Now you must be shapeless, my friend, formless, like water. When you pour water into a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Or alternatively, its can be totally disregarded in this interview I did with my great mate, Phil, about his smashing Asian film review site.

1) What are your own origins, Phil? Plus what path did you take in life to get to where you are today?   My love for Asian cinema started back in the early 1990s. Like many others, I picked up a couple of Bruce Lee films and I was hooked from that moment onward's. I started studying martial arts and would constantly raid my local video stores for any kung fu-related movie I could get my hands on.

Thankfully, companies like 'Made In Hong Kong' and 'Eastern Heroes' existed, so I soon discovered that Asia had all sorts of  fantastic films from every genre.

In terms of taking a path to get to where I am, I don't really feel that I've got to anywhere significant yet. I'm just a very average Joe who happens to run a website in his spare time. Perhaps some people create sites expecting to become "internet famous" or rich, but I've only ever been a fan looking for a way to express his admiration.

Bruce Lee
2) How did ‘Far East Films’ come about? And what is your role within this fanzine?   The site started way back in 1999. I had just returned from travelling and was looking for a new career path. I'd always enjoyed writing so I cobbled together some very raw reviews and sent them out to a few of my favorite magazines.

Unsurprisingly, no one rushed to hire me, but I enjoyed doing it so I decided to put my work on the internet. I started teaching myself basic web design and made a simple site that was filled with everything from sound samples to a travel diary. Luckily enough, it did enough to catch the attention of Andrew Saroch, and the two of us started working together to build a site dedicated to Asian cinema.

My role at 'Far East Films' hasn't really changed much over the years; I'm still a reviewer and the overall site administrator. I don't do much in the way of web design anymore (I cheated and got a pro to fix it up), but I'm still responsible for uploading all of the content.

3) In your own words how would you describe this site?   I like to think we're a good source for anyone who has even a passing interest in Asian movies. We have hundreds of reviews of films from every genre and we offer a frequently updated news section. We also throw out the odd article and have quite a few celebrity interviews.

4) What song would you say best represents this site and why?   It's not the most appealing song but I'd probably go with 'Rolling' by Limp Bizkit. Mainly because even though other sites have come and gone over the years, we really do keep "rolling, rolling, rolling".

And as a backup, I'd have to pull out the obvious 'Kung Fu Fighting' by Carl Douglas just to represent some of the content.


Stephen Chow Art
5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   I think I'd choose Stephen Chow. He has an amazing way with words and I think he could sell ice to the Eskimos. He's also a riot and if I had to listen to anyone selling me something I think he'd at least be able to do it in an amusing way.

6) What was the first Eastern film you watched? And what do you still remember about it?   It was the Bruce Lee film, 'Fist Of Fury', which still stands as a personal favorite to this very day. There are numerous aspects I love about it, but back then I think it was the action that instantly caught my attention. I'm an 80's child who grew up watching the likes of Arnie or Stallone, so seeing this lithe hero participating in these complex fight scenes was simply breathtaking.

7) Has your site received any praise from the media or other noted sources?   We've been lucky enough to have some quotes featured on DVD covers, as well as getting a (very generous) credit on IMDB for helping to promote the excellent Brit flick 'Ten Dead Men'. 'Impact' magazine also kindly gave us a mention back in the day, which was definitely a personal highlight.

8) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour? And were there any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   I think it's taught me that websites are a great way to express your creativity. I don't think I'm a particularly talented writer, but I do enjoy doing it and the site has given me an opportunity to express myself. It's also introduced me to a whole host of fantastic people and even a hero or two.

Sammo HungI'd say the biggest obstacle is just learning to juggle the website with real life. Putting aside extra time to work on the site can be quite tough at times, and if you aren't careful it does start to feel like a second job. Luckily, I think I realized fairly early on that you just have to work on it when it pleases you, and that way you still keep the spark alive.

9) If ‘FEF’ had a motto, what would it be?   "We f**king love Asian movies!" . No. On second thoughts. Perhaps something more family friendly, like "Your one stop shop for Asian cinema goodness".

Nah. I preferred the first motto myself, Phil. Don't you, dear readers? If not, don't worry about it, just as long as you check out the Far East Films website, facebook page, and twitter account, I won't hold it against you. Hai-Ya!