“I thought it was so cruel and just unfathomable that you can bring a child from another country and then tell them at some point later in their life that they’re not welcome in the place they call home,” he said Sunday during Deadline’s Contenders Film: Los Angeles at the DGA Theater. “That’s why I think this film was important for me to tell. this is always the best way – on the big screen – to build empathy.”
Blue Bayou focuses on a uniquely American family fighting for their future. Writer-director Chon plays Antonio LeBlanc, a Korean adoptee raised in a small town in the Louisiana bayou who married the love of his life (Alicia Vikander) and is stepdad to their beloved daughter. Struggling to make a better life for his family, he must confront the ghosts of his past when he discovers that he could be deported from the only country he has ever known.
During the panel, Chon reflected on the inspiration behind his latest directorial venture, sharing that his relationship with his own wife, child and his adopted friends informed what transpires onscreen. From images of an Asian man in New Orleans to a multi-racial family, Chon also said he looked to normalize the visual of a different kind of American family.
“You don’t see Asian Americans have a Cajun accent,” he told moderator Rosy Cordero of Deadline. “Putting those kind of of images on a screen is very important because it normalizes an image that’s not foreign or exotic anymore.”
Chon said he hopes viewers can come out of the film empathetic and knowledgeable about immigrants’ difficult experiences and willing to learn more about legislation around such issues.
Check out the panel video above.
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