The recently announced nominations for the 2018 Academy Awards were hailed as a triumph for diversity in some quarters with Jordan Peele, Daniel Kaluuya, Mary J. Blige, Octavia Spencer, and Denzel Washington earning deserved nods. However, it was also quickly noted that Asian talent was not remotely represented, with the lack of recognition for Hong Chau’s breakthrough performance in Downsizing being particularly glaring. It is another instance of the public discussion about race, both onscreen and off, taking place at the intersection of black and white. One of a number of projects looking to broaden the discourse is Matthew Leung’s short film Eat Drink Boy Girl.
Currently campaigning for funding through Indiegogo, Eat Drink Boy Girl concerns a Chinese American college student who brings her boyfriend home to meet her parents for the first time, only for the experience to turn out to be a lot more awkward than expected. The film will explore the in-betweenness of the Asian American identity through the universal theme of family expectations about dating. For a taste of Eat Drink Boy Girl, check out this sharp teaser:
Leung and co-writer/producer Penny Lin are aiming to contribute to a larger conversation about cultural identity by taking the film to Asian-American festivals in the United States and international events. As the team explains,
This film is our attempt at representing the Asian American identity from a nuanced perspective that goes beyond the clichés of the immigrant experience and stereotypes, and we hope to achieve this by telling a universal story about family and dating.
Aside from being enormously passionate about identity politics, the Eat Drink Boy Girl team has the background to deliver an entertaining and provocative short film. Leung, Lin associate producer Steph Wu, and director of photography Joseph Yao have attended USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Leung has already made the short film 3006 which offered a melancholic examination of loneliness in Hong Kong. The music for Eat Drink Boy Girl will be composed by USC Thornton School graduate Andrew Liu with singer-songwriter, speaker and activist Leo Xia providing the end credits song.
For backers, there is a terrific range of rewards on offer from being mentioned in the ‘special thanks’ section of the credits, to exclusive access to a streaming link of the film, to collector’s merchandise.
Visit the project’s Indiegogo page for full details.