VCinema is an enthusiast site and podcast which discusses Asian media and culture. VCinema started in the summer of 2009 as a streaming cult film webshow hosted by Coffin Jon. The limitations of streaming technology at the time encouraged Jon and VCinema cohort Josh to change VCinema into a podcast with a renewed focus on Asian film. As a blog, VCinema launched in the summer of 2010 with the same focus on Asian cinema as the podcast.
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Jon Jung (aka “Coffin Jon”) is the producer and host of the VCinema podcast and editor-in-chief of the VCinema blog. He is an avid movie fan who specializes in Japanese cinema, but enjoys everything from artsy high-brow to mega-billion blockbusters to straight-to-video turds. As an Asian-American, he got the best of all cinematic worlds as a child by receiving mega-doses of Ozu, Bruce Lee, Kamen Rider, and American drive-in movies in addition to a steady diet of punk rock, Japanese literature, and Buddhism. He spent six years in Japan as an English teacher and translator. In 2004, he returned to the United States to complete his Masters in Language Education and continue his career as a language educator and cultural anthropologist with a focus on language policy and language shift. Jon is a former Myrle Clark Award recipient for excellence in creative writing and has recently contributed several essays to World Film Locations: Tokyo (Intellect, 2011).
Josh Samford, co-host of the VCinema podcast, web wonder boy, graphics guru, and blog contributor, lived a much more traditional life in south-eastern Louisiana. Fighting off vicious man-eating crocodiles and venomous snakes on a daily basis when he ventured out into the sunlight, he spent the better part of his upbringing in front of the picture box. This is where he learned and began his obsession with horror cinema. A diet of Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street during his formative years would help establish that love for horror, until his introduction to the internet where a free-reign circus of cinematic delights would then be open for his exploration. Where in Louisiana the name Lucio Fulci is unknown and foreign, through the internet Josh was able to discover an infinite number of obscure but brilliant filmmakers to quench his thirst for knowledge. Josh has been the head-writer and owner of his website Varied Celluloid since 2003, where he writes on a weekly/biweekly basis about various genre films. Now a lover of extreme cinema and contemporary Asian film, he hopes to establish VCinema as a respected podcast with a credible audience. That is, if he can continue to dodge the swamp beasts and Louisiana yeti monsters.
Dr. Stan Glick became seriously interested in Asian films in the mid-90s after reading Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head. His first Asian film review, on Tokyo Blue: Case 1 starring the delectable Keiko Shiratori, appeared in Asian Cult Cinema magazine in 2000. He became a columnist about a year later, a position he held until Asian Cult Cinema ceased publication at the end of 2009.
Meanwhile, Stan began his own blog, AsianCineFest, at the end of June 2006. Living in New York, he has covered many of the festivals and film series there over the years, and has also interviewed several Asian film directors, actors, and actresses, including Lee Chang-dong, Tsui Hark, Joe Shishido, and Sora Aoi.
His association with VCinema began in 2011 when he contributed articles about and helped coordinate coverage of that year’s New York Asian Film Festival and Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Film. He’s been a co-host of the VCinema Podcast starting with Episode 35: Exte.
Lead Writer Rex Baylon began his obsession with the cinema at a very early age. Born in the Philippines and immigrating to the United States when he was five years old his introduction to American culture and the English language came primarily from television. With both parents busy at work and nary a book in the house Rex compulsively watched so much television as a boy that he had learned to speak English fluently in a matter of 3 months. Coupled by the fact that his workaholic parents were also devoutly Catholic and movie fans to boot; every week the drudgery of having to go to Sunday mass would be offset by the inevitable trip afterwards to the local movie theatre where his family would indulge in whatever film made it through the multiplex pipeline. And so by the time this impressionable youth reached high school he was already plundering his local library and neighborhood video stores for whatever VHS tapes and DVD’s he could get his hands on; the more obscure the film the better. Eventually, Rex’s cinephilic wanderings led him to NYU to study Dramatic Writing, but instead of going to class he would haunt the city’s many independent theatres and repertory houses consuming as many film’s as time and his wallet wouldallow. Besides his posts on VCinema you can find his work at his blog, Film Expression.
Lead writer John Berra is a lecturer in Film Studies at Nanjing University, where he teaches courses on American Independent Cinema, Contemporary Hollywood and Genre, Japanese Cinema, and the Cinematic City. He is the author of Declarations of Independence: American Cinema and the Partiality of Independent Production (2008); editor of the Directory of World Cinema: American Independent (2010/2012); editor of the Directory of World Cinema: Japan (2010, 2012); and co-editor of World Film Locations: Beijing (2012). John has contributed essays to The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology (2011), The Companion to Film Noir (2013) and Ozu and Evolution: Reassessing an Icon of Japanese Cinema (2013). He has also contributed articles to Asian Cinema, Film International, and Science Fiction Film and Television. John has provided essays for the Madman DVD releases of 7 Films by Ozu Yasujiro (2010) and An Actor’s Revenge (2010). As a guest speaker, he has discussed Japanese cinema at Nippon Connection and the Japan Society. Recent activities have included subtitling The Love Songs of Tie dan’er (2012), the second independent feature by the Chinese director Hao Jie, and co-programming a retrospective of contemporary Chinese cinema at Nanjing International School. When he is not otherwise engaged, John Berra is listening to the VCinema podcast on which he also occasionally appears as a guest host. John’s reviews for VCinema and other websites are regularly translated into Chinese by his wife MengYan and re-posted at his Sina Blog.
Lead Writer Adam Douglas‘ love affair with film began in 1977 with Star Wars, his first film memory. His first bout of film criticism came three years later, when he proclaimed Flash Gordon to be “better than Star Wars.” (He came to his senses a few months later when The Empire Strikes Back pushed all thoughts of Sam J. Jones from his mind.) He has earned a living as a film critic (for the short-lived Daily Entertainment Network) and continues to write about film on various websites, although no longer for pay. He is also an established musician, former touring DJ and magazine editor, and currently carries the title of English teacher. He lives in Japan in a town so small the nearest movie theater is over an hour away.
Writer and Photographer Miyuki Kobayashi is the person behind VCinema’s weekly One Moment of Asia photo series. She was born and raised in Tokyo where she also graduated from an art school with a focus on oil painting. At the age of ten, Miyuki saw a Crazy Cats film and has been a fan and student of film ever since. Her main interest is classic Japanese film and specializes in knowledge about films from Toho, Shin-Toho, Daiei, and PCL. In addition, she is a big fan of Asian film in general especially Chinese and Indian cinema. Her photographs were taken on her travels through Asia in which she’s been to China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, and others. Most of them were taken in her native Tokyo where she has taken pictures in nearly all parts of the city. She encourages requests of places in Tokyo of where people would like to see photographs.
She claims to be an amateur photographer and says she uses a Pentax K-7 in addition to various lenses.
Colleen Wanglund is a self-described bookwhore, gorehound, and metalhead. She can usually be found with a book in her hand or on her laptop, either watching movies or writing about them. Colleen has also been known to frequent midnight screenings of some of her favorite flicks, as she lives in New York City—the best city for seeing movies.
Colleen reinvented herself as a writer when she turned forty. She currently writes a column on Asian horror for Cinema Knife Fight and reviews books and movies (mostly horror) on Mondo Film and Video Guide, More Horror, The Horror Fiction Review, and Monster Librarian as well as a number of retrospectives. She is a mother of two twenty-somethings, has a cat that drives her nuts and a sweet little dog named Manning. Colleen is a feisty redhead and you can find her on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.
Adam Hartzell began focusing his writing on South Korean cinema after seeing retrospectives on the works of Im Kwon-taek and Jang Sun-woo at San Francisco film festivals in the late 1990′s. In 2000, he became a contributing writer to the premier English-language website on South Korean cinema, Koreanfilm.org. He has written for Kyoto Journal quarterly, online for GreenCine and fANDOR, and was a contributing writer for the San Francisco Film Society’s webzine sf360.org. He has written often about Hong Sang-soo, including the main essay for the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival’s retrospective on Hong’s work in 2007 and a chapter on The Power of Kangwon Province for The Cinema of Japan and Korea (Wallflower Press). He contributed quite a few pieces to the upcoming Directory of World Cinema: Korea (Intellect Books). When not writing about Asian Cinema, he can be found guest posting for Brian Darr’s San Francisco film blog, Hell on Frisco Bay. He has been featured as a guest on the VCinema podcast to discuss The Housemaid, the original by Kim Ki-young and the re-vision by Im Sang-soo, eventually convincing Jon to add him to the list of Regular Contributors to VCinema blog (we begged him. – Jon)
Rufus de Rham co-hosted several episodes of the VCinema Show. He is currently living in New York and Editor-in-Chief at one of our affiliates, cineAWESOME!
Pierce Conran was a contributing writer on our blog. He currently lives in South Korea and works for the Korean Film Council. He also writes for Twitch and his own blog, Modern Korean Cinema.
VCinema also thanks the following contributors: Colette Balmain, Christopher Bourne, Christopher Brown, Eric Evans, Rachel Fariss, Stan Glick, Michael Guillen, Matthew Hardstaff, Adam Hartzell, Mathew Holland, Tom Kent-Williams, David Lam, Miguel Martinez, Andrew Nette, and Marc Saint-Cyr.
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