HEAVY LIGHT: THe First Short

February 5, 2024

HEAVY LIGHT: A Hei Tu Story is the first major film project from AUGURY HOUSE. Supported by a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the short film is the first major installment into the upcoming feature film, Hei Tu. In the following article, the AUGURY HOUSE team reflects on the process behind HEAVY LIGHT and the larger plans for the Hei Tu Film.

HEAVY LIGHT: A Hei Tu Story is a ten minute short film about a musician’s late night encounter with the red string. Drawing from Pu Songling’s Strange Tales, the film is a depiction of a strange happening that blurs the lines between dreams and reality, and time and space. As a feature film, Hei Tu will be a semi-biographical symphony featuring the three founders (Kevin Yatsu, Binh Nguyen, Carissa Te-Hsuan Chu) of AUGURY HOUSE who are guided to one another through the fateful and magical red string. HEAVY LIGHT: A Hei Tu Story is the first small glimpse into the larger world to come!

Made possible by a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the short film was conceived, produced, and released within the span of three weeks. With a small team of five, the film was a behemoth effort filled with improvisation, quick decisions, new equipment, multiple roles, and long days. Given the short timeline, HEAVY LIGHT: A Hei Tu Story is a strong testament to the chemistry and collaborative spirit of the AUGURY HOUSE team. 

The first cut of HEAVY LIGHT represents one small milestone in the context of a much larger project. At first, the Hei Tu feature film was imagined to be a city symphony taking place within the span of a single day. After working on the short, the plans for the larger feature changed considerably. Happening very spontaneously, a new character portrayed by Carissa Te-Hsuan Chu will go on to have a considerable role in the feature, giving tension between the characters. Reflecting on Yatsu’s grandparents’ experience in the Japanese concentration camps during WWII, we plan on incorporating familial items as key props within the narrative.

After HEAVY LIGHT: A Hei Tu Story, the collective will go directly into the production of the Hei Tu film. Although much of the footage from HEAVY LIGHT will likely go unused within the feature, the short film is an important reference point in terms of where we might want to go in terms of color, editing, and sound. We are excited to share our Hei Tu journey on our PATREON where we give daily updates on project progress, new ideas, never before seen rough tests, and occasional rough cuts. Be sure to keep up with us on Patreon for the first look at all things AUGURY HOUSE!