L.A. COFFIN SCHOOL Q&A with Elizabeth Sung / 孫芳

LtoR Erin Li_Elizabeth Sung_Derek Horne_BusanWest

With Elizabeth Sung (ctr), Derek Horne – Busan West Programmer (rt)

L.A. COFFIN SCHOOL recently screened at the Busan West Film Festival where I got to meet director Kim Jee-woon and pick his brain (via a translator) about directing Arnold Schwarzenegger in THE LAST STAND.  Because of the language barrier, one way that Kim Jee-woon directed actors and gave adjustments, was to act out the scenes himself.  He added that he wouldn’t recommend that method to other people, particularly when stunts are involved!

Kim Jee-Woon

Kim Jee-Woon (lt), translator (ctr)

And…L.A. COFFIN SCHOOL won the Bronze Panther award at the Busan West’s short film competition!  It was a thrill to receive the award.  The Busan West jury had some lovely words to say about the film:

“Using a quirky setting, energetic visual style, and unique choice of subject matter, this film addresses the underexposed issue of elderly abandonment and solitude.  The people in the coffins talking about their favorite food, activity, memory, presented in a quiet presentational style was reminiscent of Hirokazu Koreeda’s film ‘After Life’ and has left us looking forward to the feature length version of ‘L.A Coffin School.’  This award is our vote of confidence in your feature project as well as our great expectations for your filmmaking career.”



Elizabeth Sung, who plays Ming in the film, was a pleasure to get to know and work with.  You may have seen her in MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, JOY LUCK CLUB, or one of my personal favorites, PING PONG PLAYA.

Elizabeth takes on the Proust questionnaire below.  The q&a takes on even more meaning if you have seen the film (if you haven’t seen it yet, you can download it for free here).  Enjoy!


Elizabeth Sung / 孫芳
Role in L.A. COFFIN SCHOOL: Ming

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
*When I am really taking the time being present in every second of life and enjoying it -not racing ahead and not thinking about the past.

What is your greatest fear?
*Not being able to move.

Which living person do you most admire?
*Mother Theresa.

When and where were/are you most happiest?
*In Hong Kong, that moment when I was two and discovered that I was able to walk on my own.

If you died and came back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
*Not sure I would want to come back. Would rather move on to the next dimension.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
*Not being able to save loved ones from dying.

How would you like to die?
*Easy, peaceful, quiet and quick.

Who are your heroes in real life?
*My parents.


Elizabeth Sung as MING in L.A. COFFIN SCHOOL

L.A. COFFIN SCHOOL is about a once-renowned Chinese painter who is kicked out of her son’s home, prompting her to enroll in a controversial school that claims to teach people how to start life anew. The instructor and class exercises force her to re-evaluate life and what it is worth. This short film is currently being developed into a feature.

More about Elizabeth:
Raised in Hong Kong, Elizabeth holds a BFA in dance from The Juilliard School and was a member of the Alvin Ailey Repertory Dance Company.  She received her MFA in directing from the American Film Institute and was one of three women selected for the prestigious ABC/DGA Television Directing Fellowship.  Elizabeth studied acting with renowned teachers Sanford Meisner and Milton Katselas in Los Angeles.  Her memorable appearances in film include “The Joy Luck Club”, “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Ping Pong Playa” among many others.  On television, Elizabeth starred as Luan Volien Abbott on the popular daytime soap, “The Young and The Restless”.  She also guest starred on “Shameless”, “Hawaii Five-0”, “Bones”, “ NCIS – LA”, “FlashForward”, “The Forgotten” “Desperate Housewives”, “House”, “The Sopranos”, “NYPD Blue” and “Mike and Molly” to list a few.  Elizabeth Sung is the recipient of the Best “Supporting Actress Award” from the 2013 Asians On Film Festival.  Her lastest film project, “Go for Sisters,” directed by John Sayles, screens at SXSW this week.

Check out Elizabeth’s website. You can also find her on Twitter (@fongsung) and Facebook.

About Busan West Film Festival:
Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts is pleased to partner with the Busan International Film Festival (considered by many to be the “Cannes” of Asia) to present BUSAN WEST. Over the course of three days, March 8-10, 2013, Dodge College hosted a showcase of contemporary and classic films selected primarily from the Busan International Film Festival by Dodge College Professor Nam Lee, an expert in pan-Asian cinema.