Students interested in meeting the makers of a controversial film will have no better chance than today.
“Better Luck Tomorrow” will be shown for free in the MultiCultural Center tonight at 6. A panel discussion with the film’s production team will follow, giving audience members the chance to talk about the film with its creators. The panel will include director Justin Lin, writers Ernesto Foronda and Fabian Marques , producer Julie Asato and documentarian Evan Leong, all recent UCLA graduates.
“Better Luck Tomorrow” is the story of a group of Asian-American high school students in Orange County. Lin said the film intentionally focuses on controversial race issues.
“We wanted to raise questions so we could all have a discussion. I don’t expect everyone to agree, but hopefully everyone’s open,” Lin said.
Celine Shimizu, professor of Asian-American Studies at UCSB, will be facilitating the panel discussion after the screening in the MCC. Shimizu said when the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002, many people in the audience criticized the characters as stereotypical.
“Stereotypes are one-dimensional portrayals,” Lin said. “If I didn’t do my job, these characters would come across as cardboard one- dimensional caricatures. But you can’t say it’s a stereotype if they’re three-dimensional. That’s the whole point to this – Taking something that could potentially be a stereotype and exploring it. When you explore it, then you are talking about three-dimensional characters.”
MCC programmer Luniya Msuku said “Better Luck Tomorrow” asks questions and raises debates about Asian-American stereotypes and other contemporary issues, and that it is the first film written, produced, directed and acted entirely by Asian-Americans.
“One of the main reasons why we wanted to bring this film here is not so much because we think that it’s such a wonderful film, but more because we feel that it sends a powerful message; the stereotypes are broken,” Msuku said. “It’s an opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue.”