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Asian American Film Home > Features > Jessica Hagedorn Checks into the "Pink Palace"

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Jessica Hagedorn Checks into the "Pink Palace"

05.05 - Posted by Editor
Jessica Hagedorn Pink Palace
Jessica Hagedorn Checks into the "Pink Palace"
The artist talks about her new animated series on the Oxygen Network
Interview by Greg Pak

"The Pink Palace" animated series debuted last month on the Oxygen Network's "X Chromosone" television program.
    Created by Jessica Hagedorn (the writer and performance artist) and John Woo (of Woo Art International (not the HK filmmaker)), "The Pink Palace" is a series of seven minute episodes about a Filipina mother and daughter living in Oakland, California. AsianAmericanFilm.com spoke with Hagedorn to learn a little more about the project.


Woo Art International

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AAF   What inspired the stories behind "Pink Palace"?
JH  "The Pink Palace" was inspired by some actual real-life stories and by my imagination. I came to America as a teenager from Manila and lived in the Bay Area... therefore, much of the angst and uncertainty Baby, my main character, feels, comes from some of my life experience. My own mother was a painter, and quite progressive in her ideas. but also very much a product of her Philippine culture. She was complex and contradictory, so I was inspired by memories of her.
AAF   Why animation rather than live action?
JH  Animation was the medium offered to us by Oxygen. It was something I'd never tried before, and I think you should try most things at least once in your life.
AAF   Much of animation directed at adults these days features cartoony animation, loopy humor, and shock-value language and situations. You've skewed "Pink Palace" in a very different direction. How do you describe the feel and tone of the program and what's the target audience?
JH   I would call "The Pink Palace" a six-minute animated movie, rather than a cartoon. We wanted the feel and tone of the series to be funky, beautiful, sophisticated yet wacky. The target audience for Oxygen is supposedly women -- I say my target audience is young women, their mothers and grandmothers and everyone else on the planet.
AAF   How did you develop the relationship with Oxygen? Were the suits already interested in an Asian American animated piece, or did you have to convince them?
JH   The connection to Oxygen is through our producer Machi Tantillo, who used to work with John Woo when she was at MTV. She approached us to pitch a story for their animation division. It could've been about any ethnicity, etc. They were open to ideas.
AAF   How did you develop the look of the characters and style of the animation? Could you tell us a little about how your team collaborated?
JH   I was interested in something groundbreaking, featuring characters rarely seen on television. A tall order. We asked around, heard through a good friend about a young Filipino-American illustrator named Chris Habana, who had grown up in the Bay Area and so would be familiar with the landscape in the story. Chris came on board early on, and this is his first time working in animation. John Woo brought the rest of the production team together -- the actual animation artists -- folks he'd worked with in the past on other projects. I wrote the "bible", made a list of characters, then created the four episodes for the first season in collaboration with John.
    This has been a very different medium for me. I've worked in film, theater, performance, but this has been the most "cerebral" for me in terms of actual input.
AAF   How has "Pink Palace" been received by viewers?
JH   I have no idea how the show is being received by viewers. It's too early to tell, I think.
AAF   Could you tell us about any other projects you're working on now?
JH   I am presently working on an adaptation of my novel "Dogeaters" for the Public Theater, which will present its New York premiere in its 2000-2001 season.


do you know jessica's email address?! i would like to ask her some questions regarding a class assignment.

Posted by: kristina on October 11, 2003 02:44 AM

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