886 is a moving and complex documentary short directed by Stink director Law Chen and Co-Edited by Chen and Cut +Run’s Chris Hilk. This film is part of Vimeo’s Stories In Place series that chronicles small businesses as they navigate a world in flux. Shuttered due to the pandemic, NYC Taiwanese restaurant 886 turned to delivering bento boxes in order to provide food and resources to those most affected.
As the film reveals, 886’s call for donations ultimately helped keep staff employed and first responders fed, but the decision was fraught with conflicting emotions about safety, service, and what constitutes survival and success.
For director Chen how to safely approach filmmaking in New York under quarantine was also weighted with choice about how best to document this journey. Ultimately, being a part of the experience and employing safety measures to film it firsthand was the only way to capture the intimacy of the story.
Just prior to filming, Chen fortuitously ran into friend Chris Hilk, a senior cutting assistant at Cut+Run, who was working from home and volunteered to help bring the story to life. With just a few days to hone hours of footage, Hilk began shaping the film’s narrative arc by bringing his skills to the challenge of conveying a nuanced portrait of culture and community on the line.
“Although we were under a tight time constraint to submit the final piece to Vimeo, it was really rewarding to experience the creative latitude editing a documentary offers in shaping the director’s vision,” comments Hilk. “As friends who have worked together in the past, Law and I had a foundation for the collaboration that really allowed us to develop an honest look at a complex situation.”
“I always prefer to have partners in the creative process, even in a circumstance like this where I had to serve in most of the production roles,” notes Chen. “I knew that Chris connected with the themes I wanted to convey and I trusted him to be both true to the idea and candid enough to make difficult choices in the edit.”
Stories in Place is a collection of videos by Staff Picked filmmakers to empower Vimeo’s community of creators to tell great stories and shine a light on the small businesses that they love.
In the case of 886, there was a personal connection to some of the people involved in the effort, one that ultimately expanded with a number of New York boutique restaurants. While not a prerequisite to Vimeo’s initiative, it intensified the process for both the director and editor.
“As a filmmaker, we are not considered essential workers but I feel an obligation to help tell the stories of those who are,” explains Chen. “In the case of 886, I hoped to encompass the different motivations and complexities related to keeping a business going when the world is closing up around you.
- Director/DP/Producer Law Chen
- Editors: Chris Hilk (Cut+Run) & Law Chen
- Music Composed by: Toby Gale
SOURCE: Cut + Run