Film Courage: Do you remember the first person or entity that gave you money or it came from different sources [for Barney’s film BABY STEPS]?
Writer/Director/Actor/Producer, Barney Cheng: Yes, it was the Ministry of Culture of Taiwan. They gave us $400,000.
Film Courage: Wow!
Barney: Yes, $400,000 to make the film.
Film Courage: What’s the conversation rate? Sorry…
Barney: $300,000 U.S. Dollars to make the film. That was the first entity that gave us money but even then we couldn’t raise the money. The Ministry of Culture of Taiwan gave us money but you need to make this money within two years. If you don’t make this movie within a certain period of time you lose that money. We needed to come up with the rest of the budget so we were hustling…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
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Watch BABY STEPS on Amazon here
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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