"The Search For Weng Weng" is the unbelievable true story of the real-life 2'9" Filipino James Bond and the latest Feature Documentary from Australian Guerrilla Film maker Andrew Leavold. Shot over 6 years in Manila, it's the ultimate history of Philipino B-Films and chronicles Leavold's obsessive quest to find the truth behind what really happened to Weng Weng. We already have over 100 hours of footage, a distributor in place and are looking to raise funds to complete post production for an international release.
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WENG WENG FEATURETTE: THE LOST FILMS OF WENG WENG
ORIGINAL "THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG" TRAILER FROM 2008:
SO WHO IS WENG WENG?
You never forget your first Weng Weng experience. Mine was watching a 8th generation VHS tape of For Y’ur Height Only in the early Nineties with my mouth cemented to the carpet. That jaw-to-the-floor reaction has never left me, and it remains my most beloved and most-watched film. It’s not just the novelty of seeing a 2'9" Filipino pretending to be a gun expert and ladies’ man, or the inexplicable thrill of watching bad (and I mean BAD) kung fu movies. Maybe it’s the surreal dubbing that takes For Your Height Only into another dimension. Perhaps it’s a combination of its constituent elements, or something new altogether. The more we screened the film on Trash Video’s film tours around Australia, the more I realized the power of Weng Weng to transform a jaded, cynical audience. “We love Weng Weng!” they would chant after the film, and each time I sat through the movie with a new set of faces, I would experience once again the sheer joy of watching the film for the first time. I can’t explain my fixation on Weng, which would grow into a lifelong obsession with Philippines pulp cinema, and soon enough with the Philippines itself.
THE QUEST BEGINS:
I wanted to know Weng’s story. His real name, for starters. Was he still alive? How many movies did he make? Other than unbelievably small, what kind of person was he? He’s listed in the Guinness Book of Records as, at just 83 cm (2 ft 9 in) tall, the shortest ever lead actor in a motion picture. That’s as far as the official story went - it seemed like the Cone of Silence has well and truly fallen over Weng. I remember ringing the Manila Film Resource Centre in the mid 90s, and they pretended to have never heard of him. Was he truly a national disgrace? Had political correctness finally caught up with a country whose comedy venerates freaks, fatties and the less-fortunate? Or was he small enough to have slipped between the cracks of film history
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP:
While the film itself is shot and editing has begun, we need your help to finish post production and ready "The Search For Weng Weng" for international release.
WHEN we reach $30k your pledges will go towards the final shoot and other post production elements, including:
- Final Edit
- Sound Design
- Clip and Music rights
- Marketing and Promotion
- Final Materials
If we reach $50K we'll be able to tour "The Search For Weng Weng" internationally, hopefully to a city near you.
If we reach $70K we'll be able to really go to town on the post production including Animated segments and titles, Re-enactments of key scenes from Weng Weng films and much much more.
THE USUAL SUSPECTS:
ANDREW LEAVOLD (DIRECTOR, CO-WRITER, CO-PRODUCER):
Andrew owned and managed Trash Video, the largest cult video rental store in Australia, from 1995 to 2010. He is also a published author, researcher, film festival curator (Brisbane International Film Festival, Melbourne Underground Film Festival), musician, TV presenter, occasional filmmaker, and above all, unrepentant and voracious fan of eccentric and lowbrow cinema.
Lesbo-A-Go-Go (2003), Leavold's no-budget exercise in recreating a Sixties Doris Wishman-style exploitation feature, was followed by Bluebirds Of Peace And Destruction (2006), a hyper-real reconstruction of a famous Brisbane vampire slaying. The Search For Weng Weng, currently in post-production, chronicles Leavold's quest to find the truth behind the 2'9" Filipino James Bond. His research on genre filmmaking in the Philippines formed the basis of Mark Hartley's documentary Machete Maidens Unleashed! (released internationally in 2010), on which Leavold is also Associate Producer. A PhD student at Brisbane’s Griffith University, Leavold’s thesis is soon to be published as a book entitled “Bamboo Gods And Bionic Boys: A History Of Pulp Filmmaking In The Philippines”.
With writing partner Daniel Palisa, Leavold has completed the action script Blood Red Sea, a bloodthirsty mercenaries-versus-modern pirates tale to be shot in the Philippines, now in the funding stage. Palisa and Leavold also worked on celebrated Filipino digital filmmaker Khavn de la Cruz’s short Zombie Mariachi (2007) and joined Khavn on stage performing a live improvised score for Squatterpunk (2006) at the 2007 Brisbane International Film Festival.
DANIEL PALISA (CO-WRITER, CO-PRODUCER):
Daniel is a Brisbane based Writer, SFX and prosthetics artist, film concept artist and film festival programmer specializing in obscure, cult and genre film, working with the Brisbane International Film Festival for nine years. Palisa developed a keen interest in Philippine genre cinema after taking on a production role on Andrew Leavold's Search For Weng Weng documentary in 2007 and formed part of the Australian contingent for Khavn De La Cruz' Brokas backing band scoring his film, Squatterpunk live at several screenings on its Australian run the same year. Palisa has spent the better part of 12 years working as a SFX artist on numerous shorts and features and has just completed co-writing Blood Red Sea with Andrew Leavold.
Monster Pictures is a Melbourne-based distribution / production company that launched in August 2010 with Dutch director, Tom Six’s twisted biological horror, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE.
Monster Pictures is dedicated to delivering the most energetic, unique, creative, innovative, provocative, bizarre, frightening, challenging, surreal, offbeat, absurd, twisted, demented, raunchy, cinema in the world today – the weirder, the wilder, the blacker, the sexier, the crazier, the dirtier, the funnier, the better.
DREW CLOSE (ASSOCIATE PRODUCER/ CAMPAIGN MANAGER):
Drew is a writer of Film, TV and Comics. A jack of all trades, master of none, he has worn many hats over the years including Music Video Director, Night Club VJ, Retail Store Manager, Lumberjack and Comic Book Publisher. He currently lives on the Sunshine Coast Queensland, Australia with his talented wife and 2 sons. His latest comic book project, super hero satire "Golden Age - The Brave and the Old" is due to be released later this year. He also loathes writing about himself in the third person.
MIKE WHITE (ASSOICATE PRODUCER):
First off, I'm not the Mike White that directed, wrote, and starred in Chuck & Buck. I get fan mail for that guy all the time.
I'm this guy. I wrote (a lot), edited, and published the film zine Cashiers du Cinemart for 19 years. I still write about film for various publications -- online and off -- as well as travel to (and often judge at) film festivals around North America including Park City's Slamdance (2006), New York's Cinekink (2010, 2013) and Baltimore's MicroCineFest (1998-2008).
Darryl is a Composer / Sound Designer based in New York. His track "Outlaw" is featured in our Kickstarter video, make sure you check out his extensive collection of tracks on Soundcloud.
For Y'ur Height Only Trailer
Weng Weng Rap.
Risks and challenges
For our team "The Search for Weng Weng" is not just another project but one very close to our hearts (and one man's obsession) so there is no doubt that the film will be completed. We're aiming to have final cut ready by August 1st 2013 for distribution.
The main problem we're facing is the sheer amount of footage that's been shot, over 100 hours and cutting it all down to a 90 minute feature. There are so many great scenes and clips and many will have to be left out but don't worry that's what the Deluxe Edition DVD is for.
We already have MONSTER PICTURES on board as distributor for Australia and the UK, also are in talks for the US and EUROPE.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes he was, he had paratrooper and martial arts training, an official badge and even his own pint sized pistol.
Yes and it hurt, next question.
Yes, just let us know what you want before backing and we'll create a Weng Weng package just for you. (You can also change your pledge amount and reward at any time so don't worry if you've already bakced and want to upgrade)
It was a dream, weirdly enough, back in the late Nineties. I was in a hotel room in Manila with a video camera, on the phone to the Cultural Centre. "My name is Andrew Leavold," I remember saying, "I am an Australian filmmaker making a documentary on Weng Weng." I woke and thought, what a great idea for a film, then filed it away until I actually WAS in Manila, waving a video camera around and asking, "Does anyone know what happened to Weng Weng?" Spooky!
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