Review Fix chats with “Asia A” co-producer Eric Baird who discusses the film and the impact he’d like it to have on audiences.
About the Film:
ASIA A tackles the subject of sudden disability and stars London Brown (Ballers), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), Paulina Bugembe (The Good Place) and Elizabeth Keener (The L Word). Just having begun its festival run this live action short is already a semi-finalist at the 45th Student Academy Awards, has been selected for LA Shorts International Film Festival and HollyShorts. ASIA A was created by director Andrew Reid, writer Roberto Saieh, and producers Jake Katofsky and Eric Baird.
Review Fix: How was this film born?
Eric Baird: This film was inspired by Andrew’s real life experience after a birth defect caused him to be paralyzed from the chest down. In fact, Andrew’s recovery from that was part of what brought him into film. The film itself is an amalgamation of Andrew’s and other paraplegic’s experiences in recovery. Luckily for Andrew that has led to his ability to walk again.
Review Fix: How has it changed from initial concept?
Baird: I think in the broadest strokes it hasn’t changed significantly. Andrew always wanted to focus on this period of early recovery and the characters involved with that. Where I think there have been huge changes is in the layers of emotion and character. It was all very natural, but I think that the depth that this film has was not originally on the page.
Review Fix: What are you most proud of when it comes to this film?
Baird: I’m extremely proud of this film in every facet. Particularly I’m always pleased when people find out that we built the set ourselves. And there is really nothing better than hearing an audience react to your film.
Review Fix: What helped inspire it?
Baird: The inspiration largely came from Andrew’s personal experience and from those in that community that also went through a severe spinal cord injury. Personally I connected with this because I had an injury, all though not nearly on the same level, but still life altering that allowed me to see the parallels.
Review Fix: What was the feeling on set?
Baird: It was a little electric. I think we knew we were making something great the minute we walked on set and that really created a strong vibe.
Review Fix: What stands out most about your cast?
Baird: To me it’s ability and professionalism. Every single cast member walked onto set ready and willing to give their all and I think it shows.
Review Fix: What makes this film special?
Baird: What’s truly special about this film is the level of authenticity his has. I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who believes the characters or situation feel false.
Review Fix: Who will enjoy it most?
Baird: I think it’s got a lot of appeal and most everyone would appreciate it. That said, I sincerely hope that the people that is touches most are those who have been through what our main character went through.
Review Fix: Why is the subject matter of this film important?
Baird: Spinal cord injuries are not something typically at the center of a film. And of the few films that deal with that subject most of them gloss over the diagnosis and the immediate aftermath that comes with it. I think it’s very important to represent this part of a paraplegic’s journey.
Review Fix: Do you connect with it in any way?
Baird: When I was 19 I was in a pretty serious car accident that I’m lucky to have walked away from. It left me with a permanent physical disability. But like Andrew I’ve pushed through it to make it less of an issue. That helped me see how Marquise, the main character, sees the world. And it really connected me with the material.
Review Fix: Bottom Line: Why must someone see this film?
Baird: People need to see this film to gain a greater understanding of what someone with a spinal cord injury goes through, not just physically but emotionally.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Baird: Currently Andrew and Roberto are working on a feature version of ASIA A. For me personally I’m working on getting a few TV shows off the ground and working on directing a short film.