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This article was written By John Berra on 27 Oct 2018, and is filed under Features.

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About John Berra

John Berra is lecturer in Film and Language Studies at Renmin University of China. He is the editor of the Directory of World Cinema: Japan (Intellect, 2010/12/15), co-editor of World Film Locations: Beijing (Intellect, 2012) and World Film Locations: Shanghai (Intellect, 2014). He has also contributed to Electric Shadows: A Century of Chinese Cinema (BFI, 2014), Ozu International: Essays on the Global Influences of a Japanese Auteur (Bloomsbury, 2014) and Killers, Clients and Kindred Spirits: The Taboo Cinema of Shohei Imamura (EUP, 2019).

Kickstart This – Ms. Purple by Justin Chon

Billed as a heartfelt story about an Asian American girl who reconnects with her estranged brother during the final days of her father’s life, Ms. Purple is the latest feature from Justin Chon, who found breakthrough success with his LA riots drama Gook (2017). With his directorial debut Man Up (2015) and an appearance in Benson Lee’s critically acclaimed teen comedy Seoul Searching (2015) under his belt, Chon raised funds through Kickstarter to complete Gook, which ultimately won deserved praise for its tough yet tender take on the Asian American experience. Now, he’s taking the same route with Ms. Purple, which aims to further explore a community that is often cinematically overlooked.

Chon’s latest project concerns Asian American siblings, Kasie (Tiffany Chu) and Carey (Teddy Lee), who live in Los Angeles’ Koreatown. Having been abandoned by their mother at a young age, they have been raised by their father, who is now dying. The film will pivot on their dynamic in their father’s final days as they seek to mend their relationship.

At the project’s Kickstarter page, Chon explains the genesis of Ms. Purple:

The extreme emotions between brothers and sisters have such an amazing range, from an undeniable bond of family to knowing just the right buttons to cause the most pain. I also was particularly drawn to this project because it tells a story from a female point of view. Throughout the process I realized how misinformed I was about the female perspective and I was able to achieve a much better understanding of how women are treated in our community.

Departing from the raw black-and-white aesthetic of his previous feature, Chon is utilizing a richer color palette for Ms. Purple that should set just the right tone for a film that promises to be both a culturally insightful and universally moving experience.

Ms. Purple is one of a number of Asian-themed projects that have followed the recent success of Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians and Aneesh Chaganty’s desktop thriller Searching, starring John Cho. In distinctive ways, those widely acclaimed hits offered rare depictions of the Asian family unit and Ms. Purple finds Chon addressing a screen absence through his particular sensibility. As he explains,

During our festival run for Gook, I noticed there’s always at least one film about a family dealing with their problems and they usually happen to be white. There’s nothing wrong with that but made me think that I would love to see an honest depiction of an Asian family dealing with their problems in a very human way.

Chon is currently raising funds through Kickstarter to finish Ms. Purple with any extra funds over his $45,000 goal being earmarked for such additional expenses as film festival submission, marketing, and legal fees.

Head over to the project’s Kickstarter page to check out the great range of rewards for backers, including a digital download, limited edition T-shirts, a signed copy of the screenplay, premiere screening and after party tickets, a Korean BBQ dinner with the cast and crew, and even the opportunity to go skydiving with Justin!