2002 to 2003 ‑ I revoiced a French‑language VHS copy of The Impossible Kid live over five screenings. It was just myself and Lesbo-A-Go-Go actress and co‑writer Pauline Bell for three of the shows (25/09/02 and 09/04/03 at The Windery, West End). Our Woodford Folk Festival appearance (29/12/02) was in a circus tent filled with ferals, stoners, yippies, yuppies and the politically correct. Pauline and I practically threw away the literal translation on our script and cracked midget jokes for ninety minutes. In Sydney (11/01/03) we were joined by Jack Sargeant (Deathtripping author), Jaime and Aspa Leonarder from Mu Mesons Archives, where I did most of my Sydney screenings in those days, and Dr Verne Pullen (a senior Sydney Wengologist, and the person responsible for most of the misinformation on the web til now). It was a free‑for‑all! No practice, just straight into the deep end. The penultimate show in Melbourne (25/02/03) was just me and Fred Negro at F4, a swanky bar in Little Collins St during the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, getting drunker by the minute! Of course, I always got to be the voice of Weng Weng.
August 2006 ‑ Marrie Lee flew herself to the Brisbane International Film Festival at which I introduced two Cleopatra Wong screenings (05/08/06, 06/08/06) and hosted a "Bamboo Gods And Bionic Boys" compilation of Filipino B film clips (08/08/06). Filipino director and BIFF jury member Tikoy Aguiluz subsequently invites me to screen "Bamboo Gods" at his Cinemanila International Film Festival.
07/11/06 to 16/11/06 - PHILIPPINES SHOOT #1
|Edgardo "Boy" Vinarao|
Over the nine days of wide‑eyed chaos I somehow managed to capture Marrie Lee's interview in her office on an initial swing through Singapore, Bobby Suarez's house visit and interview, and stumbling upon Weng Weng's editor Edgardo "Boy" Vinarao outside the Mowelfund film museum in Quezon City.
|Phone interview for Sydney radio, 03/03/07|
18/02/07 to 03/03/07 - PHILIPPINES SHOOT #2
19/02/07 - GMA TV studios (never used); Joyce Bernal interview at ABS-CBN (never used)
20/02/07 - watching Da Best In Da West at ABS-CBN TV Archives; first Goon Convention at National Bookstore, Quezon City with Eddie Nicart (first meeting), Roland Dantes, Franco Guerrero, Romy Suzara, Rusty Santos, and Rene the Leg Man.
22/02/07 - Bobby Suarez's assistant director Pepito Diaz interview at Bobbys office for the Vengeance Of Cleopatra Wong bonus features (never used)
23/02/07 - Intramuros Golf Club shoot with Rusty Santos and Roland Dantes (never used), and Franco Guerrero and sons; also Franco's drive to Bobby's office (in the final cut), and footage of Franco and Jim Gaines with Bobby (never used).
24/02/07 - Peque Gallaga interview outside the Cultural Center of the Philippines; drive with Tikoy Aguiluz to Eddie Nicart's house in Taytay (used in the teaser only); and Eddie Nicart's first solo interview in Taytay.
25/02/07 - Eric Matti interview at his studio in Ortigas (never used)
26/02/07 - Bobby Suarez's cinematographers Arnold Alvaro and Jun Pereira interviewed at Bobbys office for the Vengeance Of Cleopatra Wong bonus features (never used)
27/02/07 - Weng Weng's brother Celing de la Cruz interview at his home in Pasay City, the drive to Weng Weng's family home in Baclaran, interview with Weng Weng's neighbour Rey Reloso, and Weng Weng's grave in Pasay City Cemetery; footage of Nino Muhlach dubbing his new movie in Ortigas (never used); and second Elwood Perez interview at Shangrila (later used on Mondo Macabro's Silip DVD release)
28/02/07 - Mura interview in Tondo (never used); Vengeance Of Cleopatra Wong production meeting at Bobby Suarez's office
01/03/07 - filmed cutaways (using a chair with wheels as a dolly!) at ABS-CBN Archives
02/03/07 - Willy Milan interview at his home in Quezon City (never used); Cirio H. Santiago interview at his Premiere offices, Ortigas (never used); Joseph Zucchero interview, Makati (never used)
03/03/07 - Sydney radio interview via mobile phone from Khavn's house, Quezon City (used in the rough cut only)
03/07/07 - Conrad Poe interview at the Film Academy of the Philippines (never used)
04/07/07 - Nick Deocampo interview at Mowelfund
05/07/07 - Maria Isabel Lopez interview at her home in Quezon City (also used on Mondo Macabro's Silip DVD release; Silip's production manager Alfred Santos at Mag:Net Gallery, Quezon City (Silip DVD only)
06/07/07 - Jim Gaines' second interview at his Imagine Nation studios, Makati (never used); walk through Escolta and Aveninda with Jim (also never used)
09/07/07 - Nick Nicholson interview at his Calooacan home (never used); Palito interview at National Bookstore along with Steve Alcarado and Franco Guerrero (used in The Search For Weng Weng bonus features only)
10/07/07 - Jo Mari Avellana interview at Handle Bar, Makati (never used)
11/07/07 - Dolphy interview in his favourite coffee shop in Manila; Tony Maharaj interview in Makati
12/07/07 - Eddie Garcia interview at GMA TV studios, Quezon City
13/07/07 - Imee Marcos interview, White Plains
Late July 2007 ‑ a cut‑down and revised "White Guerrilla In Manila" article was published in British magazine Firecracker Magazine #4. The Brisbane International Film Festival catalogue also published my review for Squatterpunk (Khavn de la Cruz, 2007)
Future SFWW co‑writer and co‑producer Daniel Palisa and I perform in The Brockas (me on drums, Dani on bass), accompanying director Khavn de la Cruz as we improvised a score for Khavn's film Squatterpunk. Our performance receives a standing ovation!
21/10/07 ‑ the BIFF Rough Cut screened at Mu Meson Archives in Sydney
The Rez Cortez interview emerges from this batch of interviews but little else. First Philippines trip with Daniel Palisa, my future co‑writer, co‑producer, and co‑founder of our production company Death Rides A Red Horse. We screen the BIFF Rough Cut at Mogwai Cinemateque, Cubao 28/01/08
24/03/08 ‑ will.i.am asked Dani and I to fly to Sydney and meet him in his Marriott Sydney Harbor room to discuss obtaining the rights to For Y'ur Height Only. It signaled a new direction for the Blackeyed Peas, who would perform a live soundtrack to a newly‑dubbed version by Jack Black and co, saying "it ain't about pretty girls singin' choruses anymore!" When we arrived in LA in May, the Blackeyed Peas were busy recording their new album, with Fergie providing the choruses.
27/05/08 to JUNE 2008 - FAILED USA SHOOT
Daniel Palisa and I travelled all the way to California to interview Cora Caballes, at her invitation. She never picked up the phone once. There was a priceless shot of me sitting in a Cajuanco Street gutter, Hollwood sign in the background, as I dialled Cora on my final day in the US and left a pitiful message on her answering machine. Interviewed Jack Hill, Sam Sherman and Brian Trenchard‑Smith, the footage of which ended up in the vault.
24/10/08 ‑ Sydney filmmaker Brendan Young assigned by ABC to come aboard as co‑director. Veronica, Brendan and I applied to Screen Australia for time‑critical funds in time for my fifth visit. Brendan's vision for the film was close to mind, though he favoured the "personal journey" angle over Weng Weng's story itself. From Brendan's Director Statement: "The Search For Weng Weng aims to work on three levels: It chronicles and charts the impact obsession has on the life of a well‑intentioned but very compulsive individual; the subject of the obsession, Weng Weng, unveils as an intimate first person narrative quest û a kind of quasi detective story which also reveals often startling, intriguing and at times, a disturbing perspective on the show business of exploitation in the third world, and finally, while on the journey to uncover the truth behind Weng Weng, Andrew triggers off a sweeping and dynamic overview on the history of genre filmmaking in the one of the world's most prolific and active productive film industries: The Philippines."
|Brendan Young films me in Quezon City, November 2008|
My rationale to Screen Australia: "Out of my five visits to the Philippines researching and shooting The Search For Weng Weng, this November trip is perhaps the most important, as it's the only logical coda to the film, and perfectly illustrates an essential theme and narrative arc: a bizarre Coming of Age saga, in which I complete the journey from enthusiastic outsider and amateur filmmaker to recognized authority, visiting academic, cultural commentator and B film revisionist.
"The Pinoy B film was understandably ghettoized by its own academics, filmmakers and audiences alike as an entirely disposable and nutritionally empty confection. I must admit I sensed a certain degree of resistance and puzzlement to my initial burst of blissfully innocent and self‑absorbed enthusiasm for Weng Weng and his fellow B‑film contemporaries; this, I discovered after immersing myself more fully in their collective consciousness, is akin to our own 'cultural cringe', borne out of a post‑colonial nation's need for serious currency in high art filmic dialogue. Lo and behold: Weng Weng was under their very nose, a two foot nine time capsule who reveals far more about their own pop cinema history than they ever imagined.
|Sharing a joke with Nick Nicholson|
December 2008 ‑ "21 Greatest Pinoy B‑Movies" article co‑written with Lourd de Veyra appears in FHM Magazine Philippines
February 2009 ‑ ABC TV tentatively commissions "The Search For Weng Weng"
|Roy Frumkes and I|
Early 2011 ‑ Filipino artist Ronald Tan published "For Your Height Only", a comic "based on the research by Andrew Leavold". Ronald's drawings later appear in TSFWW finished cut.
17/06/11 to 01/07/11 ‑ PHILIPPINES VISIT #7
25/06/12 to 16/07/12 - PHILIPPINES SHOOT #8
21/07/12 ‑ "Sex, Blood, And Betamax Tapes" interview by Don Jaucian published in The Philippine Star
09/03/13 ‑ the Kickstarter campaign is officially launched at the Luwow Tiki Bar in Melbourne's Fitroy district, to a small but appreciative audience who get to see two extended sequences, plus "D'Wild Wild Weng" in its entirety. Red Horse beer and rum cocktails made Daniel and I feel like we'd never left Manila.
22/04/13 ‑ Skype interview screened on GMA‑7 TV's current affairs show "Brigada", in a story on Weng Weng. Also interviewed were Celing de la Cruz, and Weng Weng's co‑star in "For Y'ur Height Only", Carmi Martin.
29/04/13 ‑ "THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG KICKSTARTER ‑ ONLY 7 DAYS TO GO and we'd love you all to be a part of our movie on the two‑foot‑nine Filipino James Bond! Just make a Kickstarter pledge no matter how large or small, snap a shot with an "I Heart Weng Weng" message, friend me and and tag me, and we'll add your photo to The Search For Weng Weng's end credits..."
07/05/13 ‑ "It Ended Badly For Weng Weng": interview in Sunshine Coast Daily
|With the late Jim Turner (centre) and his Hobbit House staff|
Kristine "Kints" Kitana officially signed on as our Philippines' Line Producer, and Jordan Arabejo as Director of Photography. The Kickstarter pledges funded rentals of a Canon C300 camera and a smaller DSLR camera.
AUGUST to SEPTEMBER 2013 - THE FINAL SPRINT TO THE FINISH LINE
August to September 2013 ‑ second unit by Jet Leyco and Kristine Kintana ‑ segues, street scenes, traffic chaos, Cultural Center of the Philippines, and the very last two interviews ‑ John Kater and Pia Moran (both shot by Kristine).
September 2013 ‑ The film I made my local acting debut in, OTSO by Elwood Perez, screened from September 11th as part of the FDCP's Sineng Pambansa All‑Masters National Film Festival. I play the main character's American father, and get to utter the immortal words "Wow...you really like ponies, don't you?" The reviews came in soon after: "What film can combine diverse characters and issues such as Anita Linda (playing herself), a pair of porn stars, a fresh, young scriptwriter, B‑film fanatic Andrew Leavold, and the issue of pork barrel and pull it off?"
October 2013 ‑ 200+ page WENG'S CHOP #4 published in the US featuring, among its myriad of dubious delights, a "Search For Weng Weng: Final Shoot Diary" with a special SFWW commemorative cover (artwork by Matt O'Neill)
08/11/13 to 03/12/13 - POST-PRODUCTION, MANILA PREMIERE
29/11/13 ‑ World Premiere at the University of the Philippines Cine Adarna, UP Film Center. Present were the main creative team: me, co‑writer/producer Daniel Palisa and soundtrack star Roy Arabejo (Australia), editor Jim Scott (UK), line producer Kristine Kintana, cinematographer Jordan Arabejo, cartoonist Ronald Tan, Weng Weng's family, Eddie Nicart, Weng Weng's co‑stars Pia Moran, Jim Gaines Jr, Franco Guerrero, SFWW interviewees, and many more. Special Effects Queen Cecille Baun presents me with a life‑size bust of Weng Weng's head...cast from an actual life‑mask she took in the early 80s! I can quite safely say: greatest gift EVER.
11/12/13 ‑ Private cast and crew screening at The Box, West End. Kellie Lloyd: "I am immensely proud of my friend (and former boss) Andrew Leavold for his soaring talent and staggering determination to make his doco Search For Weng Weng, it's a triumph on so many levels."
04/01/14 ‑ "Weng Weng Lives!" interview and profile by Eric S. Caruncho in the Sunday Inquirer
MAY to APRIL 2014 - EUROPEAN TOUR
01/05/14 - UDINE, ITALY, Udine Far East Film Festival [Andrew Leavold in attendance]. My introduction is on Youtube here; I was later interviewed by the festival about the film here.
24/05/16 - The Cannes Market screening sparked an interview with Edwin Sallan on the InterAksyon website: "After 32 Years, Weng Weng Returns To Cannes With Documentary"
27/05/14 - LONDON, UK, closing night film of the Terracotta Far East Film Festival's Focus on Philippines program, ICA [Andrew Leavold and Jim Scott in attendance] *WINNER Audience Award, Focus on Philippines
26/06/14 - COPENHAGEN, DENMARK, Husets Biograf [Andrew Leavold in attendance]
|Kristine "Kints" Kintana and I, Ilo-Ilo Airport|
AUGUST 2014 - PHILIPPINES FILM TOUR
07/08/14 - ILOILO, PHILIPPINES, FDCP Cinemateque, Iloilo City [Andrew Leavold and Daniel Palisa in attendance]
16/08/14 - MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), Treasury Theatre [Andrew Leavold and Daniel Palisa in attendance]
01/09/14 - HOLLYWOOD, USA, Everything Is Festival at Cinefamily, Silent Movie Theatre
06/09/14 - BREDA, NETHERLANDS, BUT (B-Grade Underground and Trash) Film Festival
01/11/14 - VIENNA, AUSTRIA, Vienna International Film Festival, Metro, Großer Saal
08/11/14 - BRUGES, BELGIUM, Razorreel Flanders Film Festival, Cinema Liberty
|Me with the Chuds (Weng Weng Rap), Toronto|
DECEMBER 2014 - US/CANADA TOUR
December 2014 - Australian DVD release via Monster Pictures, followed by its UK release in February 2015 via Monster Pictures UK
22/01/15 - ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS, International Film Festival Rotterdam, LantarenVenster
11/04/15 - SINGAPORE, South East Asian Film Festival, Singapore Art Museum [Andrew Leavold in attendance] The lively post-screening Q&A conducted by fellow filmmaker Chew Tze Chuan is on Youtube in its entirety here.
11/04/15 - BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, Titanic Film Festival, Toldi Cinema
08/04/16 – GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA, “Cinefiend” Art Exhibition at Hillier and Skuse Gallery, Bundall [Andrew Leavold in attendance]
October 2014 - Swedish DVD release (as "De Kallar Mig Minibond") via Studio S Entertainment
December 2016 - North American DVD release via US company Wild Eye Releasing