Diverse TV holiday season includes all-Asian Lifetime movie – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2020-12-11 22:32:15 –

A colleague tells Asian Susie in a scene from the lifelong television movie “Sugar & Spice Holiday” …

In a scene from the lifelong television movie Sugar & Spice Holiday, a colleague told Los Angeles Asian-American architect Susie: “I didn’t know where Christmas came from.”

Retort Susie: “I’m from Maine.”

Many viewers of cozy Christmas movies may shrug off the hint that Susie is somehow not American. But for the Asian audience, the short exchange is a reminder that microaggression doesn’t take vacations. They have not specifically occurred as a result of anti-Asian racism or pandemics that have caused terms such as “Chinese virus” and “can influenza.”

“I think it’s a great time for this movie to be released in the midst of a pandemic, recognizing Asian culture and the’flu’,” Canadian actor Jackie Ray, who plays Susie, told The Associated Press. “We hope that this (movie) with our face will be welcomed by people to their home and we will be seen as your American / Canadian friends.”

Premiered on Sunday, “Sugar & Spice Holiday” may be the first soothing TV Christmas flick, featuring primarily Asian ensembles. This is one of several projects that Cable Channel has shown a desire to participate in this Uletide season. The shift occurs a year after the Hallmark Channel drops ads containing homosexual couples. Fallout pointed out the issue of overall diversity in the genre of the color community, not just the LGBTQ community. Racial anxiety in recent months has only been added to conversations about expression within the entertainment industry.

Tia Maggini, vice president of Lifetime Original Movies, says it was a coincidence that Asian-American screenwriter Eirene Donohue, who had previously worked on the network, came to them on the story pitch.

“It was exciting to be able to present this particular perspective, which has long been postponed in the Christmas film genre,” Magzini said in a statement. Most importantly: the movie itself was actually interesting and “full of Christmas hearts”.

Indeed, rom-com has all the warm and friendly holiday movie metaphors. Susie returned to the small town where she grew up for Christmas and was persuaded to regain her bread-making skills at a local gingerbread house tournament, helped by a former high school student Tony Jiro.

Her father is played by veteran actor Tzi Ma. Despite a year filled with the featured film roles of “The Farewell” and “Mulan,” Ma did not hesitate to participate in lifelong films.

“It was the first time a Chinese-American family was featured in a Christmas story,” Ma said in an email. “There are tremendous Asian-American supporters in my life. That’s a way to thank them.”

In Hollywood, studios often feel that there are some difficulties and east-west struggles just by casting Asians into the story. And in television holiday movies, they are almost non-existent. Meanwhile, there is a white actor who made a dozen bakeries. Like other groups, Giroux says, Asians deserve to see themselves on a regular basis with easy fares.

“I think it’s very important to have stories of all kinds of all cultures. It’s very important that they touch the story of the struggle, but seeing the lighter ones, of the culture not surrounded by difficult times. It’s great to see the side, “says Giroud.

Giroud, a Canadian, is also looking forward to queuing a movie where his grandparents can see him.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing stories that cover part of their story. My grandparents emigrated here from China in the 1950s,” says Giroud. “That’s why participating in this project tells me that I’m really involved.”

Rye grew up to love romantic comedies. She remembers being surprised to see Hollywood’s major studio movie, Crazy Rich Asians, starring all Asians for the first time in 25 years.

“I hear people say that movies like this haven’t been in 25 years. You hear them. But you sit in the theater and see someone like me on the screen, not a ninja or nerd. It’s the first time I’ve seen it. I remember how it felt, “says Lai. “I’m very excited to have another movie like that, and hopefully we’ll bring joy and open some hearts with this movie and more opportunities.”

The film is lovingly studded with Chinese-American nuances in the script and screen. This includes a photo of Susie’s deceased grandma sandwiched between incense sticks and the whole family eating with chopsticks. And it’s arguably the only Christmas movie that features both gingerbread and stinky tofu, and its beloved Chinese food known for its pungent aroma.

“We love being able to include a lot of great details … a romantic comedy whose character happens to be Asian-American,” says director Jennifer Liao. “It’s great to make an Asian-American film that isn’t necessarily completely ahead of schedule because you have to bear the weight of cultural identity issues.”

“Sugar & Spice” is not the only holiday movie that expands the definition of who can lead this kind of flick. In a few networks, including Lifetime and Hallmark, Christmas-themed movies feature homosexual pairing. Wheelchair-accessible Tony Award-winning Ali Stroker starred in Lifetime’s “Christmas Ever After.”

Does Liao feel pressured as the “first”, even in harmless projects that attract a significant audience? “I feel the pressure to provide something that I and everyone else who has worked on (this) can be proud of. It really wasn’t,” says Liao. I will.

Rye doesn’t see the point of getting involved in something like evaluation.

“I think it’s really really great to hear someone say,’I was able to meet someone who looks like me on the screen.’ It never gets old,” says Lai. “We get more of that reaction — for me, the movie served its purpose.”


Terry Tan reports from Phoenix and is a member of the Associated Press’s Racial and Ethnic Team. Follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/ttangAP

Copyright © 2020 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written, or redistributed.

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