Eugene Kim Captures Important Moment in Asian-American Music
For his short film ‘Cherry,’ filmmaker Eugene Kim pulled from his own memories of growing up in 90s Daly City, California, when Filipino DJs were pioneering a new style, B-Boys competed at car shows and everyone knew they were part of a historic moment in music history.
[Eugene] The film "Cherry" is primarily inspired by
growing up out here in the peninsula during the late 90's.
I just wanted to show like a very honest
depiction of someone that grew up
out here, in Daly City.
When I think about those days...
The music, the hair, the style,
just the romances -- all the things
that were kinda nostalgic to that time.
Growin' up out here on the peninsula,
there were so many Asian kids
involved with different subcultures.
So, in Daly City
Filipino DJs pioneering like a new style, even.
It was an actual moment in music history.
I've always had an imagination ever since I was a kid.
It's just fun to tell stories.
My dad always had a camera with him.
He filmed us growing up.
He was always like messing around,
and like doing funny like in-camera edits.
So we would do like these magic tricks
which piqued my interest in cameras in general.
I studied film in college, graduated in '08
and moved down LA to pursue creative film.
And then my parents' business was on the rocks.
They were struggling financially up here
and they needed my help.
That was another reason why I wanted to be home
close to 'em -- just to be here for them.
I took a gamble and opened up
a bunch of little coffee shops.
And then I was able to help my parents out financially.
I always knew that I wanted to get back
into film making but the dream kept
getting further and further away.
This year felt like the right time because
the businesses have kind of stabilized.
The last thing we're doin' that day.
- Yeah, yeah...
- It's day three--
- I have a group of friends who I met in college
who are all filmmakers and we made a promise
to each other to start making somethin',
and we found out about HBO competition
for Asian American Pacific Islanders.
Well, that's perfect for this film.
It gave us a bit of a deadline to work towards.
[Excerpt from film] Ladies and gentlemen, I wanna introduce ya'll
to the lead singer of Boy's Edition, Christian Flores.
Give it up, ya'll!
[Eugene] The movie's about a guy named Christian Flores
who used to be in a R&B group from Daly City.
A coming-of-age love story about a guy
on a mission to get his car out of the impound
and figure out where he's gonna find the money to do so.
Through his journey he meets a girl.
A girl named Cherry, at a party.
[Excerpt from film] Yeah, for sure.
[Eugene] I like stories that take place in one day.
I thought it might be fun to try to cram
everything into a day in the life of a guy.
Uh, besides, so this is supposed to be
when you have already started.
There's just so much music that was comin' out of here.
During the research for "Cherry",
I was googling groups that were coming out of the Bay.
Kai, they had a song that was ranked 50
on the Billboard Top 100.
First time in history that an Asian-American group
had ever made it on the Billboard.
Just the way that they dressed,
the way that they looked, all that stuff
inspired how we dressed, how we looked,
the cars that we drove, the haircuts that we got.
The thing that I'm most proud of with "Cherry",
I think, is just the fact that we got it done.
We all promised to take time off
and prioritize this project and we were all able to do that.
That in itself felt like a victory.
There's no time limit or an expiration date
on [when] your creativity stops.
And that's the wrap on the day, guys.
- [Co-Worker] That's a wrap on the Cherry!
That's a wrap on Cherry!
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