Filmmaker Gets Ideas, Inspiration

By Joy Yang
Joy Yang
Joy Yang
January 5, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

The audience watches Divine Performing Arts at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. (The Epoch Times)
The audience watches Divine Performing Arts at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. (The Epoch Times)
PASADENA, Calif.—One remarkable audience member of the Divine Performing Arts (DPA) show at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium was Mr. Hanna. His already tremendous creativity was sparked by what he saw and heard.

Mr. Hanna is an animator/musician/writer who has worked on very famous animated and live action feature films. He has scored music for top directors and for well-known television shows and written screenplays for Oscar-nominated films. He owns a multimedia production company. Currently he is working on his own film, a story about a young Chinese girl who fights for justice and to protect people in her town.

Mr. Hanna spoke to us at length about his experience with the Divine Performing Arts show. Mr. Hanna said he got a lot of very good ideas after watching the Divine Performing Arts show.

“A lot of the fashion and the costume design … was very beautiful in the Divine Performing Arts. And the music was a beautiful blend of traditional Chinese instruments, the pipa, the erhu, Chinese flute, and Chinese drums, mixed with the Western orchestral instrumentation, and they got a really beautiful blend of Western and Eastern music, as well as Eastern dance and Western dance. And the costume design was beautiful. I got a lot of very good ideas for costuming in the traditional Chinese martial arts. I was very inspired by the message.”

Reflecting on the messages he got from the show, Mr. Hanna said, “I think it’s fantastic, and I agree with the guest speakers and a lot about what they have said about rising above the self-centered materialistic ways of the world. Follow a spiritual path, follow the right way, have a conscience, do what’s right according to your conscience, and that’s what separates us from animals. We have a conscience, and we know the difference between right and wrong. I think many religions in the world, a lot of them maintain ‘good vs. evil,’ but how do we really define what is good, what is evil? And there are certain principles in life that you can summarize.”

‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is the Golden Rule, and I believe Divine Performing Arts has expressed that in the show.”

Mr. Hanna was moved by the ending dance, “Knowing the True Picture Offers Ultimate Hope.” He said, “The final message in the final performance of the show was a very beautiful message. And the way I interpreted it was: the evil in the world is perpetuated through lies; lies and untruth, and hiding behind the darkness and in the lies, and that the truth comes out in the light. The light of truth can shine onto the world. As long as you have truth and justice behind you, you don’t have any blame, you don’t have guilt, you can be free of fear and guilt, and you can have hope. As long as you’re doing the right thing, the truthful thing, be true to yourself, and you have a conscience, then you can find hope for a good life, and you should be able to have a good life, and achieve anything you want to achieve, and live in harmony.”

Mr. Hanna was most impressed by the music, costumes, and digital backdrop. “I loved the combination of the beautiful music, costume design, and one of the main things that I wanted to say was about the integration of the computer-generated animation that was used in the background,” he said.

“Being an animator … I loved the fine ways of integrating real life with animation, and in the Divine Performing Arts show, there was, very expertly, a mixture of animation. In the background you have an animated scene of the mountain top, and the sky, and the divine presence, and the characters would fly from the mountain top on the screen into the corner of the stage, and then the real life characters would appear from out of nowhere, from the stage left, or from under the stage, in perfect synchronization with the computer animation, and it flowed back and forth between the real world, the stage, and the animation, and it was very beautifully done, and that was one of the most original and unique things that I notice about the production,” he said.

As a composer, Mr. Hanna also felt strongly about the use of music in the show. “Oh, so many talented people. The orchestra alone, I could tell, because I come from a musical background as well, is that they are all geniuses. They’re all musical geniuses. I watched them play, the violinists are magnificent; some of the complicated violin solos and violin arrangements were very difficult. I play guitar and piano, and I have a real respect for classically trained musicians.”

Mr. Hanna finished by telling us how the divine spirituality of Chinese culture presented by DPA may help with his future work.

“I come away watching the Divine Performing Arts show with inspiration in so many ways. One is the message of justice, and fighting for what you believe in, and following the right path. And I come away with ideas for new costume designs, new characters, traditional Chinese wise men, and traditional Chinese kings, and royalty, and the wardrobe that goes with it, as well as the music; so many ideas going through my head from it.”

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Divine Performing Arts 2009 World Tour. The show returns to the New York Metro area Jan 23—27.
For more information visit divineperformingarts.org

Joy Yang
Joy Yang