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Directed by Chelsie Pennello

Estranged black sheep Olivia Chu reunites with her family by crashing her mother’s funeral. Unprepared but determined to say something, she unintentionally recites an offbeat story her mother once told her about pigeons, forcing her dutiful older siblings scrambling to save face in front of funeral guests. Competing eulogies ensue, painting a larger picture of each of the siblings in relation to each other and the complex woman they’ve come together to honor that day. The film touches on the oft hidden yet widespread issue of intergenerational trauma in immigrant communities – imagining the path to forgiveness as a messy, awkward, and ultimately defiant act of vulnerability.

Directed by Chelsie Pennello
Produced by Chelsie Pennello, Nathan Colby, Tina Xia, Jeremie Cander, Emai Lai

Director’s Bio: Chelsie Pennello is a Chinese-American independent filmmaker based in Washington, DC. As a writer/director, she enjoys exploring the humanity in offbeat characters and is passionate about Asian American and women representation on film. Her latest narrative short, Mandarins, stars Christine Chang (NBC’s New Amsterdam, Lucky Grandma) and Michael Tow (Apple TV’s City on Fire, Sound of Metal) and is currently on the 2023 festival circuit, where it world premiered at Oscar-qualifying Cinequest Film Festival. Her work has screened in major regional film festivals like Oak Cliff Film Festival, Woods Hole Film Festival, DC Shorts, and more. While attending Syracuse University, her debut student film, “Kill Green”, won the “One to Watch” Award at the 41st Asian American International Film Festival in 2018.

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Fraying Threads

The threads of our lineages weave together to tell the story of the present day. It is often complicated and messy. Some threads are stronger than others, and sometimes we have to choose what we carry with us and what to leave behind. This showcase explores different lineages—from parent to child to cultural practices being passed down to the next generation—and what it means to tug upon them as we walk into the future.