Just got done doing a Q&A with Sun Jae Smith and the crew from Lightsmith Productions, the people behind AI Means Love, which is premiering right now. These are some of the best people I’ve ever met, in terms of the content of their films, but moreover, the content of their souls.
I first became acquainted with the work of Lightsmith Productions in 2008, when I was the judge for the West Virginia International Film Festival’s Student Competition. I immediatly fell in love with their film “Soul Search” a sort of modern retelling of the Faust myth, with a decidedly Judeo-christian slant.
Their films consistently involve a group of generally good people who are encountered with a problem and join together as a community to solve that problem.
What sets Lightsmith pro’s films apart is the makeup of its crew and cast. Director Mie Smith and producer Sun Jae Smith have populated their production company with a colorful assortment of individuals from many different cultures including Katie Tsubata, who has scribed their last three films. Their casts are always very ethnically diverse, and they often feature actors who are clearly speaking English as a second language.
What does this say about WV Filmmaking? First, it says that we aren’t necessarily who we thought we were. These films reflect a new population in the eastern panhandle which is increasingly becoming more cosmopolitan.
I think what most sets Sunjae, Mie, Katie, and the rest of their company apart is the inherant heart and earnestness that permiates their work. There is a level of goodness, sweetness, and open spirituality that is tragically gone from the rest of filmmaking today. Where else are you likely to hear the story of Japanese Christians who immigrate to WV to avoid religious persecution. That’s a whole lot more interesting to me than watching a bunch of white guys play guitar on an abandoned bridge