Whatever It Takes


September 13, 2010

Theatrical Premiere - Toronto, Canada

WHATEVER IT TAKES will be having a week-long theatrical run in Toronto from September 24-30.  The film will be screening at the newly renovated Carlton Cinemas.  Discussion panels focusing on filmmaking, education reform, and other related topics will occur during the opening weekend, with special appearances from the main character of the film: Principal Edward Tom.  Director Christopher Wong will also be in attendance at many of the screenings.

March 14, 2009:

World Premiere at SFIAAFF

On March 14, 2009 at 6:45pm, WHATEVER IT TAKES celebrated its official world premiere at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. Prior to the screening, crowds were lined up all the way down the block waiting for tickets. The theater (at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas) was completely sold-out, and the audience was incredibly enthusiastic throughout the film. The Q&A session afterwards was amazing, particularly because Principal Edward Tom was able to fly in all the way from NYC to attend. Follow-up screenings on 3/16 and 3/22 were equally incredible… Thanks to the Center for Asian American Media for planning a tremendous festival.

February 21, 2009:

Sneak Preview at Big Sky Film Festival

WHATEVER IT TAKES had its sneak preview at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 1:30pm. Had a nice audience in attendance, screening went well, and a great Q&A afterwards. Festival programmer Mike Steinberg did a wonderful job programming some excellent docs. Met some other talented filmmakers, and swallowed some tasty food and beverages at the festival’s nightly parties. Good first festival experience.

February 13, 2009:

Final cut of film completed!

Christopher Wong and Zeb Smith spend five days in Seattle at Modern Digital finishing color-correction, uprez, titles, and layoff to HD. Working with colorist Bill Lord and other excellent technicians, final theatrical version of WIT now looks and sounds wonderful. Hard to believe that we are finally done. Hallelujah!

January 12, 2009:

CAAM provides finishing funds

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) awarded an additional $25,000 in finishing funds to WHATEVER IT TAKES. These funds will be used to pay for the final processes necessary-color correction, uprez to HD, sound mix, and score-to create a final cut of the film.

August 08, 2008:

Sundance Producer & Composer Labs

The Sundance Institute invited WHATEVER IT TAKES to participate in both its Producers’ Lab as well as its Composer’s/Story Lab. These two intensive lab sessions run concurrently from 7/31 – 8/8. The Producers’ Lab consisted of pairing each filmmaker with other producers, sales agents and distributors to discuss the industry prospects for our film. We met with industry professionals from Cinetic Media, Participant, and ThinkFilm, among others.

The Composer’s/Story Lab was designed to train filmmakers how to both select and communicate with a composer. In addition, filmmakers sit down with other experienced documentarians to review story structure and character development. We had the unique opportunity to get specific advice from Academy-Award nominated filmmakers such as James Longley and Frances Reid.

July 07, 2008:

More funding from CAAM

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) awarded an additional $25,000 from its Media Fund to WHATEVER IT TAKES. All of these funds will be used directly towards post-production costs.

April 02, 2008:

Sundance WIP Screening

The Sundance Institute invited Director Christopher Wong to its Park City headquarters to screen a one-hour work-in-progress cut of WHATEVER IT TAKES. Also in attendance were the main subjects of the film: Principal Edward Tom and Sharifea Baskerville. Cara Mertes, Director of Sundance’s Documentary Film Program, moderated a Q&A session after the screening, and audience members came up afterwards to meet the director and the film subjects. Various funders were in attendance and pledged their future financial support for the film.

February 20, 2008:

Trailer Screening-The Pacific Asia Museum

As a kickoff to the film’s fundraising tour, Director Christopher Wong screened a 10-minute trailer for an audience of more than 100 people at The Pacific Asia Museum. Principal Edward Tom flew in from NYC especially for this event, and delivered a keynote address about his ongoing efforts to bring high-quality educational opportunities to the children of the South Bronx. Audience response was tremendous, and attendees talked with the principal one-on-one at the catered reception afterwards.

October 29, 2007:

Principal photography completed

Our documentary film crew accompanies Principal Edward Tom as he visits the site of his former workplace, Saks Fifth Avenue. With this last scene now ‘in the can’, our project now has over 140 hours of taped footage.

July 09, 2007:

CAAM approves $50,000 award

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) awards $50,000 in production and post-production funding to WHATEVER IT TAKES. As part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Minority Consortia, CAAM seeks to present stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible.

June 07, 2007:

Sundance approves $25,000 grant

The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund (SDF) approves a grant of $25,000 towards production costs for WHATEVER IT TAKES. In addition to the grant, SDF also pledges technical and creative support towards the finishing of the film. SDF is dedicated to supporting documentary films from around the world that focus on human rights, freedom of expression, social justice and action, civil liberties, and push the creative boundaries of form and content.

May 01, 2007:

New production office

WHATEVER IT TAKES, LLC. has leased production space in the Westwood area of Los Angeles. The two-room office will house both the administrative and editorial functions of the documentary.

December 10, 2006:

Advisory Board Members announced

In order to strengthen the impact and content of our film, we are pleased to announce the formation of an Advisory Board. The Board consists of the following members:

Professor Marina Goldovskaya – head of the documentary film program at the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA. One of Russia’s best known filmmakers, Goldovskaya has made 28 documentaries as director, cinematographer and writer.

Professor Michael Brown – faculty member of the Department of Counseling/Clinical/School Psychology at UC Santa Barbara. Dr. Brown has published numerous articles relating to the career success and development of African Americans and other minorities.

Professor Eugene P. Kim – faculty member at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Dr. Kim’s research explores how the values of teachers come to be socialized in their students.

October 14, 2006:

$5,000 Award from P.O.V.

American Documentary, Inc., producer of the award-winning P.O.V. documentary series on PBS, awarded a $5,000 grant to Christopher Wong, the producer/director of WHATEVER IT TAKES, at the conclusion of The Art of the Documentary Pitch workshop at the annual Museum of Television and Radio DocFest in New York City.

September 17, 2006:

IFP Market (NYC)

Screened 18 minute trailer on September 19th and 20th in front of audience of filmmakers and industry representatives. Also met with representatives from various companies-HBO Documentary Films, Showtime Networks, American Documentary Inc (P.O.V.), Cinetic Media-in order to discuss finishing funds and distribution possibilities.

September 08, 2006:

New trailer created for IFP presentation

Working closely with Editor Zebediah Smith, we have created a new extended trailer to exhibit at the IFP Market screenings. This new cut has a running time of 18 minutes.

August 15, 2006:

IFP Market Screening Information

WHATEVER IT TAKES will be screening twice at the Angelika Film Center in New York City:

Tuesday, September 19 @12:15pm
Wednesday, September 20 @ 12:15pm

August 09, 2006:

Finalist for Socially Concious Documentary Award

WHATEVER IT TAKES has been selected as one of 6 finalists for the Award for Socially Conscious Documentaries sponsored by The Fledgling Foundation. The winner of the $10,000 cash award will be selected by a prestigious jury of industry representatives and presented at the IFP Market Awards luncheon on September 21, 2006.

August 01, 2006:

Trailer screening at Princeton Club of Southern

The 12-minute documentary film trailer was screened in front of the Board Members of the Princeton Club of Southern California. From this screening, we have already received several offers of assistance to locate additional funding to complete the film.

July 19, 2006:

Acceptance to IFP Film Market

Our film was officially accepted into the 28th Annual IFP Market, in the Work-in-Progress section of the Spotlight on Documentaries. Only 65 documentaries have been selected for this category. As part of the Film Market, WHATEVER IT TAKES will be given a 25-minute screening slot at the Angelika Film Center in New York City. The dates of the Film Market are from September 17-21, 2006; specific dates or times to be announced.

June 26, 2006:

Last Day of production at BCSM

Two camera crews were on hand for the last official school day of the year, as students picked up final report cards and teachers bid farewell for the summer. While additional interviews and footage still need to be filmed, no further production at the school is planned.

May 09, 2006:

Submission to IFP Film Market

We have officially submitted our film for consideration to the IFP Film Market, which is the only film market where independent producers with projects at various stages of development present their work directly to industry executives. Our submission included a 12-minute trailer, a treatment, synopsis, and logline. Decisions will be announced in July 2006.

September 08, 2005:

Production begins at BCSM

Camera crew on hand for first day of filming at the Bronx Center for Science & Mathematics—also the first day of school for the incoming ninth-grade.

Born into hardship, rising to excellence

Copyright © 2006-2010 Whatever It Takes, LLC.