Archive for the Blog Category

Nikki & Dan: “Korea to San Diego”

Nikki & Dan
Wedding Film Teaser Trailer
El Prado, Balboa Park in San Diego, CA
Licensed by TheMusicBed

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Cinematographers – Daniel Dai and Mike Huang

James Lee Films officially started off 2015 with our first destination wedding! While San Diego is still within the mainland U.S. and not considered ‘destination’ for some, it was certainly so for everyone involved from guests to vendors and even the bride and groom. Nikki is the sister of my beloved friend JR Pena, and it was an honor to be able to do this wedding. The first time I saw Nikki was in the form of a portrait done by JR leaning against the living room wall in JR’s home. JR always talked highly of his sister, but I never got the chance to meet her because she was always traveling. For awhile, she was in Korea teaching English – and it was there that Nikki and Dan met.

Specifically, Nikki and Dan met five years ago working an Academy in Anyang. Dan had been working there for awhile when Nikki came. Nikki was looking for a couch, and she asked Dan because apparently he knew where to get good used couches. Nikki is really good at chess, but Dan told her that she could beat her one day. Three months later, Dan said’ Hey, let’s have a chess match; I beat the computer.” They bet the loser had to cook dinner for the winner. Dan won – but Nikki convinced their friend Tracie to tell Dan that she’s a bad cook, and he ended up cooking anyways. The dinner was amazing, and slowly their love grew from there.

Dan grew up in Washington near Seattle and Nikki grew up in New Jersey. After transitioning from Korea to the U.S., they finally settled in Orange County and decided to hold their wedding in San Diego. It was a beautiful wedding not only because of the weather (in the 70s the whole time we were there) or the setting, but because people traveled from all over the world to attend this wedding. Nikki and Dan said their vows before close friends and family on January 2, 2015 at St. Francis Chapel in the Museum of Man in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA and held their reception at The Prado, all within Balboa Park. They held a photo scavenger hunt between the ceremony and reception for people to run around the park and take fun photos. Overall this couple was just lots of fun.

Quick shout-out to Paulo Salud Photography, who is always awesome to work with, and his second shooter for the wedding Justin Element. I highly recommend both photogs. Also big thanks to Undercover Live for providing us with properly mixed audio and running a party like none other we’ve seen. Also none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for Danielle Evans from Bridal and Event Lounge who planned and coordinated the event. She is a highly-organized planner and was a pleasure to work with throughout the day. Overall, we had an amazing team of vendors for this wedding.

Now, for those of you who’ve known me in the past, I’ve always loved working alongside Mike Huang and was sad to see him go when he left for Wisconsin. But because we had to fly to SD anyways, I thought of it as an opportunity and called him up to see if he was available. Sure enough, he was. Our James Lee Films Crew for this wedding was therefore awesome. with Daniel Dai and Mike Huang, JLF crushed this wedding. Honestly I had a hard time editing this trailer because there were just so many good shots (which is why the trailer edit is a bit longer than usual – still so much was not included). You’ll just have to wait till the feature film is out to enjoy this wedding film to its fullest glory. Stay tuned. 🙂

Congratulations again, Nikki and Dan!

Corinne & Dan: “You Should Marry Her”

Corinne & Dan
Wedding Film Teaser Trailer
The Stateroom, Long Beach Island NJ
Licensed by TheMusicBed

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Cinematographers – Dan Dai ( and Ben Suh

We were introduced to Corinne and Dan through our good friend Danielle at D’Luxe Events, and almost immediately I knew they were a couple we wanted to work with. Corinne is a Zumba Fitness Instructor and Dan is a media director at Lincoln Tech, and they met through Match. When I heard what Dan did for a living, I was humbled that a fellow video-cat appreciated our work and chose us to capture their wedding. Julie and I got to visit their beach house in LBI for our Love Story Film shoot, and we just had an awesome time hanging out with them and going out for a boat ride. Dan and I were able to connect over video equipment and cinematography, which was super cool.

(If you missed it, here is their Love Story Film!)

Corinne and Dan promised that their “home would always be filled with very loud music” in front close friends and family on October 18, 2014 at The Stateroom in Long Beach Island, NJ. The venue was very accommodating and a great place for an intimate wedding near the shore. The weather was perfect all day long, and we were able to capture some awesome footage on the boat and along the beach. It helped that Corinne and Dan loved each other like crazy and couldn’t stop smiling. The whole day was filled with laughter and fun, but also had its fair share of joyful tears.

Quick shout-out to Sherry Sutton Photography, who was an absolute joy to work with. Best of luck with your future in Texas, and I hope our paths cross again. Our James Lee Films Crew this wedding was with the veteran Daniel Dai, and trainee Benjamin Suh on his first official wedding. This is also James Lee Films’ last wedding of the year! Here’s to finishing up all the feature edits and giving our couples the opportunity to relive their days again. 🙂

Congratulations again, Corinne and Dan!

Anika & Zack: “One Tree, Not Two”

Anika & Zack
Wedding Film Teaser Trailer
“One Tree, Not Two”
Licensed by TheMusicBed

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Cinematographers – Dan Ho and Dan Dai (

Anika and Zack was our first multi-day couple, and we’re so happy it was them. They were a very fun-loving couple and exuded love for one another all three days we were together. Both are free-spirited, artistic, and musically-talented – throughout the days Anika and Zack surprised their guests with musical performances and surprise appearances from a saxophonist playing “Careless Whisper” at random moments.

I was especially blessed to have been able to capture alongside Ajit Singh (, who was a tremendous help and simply a cool guy to work with. Working three days together, by the last day we were cracking jokes. Overall he is amazing storyteller and an expert in his craft. I had the privilege of working with Daniel Dai and Daniel Ho as my assistant cinematographers throughout the three days. Always a pleasure working with these dudes.

After an evening spent celebrating at home and a Sikh Ceremony at the GSS Gurudwara in Bridgewater, NJ on the second day, Anika and Zack made their beautifully-written vows to one another before family and friends at the Stone House at Stirling Ridge in Warren, NJ. The theme of the wedding was “family tree;” both described themselves as deeply-rooted in their families and saw the wedding as a combining of two families and cultures. This sentiment was beautifully captured in the reading from Louis de Bernières’ “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,” which we included in the last portion of the trailer. By the end of the night, the two families were no longer two, but one.

I always like to get to know my couples before the wedding day so we’re not total strangers on the day-of, but it isn’t easy to get to know everyone else such as the parents of the bride and groom or the bridal party. In previous weddings, I had a hard time remembering the best man’s name or felt uncomfortable conversing with the parents. The thing is, not only were Anika and Zack’s family and friends all super laid-back, but because this was a multi-day wedding, by the third day Anika’s dad Jas and I were on a first-name basis. During his speech late on the final evening, he was originally standing in a spot that was terrible lighting – three or four feet away from a really good spot. Any other wedding I would’ve just shot it as is, but because I felt comfortable with Jas, I was able to ask him quickly: “Hey Jas, do you mind just taking two steps to the right?” and he happily obliged. Overall, the importance of relationships with the people you shoot before you shoot them is crucial. Because we had three days to get to know them, what resulted was an awesome multi-day wedding with lots of amazing shots and an amazing film to come.

Congratulations again, Anika and Zack!

Sandra & Philippe: “19 Years Later”

Sandra & Philippe
Wedding Teaser Trailer
Licensed by TheMusicBed

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Cinematographers – Dan Ho and Mike Kim

Sandra and Phil were by far the most relaxed couple we’ve encountered. That is because Sandra and Phil went to the junior prom together and dated for the last 19 years – this wedding was no more than a natural step of a solid love relationship they’ve journeyed for a long time. I loved how lively Sandra was while calm and reserved Phil was – and yet, they were able to communicate to each other with very few words.

Sandra and Phil made their vows on September 27, 2014 at the amazing Avenue A Club in Newark, NJ. The place was an awesome club holding a large collection of vintage cars and motorcycles. We were only able to squeeze a glimpse of the amazing cars here for the trailer, but I’m really looking forward to including some more awesome shots in the feature-length edit.

It was a pleasure working alongside Yanshu Liu, perhaps one of the kindest, talented, and most professional photographers I know. This wedding was interesting for me personally because this day was the first day Julie was full-term with our daughter Amy, and so it was the first wedding since 2012 that I shot without her. While I was a bit sad to be without my partner-in-crime-for-life, alongside me was the trusty Dan Ho and Mike Kim, and we did an awesome job capturing this story. Overall it was another smooth, awesome wedding.


Congratulations again, Sandra and Phil!

Gabrielle & Andre: Teaser Trailer

Gabrielle & Andre
Wedding Teaser Trailer
Licensed by TheMusicBed

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Cinematographers – Julie Selnekovic-Lee and Dan Ho

We here at James Lee Films are crazy about love stories, which is why we love capturing the “Love Story Films” before their wedding day. It gives us an opportunity to see who the couple are before the day-of, and this gives us the opportunity to know what to look for. When I heard how Andre and Gaby spoke of their love for each other while shooting their Love Story Film at Hopewell Valley Vineyards, I somehow knew right away that their vows would drive the narrative of their wedding day. They were fun, funny, and romantic. Above all, it was very apparent that they were in love with each other. Tears and laughter aplenty, this couple was a complete joy to capture.

Gaby and Andre made their vows before God and loved ones on September 5, 2014 at the beautiful Maritime Parc in Jersey City, NJ. The day began with some drizzling rain, and we were worried for a moment for the weather. But not only did the weather clear up in time for the ceremony; a double rainbow was visible over the New York cityscape while Gaby and Andre stood facing each other and promised to love one another for eternity. Truly, God’s favor was over this couple.

It was a pleasure working alongside Steven Govel, a talented, cool photo cat. Also props to DJ Sean Tylor of POSH Entertainment who helped make the screening of the Love Story Film during the reception possible. This was also a special wedding for us, as this was the last wedding I shot with my wife Julie before she was full-term. While I have very talented fellows with me at the moment, I can’t wait till she’s able to come back to shoot alongside me again. Any interested babysitters? 🙂

Congratulations again, Gaby and Andre!


Newest Member of the JLF Crew

I realize that I’m quite overdue for a non-wedding-film blog post. There have been many changes in my life this past year, but the increase in weddings (which I’m certainly not complaining about) has kept me from sharing every single event with you all. BUT there is one that I simply cannot go on without mentioning.

We have a new member in JLF. 

Earlier this year in January, Julie and I found out that we were pregnant with our first child. Since we always wanted to have a large family we decided to start trying this new year, but it did happen sooner than we had thought. We were excited and nervous when we realized that while many joys of having a child awaited us, so did many changes to our daily routine. Julie and I had shot every wedding together up until that point. Was that going to change? And how? Over the months we asked many questions and began figuring things out.

Julie came out to weddings up until the day she was full-term; Sandra and Phil’s wedding late September was the first wedding I did without her since my very first wedding ever. While I had trustworthy colleagues alongside me and all the weddings were smooth-sailing, not having my partner-in-crime was certainly a change in workflow. I guess one of my other largest concern was what if Julie goes into labor when I’m in the middle of a wedding? I did not want to be that dad that missed to birth because of work! I arranged all the weddings in October so that if I had to leave suddenly, another shooter would be on-call and come to replace me. Also lots prayer went into this concern. Thankfully, I did not have to call that other shooter.

October 3, 12:13am, Amy Lee was born. Every day since then has been a journey full of joy and love, but also trials and struggles. Julie and I had a pretty set routine before the birth; all that went out the window after Amy showed up. Nowadays, I’d been editing like this:

And it really depends on her mood whether I’d be editing like that for 3 hours or 10 minutes. But I don’t want to miss any moment of her childhood! Better keep her strapped to my body for as long as I can (I realize the day would come when she doesn’t want anything to do with me. Figured I’d enjoy her presence till then…) .  And for those of you who are curious, I’m using the Moby Wrap. It’s basically a really long cloth and keeps her tied onto me. The baby is very snug in it and if asleep can stay for hours. Julie tells me it’s very similar to how she felt when she was pregnant, only the baby is attached to your chest rather than your belly. For the most part it’s very comfortable. JLF stamp of approval.

Apologies to our couples whose wedding films are slightly delayed at the moment due to this change. Do not fear, for I am editing away and they are coming! We want to make sure that each film is well-crafted before we send it to you, and I personally edit each and every film. I don’t want this change in our life be an excuse for a decrease in quality of our work. If anything, I’d want it be even better than ever before.

As part of our general workflow, for us to consider a film a “completed film” it needs to “wow” Julie (and I’m sure Amy will join in once she reaches a certain age). Our hope is that they will “wow” you as well.

Thank you again, all our 2014 couples for choosing us to capture your films! We’ve officially finished our last 2014 wedding and are now looking ahead to 2015, which looks like it’ll be quite an exciting year. Stay tuned!

– James

Rose & Steve: Teaser Trailer

Rose & Steve
Wedding Teaser Trailer
Licensed by TheMusicBed

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Cinematographers – Julie Selnekovic-Lee and Youmin Woo

I must say it’s been an interesting journey for James Lee Films these last few years. We only started in 2012, but we’ve always challenged ourselves to become better with each wedding film, and because of that mindset we’ve come a long way. Looking back, I’ve noticed that our first clients were all Korean (as I am a Korean-American), but that really changed since 2013. We’ve now done Filipino, Catholic, Afghani/Muslim, and Sikh weddings, among others. I love the diversity of cultures and traditions we’ve had the opportunity to witness these past years. This year, Rose and Steve were our only Korean couple, and the first time we’ve gone to a wedding completely in Korean. Honestly, there was a bit of a culture-shock going in when it came to how/where the ceremony and reception are held and what is/isn’t proper to do in the wedding setting – but overall we had an awesome experience in a going-back-to-my-roots kind of way.

Steve and I met in grad school and quickly became friends. When I heard about this new girl in his life and the amazing story behind it, I knew I just had to capture it.

For those of you who don’t speak Korean, you might be wondering what is being said (if I get requests I might consider including subs?). Rev. Kim begins by telling the story of Rose and Steve: Steve is from the East Coast (Queens, NY) and Rose from the West (Seattle). Their paths crossed as if against all odds and finally lead to the two deciding to make their relationship permanent. On August 23, 2014 they proclaimed their love in front of God and family at Daedong Manor in Flushing, NY. Though very few words were spoken by them during the ceremony, Steve took advantage of the more relaxed setting of the reception to get down on one knee and promise his wife to “always be her cheerleader.”

It was a pleasure working alongside Ryan from DH Studio. He was courteous and professional, and a joy to work with. Overall, it was another smooth JLF wedding.

Congratulations again, Rose and Steve!

Amanda & Hassib: Teaser Trailer

Amanda & Hassib
Wedding Teaser Trailer
Licensed by TheMusicBed

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Cinematographers – Julie Selnekovic-Lee and Daniel Ho

Amanda and Hassib met while working at Albany Medical Center. After Hassib visitng Amanda many times to “check up on her,” he finally got the courage to ask her out for coffee. Years later, they decided to tie the knot in New Jersey where Hassib’s family mostly are. Like how “Wali”‘s friend says, Amanda and Hassib has to be the nicest couple ever. I usually have words to described our dear couples, and if I had to choose one for Amanda and Hassib, it has to be “kind.” They are so kind and sweet to the people around them and to each other. Needless to say, capturing their wedding was smooth like butter.

They celebrated a beautiful Afghan wedding on August 15, 2014 at The Tides Estate in North Haledon, NJ. We were excited to witness two cultures colliding at this wedding. It was a pleasure working alongside photographer Tom Harmon and his second Jenna Perfette to capture the story of the day. Actually, one of the screws on my mic had gotten loose during the night, and awesome Jenna pulled out a multi-tool for me – in minutes I was up and running again with my mic fixed. Jenna, you are awesome! 🙂

Congratulations again, Amanda and Hassib!

Allyse & Kevin: Teaser Trailer

Allyse & Kevin
Wedding Teaser Trailer
Music licensed by TheMusicBed

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Cinematographers – Julie Selnekovic-Lee and Youmin Woo

Allyse and Kevin had a cute love story; they met at work and were attracted by their love for country music and his sense of humor, but had to date in secret because of their work relationship. Years later, they decided to tie the knot and now profess their love to the world.

Allyse and Kevin said their vows in the beautiful St. Brigid Church in Gladstone, and celebrated the night away at The Palace at Somerset Park. We had the privilege of working alongside photography veterans from The Studio Photographers, fellow storytellers and just joyful and wonderful people. Overall we were blessed to witness this love story and the promises for many more years of love.

Congratulations again, Allyse and Kevin!

Marisa & Justin: Teaser Trailer

Marisa & Justin
Wedding Teaser Trailer
Jordan Critz – Echo
Licensed by TheMusicBed

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Cinematographers – Julie Selnekovic-Lee and Daniel Dai (

I met Marisa through Julie because the two of them were classmates at Teachers College. I was amazed at her ability to plan and organize calmly and thoroughly – a perfect teacher. When I met Marisa and Justin over Skype, I knew this was going to be a fun and creative wedding.

Marisa Militello and Justin Russo became Mrs. and Mr. Russello at the beautiful Flowerfield in St. James NY. The staff there is perhaps the best we have come across. Many were amazed at how deeply in love these two people were and how well they fit for one another. The way they looked at each other and talked to one another showed that often they spoke a language of love only the two of them understood.

Congratulations again, Marisa and Justin!

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