Note: Thought I start posting my past articles from Star central magazine since I’m in 2020 quarantine.
Originally published on 28th July 2018 in the Star Central Magazine.
If Wong Fu Productions magically becomes Australian, then Yell-oh! TV would be its incarnation. On the 28th July at the Fairfield School of Arts, Phoenix Eye celebrates their first year anniversary and launches their new magazine-esque channel, Yell-oh! TV, which consisted of film content, ranging from short-form documentaries, comedic skits, panel discussions and mind-boggling animations etc.
Maria Tran, Theresa Chen and Nancy Trieu, the core team of Phoenix Eye were surrounded by a supportive group of friends and family, who are excited about their launch. Chit chat and laughter took place in an area so reminiscent of a typical Asian home. Instead of chairs, there where rows of cushions where everyone can sit and watch a medley of film content that yet to ensue.
With her two partners- in -crime, Nancy Trieu and Teresa Chen who are fellow creatives, embarks on an ambitious mission of “inspiring humanity with groundbreaking content through creative endeavours.” Whether it is to connect with people within the Western Sydney community or filming skits to combat the long-standing misconceptions within Asians in general, there is certainly something that is bubbly amongst the ashes of Phoenix Eye.
Yell-oh TV was born out of a communal spirit. An endearing and heartfelt community project pays homage to the early morning variety shows like Cheez TV!/Toasted TV that tickles the nostalgia of the early 2000’s kid.
Insider information with Phoenix Eye with Nancy Trieu, Tereasa Chen, Mary Tran.
“Basically, to let people have a go. At the same time, we realised amongst our own peers and the many people that we connect with, they don’t have a chance to be in front of the camera. So, we thought that we reach out to people within our own networks. “Hey, do you want to try presenting?” and they say, “They have never done it before.”
In between the cutaways of the 80’s inspired fitness bit, Khan’s Gym Tips, Maggie Pham’s Make up Tips, the bulk of it all was Phoenix Eye’s amazing documentaries. The common denominating theme was demystifying the misconceptions of being Asian and tells a universal story of struggle as being a first/second generation of Asian-Australian.
The immigrant story is a common narrative amongst the Asian-Australian struggle, but with Phoenix Eye’s laser point vision, they are able to add a refreshing take, adding nuanced perspectives in overcoming adversity when it comes to assimilating into Australian society.
One of those documentaries that were featured is Thuy Lavin’s documentary, “Against the Grain,” Asians and Pacific- Islander Fashion designers talking about venturing into fashion and breaking away from the traditional route such as the lawyer, doctor, accountant and engineering.
When asked about their turning points in pursuing their passions within their creative field, more specifically in the screen industries, Therese, Maria and Nancy’s journey were all very different.
What’s next for Phoenix Eye and Yell-oh TV!, Maria hinted on producing something groundbreaking—an all-female action film starring an Asian female protagonist.
“We have the capabilities to do it but we don’t have the full resources. Once when we get the resources, we will do it and hopefully, it will make an impact.”
For Nancy it was stubbornness. She just couldn’t settle for a 9-5 job because her visionary of becoming a creative is much stronger:
“My dad was stubborn and he is a creative too but wanted me to get a job, security and all that. Deep down, I can never do it. There are people that can do the 9-5 and enjoy it, but it’s not for me. Through all hurdles, I’m actually enjoying what I do, even though it’s a lot tougher but it’s more rewarding.”
For Maria, it was mental health and bullying and she didn’t felt like she had a voice. The turning point in her life was that she realised that she either have to submit or raise up to challenge:
“The turning point was that I don’t want to live like this, I don’t want to be bullied and live with this quiet voice. So, therefore in high school, I went the complete opposite and completely loud–ridiculously out of context loud, which was really bizarre. Then with a social context, I decided to fine-tune it to work in my favour.
“I have some friends that go down the traditional route, now that I connect with them, they’re not any happier and man, I did what you did, I’m sort of stuck in a box and their also their a quiver in their voice and know you’re not but at least it makes you feel better that’s okay, that’s your journey– at any point you can break out of the box.”
For Therese, it was a realisation that she wasn’t happy in her 9-5 job. Initially, she did a science degree because she thought it was the more secure option. However, it was the hollowness that propels her to pursue her love for film:
“The turning point was that you kind of realise that some things work but some things don’t. When I started building my confidence, I eventually started a 9-5 job and I felt that emptiness.”
“That popping question, “Is this it?” If you keep asking that question on a daily and what you doing is not working, it makes you feel empty. Eventually, after a couple months, I was let go. It didn’t feel good at the time, but it was for the best. I remembered I like film and so, I got out the camera and Maria found me on Facebook.”
Eventually, all good things must come to an end. The Yell-oh TV launch was still lively ever before then it was from the beginning. There was cake. There was laughter. There was an unparalleled sense of ambitious frolicking in the room.