This was the shooting script for the 2009 short film, 'The Golden Pin', which I co-wrote with director Cuong Ngo. I also worked as Associate Producer on this production. The script was 11 pages long and the final cut of the film including credits is 16 minutes. The film played at over 40 international film festivals, including Toronto's Inside Out Film Festival 2009 where it won 'Best Canadian Short.'
Here's the trailer to the short film, which will soon be licensed in 2012 in North America to OUTTV - I'll provide screening details when they become available.
We are currently working on a feature film version of this short film.
THE GOLDEN PIN
INT. ATHLETIC CENTRE - SWIMMING POOL - DAY
Eight YOUNG ATHLETIC MALE SWIMMERS, all wearing black speedos and caps, dive into an eight lane pool and do the breaststroke. LONG, 25, a handsome, Asian, clean-cut man, in one lane, RYAN, 24, a handsome, Caucasian man is beside him . Their bodies have great form, their legs and arms whip in circles. The lap is finished and the swimmers hoist themselves out of the water except for Long who still has a half lap to go.
THE IMAGE OF LONG'S FATHER, PHONG, IS SUPERIMPOSED.
Your mother and I could only have one child. We both wanted more. All of my brothers were killed during the Vietnam war...
BACK TO LONG SWIMMING
PHONG (V.O.) (CONT'D)
... You're the only hope to continue our family line. Only after you marry and have children, will we be happy.
Long reaches the end. Ryan is waiting for him. Ryan smiles at him and helps him out of the pool.
It's just a dual meet. We'll win anyway.
I was thinking.
Long looks at Ryan with concern.
FADE TO BLACK.
Never forget, we love you, Long. More than anything.
INT. LONG'S FAMILY HOME - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
A lovely CHRISTMAS TREE is in the center of the room. We find Long's nephew TYCO, 22, is playing a Christmas song on his VIOLIN.
Long's mother LINH and father PHONG, his UNCLE and AUNT and two teenage male COUSINS, stand nearby watching. Phong leaves to go into the nearby kitchen. Near the tree, Long, VANESSA, 23, a gorgeous Vietnamese woman with long black hair, and Ryan stand together. While talking with relatives and friends, Linh sometimes observes Long, Ryan and Vanessa as if she's thinking something - a puzzle.
The SONG is finished and the adults applaud. Vanessa smiles at Long and then at Ryan.
How'd you end up with a name like Vanessa anyway? You don't have blue eyes and blonde hair.
Vanessa about to say, but Long...
Her real name is Hien, but guess what? Vanessa Williams is her hero.
Ryan and Long giggle with Vanessa.
So Ryan, how long you been swimming with Long?
Since last September when I joined the team.
He's cute, Long. I can see why Long hid you.
Vanessa laughs. Ryan giggles too.
Eat your heart out baby!
While Linh is chatting with the guests. Phong prepares a tray of champagne flutes.
Phong signals to her to come over. Linh goes to him and stands next to him. The guests are mingles around. A SOUND OF A CHAMPAGNE CORK POPPED UP. People turn and see Phong pours the champagne to the champagne flutes. Linh gives a champagne flute to Vanessa. Phong holds the tray of champagne flutes and the guests take them.
Phong raises his glass to everyone: Linh, his wife, Long's uncles, aunts and cousins, along with Long, Vanessa and Ryan.
We've gone through a lot together, the ups and downs of life, the victories and defeats. We always look forward with optimism in the future of young people.
Ryan sees Vanessa's hand finds Long's hand.
INT. FLASH BACK - ALLAN GARDENS - VICTORIAN GREEN HOUSE - DAY
Montage of Long with Vanessa in the garden.
... They will continue to contribute to the work of constructing a better world for the community and our family. Happiness or sadness, let the past rest in peace...
BACK TO CHRISTMAS SCENE, LONG'S FAMILY'S HOME - LIVING ROOM
...Today, we're here to cheer the reunion of the family and good friends...As in our tradition, to every man: a family is foundation and the source of happiness and success... "a grown up boy has to get married. A grown up girl has to get married." --- it is a beautiful cycle of life.
Long sees Vanessa softly interprets to Ryan.
Mom, Dad, if you two continue to speak in Vietnamese, I'm not sure Ryan can understand.
Oh sorry my dear.
My wife and I are very please to announce to you all that my son Long will become man and wife with Vanessa.
Note: Phong's speech will be intercut with the scene Long & Vanessa in Allan Gardens.
In Allan Gardens, Long kneels down and opens the ring box - it's the beautiful engagement ring.
MATCH CUT TO:
INT. LONG'S FAMILY HOME - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
Vanessa raises the ring nervously.
To our new daughter Vanessa.
Everybody raises their glasses and cheers. Vanessa goes to Long and throws her arms around him and kisses him. Linh begins to cry. Phong holds Linh close and tears come to his eyes as well. Ryan stares disbelieving.
INT. UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC CENTRE - SWIMMING POOL - DAY
After swim practice, Ryan and Long linger in their respective pool lanes. Long sees that Ryan is upset about something.
Why wouldn't I be?...How come you didn't tell me, Long?
Long looks away to see if anyone's listening. The last team mates disappear into the men's change room.
High drama. Christmas. Well done.
You gonna marry her?
What's going on, Long?
What do you mean?
I mean what's going on?
We're friends. We can only be friends.
We're not just friends, Long.
Ryan, I'm the last of my family line. I have to have children - boy children.
Ryan leans over to Long, touches his shoulder.
We could have a good life together if you want.
Ryan touches Long's cheek. They look at one another lovingly. Ryan kisses Long.
Long gently pushes Ryan away.
No I'm sorry.
Long takes Ryan's hand tenderly and holds it for a moment.
Vanessa's probably waiting for me.
Long pulls away, looks at Ryan as he backs away, turns and walks to the men's change room.
INT. ATHLETIC CENTRE - MEN'S SHOWER ROOM - DAY (LATER)
Long walks past some of his swim team mates under the shower. He finds an empty stall and begins to shower. The team mates turn off their showers and walk out of the shower room.
Ryan enters and sees Long under the shower. He takes off his speedo and tossing it to one side and walks over to Long and gets under the empty shower beside him. Ryan puts his head under the water.
INT. ATHLETIC CENTRE - HALLWAY - DAY (LATER)
Long leaves the men's locker room into the student filled hallway. He sees Vanessa waiting by the front door. She smiles and waves when she sees him. Long walks over to Vanessa. He gives her a kiss.
Let's go. I'm starving.
Ryan darts out of the men's locker room and spots Long.
Ryan holds up Long's wet towel.
Long walks over and grabs his towel, but Ryan doesn't let go of it. He stares at Long.
I'll see you tomorrow?
Ryan heads back to the men's locker room.
See ya handsome.
Ryan waves his hand but doesn't look at them and goes inside the locker room.
Vanessa takes Long by the hand and they start to walk down the hallway. Long looks upset.
What is it? What's wrong?
She rubs his back. Long tries to give her a smile.
INT. LONG'S FAMILY HOME - ALTAR ROOM - NIGHT
In a darkened room, Linh lights a YELLOW CANDLE on the Buddha altar. She lights incense and puts it in a joss-stick pot. Close on an ANCIENT BOX on the altar. Linh takes it and opens it --- there is a GOLDEN HAIRPIN in it. She holds it up.
Flash back - INT. AN APARTMENT - SAIGON - 1978 - NIGHT
SUPER: "SAIGON 1978"
A picture of Saigon in 1978 in a frame, the camera pulls out and find: a darkened room, only a lit candle sits on a wooden table. A male hand is writing a letter with a fountain pen.
On the letter reads: (in Vietnamese)
I'm sad to leave you without saying goodbye, but I have no choice. This hairpin belonged to my mother. It has passed down from generation to generation. I want you to have it as a gift for your wedding to Phong. Forget about me. Wherever I go you're always in my heart.
We hear a whistle. The man rushes to the window. Through the moonlight, a young man, 23, wears a dark shirt. This is TRUNG, Linh's boyfriend. He seems worried. He looks out of the window, down on the street...
Trung puts the hairpin into the ancient box and places it on top of the letter, grabs his clothes bag and rushes out of the room.
BACK TO PRESENT DAY
INT. LONG'S FAMILY HOME - ALTAR ROOM - NIGHT
Linh is deep in thought. She makes her hair up in hair bun and puts the hairpin on.
INT. LONG'S FAMILY HOME - LONG'S STUDIO - NIGHT (LATER)
In a low-lit room, a lonely bed is visible then the camera finds Long shirtless with pyjamas pants in the bathroom. He is getting the water from the faucet then splashes on his face. Long looks at himself as if he looks into infinity. The water rolls slowly down on his eye lashes; then it keeps rolling down on his face.
Long puts on his shirt and walks towards to the stereo. He grabs the remote control and hits the play button. Two pictures with black frame are next to the radio. Long holds up a picture. It's the picture of Long and Ryan are happily holding gold medals. He puts the picture face down next to the picture of him with Vanessa.
INT. LONG'S FAMILY HOME - STAIRCASE - NIGHT (LATER)
A hand holds a candle that is moving in a darken room. With the candle light, we see Linh. She ascends the staircase to Long's studio room upstairs.
INT. LONG'S FAMILY HOME - LONG'S STUDIO - NIGHT - CONTINUOUS
The clock strikes. In the darkened room, Long stands by the window looking out at the full moon. His silhouette shadows the floor.
Linh comes into the room. She holds the lit yellow candle.
The music woke you? I'm sorry.
I couldn't sleep either. You're worried about your wedding?
Long remains in silence and sighs. Linh feels the atmosphere of Long's world.
You always keep your space so different from the rest of the house. I like it.
Linh puts the candle down by to the stereo. She sees a picture laid face down. She puts it up. She looks at the picture of Long and Ryan for a few seconds.
The day I was the bride, I chose a yellow dress although all the people on your dad's side went against it. Your dad knew my ex loved yellow roses but Phong considered that he shouldn't be jealous of someone already dead. I never told you this before. Just before the wedding day, my ex showed up in the camp. I was torn between love and obligation.
But you chose dad.
She comes close and hugs Long.
The night before the wedding, I wrote a farewell letter to your dad. So I could go back to my love. But my lover never gave me that chance. He vanished without a trace one more time. He left this golden hairpin as a wedding gift.
Long looks at Linh. His eyes follow as Linh takes a GOLDEN HAIRPIN out of her hair.
INSERT - FLASHBACK - INT. THEATRE - NIGHT
I remember we went to see a classic Vietnamese opera. The princess refused the King's order to end her relationship with the warrior who loved her and marry the foreign King she didn't love. So the King sent her: poison, rope and a sword. She refused all and chose her death like this...
An ACTRESS is on the stage. She dresses as a princess in a classic Vietnamese traditional opera. After finishing the last part of the song, she suddenly pulls out her hairpin and raises the hairpin and about stabs her own throat...
MATCH CUT TO:
Back to present
INT. LONG'S FAMILY HOME - LONG'S STUDIO - NIGHT
Linh raises the hairpin and pretends to stab her own throat. Her body shakes as if she is dying. But she looks at Long and smiles sadly. She gives him the hairpin.
But I didn't do that... People all have tragedies. But we need to let them go and move on. It's fate.
Linh gently strokes Long's face and hugs him tenderly.
I want you to be happy and I want you to stand up for what you believe.
Linh snuffs out the candle and leaves the room.
Long remains deep in thought as the door closes. The full moon shines the sadness on Long's face as the room goes dark.
INT. ATHLETIC CENTRE - LOCKER - DAY
Ryan sits on a bench and he is in deep thought in an empty locker room. The men's change room doors open and Long enters. Ryan and Long look at each other tentatively.
INT. UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC CENTRE - SWIMMING POOL - DAY (LATER)
Ryan & Long stand on the deck stretching, along with the six other swim team members.
Long and Ryan stand in front of the two middle lanes, the other team members along side them.
The swimmers take their positions, ready to dive forward into the water. Ryan looks over at Long and smiles.
A WHISTLE blows. Long, Ryan and the other swimmers dive in.
Under water their forms are perfect, arms churning, bubbles frothing.
FADE TO BLACK.