My first film gets to screen at Cannes

Two years ago, I was inspired to write the screenplay for the short film “In the Now” which I subsequently produced and acted in. The story was inspired by my dog, Bandit, whose untimely passing continues to leave a big hole in my heart. At the time the screenplay was written, he was rapidly deteriorating from degenerative spinal problems. Despite many visits to the vet, an MRI scan, a major spine surgery, followed by many sessions of physical therapy, I was still unable to save him, and had to put him down. It was a difficult period in my life, and something I still think about today. I’m not sure if I can ever have another dog again. I still grieve the loss of my one, and only, Bandit.

5/25/2016 Bandit’s vet visit

This film “In the Now” is very special to me for many reasons. Not only was this film inspired by Bandit, it was also the first narrative short film that I produced, with the help of a small group of talented filmmakers who donated their time and talent to make the film come to life. I am extremely grateful to the following people who helped me make this film: Carl Weber, Mackenzie Banbury, Nik Sharshak, De Gosh Reed, Laura Hoosier, Greg Rowland, and Jessica “Ida” Taylor. This film could not have been possible without their dedication.

When this film was finally made, I knew that it was not going to be one of those films that just get uploaded to some online streaming site and left to collect digital dust. I had to submit it to film festivals, and there was one film festival in particular that I had to submit it to – and that was Festival de Cannes, in France. I owed Bandit at least that, especially in memory of all those times when he joyfully listened as I talked to him in my broken French. I have always had an affinity with France, and since I was a child, I have had so much love for the French culture and language. French was one of those things Bandit and I shared when he was still alive.

So I promised that I would submit “In the Now” to Cannes. I didn’t care whether if the film would make it in – I just had to submit it. So when the film submission period for the Cannes Short Film Corner and Shorts In Competition opened up for 2018, I immediately submitted this film. I was delighted to be notified recently that this film has been added to the Short Film Corner catalog, which means, it gets to screen at the Cannes Film Festival.

Even though I am still waiting to see if this film makes it into the Official Selections list for the Cannes Shorts In Competition program, I already feel like a winner. I am grateful that this film is part of Cannes, because of what it represents. To be a part of Festival de Cannes in any capacity is more than I can hope for. I am grateful for the opportunity this has created, which is giving me the gift to attend the Cannes Film Festival in person.

Every time I watch the trailer for this film, I am reminded of the journey that got me here, to where I am today. My heart fills with sadness and happiness and gratitude every time, and I am once again inspired to look forward to what the future will bring, as unknown as it is.

I wish that Bandit were still here with me to celebrate this, but I know he is not. However, he is here with me in spirit, sitting in the special place in my heart that is reserved only for him. He will always be a part of my soul, and always will be that special little dog that tilted his head whenever I spoke French to him.

Je t’aime tellement, Bandit. Tu me manques.

I hope I get to visit France in May 2018.

With Love and Gratitude,
Jessie

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My 3rd GCI Commercial is Airing Right Now!

When I auditioned for this commercial by Spawn, I knew it was going to be a good one. They always come out with exciting new ideas! When I received the call that I got the role, I was elated!

This was such a fun shoot, and I got to work with truly amazing and talented people – and for that I GIVE MANY THANKS:

Eric Holzschuh for being a great on-screen partner. You were HILARIOUS!

Frank Pickell for the easy to follow directions – you know exactly how to pull various characters out of your actors!

Brandon Carter for keeping all of us in order and keeping the filmset fun!

Elle Janecek and Zoey Grenier for once again, making us actors look naturally beautiful onscreen. You two know just the correct make-up products to use and how those will show on camera.

Mackenzie Banbury, Gene Boyda and Chris Thomas for keeping all equipment and lighting in order!

Paul Lawrence for recording the perfect sound!

And of course, jack of all trades – Andy Zanto – for Producing and 1st ADing and making it all happen!

I can’t wait to make another one!

With Love,
Jessie Wei

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Piano Practice at the 5th Annual Fancy Pants Pub Crawl

Two nights ago I attended the 5th Annual Fancy Pants Pub Crawl event held in Anchorage, organized by a few friends. In the spirit of the event, a bunch of us get dressy in fancy clothes to pretend we are rich for one night, and then go downtown and visit several bars.

I always get excited when I see a baby grand piano at a venue. I get even more excited when it is a Yamaha.

Luckily for me, our second destination for the night was Whale’s Tail at the super-classy Captain Cook Hotel. I’ve always wanted to play a baby grand piano wearing a Qi Pao, and on this night, I got my opportunity.

Here’s me playing “Rose” (a.k.a “My Heart Will Go On”) piano music from the film Titanic, composed by the late James Horner. Much thanks to my good friend and talented Film Director Carl Weber for filming this.

It was nice to get lost in the music and let my soul sing through the instrument.

I hope you like it.

With Love,
Jessie

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Chance and Rachel Scene from Chance 2017

I am happy to share with you a scene from the feature film Chance (2017) that was filmed in Alaska by the talented team at Bizzay.

In this scene, I (Rachel) play opposite talented actor Tristan Heil (Chance). This scene was such a joy to film because the acting was intensive, and both of us had to summon a lot of different emotions to make the scene authentic. I am proud of what we achieved artistically. I hope you like it.

With Love,
Jessie

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