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gwendaulful - one minute trailer


"Gwendaulful, it's a state of mind. You don't find it, it finds you."

For some, there's an embarrassing high school film that they've hid in the back shelf of their childhood closet.

Spring 2002, Milpitas, CA, Brian C. and I (James Shih) had to complete a high school creative writing project for Mr. Colburn and Mr. Maples. We were in separate classes, but our teachers allowed us to work together. Our friend Winson Duong, who was in neither class, wanted to work on a creative project with us, so we brainstormed ideas together. The result was the screenplay for gwendaulful.

I believe Winson coined the term: a non-sensical word that referred to a form of enlightenment, a way for this rag tag team of characters we created to be free from their impediments and find happiness. By then, we had experience making short films for French class and loved it. I had acted in some Milpitas High plays and wanted to perform more. A short film, more epic than anything we've ever done before, became our goal.

gwendaulful became bigger than just a class assignment for us. At the time, it was the last semester before we graduated from high school and there was an unspoken anxiety about our future. I felt that gwendaulful became our way to work through that anxiety, i.e. for us to have hella fun together as a group. Maybe we knew that we would never be able to do something like this or be this close again.

The group: Winson, Brian, myself, Peter, Phuoc (Paul), Denzie, Wai, Justin, Jacob, Huy, Cin-Yee, Vicky, with the support of teachers Ms. Belanger and Mr. Colburn, helped make this film possible.

Watching it now, 16 years later, I'm amazed by its creativity and the no holds barred directing and editing by Winson and Brian, respectively. There are some cringeworthy acting moments and jokes, but if anything, this film is a time capsule of who were and our creative idols (Donnie Darko, Rushmore, Amelie, Requiem for Dream, Snatch, Office Space, New Order, Yeah Yeah Yeahs...)

Though we've all gone different paths in our lives, changed names, added middle initials, married, unmarried...I'm grateful. I'm grateful for the creative times we had and for how much we've grown since then, even if it's apart.

So no, gwendaulful is not one of those embarrassing high school films for me. It's a ghost from the past that has found me and I greet with open arms.

- James Y. Shih, co-writer/actor of gwendaulful, Reseda, CA 9/10/2018 11:20PM



a film written by Brian C., James Shih, and Winson Duong
directed by Winson Duong
produced and edited by Brian C.
trailer edited by James Shih (see below left)

Denzie Batulan as Desi
Brian C. as Ryan Chan
Winson Duong as Timmy
Peter Nguyen as Phillip (@cadet_hand)
James Shih as Darryl
Paul Vu (Phuoc Vu) as Noir
Wai Law as Yardmaker, Innocent Bystander, Secret Character, Pete-za boy

Wai Law as Secret Character 2
Justin Robinson as Timmy’s Brother
Jacob Teckie as Timmy’s Brother 2

Wai Law
Cin-Yee Shih
Justin Robinson
Jeff Colburn
Laurie Belanger
Vicky Luu
Wes Anderson
Owen Wilson
Richard Kelly
Mike Judge

MHS Rent-a-cops
Fry’s Electronics
Media Play
Maxtor Harddrives
Time itself

a BIO TRENZ production

GWENDAULFUL SOUNDTRACK (available on Napster)

Slipping Away - Michael Andrews
“Donnie Darko” Soundtrack
Everloving Records

Mad World - Mad World (feat. Gary Jules), 
“Donnie Darko” Soundtrack
Everloving Records (Neil Kohan)

Middlesex Times - Michael Andrews
“Donnie Darko” Soundtrack
Everloving Records

The Killing Moon (All Night Version) [Remastered Version] - Echo & The Bunnymen
“Donnie Darko” Soundtrack
Warner Strategic Marketing UK

For Whom The Bell Tolls (A) - Carmen Daye, Stephen Julian Baker
“Donnie Darko” Soundtrack
APM Music

Dignan's Dance - Mark Mothersbaugh
"Bottle Rocket" Soundtrack
Island Records

La redécouverte - Yann Tiersen
“Amélie” Soundtrack
PLG France

Il Cerchio della Vita - Ivana Spagna
“Lion King” Soundtrack
Walt Disney Records

Damn It Feels Good 2 Be a Gangsta - Geto Boys
“Office Space” Soundtrack
The Orchard Music
Rap-A-Lot Records

Jorge Regula - The Moldy Peaches
Sanctuary Records/Rough Trade

Dear Mama (Album Version (Explicit)) - 2Pac

Ocean Spray - Manic Street Preachers
The Orchard Music

Watch Out Now - The Beatnuts
LOUD Records

Bang - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Touch and Go Records