A Queer Vietnamese-Houstonian-New Yorker Writer musing about the arts and absurdities when not screenwriting or playwrighting

Recapping the Last 24 Hours: Making a Fool of Myself Before Ethan Hawke at NYFF55

Critics together nyff

I was honored with an acceptance from the Critic’s Academy fellowship at the New York Film Festival (NYFF55). This opened an overwhelming flood of opportunities and placed me into rather momentous social occasions.

  • Post-screening of Last Flag Flying at NYFF55, I sat three rows from Bryan Cranston, Lawrence Fishburne, and Richard Linklater at the Q&A press conference.
    • Last Flag Flying, for all its shortcomings, was an overall amiable film.
  • Had a successful job interview where I showed off my press badge of the New York Film Festival to mention that “Less than 12 hours ago, I saw Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne, and Richard Linklater speak live” to spice up my qualifications.


  • At the New School American Poetry event (unrelated to NYFF), I made a fool of myself in front of author Joyce Carol Oates, as I remarked, “I remember studying your short story in class” and receiving some kind of non-committal glance from her and realizing maybe I was better off buying the poetry collection book for her to autograph, instead of just going up to her and giving her a random compliment.

View this post on Instagram

The @joycecaroloates3146. #newschoolwrites #poetry #poet

A post shared by Carol Cao (@maximininalist) on

  • As a Critic’s Academy recipient of the New York Film Festival, I was invited to the opening night party of the festival. And I had this conversation with some dude:

“How are you feeling?”


That was the gist of my chat with Ethan Hawke. Basically, my fellow critics noticed his presence, a casual dude in a cap in a flood of suit-wearing men. Since the lighting was dim, I had to double-take with my friends, “Wait, who is this dude?” And they cajoled the really kind Hawke into having a momentary chat (“We’re fans, and we didn’t know how to approach you!”) and he acknowledged my presence, even though I was two bodies down from him at the bar table.

I am just so acquainted with seeing actors’ faces on-screen to really recognize them in real-life sometimes.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: