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SCI-FI | FANTASY

2021 • 18:36 MINUTES • HD

It's the year 2025 and Max aka Inmate 0713, one of the greatest drug kingpins of the decade, is about to be served his last meal moments before he must serve his death sentence. But Max, a brilliant criminal mastermind, has got one last ace up his sleeve.

DEATH ROW

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CAST:

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DIRECTOR:

Kent S. Leung (He/Him)

Kent S. Leung is a man of dreams and actions who has had an unprecedented career fuelled by his dedication and drive. This has led him to break barriers and set cultural milestones within the industry. 

 

In 2017 Kent starred in the Pakistani feature film, Chalay Thay Saath, alongside Pakistani A-lister Syra Shahroz, which crowned Kent as the first-ever Chinese actor in Pakistani film industry history. Chalay Thay Saath was released theatrically across Pakistan as well as had select screenings in America and Hong Kong and is currently available on Netflix. 

 

In 2018, with only 2 and a half years of learning Mandarin, Kent played the housemate of the Chinese star Tiffany Tang (唐嫣)in the Chinese TV show The Way We Were《归去来》. In 2014, Kent was nominated for a "Best Actor Award” next to Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss (Mr. Holland’s Opus), for his titular role of Jack, a gay chef struggling with love, in the feature film, John Apple Jack. He also just recently finished shooting Guo’s Summer 《张卫国的夏天》 opposite veteran actor and celebrity Huang Lei (黄磊). 

 

But Kent has had his sights set not only on a successful acting career but a career in film-making behind the camera as well. In recent years he’s begun to make a name for himself as an auteur filmmaker with it all starting years ago with his first film Multipl’oh, a sex-comedy which Kent wrote, directed, starred in and edited. Then in early 2020, while he was in quarantine Kent shot an award-winning experimental short film aptly named Quarantine: Awakening. where he completed the film with no outside help whatsoever. And this year Kent completed Death Row, a science-fiction piece shot with a skeleton crew where Kent once again took part in writing, directed, starred in and edited. 

 

Kent also has his hands in the fashion industry. He’s attended fashion shows such as Marc Jacobs, Tadashi Shoji, Bosideng, Tom Ford and more. He has also worked directly with brands such as Adidas, Paul Smith, TUMI, SONY and Wedgwood to name only a few. 

 

On Kent’s “downtime” between acting and film-making, he host’s his own short-video series called The Life Astronaut 【思想加成】where he shares his opinions and beliefs (which are heavily influenced by his degree in psychology) on how to achieve greatness, overcome personal insecurities, and maintain and develop discipline, among many other self-development related topics. 

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DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT:

Coming from a background in psychology, the discussion around nature vs nurture has always interested me. As a result, I've been a huge fan of the multitude of superhero films. Not only because of the classic reasons like having grown up with and being a fan of them my entire life but because each hero's origin story is a case study of nature and nurture (albeit a fictional case).

A villain's origin story similarly excites me and sometimes even more so because they often draw from a far darker narrative. What horrible things did they experience growing up? How did these events shape their psyche to propel them to do evil? Despite the answers to these questions and the evil deeds they have done as a result, the truth is that these "evil" characters weren't born this way. And accepting that despite all of us coming from innocent beginnings, any one of us who experiences the things that these evil characters have, could just as easily become evil and do evil ourselves. Although their deeds are inexcusable, their humanity and their pain are still worth our sympathy. Not to mention provide a great foundation for a dramatic story.

My film Death Row explores such a character but in a way that allows the character himself to share firsthand through his own understanding how and why he came to his position: sitting on death row and about to be served his final meal. Being a huge fan of science fiction, I took the liberty to explore the classic concept of an inmate's last meal in a world where Matrix-esque technology existed. Would such technology become so widespread that it'd be used to offer inmates sitting on death row one last moment of peace being serving their death penalty? I know for a fact though, Max, is glad that it has. 

Lastly, I'd like to add that as a Canadian Born Chinese who grew up in a strictly Cantonese and English speaking household, I've extremely proud of myself and this film for two particular reasons. 

First off with only 6 or so years of learning Mandarin, being able to perform such a length of mandarin dialogue was not only a huge undertaking for me but also a huge milestone. Although the delivery is still far from the standard set by native mandarin speaking actors, I believe this is an accomplishment still worth noting. 

Secondly, the crew was a mixture of Asian (North) Americans and local Chinese. Being able to bridge these two groups of people, whether it's for film or otherwise, is something I'm proud to promote. And it is also significant to me because it symbolizes and is reflective of my growth from being a naive and rather sheltered second-generation Chinese Canadian actor (who understood little of Chinese culture) to becoming a cross-cultural and cross-border filmmaker of Chinese and Canadian descent. Although the film's narrative does not speak specifically upon the experience of an Asian American, the film's production and existence undoubtedly are a part of one's.

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STILLS: