Hello From Taiwan
HELLO FROM TAIWAN is a poetic drama about a Taiwanese American family struggling to reunite across cultural and language divides in the late 1980s. It’s written and directed by Tiffany Frances as part of the prestigious AFI Directing Workshop for Women.
In Partnership With
AFI Directing Workshop for Women
Inclusion StatementHELLO FROM TAIWAN is written & directed by a Taiwanese American female filmmaker and focuses on Taiwanese American family. Expanding to behind-the-screen, the film’s inclusive environment will also embrace people and women of color in crew positions. AFI DWW is a program DEDICATED to inclusion.
About The Project
HELLO FROM TAIWAN is a story of a Taiwanese American family in the late 1980s who struggles to reunite across cultural and language divides. This is a family story, a unification story, an immigrant story, a child's story, and a belonging story. It’s about family identity, minority struggle, the illusion of the American dream. It's about experiencing life as an Asian American, and Taiwanese American in the late 80's.
I grew up as the youngest of 3 sisters in San Jose, CA. My parents, recent immigrants from Taiwan, had separated when I was a toddler, and my dad decided to return to Taiwan taking my older sisters with him. After about a year or so, he came back, dropped off my sisters with my mom, and flew back to Taiwan.
One of my most vivid memories as a child was re-meeting my sisters at the airport. I knew they were my sisters, but at 4 years old, I was confused why we had been separated in the first place. There was a shift in culture between us, a rift. The significance of the transformation my family went through hit me only recently. Writing this script was a way for me to look back in reflection of the sacrifices and hardships we faced yet overcame.
And that’s where my film HELLO FROM TAIWAN begins. We open with the scene of a Taiwanese American family reuniting at the airport. It then goes on to explore the following few weeks, as the family struggles to reconnect, the sisters clash within themselves and with the outside world, and the mom takes on raising 3 girls instead of one. The story is told from the point of view of the little girl at age 4, stemming from her innocence and desire to understand how the world around her works.
Tiffany Frances is a Taiwanese American director and writer working in music videos, branded content and narrative film. She participated in SHOOT Magazine's 2018 New Directors Showcase with her short film, WHAT I WISH YOU SAID, while her National Geographic film MOVEMENT garnered over 1 million views on Facebook the same year. Tiffany’s film A COOL DARK PLACE and many others have also screened at multiple festivals around the US and the globe, and her photography has been featured in various national publications.. Tiffany has directed multiple campaigns for National Geographic, Dia & Co, Tanya Taylor, Citibank, Acura, Montiel and Jonesy, among others. Through her work, Tiffany Frances gives voice to women and the under-represented, specifically focusing on the Asian American community.
My dad, a wonderful man I wish I spent more time with, passed away a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve been exploring themes of family relationships and why it’s so complex and complicated with immigrants and their children in America. As I navigated my childhood, I wish there were any coming of age, authentic Asian American stories on my TV screen or films I could relate to. Fully multi-dimensional, fleshed out humans. Many years later I’m still frustrated with the industry and want to create change. This film is an opportunity to give a voice to minorities and immigrants in the US, and also help others feel they aren’t alone.
Per USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative 2019 report, of the 1200 top films (1335 total directors) from 2007 to 2018, only 4% had female directors; just 5 of the 80 black or African American directors were female; and 3 of the 42 Asian or Asian American directors were female. ONLY 3 OUT OF 1335 DIRECTORS THAT WERE ASIAN WERE WOMEN, or, in other terms, Asian American women have directed only 0.2% of American films. Not even 1%! Not even close.
HELLO FROM TAIWAN is about a Taiwanese American family and shows them as real, authentic characters, instead of the usual stereotypes we see in popular media.
Representation matters. We aim to create a female-fronted and person-of-color-supported cast and crew. Stories brought to life are powerful when they are personal to those behind the scenes. We are doing our best to fight these statistics because it’s known that when we put more women, and especially women of color, in power, it really starts to change the way stories are told IN FRONT of and BEHIND the camera.
Supporting this campaign means you’ll be helping diversify representation in media. Not just for women, but for all underrepresented individuals also. Lead the revolution!
AFI DIRECTING WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN
HELLO FROM TAIWAN is being made because Tiffany is 1 of 8 selected filmmakers, out of 280 that applied, in the prestigious American Film institute's Directing Workshop for Women, a program specifically designed to increase the numbers of female directors working professionally in narrative film and television. Throughout the program, she’s provided with immersive training, guidance, mentorship, and inroads to the industry - all showcased through a short film that jumpstarts her directing careers.
Some notable fellows of AFI DWW include:
Lesli Linka-Glatter, Director on HOMELAND, MAD MEN, GILMORE GIRLS
Victoria Hochberg, Director on SEX IN THE CITY, ALLY MCBEAL, MELROSE PLACE, and one of Tiffany’s most treasured and influential film professors
Mia Lidofsky, Director + Creator of STRANGERS (Refinery 29)
Pippa Bianco, Director of SHARE acquired by HBO, based on her DWW short
Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, Director + Creator of UnREAL on Lifetime, based on her DWW short
MY AMERICAN DREAM
HELLO FROM TAIWAN will have its showcase in April 2020 in Hollywood at a prestigious theater, like the Directors’ Guild of America or Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. A-list producers and executives will be in attendance, along with major media coverage. A strong film festival run is our short-term goal; the long-term strife is seeing this story on TV and theater screens everywhere!
CONTRIBUTIONS CAN BE TAX DEDUCTIBLE!
AFI is a 501(c)(3) organization, a non-profit,which means your donation can be TAX DEDUCTIBLE to the extent of the law; donors should consult with a tax preparer regarding donation eligibility. It’s a win win!
The money raised for this film will go to: a full 5 days of our shoot, rad locations including an airport, production designing every possible thing to look like it belongs in the late 80s, an industry standard camera and lighting package, a studio teacher for our child actors, fees for an amazing cast and crew, etc. etc. etc. Yes we are aiming to tell our story in the best way possible!
If you can offer a matching grant, or any in-kind services such as location rentals, equipment, or food, please reach out to us separately at firstname.lastname@example.org!
REACHING THE GOAL AND WISHING BEYOND
The only way we will receive the raised funds is by reaching the goal we set to achieve. We believe in the story, we believe in our vision, and we will bring it to life with your support. Don’t be shy, contribute, share, and become part of the family!
And if we exceed our goal, the money raised will help us cover expenses that we are only dreaming about now, like color correction, score, and sound design! Because the world of 1980s looked and sounded different from today. So, let’s do this together and let’s make HELLO FROM TAIWAN a reality.
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About This Team
TIFFANY FRANCES - Writer / Director
Tiffany Frances is a Taiwanese American director and writer working in music videos, branded content and narrative film. She was selected for SHOOT Magazine's 2018 New Directors Showcase, where a trailer of her short film, WHAT I WISH YOU SAID, screened at the Directors Guild Theater in New York. Her short film MOVEMENT for National Geographic garnered over 1 million views on Facebook, while her short film A COOL DARK PLACE was the official selection at La Femme Film Festival, International Film Festival of Cinematic Arts and Brooklyn Girl Film Festival, and a finalist for Best Short Drama at the New Filmmakers LA Film Festival. Other projects have screened at Nitehawk Shorts Festival, Brand Film Festival and Berlin Fashion Film Festival. Her film work and photography have been featured on Paper Magazine, Ladygunn, Stereogum, The Fader and BlackBook Magazine, among others. Her producing credits include commercials for Barney's and Red Bull, music videos for Toro Y Moi and Killer Mike, while her directing clients include National Geographic, Dia & Co, Tanya Taylor, Citibank, Acura, Montiel and Jonesy.
In her film work, she is committed to bring a voice to women, and the under-represented. She believes strongly in contributing to the Asian American community; more specifically, highlighting Taiwanese American stories. She loves bringing new, fresh ideas to life visually, and challenges herself to think about film in avant-garde styles. She enjoys working with different mediums, from Super 8mm to high-end digital cinema cameras.
Originally from, and currently living in Los Angeles after a decade in New York City, Tiffany Frances attended UCSD for undergraduate in Media and a minor in Theatre, and went to Art Center College of Design for her MFA in Film Directing.
MARINA VISCUN - Producer
Marina Viscun is a double Telly-winning Moldovan-American filmmaker. She has been honored with two Telly Awards (BIG VOICE documentary, 2018; JOURNEY TO SAFETY PSA, 2012), multiple Best Documentary awards from Heartland Film Festival, NewFilmmakers LA, and South Dakota Film Festival (BIG VOICE, 2015), and Grand Jury and Audience Awards from NewFilmmakers LA (ODE TO LOS ANGELES, 2011) as a producer.
Viscun's directorial debut was the experimental music video NUKE CITY (2014), followed by the LACMA-supported military short SCRATCH ON METAL (2016). She is in post-production on her LGBTQ+ short LAST NIGHT, in preproduction on her sexual violence short REVERSE, and in development of her foreign-language drama SEEDS. Marina’s notable screenwriting credits include her feature SEEDS (semi-finalist, Athena List 2018; shortlist, Sundance Screenwriting Lab 2016) and TV pilot DRESS BLUES (quarter-finalist, Big Break 2017). Marina also writes character-driven romantic comedies, sci-fi, horror, and period screenplays, and stage plays, as well as shorts that she directs.
Marina Viscun is the President of Pingvin Productions, Founder of the #WeAreWITI collective, and former Head of Production at PULSE FILMS US and Producer at CAVIAR LA. She is a member of the Producers Guild of America, Alliance of Women Directors, Women in Media, and Veterans in Media & Entertainment. She is trilingual (English, Russian, and Romanian) and a US Navy veteran.
YOLANDA HUANG - Executive Producer
Yolanda Huang is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded a range of E-commerce and Small Business startups including Umizato, Mad Mochi LLC, and Pink Princess. Her current main focus is on growing Umizato into a well established blue light blocking computer eyewear brand. She is extremely passionate about entrepreneurship, filmmaking, and wants to make a difference.
Before becoming involved in new businesses, Yolanda received her B.S. degree in Computer Science at UCLA. She studied Film Directing (2002-2006) at UCLA Extension and Acting (2006-2009) with Jack Hannibal, and has been involved with several short films. Yolanda hopes to pursue her dream as both an entrepreneur and filmmaker continuously.