Cinequest Film Festival
Director Minh Nguyen talks about being a first-time filmmaker.
Cinequest Film Festival
Director Minh Nguyen talks about being a first-time filmmaker.

Go for it! I couldn’t agree more with director Minh Nguyen who tells us that “right now is the perfect time to make an independent film.”

With low-cost, high quality gear now readily available, such as the amazing RED system which Nguyen used to shoot his first feature, the emphasis is less on funding. Though, truth be told, that didn’t stop him from begging like never before, “pleeease give me some money!” Ah yes, the life of an independent filmmaker.

We caught up with the Vietnamese native whose film, Touch, premieres early next month at the twenty second edition of the Cinequest Film Festival (preview). With much of the cast and crew from San Jose, Nguyen refers to the upcoming screenings as a homecoming of sorts.

I had the good fortune of screening Touch and was surprised at the depth, nuance of the story (written by Nguyen). A love story set against the backdrop of nail salon immigrant culture, the subject matter is certainly unique – a plus when trying to stand out in a crowded festival line-up (CQ features over 180 films, shorts, documentaries).

As Minh says, “We all have an aunt or cousin who works in a nail salon. So I thought it would be a fun place to set the story.”

Minh Duc Nguyen
A scene from Touch, starring John Ruby and Porter Lynn.

To summarize, here’s the indie filmmakers short cut to making it to the big screen:

1. Write an original screenplay.

2. Do a lot of begging (for money).

3. Promote the heck out of your work.

Oh yes- and, of course, appear on Stark Insider. Here’s the latest segment of our ongoing coverage of all things west coast; this time, a stop downtown San Jose to talk independent film with director/writer Minh Duc Nguyen.

WATCH: Independent Filmmaking, tips with Director Minh Nguyen

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear