Set in Oakland, Embrace tells the story of a medical student who is trying to make some extra money for her Iranian family. Created by and starring Kathreen Khavari (Insecure, Big Little Lies) and produced by Refinery 29, the series adds to the need for diverse narratives within underrepresented communities. For Khavari, the series reflects her own experiences as an Iranian American living in Oakland but it also goes beyond that.
“We really wanted to tell a story that hadn’t been told before and we want to do something about bridging and creating connection among people because it felt like it was starting to be very divisive time,” she tells Deadline.
Khavari was joined by co-creator and writer Chuck Neal, actor Eddie Huang (author Fresh Off The Boat) and Academy Award-nominated director Jessica Sanders (Sing!) in the Deadline studio at Sundance to talk about the new series and how it gives more nuance to the immigrant experience.
Huang points out that there is this growing genre of dramedies like Atlanta and Ramy that Embrace fits into. “I think [Kathreen] brings something very unique to that genre,” said Huang. “What all these shows have in common is comedy that Springs from pain and if you’re immigrant or other in this country, you know the jokes that are being told at your dinner table in your home, they’re nasty — they’re biting and full of pain and struggle.” He added, “I just immediately gravitated towards it and I wanted to support her journey and her project.”
Sanders, whose docu After Innocence won the Sundance Special Jury Prize in 2005, adds to Huang’s sentiment. “I had never seen a story about an Iranian American young woman from Oakland,” she said. “I want to be part of storytelling that hasn’t been seen before or heard before.”
Watch the video above.
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