‘Spa Night,’ the Award-Winning Film that Almost Didn’t Get Made
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When the investors in Spa Night, Andrew Ahn's first feature film, unexpectedly backed out, Ahn was suddenly faced with the possibility that the project he’d poured his heart and soul into might never get made.
But he wasn’t about to give up on the story he’d been working for years to tell — an intimate, atmospheric exploration of immigrant and LGBTQ identities, set against the backdrop of Los Angeles’ Koreatown. So in October 2014, Ahn launched a Kickstarter project to fund pre-production. With the support of 592 backers, he raised $62,915 to bring Spa Night from script to screen.
“The most difficult thing in creating a film, or any sort of art project,” Ahn said, “is that you just have to get out of your own way. Kickstarter gave me that extra energy and motivation to just do it.”
The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where lead actor Joe Seo won the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance. Spa Night also took home the John Cassavetes Award at the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards, where Ahn delivered a moving speech about the importance of telling stories that reflect the diversity of the United States.
Watch the video above to learn more about Ahn’s path from Kickstarter creator to award-winning feature filmmaker.
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