"Make a move and the force follows"
Interview with Vietnamese-American actress Hiep Thi Le
by Marc Hairapetian
"Make a move and the force follows"
Interview with Vietnamese-American actress Hiep Thi Le
by Marc Hairapetian
Hiep Thi Le (born in 1970) is a Vietnamese-American actress and best known for her role in "Heaven and Earth" (USA1993), the third film of the Vietnam triology of Oliver Stone ("Platoon", "Born on the Fourth of July"). It is the only Hollywood film from the point of view of a Vietnamese woman during the time of Vietnam War. Le Ly (Hiep Thi Le) is first captured and tortured by South Vietnamese government troops and then raped by the Viet Cong. Co-starring is Tommy Lee Jones as Gunnery Seargent Steve Butler who serves in the United States Marine Corps. He falls in love with her and marries her later. But in America they start to have big problems... The film was based on the books, "When Heaven and Earth Changed Places" and "Child of War, Woman of Peace" by Le Ly Hayslip which wrote about her experiences during and after Vietnam War. Hiep was also amazing in "Yao yie huang hou" ("Bugis Street", 1995), "Cruel Intentions" (1999) and "Return to Pontianak" (2001). She was narrator of the documentary "From War to Peace and Beyond" (2007) about Le Ly Hayslip. Her latest films are "Lakeview Terrace" (2008) and "Touch" (2011). Maybe this interview is the longest Hiep ever has given.
Marc Hairapetian: Your childhood was like a cruel adventure. You was born in the time of Vietnam War. Can you tell me something about your experiences of it? I know you was a child in that time.
Hiep Thi Le: I don't know if I see it as a cruel adventure although it was an adventure to me. Ignorance is bliss I guess. I must have been high on something because I was always in another world according to my family. I guess I was kinda young so I still believed in dragons and magic, especially since my father was the Village head wizard. The explanation given to me for the cruelty going around us was always coated in folklore. Such is the Vietnamese way. Thus a pair of fighter jets bombing in the distance for example would be said to be the dragons fighting. And I was frequently told stories about the princess of the sea and her fight with father dragon which is the vietnamese creation myth so I interperated whatever was 'war' as an extended struggle from these folklores. Your imagination I suppose could run wild thereafter.
In any case, we were literarily dirt poor. We didn't have a proper roof and water would seep into the hut flooding the dirt floor. We were always starving as the best fish we caught was saved for market. And that had an advantage as it preoccupied us with the necessities of day to day survival as kids, scrounging and scavenging.
And the one thing about being so poor was that you didn't understand what 'rich' was since we had no context. So we were blissfully unaware in our 'poorness' just doing our own thing and in my case, escaping into a world of fantasy and make belief characters.
Marc Hairapetian: Your Daddy escaped from the communists in North Vietnam and send - before the whole family was going - you and your sister with a fisher boat to Hong Kong. Was it dangerous?
Who did pick you up? Why did you not know your family name when they asked you in Hong Kong (I read at wikipedia). Who was taking care of you when you missed your family in that time?
Hiep Thi Le: It was dangerous but we did not know it. We were just told by my Mom that we had to go look for Dad and that he had gone to some place called America which we interpretated was the city (Danang) across the river since it had lights (we had no electricity in our village).
The journey to Hong Kong was in hindsight perilous for two unescorted kids age six and eight cramped into a tiny boat with 33 strangers. However I was in my imaginary world believing myself impervious to harm since Mr Dragon (My guardian angel) was on my side. Also we were fortunate that the captain of the boat was a very good man and adopted us kids as his own, always looking out for us and keeping us away from harm.
We ran out of food and water but were saved by what by the Royal Navy and towed to Hong Kong where we were shuttled from camp to camp, living the lives as orphans, unwanted and self reliant like a " Vietnamese Lord of the Flies" (literarily).
The Captain kept an eye on us but we were really left to our own and ran with a band of orphans with names like "Fish Sauce", Shrimp Paste" and "Little Penis".
I got the name "Twiggy" because I was skin and bones and my sister was called "Dimples" as she had the best dimples.
We didn't know our own names since in Vietnamese (Village) culture, it was considered dangerous to call out a child's name as it was believed that a wandering spirit may take residence in that child. Therefore the idea was to call the kids by inanimate objects.
It got even more complicated finding my father since we didn't even know our own parent's names. When asked who how parents were, we could only answer "mother" and "father" as that was all we were taught how to call them. It was the same for most of the other orphan kids so you can imagine how complicated it got in the camp.
So we were shunted from camp to camp always having to fend for ourselves, stealing old fish or hunting frogs to supplement our food intake. Not that we cared. We saw it as one big adventure with no parents to govern us!
Finally by complete chance, we came upon our father at a third camp and were reunited.
Marc Hairapetian: How did you came then to USA and your parents?
Hiep Ti Le: Our cousin Nanh had fled Vietnam earlier. He managed to sponsor my father, elder brother (it was partially because of him that my father left as he was entering draft age and they were about to fight a war in Cambodia) my sister and I through the kind generosity of a church.
Marc Hairapetian: Did you learn english by teaching yourself?
Hiep Thi Le: We learnt it the hard way when we were sent to school in Oakland. It was very difficult as there was no context for us and it took me a while to understand what "A for Apple" meant. I took it to mean that that 'A' sign meant Apple. I wasn't quite sure what use it would be in learning a language when the teacher seem most focused on telling me how to order an apple!“
Marc Hairapetian: Did you still feel as Vietnamese or as American?
Hiep Thi Le: I think when we first came, we felt literarily Alien. America was like a different planet. We were amazed by things such as flushing toilets believing that there was some spirit in the bathroom, afraid to go into the elevator as we thought they were magical boxes that made people disappear or change into other forms. And we were wrapped up in my father's post war syndrome.“
I don't think we felt we were American yet but I do remember the moment I wanted to become an American was when we got on the flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco on Pan Am (we thought the plane was the belly of a bird but could not figure out how such a small thing, which we use to see high up in the sky, could suddenly become so big)“
On the flight, we saw the movie "Superman" (without sound because no one explained to us how to use head sets and my father in his wisdom said it was for your nose to equalise pressure, then for your ears to cut out the engine noise)“
When I saw "Superman" save the world, I immediately felt like America must be the land of 'superheroes'. This was compounded when I saw women putting on their makeup with their compacts at the airport. To us, it looked like magic, a wave of the wand and their faces transformed!“
So suddenly, our mythical world of dragons and fairy princesses was turned upside down and replaced by superheroes. But we were to receive a rude shock that there were no super heroes in our lives.
Marc Hairapetian: First you wanted to study medicine but then you visited with your sister lien and colleagues from the college an open casting of Oliver Stones film "Heaven and Earth". After five (!) months and 16.000 (!!!) other candidates you got the leading part of the film. Did you ever expected that?
Hiep Thi Le: I think it is a blessing for me that I remain somewhat oblivious to the world around me at times. I wasn't expecting to go to an audition.
I was very in to swap meets back then and wanted a ride to my weekend swap meet. My sister and friends offered a ride but only if I tagged along to the open call. I had been to one before ('Good Morning Vietnam' as I recalled) so I didn't see any harm but was getting annoyed as the audition stretched on. They asked me to act opposite my sister (slap her) which I had no problem doing at that point for wasting my time (:D)
It wasn't until the following week that we got a call asking for me. I thought they had made a mistake as I had forgotten all about the audition but they wanted me to fly down to meet with Oliver. I asked them who he was and they answered that he was a major film director. I asked them if that was more important than a producer (since I watched a lot of soap and it seemed the producer was the most important in the credits)
So they flew me down by private jet to meet him. I think the fact that I wasn't particularly in awe of him put me in good stead with him. He found it quite amusing.
Marc Hairapetian: Did you love films before?
Hiep Thi Le: I always loved films since my first encounter with "Superman". And then I fell in love with the classic "All Mine to Give" which really connected with me since it was about a young boy trying to find homes for all his little siblings when they got orphaned. Also "Grave of the Fireflies" for obvious reasons because of the experiences of the two kids and how the elder brother tried to keep his little sister blissfully unaware by distracting her into a world of 'wonder'.
But I was a big soap queen I was ashamed to admit and did not know who on earth Oliver Stone was.
Marc Hairapetian: How was the work with Oliver Stone? I read Stone paid actors school for you but he told it had been not necessary - you would be a natural talent.
Hiep Thi Le: Oliver Stone is probably the best actor's director in Hollywood as well as one of the best screenwriters. To have had the privilege to be chosen and guided by him is most serious actor's dream.
Oliver had his trust in me. He built my confidence by allowing me to participate in the evolution of the Le Ly character as if what I said mattered. He allowed me to own the role. Oliver Stone is about all or nothing. His passion for filmmaking and storytelling is inspiring.
Marc Hairapetian: Was it difficult for you too act with stars like Tommy Lee Jones?
Hiep Thi Le: Acting with seasoned actors made the job easy for me. They placed me in the situation of the scene in an honest manner, hence it was about living the moment on screen instead of acting.
Tommy Lee Jones is one of those actors who believe a film is about the dynamics of the actors and not about the star of the show. Therefore, he gave me his all even when off camera, allowing me to live the scene.
Marc Hairapetian: Le Ly Hayslip, the writer of the novel "Heaven and Earth", had a supporting part in the film. Did you read her novel before and did you identify with your film character? How was it to meet Le Ly Hayslip? I heard she supported you at the shooting in Thailand.
Hiep Thi Le: I had never heard of the novel "When Heaven and Earth Changed Places" or its author, Le Ly Hayslip, before the film. And I was blown away when I finally read it before production took place. I could not believe anyone could have had such a life ordeal and survive in lifetime. I could only relate to being Vietnamese, but nothing beyond that I thought. To help me grasp the depth of the Le Ly Butler character, Oliver made sure I met up with Le Ly Hayslip.
My meet up with Le Ly Hayslip was fun and childlike. I realized then the woman was a multitude of many incarnations. It was then that Oliver Stone recognized the importance of Le Ly's contribution to me and the film by being on set.
Le Ly was naked in her emotions, hence allowing me to comprehend the logic and decisions of her actions. This made it possible for me to convey that in my performance.
Marc Hairapetian: You got good critics for your part of Le Ly but the film was not big commercial succes in USA and you was not nomitated for an Oscar. Did it hurt you?
Hiep Thi Le: We did not see it that way. To us, Oliver had given us a chance of a life time not only to tell our side of the story (through Lely's experience) but also literarily, it dragged my family out of debt and poverty in an instance.
For me, success came to quickly and I was afraid of it. I wasn't ready or prepared for it. All the attention was too much for me much as I enjoyed meeting people and being flown to Paris and Tokyo for the trip of a lifetime.
It was exposure to the world in a very short time for our very confined background. I wanted to get back into something I could understand and more 'real'. I wanted to go back into medical school but there was an artificial limit set for Vietnamese Americans , a quota so I just missed out which took me a long time to get over.
The film itself was a dream world in a way, something that was very good whilst it lasted but that you had to wake up from eventually and get back into the real world. We just did not know what to make of it.
Marc Hairapetian: How about the reactions of "Heaven and Earth" in Vietnam in 1993 and now? I think when it was shoot they did not like it but now Vietnam is more open (I know from myself when i was visiting in 2010).
Hiep Thi Le: They were understandably concern back in 1992 with Lely's colorful history having to take both sides to survive but they have been surprisingly open minded IMO in Vietnam. The Authorities have been quite accommodating and we must understand that there are sensitivities on the other side that will take time to heal. But Vietnam itself is used to the disruptions of war and can see the subtle textures between black and white where America has a harder time seeing.
They fought the French before the Americans for 100 years and the Chinese before that for 1000 years, so it always surprises the War Vets I bring over from America to Le Ly's foundations how easy it is for the Vietnamese to move on with their lives. They are accustomed to getting on.
In fact whilst everyone has been going on about the slow pace of reconstruction in New Orleans blaming the government in America for inactivity, it is a little known fact that the Vietnamese community down there independently put their communities together through self help.
This is the Vietnamese ability I believe and strength, its resilience born from many years of warfare.
So things have moved on in Vietnam more so than in perhaps America as far as the war is concern. Particularly if we remember Vietnam has a very young demographic with more than half the population under the age of 30. Most of the younger generation have no first hand experience of the war and it fascinates them to see the American side as told by Oliver although they are also quite savvy to put it in perspective with their own narrative.
So it has been overall very well received particularly as Vietnam is hungry for knowledge about the outside world at the moment.
Marc Hairapetian: Did you watch "Platoon" before and did you like it? Oliver Stone has here a different point of view then in "Heaven and Earth".
Hiep Thi Le: I did watch "Platoon" for a history report on the Vietnam War. It really was the first time I saw a movie on the Vietnam War come to think of it. I was moved by each character in "Platoon," not realizing it was a docudrama and based on real people. I thought it was a movie with fictional characters that affected me emotionally.
Oliver Stone is a story teller, a historian, and a filmmaker, he seeks out the truth and experience from all sides.
Marc Hairapetian: How do you like other big Vietnam War film like "Apocalypse Nw", "The Deer Hunter" or "Full Metal Jacket"?
Hiep Thi Le: It was only due to my involvement in the movie industry that I took to watching the abovementioned films. The movie making experience opened my eyes as to importance of these films beyond entertainment. It is why filmmakers continue to be in this business. We have the ability to tell stories that touch us, that heal us, and inspire us to take action.
For me, "Apocalypse Now" is about soul searching. "Deer Hunter" is about relationships lost. And "Full Metal Jacket" is about innocence.
Marc Hairapetian: Can I ask how much US-Dollars did you get for the part because it was your film debut?
Hiep Thi Le: I can't reveal the figure but it was a lot for us! It took my family out of debt and poverty but we weren't ready for it and in hindsight, we could have used the money better/grown it. As is, the money was spent on helping our relatives in Vietnam as much as ourselves as it was the expected thing to do. So at very least, we got a lot of our family out of trouble and I'm very grateful for that!
Marc Hairapetian: Because of your not perfect english you could not study medicine anymore and so you acted again.
Hiep Thi Le: It wasn't my English that was a problem ( I was very much the conversationist by then) but as mentioned the quota system put an artificial ceiling on Vietnamese Americans trying to get into medicine.
Marc Hairapetian: How did you get the part of cleaning woman in an one hour hotel in Singapur film "Yao Jie Huang Hou" (english title "Bugis Street")?
Hiep Thi Le: Because I did not get into Med school, I sought other ideas to develop my future and thought it may be wise to go back into film since there were offers for me after "Heaven and Earth". However Hollywood has short memory and by the time I got back in, it had moved on.
Instead, I went on a cruise to help raise charity for Le Ly's orphanage/foundation " Village of Hope" which I became very involved in. It was a great cause in which LeLy had devised to not only take care of orphans in the Danang/Quangtri area but she also set up a micro bank, mother's clinic and dentistry among other things to help the local community as best she could from the proceeds of the film.
One of the things she did to help fund the project further was through a cruise called "Peace Boat". This was set up by the Japanese to set good wherever they had done wrong in World War 2 by visiting those countries they had affected.
On the boat I met Najib Ali who was a big Japanese TV personality but who hailed from Singapore. He put me in touch with Yon Fan (the John Waters of Hong Kong) who had been planning to shoot a film about the lives of Transgendered women and Transvestites on the famous Bugis Street in Singapore.
This intrigued me as I had never encountered such a culture so I said yes.
It was a case of plunging into the deep end as usual without care which I have been often 'accused' of. But coming from a poor background, you take any opportunity that presents itself without too much analysis which in some ways becomes an advantage.
Apparently, I am now a Gay Icon on Singapore!
Marc Hairapetian: You worked in that film with many transsexuals. Was this easy for you to go into a complete different world? In Vietnam are not many transsexuals - there are more in Thailand and Singapur.
Hiep Thi Le: I was completely unprepared for the world I was about to enter. It was at once glamorous as much as sexually uninhibited which was completely opposite from the way I was brought up. In a way it was somewhat of a shock to the system.
Yon Fan tried to ease me in as best he could whilst preserving my 'innocence', the transgender ladies in the film were all larger than life but took a liking to me particularly being that I was completely clueless to their little puns and sexual innuendos they threw a round at every next sentence. They had a field day!
One thing that did not make it easy was the fact that the Hong Kong approach to filmmaking was very different from Hollywood. For a start, it was much more 'organic'. There was no script! Scenes were developed as we went along and Yon Fan progressed the film with my own character as I developed along with the experience of shooting it. In a way, it was some sort of method filmmaking.
It was a very strange process for me but one I ultimately appreciated as it opened me up as a person to other ideals, other ways of doing things and in a sense it was liberating from that which was expected of me back home.
Marc Hairapetian: After short film "The Water Ghost" you performed as a psychopathic murder in "Dead Men Can't Dance". Is it easier to play a bad women? Denzel Washington told me it makes more fun to act as bad guy.
Hiep Thi Le: I really enjoyed "Dead Men Can't Dance". The filming itself was mired with complications and set politics but the chance to play a sniper appealed to me.
"One shot one kill" was my motto. It was an ensemble piece but I thought I worked that into the character quite well and it stood out memorably for me.
I'm not sure if I could describe the character I played as 'bad' but she was a stone cold killer working for the 'good guys'. It was fun because you could extrapolate from it freely within its one dimensional context but different from the more subtle and layered roles I had to play on the other two films.
Marc Hairapetian: Then you wanted to be a film comedian ("Tracey Takes On") but it was not really your cup of tea? Or would you like to do that again?
Hiep Thi Le: Well it was a small role but I had great fun with it. I enjoy comedy and would love to do something like that again in a heartbeat, particularly working with Tracy Alman which was in itself a great learning experience.
Marc Hairapetian: What happened to your 2004 written screenplay of "1979 - Children of the Sea"? i think this autobiographic story is important to you.
Hiep Thi Le: I am still trying to get it made. It is about my journey from Vietnam to America and how a child sees it as a fantasy rather than a tragedy. I'm really interested in making it into an animated piece as I feel for one thing that you can fully exploit the liberties of animation to the fantasy aspect of the story and secondly that animation crosses cultural boundaries.
I would dearly love to work with someone like Miyazaki because I feel he captures this sort of material perfectly.
What I want to preserve in the story is the unique perspective of a child refugee. Something I think readily identifiable today by many who may share the experience in so many of our world's trouble spots.
Children in war always have a soft spot with me perhaps because of my experience as a kid. One of my favorite films is about Kurdish children called "Turtles Can Fly".
I feel 1979 has something unique to tell children in that one should never look at difficult turns in life as a tragedy rather that there is a silver lining in every grey cloud.
Marc Hairapetian: Is your husband Ong Lay Jinn still director? I read you are both owner of restaurant Djinn - it is funny in Berlin we have an Armenian Restaurant called Djinn (I am half Armenian, half German). And how did you fight against his sickness guillain-barré-syndrome?
Hiep Thi Le: It's funny, "Djinn" reminds me that the Armenians are instrumental in the development of Singapore and that the great icon of Singapore, The Raffles Hotel was created by the Armenian Sarkies brothers after the progroms following WW1.
His 'screen' name is however more related to his identity with his family's Sumatran Creole origin and was a nickname he was given by the Muslim soldiers in his Army unit when he was serving national service. His mother hates it.
The Guillan Barre syndrome was a particularly challenging time as I had barely got the first restaurant ("The China Beach Bistro") started when he came down with it and he had just won four awards at the Lyon Film Festival and had his career about to take off. Plus the two kids age one and three and it was very challenging. I felt like giving up but my partner in the restaurant documentary film producer Richard Hall was my knight in shining armor. He told me to let the restaurant go if I had to. I've known Richard since "Heaven and Earth" when he did the documentary coverage for the film and he has always been supportive of any of my ventures.
I feel very blessed as I have two good men for partners. My new partner Mark Van Gessel is similar, very understanding and supportive. It was serendipity that we met as I was trying to make my mind up whether I had the energy and money to afford opening "Le Cellier" (the premise was being offered to me at no cost and an attractive rent). Mark biked by and popped his head in at the very moment stating his interest in investing. I'm a great believer in things happening for a reason.
My first restaurant "China Beach" for example would not have happened but for the faith shown to me by the landlord Joe Goldfarb, a concentration camp survivor who at a sprightly 90 was the only person to give me a chance at owning a restaurant. The other landlords were very skeptical of my credentials as an actress and would not give me the opportunity, but Joe remembered his own refugee background after World War 2 when he recounted having to be a stay at home dad whilst his 'woman' went to work. He said he liked my spirit and he was going to give me a go.
Without these men in my life, I don't think I would be where I am today.
Marc Hairapetian: Is it easy or more difficult too work with the man that you love? You made horror film "Return to Pontianak" - I would love to watch it)
Well, in hindsight (and my husband would readily admit this), the film had a lot of limitations. The film was handicap by having zero budget and compared to "The Blair Witch Project". I think the Pontianak genre has its own merits as a cultural icon in Singapore/Malaysia/Indonesia/Philipines and we did not aim to shoot it POV style.
Honestly, it's hard shooting with your significant other. I'm still waiting for him to reimburse my airfare! And he had me track up and down jungles at tedium! You can't really say no to it.well you can but you'll hear about it forever.
Marc Hairapetian: Are your little children proud of her actress mum or they not now interested in films?
Hiep Thi Le: My kids seem to have an uncanny understanding about film. Particularly my son who has an interest in directing and producing (in addition to his other career goals as soccer player, computer game designer, toy shop owner) all to be accomplished before age 30. He is seven.
We don't try to shield them from too many things preferring rather explain things to them when need be (which is all the time). We've taken Finn (my son) to watch films like '300' when he was two. In the dark cinema hall, as the head of an immortal was being lobbed off, we could hear a tiny voice saying "That's cool!'. They aren't affected by the violence because we put it in context and they understand any swearing or violence on screen is removed from their reality.
If they start swearing and following what happens on screen, they know what's coming.
Marc Hairapetian: Would you like to finish studying medicine or go again into the film business?
Hiep Thi Le: I wouldn't change a thing. The roads that you take happen for a reason, all the twists and turns.
Medicine would have been a big boost for my ego but the crazy world of filmmaking has taught me so much about the world and the differences that we should all celebrate.
Marc Hairapetian: Are you often in Vietnam and can you imagine to live and work there again?
Hiep Thi Le: I would in a heart beat. I love Vietnam. The food follows you around, the humidity is perfect for me, I feel immediately native when I go there. It's instinctual, second nature. There's that sense of extended family ties which binds you.
However I'm not sure if my husband could survive it. It's in the 'mosquito zone" for him and a little too ethnically singular. He prefers a bit of diversity. In a sense he may be right as I have become also a bit more worldly-wise and love the interaction I get from people of other cultures. I feel every bit an American now as America has given me the opportunity to prosper and fulfill my dreams but Vietnam I suppose will always be home to me somewhere in my heart.
Marc Hairapetian: How do you relax? Any hobbies as actress and mum of two children ?
Hiep Thi Le: I am 24/7 (literarily) at the restaurant at the moment. We are trying to get "Le Cellier" properly off the ground and it has been challenging trying to get a cross French Vietnamese Cuisine and the Gastro wine bar concept across to people as many have a perception that we are expensive (which we are not). So the only hobby I have at the moment is my interaction with the guest that come in from various parts of the world and the conversations with them which I enjoy. I try to see the kids as much as possible but I get back so late at night and they are usually asleep, although they always leave me a letter at the door telling me excerpts about their day and with a request for me to 'snuggle' in bed with them. I'm so afraid that time goes by all too quickly and they will grow up before I know it.
They have already started to show enterprise. My daughter I discovered has been renting out her unused fork to her friends at school (she made $9 before we put a top to it) and my son promised my manager a 50% cut of the sale of his comic if he sold at least 2 a day for $2, before secretly increasing the price to $2.50 when printing! Where did they learn that!
Marc Hairapetian: Laurence Olivier said "acting is creating illusions". Oskar Werner (1922 - 1984, "Decision Before Dawn", "Jules and jJim", "Ship of Fools", "Fahrenheit 451") wanted to give the audience a dream. what is right and what do you like to give the audience?
Hiep Thi Le: Make a move and the force follows.
Marc Hairapetian: I have a poll in my magazine SPIRIT - EIN LÄCHELN IM STURM www.spirit-fanzine.de / SPIRIT - A SMILE IN THE STORM www.spirit-fanzine.de where I ask celebrities and other mortal beings about their 20 favorite films. Also Oliver Stone, Federico Fellini and the son of my favorite actor Oskar Werner Felix sent me their lists. Can you do that also for me please?
Hiep Thi Le: Grave of the Fireflies (Japanese Animation 1988, directed by Isaho Takahata), Turtles Can Fly (Iran/Iraq 2004, Bahman Ghobadi), The White Balloon (Iran 1995, directed by Jafar Panahi), All Mine to Give (USA1957, directed by Allen Reisner), Land Before Time (USA 1988, directed by Don Bluth), E.T. (USA 1982, directed by Steven Spielberg), A.I. (USA 1999, directed by Steven Spielberg), Pan's Labyrinth (Spain/Mexico 2006, directed by Guillermo Del Torro), Star Wars Trilogy (USA 1977-1983, directed by George Lucas), The Machinist (Spain 2004, directed by Brad Anderson), Shadow of the Vampire (USA 2000, directed by E. Elias Merhige), Avatar (USA 2009, directed by James Cameron), Terminator (USA 1984, directed by James Cameron), Departures (Japan 2008, directed by Yojiro Takita), JSA Joint-Security Area (South Korea 2000, directed by Park Chan-wook), Fan Chan (Thailand 2003, directed by Vitcha Gojiew and five others), Toy Story (USA 1995, directed by John Lassiter), Edward Scissorhands (USA 1990, directed by Tim Burton), Up (USA 2009, directed by Pete Docter), The Gods Must Be Crazy (South Africa 1980, directed by Jamie Uys), Once We Were Warriors (New Zealand 1994, directed by Lee Tamahori), Marebito (Japan 2004, directed by Takashi Shimizu).
Marc Hairapetian: Thank you, Hiep!
Interview: Marc Hairapetian for SPIRIT - EIN LÄCHELN IM STURM www.spirit-fanzine.de SPRIT - A SMILE IN THE STORM www.spirit-fanzine.de (July 30th, 2012).