Tag Archives: Vietnam

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RIVETING VIETNAM WAR-ERA MOVIE DEALING WITH PTSD LAUNCHES ONLINE DURING COVID CINEMA SHUT-DOWNS.

I’m thrilled to welcome filmmakers SAMUEL GONZALEZ JR. and CHRISTOPHER “KIT” LANG to the Fordham PR client roster.  Their feature film BATTLE SCARS launches online via Amazon Prime July 21st with DVD sales orders already available from Walmart. The film will be available with wider online release starting August 4th, 2020 (Vudu, iTunes, Google, etc.).

As Covid-19 has forced cinemas to close or restrict audience numbers, filmmakers around the world (esp. indie filmmakers) have been forced to shelve projects or, like Sam and Chris, find other opportunities to screen their films. Thanks to the dedication of cast and crew, and the support of family and friends, the filmmakers have managed to bring Battle Scars into your home via multi-platform streaming outlets, delivering its message about the horrors of war and its ongoing human toll from PTSD.

Vietnam took everything he had…now he’s taking it all back!107046776_763218854485241_4205911393826522464_nVietnam war veteran, Michael Delucca (Christopher “Kit” Lang) suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and struggles to resist the dark memories of his frontline experiences shared with best friend Vinny (Arturo Castro) that haunt him. Estranged from the post-war everyday life around him, working a steady but low-paying job, and even with a supportive girlfriend Jane (Emily Trosclair) and the opportunity to reconnect with the son he never watched grow up, Michael sinks into a gritty underworld from which he may never return.

Written and directed by real-life decorated war veteran, Samuel Gonzalez Jr. (pictured below), Battle Scars depicts the insurmountable difficulties faced by thousands of soldiers after returning home with brutal authenticity.

gonzalez_picI had the opportunity of chatting with the director who shared his inspirations and on-set experiences with me….

Congratulations on bringing this story to the screen, Samuel. I gather you have first-hand experience being on the front lines in Iraq – did this inspire the story of Battle Scars and in what way?  All wars are different. And all wars are the same. My experience was different from the ones who fought in the jungle – as opposed to the large sandbox I ventured in to.  No, what inspired Battle Scars was being on the front lines of a war very much in our own backyards. Walking in New York City at night, I would see many veterans – every year growing in numbers – simply freezing to death on the streets. I wondered – how does one person who was born, had dreams, desires and passions of his/her own, end up like that? Once you dig a little to find that out, you’ll start seeing the real war is closer than you think.107767236_2750641465155149_7961340331678085522_nMany returned service men and women will likely view this film – do you think it may trigger memories and/or hope your film encourages them to reach out for help and support with their own PTSD?  A response in the form of awareness among veterans and civilians alike would be just what we’re hoping for. For Vietnam veterans and veterans of all foreign wars to remember that we are all united, not only through our shared service but through the invisible wounds we share – the invisible monsters we all bring back. PTSD. May this film be a beacon of light to bring us closer together to finally stitch it up.14054901_1079885625399702_8534525803781222453_nYou’ve undertaken a variety of on-set jobs from Sound, Camera & Electrical dept, Location mgmn’t, Cinematography and AD, as well as editing and acting. How has all this experience prepared you for directing and writing scripts?  Making this film was the ultimate film school experience. Literally discuss an idea, put it on paper (in our case, a dinner napkin), find the crew or slave labourers at that rate (ha ha!) and go out and put your vision through a camera lens – all for little to no money. If I can go back in time in a DeLorean (yes.. I went there) – is to stop this from happening and rip up that napkin and order the brisket instead. But, alas, the sirens went off and making the film was a war in itself – sacrifices were made and rough battles were won and lost in order to reach the beach. But ultimately it prepared me for the future – my continued career and how to properly manage a set and crew, take car of my actors and how to responsibly handle delicate subject matter as the one we discuss in our film. It taught me the right ways to do things and the wrong things that were done. Grateful for those wrongdoings, as the pitfalls of the film taught me how to handle those that were on the road ahead. I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world and am thankful everyday for the experiences the film gave me and my team – it’s priceless and I am the filmmaker I am today because of it.  Director & castYou had a very modest budget on which to shoot Battle Scars – how did you manage to pull off the Vietnam up-county fire fight with such realism?  Thank you, it was very challenging. Sometimes it’s the limitations such as budget that force us to be at our most creative. Doing your best with what you have and that’s where I point the camera. We had to scout specific locations we thought could pass for the jungle. I think my experience helped me grab what I needed. I wanted to convey the chaos that war is.107377203_720954032027606_3389208399628510251_nIt’s so difficult to access audiences during the Covid shut-down, but with your digital viewing platforms do you think that home viewing is more advantageous, especially considering the intense intimate angst your lead character goes through on-screen? Viewers may feel more emotionally secure watching the film from their own sofa…yes? I think it comes down to connection. I believe any film is really meant to be experienced in the theater.  However, home entertainment systems get us pretty close. It’s a personal film, but film is meant to be communal. So if we have to watch the film separately, at least we can all connect online.

Have you already started thinking about your next project and if so, can you share any hints as to the subject? Are you planning something a little lighter? You think I’d learn but never lighter, never smaller. But I will say that my job as director is to serve the story. If the story is large, that let my vision enhance that in scale. If it’s small, then I will paint with mightier strokes but still on a large canvas. Many projects in the making and new releases coming soon. In the meantime, you can order my published novel titled THE CHORDS OF WAR – a semi-autobiographical true story of 5 soldiers who form a rock’n’roll band during the height of the Iraq war, ultimately using music to inspire and motivate thousands of troops and to get them home alive. Acclaimed show runner Graham Yost (Band of Brothers, Justified, The Pacific) opens the book with a rave review and discussion. My next feature film, a psychological horror film, is currently in production as I type this, and my latest short film The Springfield Three, the true story of one Americas most bizarre and unexplained disappearances, has won multiple festival awards after screening at Screamfest 2019. It has also been picked up for worldwide distribution, having its television premiere this October on SHORTS TV (the distributor for all the theatrical released academy award winning short films.) Thank you for your continued support, Glenda!

Battle Scars will be available for viewing online as of July 21st via Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, GooglePlay. Orders for DVD sales are already available from Walmart & Amazon, with wider release as of August 4th, 2020.

Check out movie trailers and cast & crew info at www.BattleScarsthemovie.com and follow on Instagram @MovieBattleScars and       www.facebook.com/moviebattlescarspromo ad

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RON KORB DEBUTS “ASIA BEAUTY” CD WITH STANDING-ROOM-ONLY TORONTO CONCERT

Despite the heavy downpour, the Musideum in downtown Toronto held a packed audience as award-winning flautist and composer RON KORB unveiled his latest album, ASIA BEAUTY, accompanied by Lou Pomanti on piano and Linlin Wang on erhu.

Cover-2015(less green)With a stunning 36pg full-colour book of photographs attached, the 19 track (+ 2 bonus tracks) CD channels Ron’s experiences and inspirations from previous tours of China, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan. His beautiful wife, Jade, took the photos which accompany Ron’s story behind each tune.

Asia Beauty 2The enthusiastic crowd of fans and media jammed into the humid and steamy performance space seemed entranced by each note. Everyone seemed to be taping the performance (below) which was also webcast around the world. Many favourable comments from excited fans in the US and Japan were received the next day.

20150707_202638 20150707_201138 20150707_212411After the concert, fans wanted photos with Ron (below) including Singaporean actor and singer Laurance Tan, jazz flautist Bill McBirnie (middle pic) and of course, the obligatory “band photo” (bottom pic) featuring Linlin Wang and Lou Pomanti flanking Ron.

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20150707_215231….and members of Flute Street (Toronto’s Professional Flute Choir) filmmaker Patrick Jenkins and Hong Kong designer Rita Ip (below with Ron)

20150707_193748 Rita Ip_RonIf you missed the concert last night, check out Ron’s website for CD purchase info or downloads: http://ronkorb.com/

20150707_193412Ron composed and produced the entire album, ably assisted by Gary Honess of Kuhl Muzik studio where most of the tunes were recorded and mixed, plus Ron Searles (Glenn Gould Studio at CBC), Paul Intson, Jeremy Darby (The Canterbury Music Company) and Phil Demetro of Lacquer Channel Mastering. Album design by Carolyn Quan. Financial assistance from FACTOR Canada. Thank you to Roger (sound) and Donald (Musideum) for making the concert possible.

 

 

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AWARD-WINNING FLAUTIST & COMPOSER RON KORB RELEASES NEW ALBUM “ASIA BEAUTY” JULY 7th IN TORONTO

I’ve been aware of Toronto’s internationally acclaimed flautist and composer RON KORB and his music for many years, having attended one of his concerts back in the late 90’s – I remember being completely mesmerized by his flute playing; I never knew there were so many different types of flute or the vastly dissimilar sounds and tones each emits.

DSC00144g-1-sDSC07049Famous for playing a wide variety indigenous woodwinds from around the world, Ron’s critically praised music has been released in twenty countries around the world, and he’s toured extensively throughout Europe, North and Central America, Australia, South Asia, mainland China and Japan, performing for many heads of state and royalty. His compositions evoke imagery of the diverse cultural traditions and experiences he’s encountered on his travels.

Several months ago, I reconnected with Ron during a taping of the Rogers Daytime Toronto tv show and we started chatting in the green room about the release of his upcoming new CD, Asia Beauty. On Tuesday July 7th, Ron will be performing at Musideum, 401 Richmond St West (at Spadina) accompanied by renowned pianist Lou Pomanti with Linlin Wang on the Chinese Erhu, as he introduces Asia Beauty to world, classical and new age music fans. Tickets are $20 and available on Ron’s website: http://ronkorb.com/asia-beauty-tickets

Cover-2015(less green)His past albums have run the gamut of Celtic themes, a salute to the European masters, Native American, Japanese, mystical and even a Christmas album, all original works using a multitude of wind instruments accompanied by indigenous and traditional musical instruments. I asked Ron about his latest album and he shared his inspirations and the story behind the new album:
This album is the result of my travels through China over the past 13 years.  The music is inspired by the dramatic landscapes, ancient history, the people and their stories, the arts and culture and their dynamic present-time where, in cities like Shanghai, entire communities are changing rapidly. More specifically, as you flip through the album booklet you can see the background inspiration for each song. All the pieces have a unique story that reflects something about Asian culture.

????????????????????????????? KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAsia Beauty also features a beautiful 36 page picture book containing full colour photos of both rural and urban China. I asked Ron about these gorgeous photos:
I am proud that there are no stock photos in the picture book. Most of the original photography is by my wife, Jade, with a few shots taken by myself and others, notably Dan Shao. The exotic locations in China include: Guilin, Yangshou, Suzhou, Shanghai, and the Forbidden City in Beijing. Other locations include Hanoi, Vietnam and the gorgeous bamboo forest at Xitou in Taiwan.

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DSC08816-1Ron continued by telling the story behind his original songs on the album:
Seven of the songs from Asia Beauty are the musical setting of an original story called “Dragon Flute and the House of the Five Beauties” which I wrote in my hotel in Shanghai (where Ron is pictured below) after a week-long rehearsal schedule and concert performance. I spent an extra week travelling around and each night I would add a few more pages. I was inspired to write a supernatural story set in ancient China based on historical legend and some of my own experiences. There was even interest in turning the story into a feature length animated film, however, I’m happy that it’s finally available in the liner notes of the album.

SONY DSCOriginally I was going to call the whole album “The House of the Five Beauties” but as other songs included were not part of that story, I thought of calling the album simply “Asia”. I liked adding the word “Beauty” because the essence of the music is celebrating the beauty of Asian nature and also refers to “The Beautiful Sadness” aesthetic and the characters in “House of the Five Beauties”.

IMG_3304 ?????????????????????????????I noticed on his website that Ron has performed for many international heads of state and royalty over the years so I asked him how it feels to play in front of such prestigious audiences:
Aside from the diplomatic etiquette, the performing process is really the same. Music is about relating to each other as human beings. Personally, it is just as much a privilege to play for a King or Queen as it is for all audiences.

SONY DSC And I also asked him how Chinese audiences differ from Canadian audiences:
They come from a completely different perspective when it comes to appreciating the arts. I explain some of the cultural difference in the album with the song The Beautiful Sadness. I think the Chinese audiences are brutally honest and they won’t sit through something that they find boring. However, if your music touches them they will really show it enthusiastically.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA DSC04836g 147簽名會 SONY DSCWhich brought me to another question – does Ron see opportunities for other Canadian artists to explore the HUGE Chinese/South Asian music markets?
I think there are opportunities for Canadian artists but it is not as straightforward as expanding into the USA or Europe where we share a similar media culture and musical taste. I know some musicians who have tried to make it in China and been underwhelmed by the results and reaction from audiences.  There was one North American superstar who was performing there and after a few songs the audience began to leave en masse. There was another case where the audience was talking so loudly that the group stopped playing and lectured the audience on how to pay attention.

DSC04509g-1 With such a level of expertise, knowledge and personal experience, I asked Ron how long he has studied and played the flute, and which instruments are his favourites:
I started on recorder in elementary school and began playing flute in high school. I like each type of flute for different reasons. The classical flute has good intonation and pure tone but the mechanical key system lacks some intimacy, similar to the difference between an automatic transmission and a standard car. With the wooden flute your fingers touch the wood and you feel every curve and bump of the instrument. I also love the wonderful organic tone of the Chinese bamboo flute or wooden Irish flute.

20150623_174736With all this training and years of touring, Ron must have advice he could share with music students and aspiring performers so he offered the following:
Seek out the best teachers and learn the craft as best you can. Attend as many concerts of as many different genres as possible. As you develop, discover who you are as a person and learn how to express that through the flute. Resist copying other artists’ styles and develop your own special voice.

2015-02-13 20.34.59I mentioned to Ron that his upcoming CD release concert is being held in a unique venue, Musideum (pictured below), where I believe he had previously played, even collaborating with the owner, Donald Quan on musical projects:
Yes, I‘ve played there before and I even played at Musideum’s inaugural opening concert. I have known Donald since I was 17 and in many ways, our love of World Music has developed simultaneously. Musideum was the realization of a dream that took many years to create and it has become a wonderful Aladdin’s cave of exotic instruments from around the world. It has personal significance to me and that is why it’s so appropriate to launch my Asia Beauty there.

20150507_194347 20150507_194422 20150507_220351So we’re just a week away from the official release of Asia Beauty and as space is limited, I encourage fans of World, Classical or New Age-style music in the Toronto area to get your tickets now!

Asia Beauty CD Release

Tuesday July 7 @ 8pm (doors open 7:30pm)

Musideum, 401 Richmond St. West (at Spadina)

Tickets $20 available from: http://ronkorb.com/asia-beauty-tickets

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Thank you for supporting Canadian artists.