Crystal J. Huang

Shanghai born actress Crystal J. Huang stars in Anno 2020, an ambitious global feature film now officially in post-production after being shot on four continents at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Huang, who was raised in Shanghai but now resides in California, is one of an award-winning ensemble of international actors who feature in Anno 2020. She plays a Chinese immigrant living in the city of Dublin, in California’s East Bay region. Her screen daughter, played by Beijing-native Ruike Kuang, is on vacation in Beijing when the Covid-19 outbreak begins in early 2020.

Ruike Kuang

In dramatic scenes all too reflective of families divided during the Covid lockdowns, Huang’s character must express love for her distant daughter using remote video technology.

Anno 2020, which finished shooting last month, is considered a triumph for Sydney-based MoneyShot Productions. For lead producer Gil Ben-Moshe it represents no small victory given the travel restrictions, lockdowns and other challenges thrown up by the pandemic.

Crystal on L.A. film set of Anno 2020 (with RED Komodo 6K camera)

Adapted from a novel of the same name, Anno 2020 represents the directorial debut of Sydney-based New Zealand-born director and screenwriter James Morcan who also wrote the novel and screenplay adaptation.

Morcan, who began writing the story as soon as the lockdowns began almost two years ago, describes the story as a multicultural kaleidoscope of interconnected characters seeking redemption, forgiveness and peace during the chaotic year that was 2020.

“We show the suffering of the Chinese people during the pandemic, including deaths of certain China-based characters,” he says. “I felt this important to display, especially as Covid-19 was first detected in the city of Wuhan, in central China’s Hubei province.”

Morcan says he did not hesitate to cast Huang to star in the production.

“Crystal was my main advisor on Chinese cultural elements. She carefully translated some of the script’s English dialogue into Mandarin for scenes in her native language.

“I also gave her the freedom to improvise much of her dialogue. This helped to shape her role and mother-daughter plot into something authentically Chinese rather than reflect my Western perspective.”

Morcan says what he loves about Huang is she is not only an exceptional actress, but she is all about supporting the director and the film.

“Crystal has no ego and that, combined with her remarkable talent, equals a winning formula for any actor.”

Huang says she called on memories of her former life in Shanghai a lot to help Morcan shape the Chinese aspects of the story. The daughter of a factory manager and doctor, she grew up performing in Shanghai theatres and hosting major events. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in China before continuing her education in the USA where she performed as a pianist and ballroom dancer and came to prominence in the San Francisco theatre scene.  

Crystal with Eric Roberts

In recent years, Huang has emerged as an in-demand Chinese actress in major American motion pictures, starring opposite such renowned Hollywood veterans as Eric Roberts and Tom Sizemore.

Crystal with Tom Sizemore

Huang says her favorite film director is Woody Allen.

Anno 2020 is reminiscent of Woody Allen’s work. I think it is a timely contribution and touches on various important issues facing society in this era. It has rich diversity and almost every scene feels truly realistic,” she says.

“The film’s characters are all meaningful and unique, and James, as a first-time director, has great personal style and delivers cinematic atmosphere.”

Huang, who is also the film’s associate producer, says, “I believe Anno 2020 deserves to be seen and known by Chinese people.”

Crystal with American actress Jessica Castello

Speaking from Sydney this week, producer Gil Ben-Moshe says it’s a huge relief that Anno 2020 is now officially in post-production with a rough first edit completed.

“The film is ambitious because it was shot in 17 cities across five countries, and our China-based camera crews filmed in the cities of Shenzhen and Beijing,” he says. “Requiring the employment of camera crews and cast around the world, it features dialogue in English, Hebrew, Mandarin and Italian.”

Film still (in Beijing) from Anno 2020

Ben-Moshe says the producers’ immediate goal for Anno 2020, which he describes as family friendly, is to earn acceptance into major film festivals later in the year.

“Our longer-term targets include a theatrical release followed by online distribution on major streaming platforms. We also hope the film will screen in China, either in festivals there or in movie theatres.”

END

Anno 2020 IMDb page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13455748/

Crystal’s IMDb page: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm9849317/

Crystal’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/huangcrystal2080/?hl=en

Mandarin translation of article follows:

The Mandarin translation of the article (below) appeared today in the China Entertainment Network (Yule) media site: http://news.yule.com.cn/html/202202/338807.html

全球电影巜纪元2020》的中国明星

                     兰斯.莫肯Lance Morcan(澳大利亞)

上海出生的女演员 Crystal J. Huang 黄洁萍出演了《纪元 2020》,这是一部雄心勃勃的全球故事片,于新冠流行最严重的时期在四大洲拍摄。

黄在上海长大,现居加利福尼亚,是《纪元 2020》中屡获殊荣的国际演员之一。她在加利福尼亚东湾区扮演一名中国移民。 2020 年初疫情爆发时,女儿(由匡瑞可在北京饰演)正在中国度假。分离万里,只能用远程视频表达关爱。

改编自同名小说的《纪元 2020》是在悉尼出生的新西兰导演兼编剧詹姆斯·莫肯James Morcan的导演处女作,詹姆斯·莫肯是知名畅销小说和剧本作家。
两年前疫情开始后,他就开始创作。这个故事里一个多元文化万花筒,由人物的关联在 2020 年的灾难中寻求救赎、宽恕与和平。

莫坎说他毫不犹豫地让黃出演该片。他中意黄的原因是她不仅是一位杰出的演员,而且她全心支持导演和这部电影。“Crystal 忘我的合作精神,再加上她非凡的才华,这对任何演员来说都是成功的秘诀。”

黄从小在上海剧院表演并主持典礼。在中国获得学士学位后赴美国继续深造并定居。在那里她学习钢琴和交际舞。获得过东方夫人选美大奖。并在戏剧界崭露头角。近年来,黄在好莱坞中成为炙手可热的中国女演员,曾与埃里克·罗伯茨(Eric Roberts)和汤姆·西斯莫尔(Tom Sizemore)等好莱坞知名影星合作。

制片人 吉本摩西(Gil Ben-Moshe )本周在悉尼表示《纪元 2020》现已正式进入后期制作阶段,已经完成了初步剪辑。他说:“这部电影雄心勃勃,因为它是在五个国家的 十七个城市拍摄的,包括深圳和北京”。

他表示《纪元 2020》的直接目标是在今年晚些时候获得主要电影节的认可。“我们的长期目标包括在影院上映,然后在主要流媒体平台上在线发行。我们也希望这部电影能在中国上映。”

Anno 2020 IMDb page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13455748/

Crystal’s IMDb page: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm9849317/

Crystal’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/huangcrystal2080/?hl=en

A bird’s eye view of New Zealand, the land that time forgot.

Shrouded in cloud at the bottom of the world, this was the land that time forgot: the last sizeable piece of undiscovered land on Earth. Two hundred million years after breaking away from the vast southern continent of Gondwana, Man had yet to leave his footprints on this prehistoric place.

Mythology would have it the land was fished up out of the ocean. In fact, earthquakes and volcanic activity forced it to literally erupt from the sea bed. This violent birth left it with a majestic ruggedness that would always reflect its former turbulence. The legacy of those fiery beginnings includes still-active volcanoes amidst the mountain chains that dissect the land.

Over time, its features softened. Scenes of beauty emerged out of the mists. There was a haunting stillness about the land. It was a place of mystery – of magical forests and sparkling lakes and rivers.

And the sea surrounded it – like some huge tidal moat.

Its isolation ensured it wouldn’t be until well into the First Millennium AD that Man would step foot on these shores. The brown-skinned people who settled here would call their new home Aotearoa – land of the long, white cloud.

Not until its rediscovery centuries later by European explorers would the land receive the name by which it is known today…

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The storyline:

New Zealand: A Novel spans 500 years and covers the respective discoveries of New Zealand by Maori and European, starting with the journey of the first fleet of Polynesian migrants from Hawaiki and ending with the historic circumnavigation of New Zealand by Captain James Cook’s bark the Endeavour as seen through the eyes of 17-year-old surgeon’s boy Nicholas Young.

Separated in time by more than four centuries, the adventures of the many Polynesian and European characters in this epic tale are told in parallel until they collide in dramatic circumstances with the arrival of the latter in the land the indigenous Maori people called Aotearoa. The land England would claim as New Zealand.

* * *

The author: Lance Morcan – co-author of other historical fiction titles including White Spirit (A novel based on a true story), World Odyssey, Fiji: A Novel, Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story).

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View the upcoming title New Zealand: A Novel on Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60241370-new-zealand

Updates to follow as the countdown to publication continues. Watch this space!

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Hi all, I have been working on this book-film creative project ever since lockdowns began in early 2020…This has been my attempt to make sense of, or mentally process, our strangely altered reality…

And I’m feelin’ blessed to be working with New York actor/rapper Andre Doc Williams who starred in and wrote the music for this promo of our film Anno 2020…

La Rivers, Shaun Huff, Dilia Corujo, Adryanna Elmendorf and Sharod Giles also star in the Rochester, NY plot.

This Rochester section is one of half a dozen plots set all over the world in this beast of a production I’m directing – and which is based on my recently published novel. As the title suggests, Anno 2020 is set during last year’s global meltdown and explores intense relationships in this chaotic and uncertain period of time.

I’m also very grateful to have other award-winning actors including Australian cast members Erin Connor (Occupation, Dino King 3D), Greg Poppleton (Narnia, Moulin Rouge), Brett Partridge (Water Rats) and Audrey Nitschke (who I highly recommend if anyone needs a child actor). Plus Americans Kevin Scott Allen, Sheila Ball and Jessica Castello, Israeli Lital Luzon and Italian Adriana Moccia.

The entire cast has been pushed to their absolute limit as the rare performance style we are employing is emotionally raw, semi-improvisational and mostly shot via close-ups…And each actor is also bravely infusing their own real-life experiences that evolve their characters into something very genuine, almost like a docu-drama.

Simon Carter is our director of photography – and inspires me every day with his ideas and enthusiasm for the story.

And my long-time Sydney-based collaborator Gil Ben-Moshe, of MoneyShot Productions, is lead producer and is also one of our main actors. And I must say it’s wonderful to work with an actor/producer who is very respectful of all involved and trusts a director’s storytelling process – so thanks for your faith in me, Gil!

We are 80% thru shooting Anno 2020 and will soon be in post. Our whole team appreciates your support!

Thanks,

James Morcan

Anno 2020 on IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13455748/

Anno 2020 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCndxcZbWFGcNQ76TLVSZaeg

Anno 2020 (novel) on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Anno-2020-James-Morcan-ebook/dp/B08LS91VV6

Book review of Anno 2020:

Our Underground Knowledge global discussion group’s membership has topped 16,000 on Goodreads, confirming its status as one of the fastest-growing, most popular groups on the Amazon-owned site for books, authors, readers and all things literary.

1088194

The group has been designed to encourage debates about important and underreported issues of our era. All you need is an enquiring mind and a desire to gain or share underground knowledge.

So what is underground knowledge? Our definition is: Underground knowledge covers details, concepts and little-known events not usually reported in mainstream media (MSM), or, if they are, they’re underreported for various reasons. Nor are they usually covered by mainstream academia.

Our Underground Knowledge group is open to everyone no matter your beliefs or nationality, and all viewpoints are welcome. Undergrounders (our members) come from many walks of life and include award-winning authors, everyday readers, teachers and students, historians, scientists, military and former intelligence personnel, conspiracy theorists and agitators, Christians and non-believers, Islamists and Buddhists, and a lot more. Y’all welcome!

If you are interested in our Underground Knowledge group come visit us at https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/142309-underground-knowledge-a-discussion-group

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For the First Nations people of the Pacific Northwest salmon was part of their staple diet – preferably eaten putrid and well past its used-by date – as young Englishman John Jewitt discovered when a captive of the Mowachahts of Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, in the early 1800s. 

We include references to John’s aversion to putrid salmon in our epic historical fiction adventure INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story). The earthy descriptions are accurate for we sourced them directly from a diary he kept during his years in captivity. To John’s chagrin, the surrounding woods abounded with game, but salmon was considered a delicacy compared to deer and such.

Mowachaht chief Maquinna and his family agreed to John’s request that he cook an English-style meal of roasted venison for them. However, to the young cook’s dismay, they were unimpressed by the meal, and stuck to their traditional diet.

John observed the Mowachahts’ diet, which also included whale meat and blubber, kept them healthy as illness was rare within the tribe except during harsh winters when starvation was a common occurrence.

One book critic describes INTO THE AMERICAS as “an incredible, true-life, wilderness survival story”. It is available via Amazon as a paperback and Kindle ebook.

Albert Einstein took long walks when pondering complex equations. The genius often commented that many of his Eureka moments came to him whilst walking.

Einstein seeking a Eureka moment

We explore the link between walking and intelligence in GENIUS INTELLIGENCE: Secret Techniques and Technologies to Increase IQ, book one in our Underground Knowledge Series.

German composer/pianist Ludwig van Beethoven was another of history’s geniuses who took long, solitary walks to incubate creative ideas, and there are many other examples.

We found one study at Stanford University showed that subjects came up with more creative ideas during and immediately after a walk compared to those who simply sat at a desk. Certainly, there’s a rhythmic flow to walking that puts one almost in a trance-like or meditative state when walking. Other physical exercise such as dancing, cycling or running probably delivers similar results.

Walking is just one of many accelerated learning methods we highlight. Others include brain waves common to geniuses and how to induce those brain waves; mental techniques celebrities use to process information whilst asleep or in virtual worlds; chemicals students employ to kick-start the brain into overdrive; and cutting-edge technologies business execs and pro athletes employ to gain a cerebral edge over competitors.

Athletes and sports medicine professionals are united in their opinion that exercise helps your mental function. Runners experience the pleasant – many say euphoric – “runner’s high” that comes with intense, sustained exercise. Such exercise (not just running) increases serotonin in the brain, leading to improved mental clarity.

GENIUS INTELLIGENCE is available via Amazon as a paperback and Kindle ebook.

GENIUS INTELLIGENCE: Secret Techniques and Technologies to Increase IQ (The Underground Knowledge Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QXQQWXO/

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In Australia’s wilderness, Aborigines told escaped Irish convict John Graham if you want to live follow the Songlines. So he did… and he lived. John found sanctuary with the Kabi, a primitive tribe who had never seen a white man, and he marveled at their uncanny ability to navigate the landscape by following the mysterious Songlines – tracks left by their spirit ancestors from the Dreaming.

“Those who lose dreaming are lost.” -Aboriginal proverb

Here, we relate some of John’s true-life experiences from our epic historical adventure WHITE SPIRIT (A novel based on a true story)

As his companion Mamba explained, “You know we sing to the land and its sacred landmarks because it is alive… The Songlines allow us to follow the paths left by our spirit ancestors from the Dreamtime. Our ancestors have told us it is so, remember? By following the Dreaming Tracks we walk in footprints of those who went before us and so we journey safely…and never get lost.”

Mamba continued, “The language of the Songlines is in the rhythm of the song, not the words. The rhythm is an echo of the sky and of the land below. Listening to it, or singing it, guarantees you always have a path to follow.”

White Spirit (A novel based on a true story) by [Lance Morcan, James Morcan]

Set in Nineteenth Century Australia,  WHITE SPIRIT is based on John Graham’s remarkable true story. After escaping from the notorious Moreton Bay Penal Settlement, John finds refuge with the Kabi, a tribe of Aborigines who eventually accept him as one of their own. Attempts to recapture him are orchestrated by a variety of contrasting characters working for the all-pervasive British Empire. They include Moreton Bay’s tyrannical, opium-addicted commandant Lord Cheetham, the dashing yet warlike Lieutenant Hogan, native tracker Barega and the penal settlement’s captain, Tom Marsden.

WHITE SPIRIT is available via Amazon as a paperback and Kindle ebook. https://www.amazon.com/White-Spirit-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B01LWIRH9J/

4.4 out of 5 stars after 185 reviewer ratings on Amazon.

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My inspiration for this short story was the real-life abduction by Maori of a young white girl who happened to be one of two identical twins living in 19th Century New Zealand. The girl’s bereft father spent years unsuccessfully searching for his missing daughter.

That true story had a happy ending many years later after a chance sighting in Wellington saw the separated twins reunited. It turned out the abducted sister had been raised as a Maori by the tribe that had taken her; she’d had two loving husbands, both Maoris, and had children by them both; she spoke fluent Te Reo Māori and had no desire to return to her previous life.    

In Once were Brothers, seven-year-old Daniel Thomas is abducted from the family farm in New Zealand’s Far North by Maoris opposed to the presence of white settlers. Daniel’s father devotes his remaining years to searching for his missing blue-eyed, blond-haired son. Until his death a decade later, he’s assisted in his search by Daniel’s identical twin brother Benjamin.

Twenty years later and now a family man himself with children of his own, Benjamin receives a tip-off that could confirm one way or another whether his brother is alive or dead.

Once Were Brothers by [Morcan, Lance]

Once Were Brothers is available via Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B082Z5FBVZ/

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“How can two guys write with any knowledge about challenges faced by a female icon of the Me Too movement?” That’s what one book critic asks about our co-authored crime thriller The Me Too Girl. Our answer? It wasn’t easy…

However, Amazon reviewers appear to think we did okay as they’ve given the novel a 4.2 star rating globally.

Hall of Fame Top 100 reviewer Grady Harp describes the novel as “A literary amber/red alert!” and says “This book is important – as well as being a fine read. Highly recommended.”

Vine Voice book critic Ray F. says, “It is a story praiseworthy in what it is attempting to do.”

And Amazon reviewer Sheri A. Wilkinson describes it as “A must read (for men and women).”

The storyline: Young Los Angeles public relations exec Suzie Fox is being blackmailed for sex by a bad cop, a senior officer of the LAPD no less. Suzie fights back the only way she knows how, and, in the process, unwittingly becomes a beacon, a shining light, for America’s Me Too movement and for abused women everywhere. But will justice be served?

The Me Too Girl by [Lance Morcan, James Morcan]

The Me Too Girl is available via Amazon as a paperback and Kindle ebook: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08137BDGH/

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Yamashita’s Gold, alleged stolen treasure squirreled away by the Japanese during their occupation of the Philippines in WW2, was named after General Tomoyuki Yamashita. We devote a chapter to this intriguing rumor in our book The Orphan Conspiracies.

Yamashita’s Gold… Fact or fiction?

The war loot, also known as Yamashita’s Treasure, is said to have been hidden in caves and underground complexes throughout the islands of the Philippines.

Existence of these treasures remain unconfirmed by the Japanese, Filipino and all other authorities in Asia and the West to this very day. However, most international investigators – Asian investigators included – believe Yamashita’s Gold exists, or existed, at least to some degree. Their belief is supported by a Hawaii Supreme Court finding in 1998 and a subsequent US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruling, and we reveal those legal bombshells late in the chapter.

Between Japanese army records, international court hearings, eyewitness accounts and treasure finds throughout the Philippines over the decades following WW2, there seems to be more than enough substance to build a case for the existence of Yamashita’s Gold.

For more about Yamashita’s Gold, check out The Orphan Conspiracies on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J4MPFT6/

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