Northwest Asia Weekly
Award-winning film director Jason Kaman traveled from Indonesia, first from Calgary and then from Vancouver, British Columbia. Not surprisingly, his earliest grim memories revolved around snow.
“I had my first snowstorm in Edmonton when I was 8 while helping my dad make a living,” recalls Kaman, who presented his feature film debut, “Golden Crown,” at the Seattle Queer Film Festival. I don’t understand why my parents brought us from Indonesia to such a harsh climate. “
Climate change wasn’t the only factor affecting the young man’s early memories.
“In the late 1980s, I remember being in middle school in Calgary when my same-sex attraction started. It was in the locker room, to one of the athletes. I just remember how beautiful he was. I felt scared and excited.
“I kissed a guy for the first time in the mid-1990s. We were both university students in Alberta studying French in Quebec. He told me that when he kissed me, he imagined me as a woman, which Made me feel unworthy and ashamed.”
Karman earned a degree in science, another in cinematography, and finally graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2019 with an MFA in filmmaking and creative writing. He considers Sharon McGowan and David Howard his most important film teachers, helping him gain a deep understanding of a given scene, how to understand the needs of the characters, and incorporate all these concerns into a longer narrative.
“I started making films casually at the University of Calgary in the mid-1990s. I was part of a film/television club. After seeing my first set of LGBT films, I wanted to understand how media works and in the process of doing so , I’m also exploring my self-awareness.
“My first script and cast was in 2004 when I invested $15,000 myself to make my first short film. I got a diploma in cinematography and wanted to make a film, but no one gave me a chance, so I created one. I remember one of my cinematography teachers telling me how low the success rate of graduates was and I refused to be a statistic.”
Over the years, he has made 17 short films, the documentary genre helps him construct compelling stories, the dramatic genre teaches the importance of movement as an important aspect of visual language, and the thriller genre gives him the economic power of storytelling.
The 95-minute “Golden Crown” tells the story of Jack (Cardi Wang), a bright and artistic kid preparing for his final year of high school. He’s about to go all the way with his longtime girlfriend, Valerie (Pamis Sehart), but when a strong, aggressive, confident man named Alex (Chris Carson) is born When the gay basketball player moved across the street, Jack had to take a long, hard look at his life. Sex, sports, machismo, bullying, and long-standing family tensions all blend into it.
As far as movie budgets go, Kaman explained that making his short films “helps to apply for grants and attract sponsors. I’ve also done IndieGoGo grants in the past, so I’m able to use that knowledge when crowdsourcing.
“The production took about four years. I read early drafts before, but it didn’t start to ramp up until 2018. I shot in Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster, especially New Westminster Secondary School .”
When asked about future plans, Carmen didn’t say much, but he’s proud that “Golden Crown” has been selected to nine film festivals in North America. He is currently working on a second feature.
Jason Karman will screen his film “Golden Crown” at the Seattle Queer Film Festival on October 22nd at 7pm. go:
threedollarbillcinema.org/golden-delicious more details.
Andrew is available at [email protected].