Director’s Statement: The Truth Has No Borders
It’s amazing to see how lives can be transformed by this ripple set in motion 11 years ago, when my Aunts shared their truth with me in a hut on a mountain halfway around the world…
This film shows how truth that is never spoken can never lead to change. I don’t know what compelled my Aunts to open up to me that day. But their decision to speak their truth inspired me (albeit years later) to do the same in my storytelling.
Over the past 8 years, the creative team for A Lot Like You discovered a surprising paradox: the more personal, honest and vulnerable we got in our storytelling, the more universal our story became.
The themes and issues that surface throughout our film (trauma, global mixed race experience, gender violence, class tensions within the family, cultural relativism) — these are just the particulars of my own personal journey. But A Lot Like You is ultimately about discovering who we all are and how we decide what to pass on to the next generation.
Six years into the making of A Lot Like You, Eric Frith (editor/producer) and I were still trying to figure out its narrative framework. At this point, both Dad and I were narrating the film, which was confusing because our interweaving storylines were not distinct.
Then in September 2009, I interviewed my parents one last time, and asked them if they had known about my Aunts’ experiences. This conversation was transformative for me, both as a filmmaker and as their daughter. The distinction between Dad’s journey and my own finally became clear. And I realized I had to assume the role of storyteller, intentionally and unapologetically, to tell the only story I was ever really qualified to tell: my own.
While working on this film, the creative team experienced, first-hand, the ripple effect of speaking one’s truth. This film launched each of us (composer, editor, myself) on our own independent journeys, compelling us to examine the hidden, painful truths in our own lives.
And this ripple effect continues to this day as we move the film out into the world. After every screening, audience members feel compelled to open up and engage in dialogue, considering how the themes of identity, history, contradiction, and migration have played out in their own lives.
The undeniable gift of A Lot Like You is its power to ignite dialogue and inspire deep introspection. This film invites us all to reflect on the complexity of loving people through pain, secrets and differences.