Film Courage: Barney when writing BABY STEPS, how confident were you that this movie would be made?
Writer/Director/Actor/Producer, Barney Cheng: I wasn’t really focusing on getting it made. I kept using this metaphor…not metaphor…but the reference “You are a fool!” You keep marching foolishly without thinking about what is going to happen. You just keep marching. I knew it would be made one day. There were times when I almost gave up but I didn’t. Having that faith (foolish faith) for some reason just kept me going.
I remember one time after a year of fundraising and casting we were going nowhere. The producer I was working with left the project. She spent a year with me and we were going nowhere. Even after having raised about $300,000 she left the project. And I was like “What do I do now?” I was…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
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Barney Cheng landed on the Hollywood map as an actor in 2002 with his acclaimed performance in Woody Allen’s HOLLYWOOD ENDING. The New York Times described Cheng’s comedic timing as “surgically precise.” The Orange County Register raved that Cheng “steals every scene he’s in.” Cheng accompanied Allen to promote the film and to open the 55th Cannes Film Festival.
In addition to acting, Cheng works as a writer-director-producer. His award-winning films have collectively screened in over 100 film festivals worldwide. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese, Cheng is particularly proud of his Chinese-English language feature BABY STEPS, which received Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access fellowship. Produced by the Oscar-winning producer of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, BABY STEPS received jury and audience awards for best feature at numerous festivals.
Gravitas Ventures released BABY STEPS to enthusiastic reception and reviews. The San Francisco Chronicle calls Baby Steps an “engaging” and “touching” film. “Inarguably, here’s a film created by and starring Asian Americans that is definitely worth applauding,” raves Huffington Post. “Baby Steps is becoming more and more relevant by the second.”
Cheng is creating an original series called “Curated Lies,” and his second feature A DOORKNOB AWAY, a Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition winner, is currently in development for production.
Cheng has participated in the NBCUniversal Directing Fellowship program and is a Writer-Director Film Independent Fellow. Grew up in Los Angeles, Cheng attended Stanford University and read political philosophy at Oxford University. Cheng proudly celebrates his Taiwanese-American and LGBT intersectional identity and is on the board of PFLAG San Gabriel Valley API.
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