Talking To My Mother is a 17-minute film about love, acceptance, and missed opportunities. It tells the story of a young man trapped in a culture clash where traditions stunt his quest for personal happiness. The film explores the complicated relationships between Michael, a second-generation Chinese American man; his mother, Mrs. Yue and; Julianne, his girlfriend of two years, to whom he plans to propose. After a twist of fate, Julianne accidentally discovers Michael's secret that would change their lives forever. Will Michael be able to face the truth with his loved ones - and most importantly, himself, before it's too late?
Notes from the Director
The idea for Talking to My Mother came to me about five years ago when I was reading a news story about a newly wedded woman in China who came home one afternoon to discovers her husband’s affair with her own younger brother. The story remains relevant today. Asian culture demands that men to carry on their family names, which pressures many gay men into hetero-normative marriages that end with broken families and devastated hearts. While tradition can support a strong cultural unit, it can also imprison those unable to see beyond its rooted beams.
I initially wrote the film to be shot in Vietnam, in Vietnamese (with English subtitles) and with a Vietnamese cast. But that idea proved challenging due to the Vietnamese censorship process, which would effect how I could tell the story, not to mention the impact censorship fee would have on our micro budget. Producing the project in New York, where I am currently living, was a more realistic choice. In the course of the casting process I changed the dialogue from Vietnamese to Mandarin. This change was driven in part by the small pool of Vietnamese actors who turned out at the auditions; but more so because I fell in love with the actors who starred in my film and who all were native Mandarin speakers.