Cinema Asian American: Learn About ‘Nice Girls Crew’ with Tanuj Chopra and Christine Kwon

"Nice Girls Crew."

This October, XFINITY On Demand brings you Cinema Asian American‘s special sneak peak of the heavily-buzzed about new webisode series, “Nice Girls Crew.” Currently screening on the film festival circuit, all five episodes of its first season will be available on-demand this month, ahead of the series’ online debut.

Produced by the Center for Asian American Media, directed by award winning filmmaker Tanuj Chopra (“Punching at the Sun”), and written by Chopra and Christine Kwon, “Nice Girls Crew” is an irreverent, raunchy “Bridesmaids“-meets-“Arrested Development,” no-holds-barred comedy series. Starring Sheetal Sheth (“Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,” “I Can’t Think Straight”), Michelle Krusiec (“Saving Face”) and Lynn Chen (“Surrogate Valentine,” “Yes, We’re Open”), “Nice Girls Crew” crosses the line of traditional comedy — and then goes a little further.
Sophie (Lynn Chen), Leena (Sheetal Sheth), and Geraldine (Michelle Krusiec) have been true “frenemies” since elementary school. All grown up and finding themselves in the city of Los Angeles, the ladies seek refuge from their isolation in a book club where they never actually talk about the book. Their subjects of interest? Sex, cannibalism, drugs and just about everything else you’d expect in such good company.

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Tell me about the title of the series, “Nice Girls Crew.” These ladies are sort of nice, but also kind of raunchy, catty, like to drink and talk about sex.
TC: I like it because it feels like the name of a freestyle dance crew from East San Jose.

CK: they’re pretty nice. i would describe them as magnanimous mammals.

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The series was made for the web and stars three of the most recognizable Asian American actresses working today: Michelle Krusiec, Sheetel Sheth and Lynn Chen. The Asian American web content world is largely dominated by folks like KevJumba, Wong Fu, etc. What was the starting point for creating this series?
CK: The Center for Asian American Media was cool enough to recognize the importance of producing compelling media in the form of female-driven comedy. My boss Don Young encouraged me to create something like this, so we came up with a very simple concept about three friends, and then sourced material from our well of neuroticism. We need diversity in all media platforms, so the fact that NGC is about uncensored, unabashedly funny Asian American women – it can do a lot for the field and can be, I hope, very impactful for young women of color.

TC: I have issues with guys like Kev Jumba and Wong Fu dominating my Asian American webspace and the internet seemed like a private place to work it out. We found the three hottest, most talented women in Hollywood to end this era of domination.

Tanuj, you are most well known for your film “Punching at the Sun,” which made its premiere at Sundance (and interestingly, most of your writing has been on the dramatic end of the spectrum) and Christine, you work as both the managing director of the San Francisco Int’l Asian American Film Festival and as a film producer; how did this collaboration come into being?
TC: I’m in a spiritual place where I just do whatever I want whenever I want.

CK: Tanuj does whatever he wants when he’s in a spiritual place.

Each episode is built around a meeting of the book club which the three women are part of. How are the book selections made?
TC: I don’t know actually.

CK: I do, obviously.

Viewers are able to watch the first five episodes of “Nice Girls” Crew this month on Comcast Cinema Asian America – what are your plans for season 2?
TC: Bigger, better, faster badder. We want to crank up the one-liners and gags. You may also see some funny cameos from their relatives. If I say anymore the executive producer Don Young will put my head on a pike.

CK: “Nice Girls Crew: The Squeakquel.”

What other projects are you both working on next?
CK: Producing a documentary on Asian Americans in the prison / justice system. And I write a blog called poorboar.

TC: I’m working on more shorts, features and building out the at-risk youth filmmaking program: New Voices for Youth.

See all Cinema Asian America interviews here.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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