Type: Short Film
Writer/Director: Banban Cheng
Executive Producers: Janet Yang, Julia S. Gouw, CAPE, Damian Bao
Producer: Sheena Alexis
Casting Director: Damian Bao
Casting Associate: Monica Nazarouk
Shoot Location: New York, NY
Callback with Director: August 20-22 – TBC in NYC or Zoom
Wardrobe Fitting Date: September 1-3 – TBC
Shoot Dates: September 3-6, 2022
Contract: SAG Short Film
Talent Rate: $216/day for principal; $125/day for background extras
Set in a suburban Chinese beauty salon, HEARSAY follows Lili, an outgoing and talkative hairdresser who gets herself in trouble and in flames the community when she tries to help a customer in need.
Selected from a pool of over 400 applicants, “Hearsay” was a winner and finalist for the inaugural Julia S. Gouw Short Film Challenge, presented and produced by CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) and Emmy and Golden Globe-winning producer Janet Yang.
About the Director:
Banban Cheng (they/them) is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker who spent their childhood performing Chinese stand-up comedy in Houston, Texas. Since then, they’ve traded the stage for writing, making movies, and podcasts. They co-wrote the feature film, Lucky Grandma, a dark comedy starring Tsai Chin about aging, luck, and a discount bodyguard, set in the cramped streets of Manhattan’s Chinatown. The film premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2019 and is currently distributed by Good Deed Entertainment. Their screenplay Trouble to the Herd is also the winner of the 2019 AsianCinevision SAG-AFTRA Screenplay Award and was a finalist at the 2019 Nashville Film Festival. Their short film Ten & Two – about a Chinese-American housewife who learns how to drive in order to leave her husband – was awarded NYU’s Wasserman Prize for Filmmaking. Banban’s been awarded the Sloan Foundation feature screenplay award for Sugar Water, a gothic drama about the strange discovery of insulin. Her work has been shown at SXSW, Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, Newfest, Outfest, and Los Angeles International Film Festival.
Professionally, Banban has directed the stage for TED Talks, featuring brilliant speakers with “Ideas Worth Spreading.” They are currently the Creative Director of Format Development at TED, experimenting with and launching new forms of storytelling. They and the team are the creative force behind the video series Small Thing Big Idea and DIY Neuroscience – garnering millions of views online.
LILI (Female, 40-55, Chinese) Hairdresser. Vivacious, loves to talk. A busybody who is warm and affectionate. Fluent in Mandarin. (Talent submitting for the role of Lili can be based anywhere in the USA.)
ALL TALENT LISTED BELOW FOR MAJOR SUPPORTING ROLES, OTHER SPEAKING ROLES, AND BACKGROUND EXTRAS MUST WORK NYC LOCAL. IF YOU ARE NOT BASED IN NYC, PLEASE ONLY APPLY IF YOU CAN COVER YOUR OWN TRAVEL TO/FROM NYC AND HAVE YOUR OWN LODGING TO WORK AS NYC LOCAL IF CAST. PLEASE INDICATE THAT YOU CAN WORK NYC LOCAL IN THE “Are you available to shoot in NYC from September 3-6, 2022?” QUESTION.
MAJOR SUPPORTING ROLES:
MADONNA (Female, 30-40, Chinese) VP Yang’s wife. Holds secrets close to her chest because of trauma. Capable of being dry and sarcastic. In a desperate situation but also stuck. Fluent in Mandarin.
XING XING (Female, 30-45, Chinese or Asian American) Very extroverted, vivacious, talkative. Has good intentions, but hates disrupting the status quo when the going gets tough.
OTHER SPEAKING ROLES:
CHARLES (Male, 20, Chinese or Half Asian American) Lili’s son, her pride and joy. Angsty, but also dotes on his mom. Close to his mom but is definitely ready to be more independent.
NANCY (Female, 40-55, Chinese or Asian American) Lili’s client at the salon. Enjoys her appointments with Lili where they get to catch up. She is having an affair and really needs someone to talk to about it.
PONY FONG (Female, 30-65, Chinese) Lili’s boss. No-nonsense and pragmatic businesswoman. Autocratic business type who dislikes inefficiency and wasting money. Fluent in Mandarin.
AUNTIE MARGARET (Female, 55-70, Chinese) Lili’s client at the salon. Loves to gossip with everyone. A caring busybody. Her gossiping gets Lili in trouble. Fluent in Mandarin.
VP YANG (Male, 35-55, Chinese or Asian American) Madonna’s husband. Intimidating, powerful within the community.Comfortable with power and is charismatic. Used to getting what he wants; politician energy.
BACKGROUND EXTRAS NEEDED:
Chinese Aunties – Female, 40s-70s, of Asian descent
Hairdressers – Female, Any Age 18+, of Asian descent
Chinese American Toddler – Male Toddler, Age 2-4, Chinese American. Madonna and VP Yang’s child.