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HBOAccess - Buddy Solitaire

Buddy Solitaire features Academy Award nominee/Golden Globe-winning actress Sally Kirkland, and reveals the trials of a struggling stand-up comedian on the late night circuit who has trouble connecting with his audience. The only job he can get is teaching comedy to the mentally ill, where he gains a new audience of hypochondriacs, nervous wrecks, and bipolar adults. Buddy discovers, however, that by helping these patients, he gets closer to healing himself.

  • Kuang Lee
  • Kuang Lee
  • Leann Lei
  • Sally Kirkland
    Key Cast
  • Brandon Sorenberger
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 27 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 1, 2015
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 2016 Cinequest
    san jose
    North American Premiere
  • Newport Beach Film Festival
    Newport Beach
    April 23, 2016
    Southern California Premiere
Director Biography - Kuang Lee

Kuang Lee is a writer and filmmaker. As a television writer, he was most recently staffed on the USA series COMMON LAW. This summer, Kuang wrapped his first narrative feature, BUDDY SOLITAIRE.

He holds a BA in Creative Writing from UCLA and a MFA in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University. After film school, Kuang wrote and produced EASTSIDE, a documentary about skateboarding culture in Asia. The film had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was licensed by Showtime Networks. Kuang has also directed several short form digital spots, including branded content for Banana Republic and Fox Cable Television. He currently directs technology videos in the Bay Area. Kuang is a member of the Writers Guild West.

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Director Statement

BUDDY SOLITAIRE is a deeply personal story, one borne out of my own experiences of healing. It’s a story of redemption, told through the combination of stand up comedy and mental illness. Did you know that over 46 million Americans have suffered mental illness this past year? We all know people who have had depression or anxiety disorder, but this is a pretty big number. This means that one in five Americans can relate, on a fundamental level, to the themes presented in BUDDY SOLITAIRE.

I want to show how modern society skirts the precipice more than we’d like to admit. Buddy is a normal functioning person (or at least close to it), but he has a lot in common with the mental health patients he teaches. He is a mirror to our society that sweeps the stigma of mental illness under the rug. I would like to shine a light on this phenomenon using the power of humor.

In terms of filmmaking, the two most important things in my story are psychology and humor. I will make sure that BUDDY SOLITAIRE is filled with the funny. Gallows humor, broad humor or dark humor; I’ll use whatever the scenes and characters need. In terms of psychology, my film shares a similar DNA to ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST. Both films deal with mental illness using a humorous, gentle touch. Both films are character driven, written for an adult audience who can absorb psychological layers, accept darkness without shirking, and laugh with the flawed human beings they’re watching.