Cast: Ryan D. Wright, Yoko Hyun
Crew: Producers: Liann Kaye – Screenwriters: Liann Kaye – Director of Photography: Connie Huang – Editor: Kevin Birou – Sound Design: John Bowen – Color: Eric Schwalbe
When a timid, midwestern boy decides to propose to his girlfriend, he has to go through her immigrant, Chinese mother first.
Liann Kaye is a Chinese American filmmaker who was born in Hawaii and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona. She studied film at the University of Michigan and currently lives and works in New York City. Since 2015, Liann has served as Director of Video for Global Citizen’s international music festivals, working with artists such as Beyonce, Jay-Z, Coldplay, and Metallica. She also independently directs music videos for artists such as Carlos Valdes (The Flash), Darren Criss (Glee, The Assassination of Gianni Versace), Theo Katzman (Vulfpeck), Allen Tate, Charlene Kaye (San Fermin), Kevin Garrett, and more. Her work has premiered at the Sprockets Music Video Festival, The LA Comedy Festival, Golden Egg, and Glovebox. She is thrilled to be debuting her first short, “The Blessing” and looks forward to creating more narrative work about the female Asian American experience.
Straddling two worlds as an Asian American woman has never been better illustrated than when I’m negotiating the culture clash between my Chinese mother and mid-western boyfriend. As the bridge between two people who grew up on different sides of the world, speak different languages, and process different social cues, I have had the privilege of observing some deeply touching and often hilarious interactions. Asian mothers are frequently stereotyped for being power-hungry, materialistic, and unemotional, while American men are often painted as career-obsessed, aggressive and overconfident. The two loves of my life do not fit either of these tropes and thus, I felt the need to write a script that subverts these tired expectations. “The Blessing” was shot in one 10-hour day with a mostly Asian cast, and an Asian female cinematographer. It was an all hands on deck production where everyone on set could share their perspectives and help with the pronunciation of our Mandarin lines. I’m so proud of the final product, which I view as a love story between a man and his future mother-in-law. At first glance, the two characters don’t have much in common, but their unconditional love for the same girl is what ultimately unites them.