As prone as we are to including independent action films in our coverage, it was only a matter of time before I’d be back to covering New York-based filmmaker Jon Truei (Gamer’s Generation, Secondary Education), currently in production with kung fu comedy, The 44th Chamber Of Shaolin.
Starring is Marshieh Johnson – son of celebrated Wu Shu master, champion and author Willie “The Bam” Johnson (WMAC Masters, Superfights, The Legend Of Kung Funk), along with Mario Marin, and appearances by action actors Angela Jordan and David Lavallee Jr., among others to be named at a later date. Truei has since completed ancillary footage as of last month, shot in collaboration with action director and Art School Dropouts founder Joey Min.
Principal photography continues in Brooklyn, N.Y. this week as part of a proof of concept to help draw attention to hopeful feature financing.
Inspired by the works of Hong Kong cinema stalwarts like Stephen Chow and Wong Jing, The 44th Chamber Of Shaolin centers on a washed-up kung fu master living in the hood, who creates a fake training regimen for a desperate, socially awkward teenager who still believes in fantastical myths about martial arts.
“The entire movie is a hyper-meta sendup to the martial arts movie genre, and the unusual cultural bridge that martial arts fantasy culture creates between people of all ethnicities in America.” said Truei.
Mary Pomilla, who has worn multiple hats on independent short productions, as well as producing four episodes of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, is producing the project.
Born in Indiana and raised in New Jersey, Truei graduated from NYU in 2012 for Film and TV Production. Long prior to that, he had already begun amassing a number of independent projects, ultimately sharing space with the new wave of online kung fu cinema fans and creators of the early 2000s, creating short videos with the likes of Jabronie Pictures and Art School Dropouts.
His 2013 tokusatsu homage, Secondary Education, generated massive buzz among geek sites. In addition to San Diego Comic Con International the following year, the project was nominated for Best Fight Scene at the 2014 Urban Action Showcase, won Best Supporting Actress and Honorable Mention at Asians on Film Festival Fall 2013, as well as Faculty Commendation for Best Original Score at NYU First Run Film Festival 2014.
Truth be told, and for the sake of disclosure here, there was a time before Film Combat Syndicate where I had a different platform I aspired to use to promote independent action creators like Truei. The very first project I’d seen him in was in Fernando Jay Huerto’s “Test Fight” action comedy webseries as Jay’s bullish online rival “@masterkiller67”, and it was a moniker Truei ran with for years. Little did I know it would be some years later, one late December evening in 2013 that we would meet up at a New Years Eve party somewhere in Brooklyn.
Truei would be the first person I would meet and greet after years of discovering online independent action and stunt communities and individuals for myself starting around fifteen years ago, sifting through sites like Bilang and The Stunt People forums. I lost my voice a little bit that night and my phone burned out in the bitter cold weather, but we hit it off pretty darn well, and we’ve hung out at least twice since then. I personally look forward to meeting up again in these post-Covid times to discuss his project and more in the months ahead.