Monday | Award Winning Short Film by Dinh Thai

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Kwan is an Asian-American hustler in contemporary Los Angeles. You need something, Kwan can get it for you, whether that’s drugs or a spare laptop. As we follow Kwan through his deals he demonstrates the critical skills needed to survive when living in a city where cultures and class intermix.

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Written & Directed by Dinh Thai

"Dinh Thai’s short film, Monday, turned a bunch of heads on the festival circuit in 2017, winning prizes at a sequence of events connected to the television industry: HBO’s APA Visionaries first prize, NBC-Universal’s Short Film Festival, and at the New York Television Festival. Most of the films we feature take their cues from feature films—especially of the indie or art-house variety—but, with the television landscape having proven itself the more exciting and fertile ground for project development in recent years, it is interesting to think about what a TV-centric approach to short filmmaking would/could/should entail. Acknowledging that a short film is a stand-alone art form and doesn’t “need” to be adapted to a longer format or serve as a calling card, doesn’t change the fact that the motivations of short film creators are often such. So, if you’re a creator hoping to break into television, give Monday careful study—with its witty dialogue, artfully drawn characters, and flexible premise, it is one of the best examples of a “short-as-pilot” we’ve encountered.

Kwan (Kevin David Lin) is an Asian-American hustler in contemporary Los Angeles. You need something, Kwan can get it for you, whether that’s drugs or a spare laptop. His phone is always at the ready and is constantly blowing up, as he races around the notoriously car-centric city on his bike, moving from deal to deal.

Kwan is hyper-competent, but his criminal path subverts the stereotype of the model-minority academic achiever. So does the fact that Kwan is cool. As his clientele takes him through the various class and ethnic enclaves of the city, Kwan seamlessly shifts his presentation, “code-switching” for his next audience, giving as good as he gets when it comes to ethnic jokes and verbal ribbing. Thai, a Vietnamese immigrant who came to America at 7, specifically has fun with the fact that none of the characters can accurately identify Kwan’s ethnicity. Like another recent TV success story, High Maintenence, the structure of Kwan as a drug deliverer allows for the easy and quick entré of a host of characters that are interesting in their own right, from a Hispanic dealer he sometimes re-ups for, to an obnoxious white party boy. Drawing upon his personal experiences growing up, Thai uses the diversity of Los Angeles itself as a canvas to play upon, exploring the city’s inherent class tensions as well as paint in the spaces between stereotype and specificity via his dextrous wordplay.

The result is a film that ably inserts contemporary themes around diversity into a highly enjoyable crime-story format, raising thoughtful questions about racial identity but packaging them into a short that takes cues from classics ranging from Goodfellas to Beverly Hills Cop. It’s also the rare film that is equally satisfying as a self-contained story as it is a pilot, with a winning milieu and story breadcrumbs we’d be happy to follow in future installments. Kwan in particular is a fascinating cinematic creation, and Lin provides the character an inherent charisma that is hard to not be enamored by." - S/W Curator Jason Sondhi

Executive Producers
Joshua Falcon & Brian Burgett

Director of Photography
Adriaan Kirchner

Matt Detisch

Music Composers
Greg Johnson
Joshua Falcon

Associate Producers
Luana Falcon
Raina Seides Falcon
Jesse Falcon
Julie Ramirez
Abigail Lyon
Peter Murphy
Roslynn Alba Cobarrubias
Bardo Baluyot
Robert Valentino
Eddie Patino
Chuck Hendy

Kevin David Lin as Kwan
L.A. Williams as Andre
Diamonique Noriega as Nina
Steve Castillo as Sasquatch
Eddie Patino as Puppet
Irwin Garcia as Joker
Joe Cadiff as Jerry
Alexis Clayton as Joanna
Sarah Johanna jewell as Emma
Lawrence Johnson as Eric
Intae Kim as Officer Choi
Jefferson Cox as The Tum
Grace Shen as Mama
Fern as herself

Reproduced on this channel with the permission of the filmmakers.
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