Alumnus Wins at Moondance Film Festival

Posted: February 25, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Michelle Nery and Sarah McGurk

Alumnus Ernest Leong, M.A.I.S. ’01, won Best TV Movie of the Week at the Jan. 26 Moondance Film Festival in Boulder, Colo., for his screenplay, Getting Along.

The screenplay, which also ranked as a semifinalist at the Sundance Film Festival, is inspired by his parents’ real-life experiences. The story follows a young Chinese-American man who runs a hand-laundry business in New York during the 1950s. The man must teach his Chinese-immigrant wife how to “get along” in America before their business and family fall apart.

Even though Leong has been screenwriting for more than 10 years, he chose the MAIS-Video graduate program to supplement his creative process. “[Learning about] videomaking, from pre- to post-production, helped me to better visualize my piece and how it might be made,” says Leong.

He credits his motivation to the knowledge and advice of his George Mason professors who told him to “go on a set and learn through firsthand experience how movies are made.” Leong recently signed with an agent and hopes to pursue screenwriting on a full-time basis. He is currently writing a prequel to Getting Along and completing research for a western film about Chinese cowboys.

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