Our concept was based on how we wanted Asian people to be seen through the media in the 80s. Oftentimes, Asian identities are portrayed as one-dimensional characters such as the hypersexualized lolitas, “the dragon lady”, the villain, the math nerd, etc.; based on our race. The way the Western media have portrayed us has been dehumanizing and reduced us to specific roles. Movies like Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket portray Vietnamese sex workers with language barriers to white men who assume that they are unintelligent, secularized, and submissive. Even minor roles like Apu in The Simpsons. These unrealistic and oppressed attributes trap Asian actors into such specific roles that perpetuate these harmful stereotypes. Not only is it an inaccurate representation but the audience ends up translating it to society and then projecting it onto the real Asian community. “You cannot be what you cannot see.” How are we to strive for our full potential if we aren’t even represented accurately?
The Asian community has come a long way since the beginning of film history. Films revolving around Asian representation now are being made, seen, and well received by Western audiences such as Minari, The Farewell, Okja, Parasite, Always Be My Maybe, and more recently, Riceboy Sleeps. We even have a Marvel superhero, Shang-Chi, and a Ken doll in the upcoming Barbie movie (who happen to be both played by Simu Liu). All these movies are represented accurately by our culture, our emotions, our family drama, and our love life. “Normal” and relatable things that we can relate to without having to feel oppressed by specific boundaries.
Inspired by the iconoclastic series of fake film stills by Cindy Sherman, Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love, and popular culture media from the past, our concept aims to create a revisionist history, and re-representation of the Asian/Western diasporic experience. Our idea was to create a memory or a dream of something that didn’t exist in pop culture; this series of images and motion attempts to imagine a fantastical memory of the 80s, having breakfast with your parent(s), a hurried morning day, and then if an imagined future with family, friends, gathering, returning to the festive place of the table that is at the center of so many Asian households. Technically, our actors could be interchanged with white characters but we wanted to normalize the representation of the Asian community in all media: articles, advertising, films, etc. We’re showing our faces not because of our stereotypes, culture, or race. We’re showing our faces because we’re normal people too.
Magali Lafleur, Production Designer and Art Director
Magali Lafleur (she/her) is originally from Montréal and now resides in Toronto. She graduated from the OCAD advertising program in 2017 and pivoted her career into the film industry. Magali speaks English, French, and Mandarin. Passionate about advocating for BIPOC representation, Magali draws inspiration from her cultural roots, infusing her work with diverse perspectives. She seeks out projects that celebrate the rich tapestry of different cultures. When she’s not immersed in creative pursuits, Magali can be found doing yoga, thrifting, swimming in lakes, and capturing countless moments through her camera lens.
Alice Xue, Director and Photographer
Alice Xue, a talented commercial lifestyle and portrait photographer, is based in Toronto. When she’s not immersed in on-location shoots or working in the studio, Alice enjoys spending time with her husband, Daniel, their baby, Logan, and their two cats. Known for her expertise in capturing candid, spontaneous, and in-between moments, she specializes in creating vibrant and joyful photographs. Additionally, Alice is a skilled AI artist and portrait painter. In her leisure time, she indulges in binge-watching comedy TV shows, exploring vintage advertisements, and delving into pop psychology. As a budding director, Alice continues to expand her creative horizons.
Lauren Chan, Producer
Lauren Chan is a dynamic producer with a strong passion for bringing creative visions to life. With a background in architecture and project management, she seamlessly blends her design acumen and organizational skills to deliver outstanding results. Lauren finds joy in curating collaborative environments, where she brings people together to achieve a shared vision. As a Chinese Canadian woman, she takes pride in exploring projects celebrating her cultural roots. When she isn’t working, you can find Lauren at the dog park with her corgi or exploring the city while listening to news and comedy podcasts.
Halle Turner, Wardrobe Stylist
Nuala O’Sullivan, Wardrobe Assistant
Rhia Amio, Hair & Makeup Stylist
Evelyn Chen, Talent
Hani Mazloum, Talent
Trevor Wong, Talent
Alice Xue (@alicexuephotography), Director and Photographer