Underneath The Grey

FRI | AAACC | 6PM-9:30PM


When an inspiring singer Jessica is romantically interested in a blind man, Ethan, they’ll soon to discover the spirit of their new found relationship

Patrick_Chen_IMDB2dPatrick Chen is a writer and director from Queens, New York. As a Chinese American filmmaker, surrounded by the immigrant lifestyle, he’s converted his estranged nationality into stories of art and pictures.

His short film “Love Express” has recently screened at various festivals, and was awarded with the Community Award for his dedicated contribution at the Queens World Film Festival. The film was praised by the Chinese community and described as heartfelt, nostalgic and a tribute to early Hong Kong cinema.

His prior films were appointed as top finalists by the Asian American Film Lab’s 72 Hours Shootout competition. They were showcased at AAIFF, AOFF, SAG-AFTRA Showcase and NYC Media. You may find his additional works as Chén Xí Háo 陳錫豪. He is currently producing his Chinatown based feature-length project, which to be slated in mid-2016.

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Director Statement

The story came to me when I was learning techniques for film color grading. During this process I wanted to create a black and white picture with a blind person as the main protagonist. I was intrigued by the notion of their senses, e.g. touch, taste and smell, and how they adapt to their surroundings with the imagination that they have. Is the sky blue? What does green taste like? How does red smell? These questions came to mind that needed to be explored. The opportunity presented itself when my involvement with Asian American Film Lab’s annual competition. It challenges filmmakers to produce a 5-minute film with a designated theme spanning 3 days.

I gathered up my research and team with the confidence of producing this unique perspective of a blind (Asian) man falling with a (Black) woman. I wanted to have a diverse cast and a story that doesn’t focus on the separation of race, religion or gender; and in this scenario, being handicapped. I wanted the world to see that we are not just one color but also a beautiful blend of lives.

Underneath The Grey is the discovery of inner beauty through self-acceptance. The challenge was not only producing quality work in 72 hours but to also have characters that felt lifelike and inseparable. With the support from EnMaze Pictures and the opportunity given by the Asian Americans Film Lab, the production was given form. The 5-minute version was given praises by an audience of different ethnic groups. With this encouragement, I expanded the film to 15 mins with a small backstory and additional scenes of the characters’ relationship. I feel this story is now completed to further serve the audience’s fulfillment of these two wonderful characters.