A year after the death of her mother, Jennie, an Asian American film student, tries to rekindle her relationship with Li Wei, her stoic immigrant father who lost sight of his artistic dreams. The pair embark on a short roadtrip to the seaside cliff where Jennie’s mother’s ashes were spread, during which the tension between them continue to grow due to Li Wei’s disapproval of Jennie’s career choices. Well into the trip, Jennie discovers that Li Wei has been secretly drawing comics during their travels, which directly contradicts his anti-art attitude he holds while around her. Li Wei reluctantly reveals that he was a comic artist in China before he moved to the US in pursuit of better financial opportunities. He implores Jennie to not make the same mistake he made and pursue art, which results in a deep-cutting argument. It seems that the pair’s relationship has hit rock bottom. Once home, Jennie uncovers hundreds of Li Wei’s Chinese comics and a note by Li Wei detailing that he is finally giving up art to focus on another career to provide for his wife and soon-to-be daughter. Understanding her father’s sacrifice, Jennie animates his comics into a short film, which brings uplifts Li Wei, returning joy and creativity to his relationship with Jennie.
“Paper UFOs” reconciles the career aspirations of second generation Asian American children with the concerns for financial survival that many of their immigrant parents share. This story emphasizes the sacrifices immigrant parents had to make in order to relocate to America and raise a family.
Directed by Sharon Park
Produced by Stanley Lin, Michele Chung, Liya Yang
Director’s Bio: Sharon Park is a Korean American filmmaker born in Queens, New York. She received her Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry at the University of Washington and a Masters of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production at the University of Southern California. At USC, Park is hand-selected to direct and produce a handful of notable and competitive projects. In addition, she produces award-winning international films. She is a recipient of the prestigious Mary Pickford Endowment Scholarship, the Mullar Family Scholarship, and was selected as a finalist for Emmy’s Television Academy Foundation Program. Besides filmmaking, Park loves traveling and binge watching K-pop shows.
The world can be a big and scary place, especially for those who feel lost or alone. A few kind words, a hug, or a helping hand can do a lot to help a person get through the day. Through animation and live action, scenarios both real and fanciful, this collection of short films reminds us of the importance of community and inspires us to support one another.