CREASED is a short film about an Asian American high school girl that is strongly considering getting double eyelid surgery, which is where an incision is made into a monolid eyelid to create an eyelid crease. It can be seen as an attempt to "westernize" a uniquely Asian feature and it is one of the most popular forms of plastic surgery for Asians worldwide.
The story follows our protagonist, Kayla, a smart and popular high school senior, in the days leading up to her decision. Along the way we see some of the experiences, pressures and influences in her daily life that inform her choice. I describe this project as a coming-of-age film that takes place at the crossroads of race and mainstream American beauty standards.
WHY THIS FILM
CREASED is about a very sensitive and often overlooked issue. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, double-eyelid surgery is the third most popular form of plastic surgery for Asian Americans. However, it is rare to see any depiction or mention of the surgery in mainstream media or film. I think this is a topic very worthy of bringing attention to in the form of a narrative film.
One of the inspirations for this film was the story of Julie Chen, the co-host of the daytime talk show The Talk. During an episode in 2013, Chen revealed that at the beginning of her career she had this surgery done at the behest of her superiors who assured her she would never be successful in front of the camera unless she went under the knife. Coincidence or not, her career began to flourish post-surgery. What I found equally interesting were the reactions of her (non-Asian) co-hosts. For the most part they applauded her surgery. When a before and after photo was shown many remarked that she looked "better" in the after photo, thus telling Chen once again that her natural monolids were less acceptable than a creased eyelid. The pressure that not only Chen, but clearly her colleagues felt to conform to a homogenous beauty standard is at the heart of the story.
There are strong and opposing feelings surrounding the implications of this surgery so to make it clear from the beginning, the goal of this film is not to place judgement on an individual, but to look at some of the reasons why an American teenage girl of Asian descent might come to believe this plastic surgery could hold the key to her happiness and success.
LET'S TALK ABOUT MONEY
CREASED has received a grant from 4Culture, an organization that supports local art in the Seattle area. The film has also found backing from the Seattle chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. This support takes me half of the way and now I'm turning to Kickstarter to take us the rest of the way. Funds raised through crowdsourcing will go towards a RED camera package, catering, post-production and release (festival fees, screenings, duplication, press materials, etc.)
For example: A $25 donation would cover one festival submission fee. A $75 donation could cover an on-set meal for cast and crew.
Risks and challenges
One of the greatest risks of an independent film is that it will not be completed. Financial restraints, loss of key personnel and loss of the director's momentum are all reasons that many great ideas never come to full bloom. As the recipient of a grant I am compelled by a governing body to finish the film by the end of 2015 otherwise I will not receive the full amount of the grant. Nothing like a money deadline to motivate oneself!
The possibility of any financial windfall from a short film is close to zero. This is a great opportunity to stretch creatively and technically and to build a community for future work, but there is no financial incentive in this project. This is a passion project from beginning to end. I have an incredible team of professional crew and actors that are generously and enthusiastically donating their talent and time to this film. I have every confidence that the film will be completed and released.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)