and bitter feel to it all. Love is beautiful but damn can it suck.
The slow story telling gives the viewer a chance to breathe and realize the characters and the surroundings, to become aware of the emotions and the subtle cues of pain. It gives watchers a chance to view the rawness of it all. Everything Before Us was even more beautiful than I expected and has left a lasting impression on me. I am also very grateful that I don’t have an EI score to manipulate my life. I am pretty sure I would be in the 40s. It was definitely a movie worth featuring in a film festival. I sincerely hope this won’t be the last Wong Fu movie at a festival.
Due to my large amount of online watching (yay, no cable), it was a lot fun spotting the cameos and connecting the actors. I actually had a double take when it came to Victoria Park. I have become so used to see her guest starring in the Fung Brothers videos, that to see her play a teenage was weird. Applaud to her acting skills! I was especially tickled to see D-trix (a.k.a Dominic) do his bit. D-trix was one of my favorite cameos. I first saw him on Americas Best Dance Crew (Ah, I miss that show so much).
I am excited that this was released via Vimeo. Which has some convenient options: buy or rent, support! support! Check out the video after the trailer. Personally, I would love the DVD, I am so curious about the extras!