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On Saturday, December 9, Austin Asian American Film Festival held a free screening of the films of the five nominees for best narrative short. Among them was “Home is Where the Sunsets,” a story about family and the independence of a twenty-something by the name of Allison, who lives away from her family in Los Angeles while they are in Hong Kong. She faces the ups and downs of loving and missing her family, while also having a strained relationship with them that doesn’t always allow her to express her love for them the way she would like to.
U.S.-filmed “Home is Where the Sunsets,” an eight-minute story that focuses on a Chinese family visiting their daughter in Los Angeles and directed and written by Kayla Tong. The film explores the pitfalls of being a child with family in another country, as well as complicated family dynamics.
Allison is being visited for the first time by her family from Hong Kong. The film is shot through Allison’s point of view, where we see her moments of happiness in small moments with her sisters, to heartbreaking ones when dealing with the complicated family relationships she has with her mother and sister.
Throughout her family’s visit, Allison takes her family out on the town, and tries to share her enthusiasm, but is instead met with criticism from her mother and sister about the life she leads, from her bright blue highlights to dating outside of her race. Through her frequent disagreements with and disapproving comments from her family, the audience sees the emotional turmoil she experiences day-to-day while they are visiting. Despite all of this, Allison is able to also have intimate family moments with the women of her family by bonding over something as small as wearing sheet masks or sleeping in the same bed. Through all the ups and downs, we see that Allison is still able to abide by the phrase “Home is Where the Sunsets” the next morning after her family returns to Hong Kong.
“Home is Where the Sunsets” has something for all audience members. Some may relate to living abroad away from your family, while others may feel a connection to the family aspect of the plot.
This short film was the last screened at the Narrative Shorts screening event on Dec. 9. Winners were chosen by ballot cards that were handed out at the end of the screening event and were announced at the closing night party on Dec. 10. Winners were also eligible to receive a cash prize of $250 for being in competition.
Fore more information about the Austin Asian American Film Festival you can visit their website here.