What happens when a Chinese guy tries to join the Italian MOB to get a hot Italian girl who only dates wiseguys? A turf war ensues, and the laughter is raucous! Made in Chinatown, the new film written and produced by Ambler native, Mark V. Wiley, just premiered at the Newark International Film Festival to an unexpected sold-out crowd. (See our article describing the film here).
The festival, which just closed out its fourth season, had submissions from 60 countries, ran for 4 days, included classes and lectures on everything from screen-writing to film ethics, and played previews and premiers of feature films, documentaries, film shorts and music videos. Saturday, September 7 was a big day for Wiley and his producers and cast, where they did interviews, held an hour-long panel discussion — hosted by producer Warrington Hudlin (Eddie Murphy’s Boomerang, House Party) — about the art of acting and the action in the film. Nearly the entire 50-person cast was there, including Goodfellas and The Sopranos alumna Tony Darrow and Vincent Pastore.
Following the Panel Discussion was the Red Carpet world premiere of the film; and Newark’s CityPlex 12 (co-owned by NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal) was packed to the max. So many people came out for the premier of this indie film, there were not enough employees from the theater or the festival to keep things organized. People jammed next to the stars for photos, cameras flashed, several news outlets were there doing interviews. And despite a technical glitch that forced the film to show 30 minutes late, the crowd didn’t care, and hundreds of people filled every seat in the largest screening room they had. From the opening scene the laughs began and never ceased. With dozens on inside jokes and easter eggs, there was something for everyone. The applause at the end of the film was so long and so loud, you could not hear the final song playing over the end credits. It was a place to be.
“I was taken aback by the quality of the film and the audience’s reaction,” said Warrington Hudlin. “You have git a hit on your hands”, he told Wiley afterward. And on Sunday the producers found out that Made in Chinatown had won two awards: “Best Actor: Vincent Pastore” and “Best Stunts: Jay Kwon.”
“Most people came into the film thinking it was going to be a MOB Action-Comedy,” admits Wiley. “But really, it’s about finding one’s identity in America when you are ethnically different. And, at its heart it’s truly a love story.”
So what do you get when a Chinese guy joins the MOB? Comedic gold with a heart at the center. Next steps: a Philly premiere and broad distribution. Keep an eye out!
Photos ©Mark V. Wiley