Cleveland, Ohio | Film Short


Anne Hu

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $38,508 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

274 supporters | followers

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When a Taiwanese American woman prepares lunches from her childhood, she struggles to forgive herself for pushing away her immigrant mother. Based on real events, this timely story examines anti-Asian racism and its effects on a mother and daughter.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

We are passionate, driven, badass, Asian American female filmmakers committed to telling AAPI stories in their full complexity with representation in front of and behind the camera.

The Story

As of June 29th, we are 100% FUNDED for production, as of July 9th, we hit Stretch Goal #1, as of July 17th, we hit Stretch Goal #2, and as of July 19th, we hit Stretch Goal #3!  Thank YOU!  YOUR follows, YOUR contributions, YOUR loans, and YOUR shares have gotten us where we are today.  We could not have done this without YOU and we can not thank YOU enough.

BUT WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP!  Unfortunately, as with many independent film productions, we have run into several logistical and budgetary challenges (ah, filmmaking).  While we hoped to hire local crew in Cleveland, many other productions are filming at the same time (yay for Cleveland! Not great for us). Unfortunately, this has limited our local crew options and we must now bring in crew, not just from other parts of Ohio, but also New York and Los Angeles.  This has increased our housing and travel costs tremendously!  Additionally, the Delta variant of Covid has also increased concern for the health and safety of our cast and crew.  We've needed to increase our Covid budget - more testing and supplies.

We're now raising an additional $10k to cover our overages!  Please visit to learn how you can still contribute!  And don't worry, we're going to keep honoring all the Seed & Spark incentives for those who donate now via our Paypal link! 

Can't make a financial contribution, but still want to help?  Donate goods and services like snacks, catering, equipment, etc. and you can see your name or your company's name in the lights in our film credits!  Contact [email protected] with your offer!

Because of you, we got LUNCHBOX further than we could have ever dreamed.  Now let's get us through our production hurdles so we can get this film made! 

Thank YOU again!


I was scrolling through Facebook when a video called "The Lunchbox Moment" popped up.  What quickly ensued was overwhelming emotion.  Stories of Asian Americans who were bullied for their homemade lunches sent me down memory lane, recalling my own memories of being teased for bringing my favorite home-cooked meal, zongzi, to school.  As I watched the Asian Americans in the video express their love and gratitude for their parents now, I desperately wished I could tell my mother how much I love her and how thankful I am for her.  But I’ll never be able to do that.  My mother, unfortunately, passed away when I was 20.  

"Lunchbox" is a love letter to my mother, and a catharsis for anyone who has experienced loss, regret, and being the “other.”

I sincerely thank you for your support and participation in making this love letter possible.  Every follow, pledge, share, contribution makes a difference in bringing this story to life.  We hope you join us on our journey in making this film together.

~Anne Hu (Director/Writer)




Lunchbox is a dramatic, three-part, coming-of-age short about regret, healing, and honoring the people we love.  Using her deceased immigrant mother’s recipe book, Taiwanese American Shirley makes zongzi, turnip cake, and hand-pulled noodles.  As she cooks, each dish evokes a childhood memory in which she grows progressively older and more distant from her Taiwanese culture and mother.  When Shirley’s assimilation efforts culminate in her election to the Homecoming Court, a mistake by Shirley’s mother humiliates her, eliciting cruel words Shirley can never take back.  Based on a true story, this retelling examines the personal cost of fitting in as well as the recovery from cultural and familial loss.

Chapter 1: Zongzi

As Shirley cooks zongzi, a sticky rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves, she reflects on her first experience in Lander Elementary School in 1993: The Lunchbox Moment.

Chapter 2: Turnip Cake

Shirley painstakingly makes turnip cake from scratch as she reflects on her first foray into adolescence in 1999: Dating.

Chapter 3: Hand-Pulled Noodles

While Shirley aggressively pulls noodles by hand, she recalls earning the greatest symbol of acceptance at a white American high school in 2004: Homecoming Court.



"Lunchbox" draws inspiration from Barry Jenkin’s "Moonlight," Jean-Marc Vallee’s "Wild," and David Gelb’s "Chef’s Table"


To make the film feel authentic and personal, like "Moonlight," the film will be mostly cast in the director’s hometown (Cleveland, Ohio).  The film will rely on natural light, be shot mostly handheld, and often track behind Shirley. 

Like the time-hopping storytelling style of "Wild," the film will cut seamlessly between present and past on matching visuals and natural sounds.  Sounds like breathing, chopping, sizzling will not only be used to subtly transport the viewer through time, but they will also reflect Shirley’s emotional state. 

The look of "Lunchbox" will also create an immersive experience. Food will be artfully filmed with great care, like in "Chef’s Table," to reflect Shirley’s sentimentality for her mother.  To create intimacy, the film will be shot with extreme close-ups. Edges of the frame may sometimes be out of focus to create the feeling of a cloudy memory. Color will also juxtapose past and present. Present-day Shirley’s environment is cool-colored, full of stainless steel and reflective surfaces.  Shirley’s childhood will be filmed in muted autumnal color tones, to give a simultaneous sense of warmth and the past.



Please check out "The Team" tab to learn about everyone's amazingness!

"Lunchbox" is written and directed by me, Anne Hu.  I will also be playing the roles of Adult Shirley & High School Shirley. 

I am proud to share that we have an all Asian, female-led producing team: Rachel Liu, Chenney Chen, and Gabriella Murillo.  


Beloved Mayfield High School teacher and talented voice artist Brian Francetic will also be playing the role of
Announcer!  It's a great honor to have him on board!

We are still casting in Ohio for numerous roles!  Stay tuned for our casting notices!  We welcome you to audition or recommend people.  No experience necessary! 



With the rise of anti-Asian hate, it is crucial to tell AAPI stories in their full complexity and to have representation in front of and behind the camera.  We strongly believe to fight anti-Asian hate, we need our voices heard, our experiences seen, and more opportunities for AAPI in leadership positions in the film industry.  

"Lunchbox" shows how racism and the pressure to assimilate have long-lasting consequences on one's self-esteem, connection to their heritage, and relationships.  While some people may brush off "The Lunchbox Moment" as "small" or "insignificant," this film shows how that all-too-common moment for many minorities is the beginning of how many feel like "the other" and how this feeling is carried on in their lifetime.

By telling the universal story of coming-of-age and the complicated relationship between mother and daughter through the specificity of a Taiwanese American lens, this film hopes to inspire audiences to find commonalities with their own childhood so they may deepen empathy, understanding, and regard marginalized people with their whole humanity.

For those who have experienced being "the other," "Lunchbox" provides catharsis and healing. 

To the AAPI community, I hope this film makes your experience feel heard and seen.  I hope this film makes us hug our parents tighter, have a better understanding of their struggles and the sacrifices they have made for us, and I hope this film is added to your list of movies that reflect your pride in being Asian American.  It would be a great honor.

 Art Credit: Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya.  "We Are More" installation.




Follow our campaign and stay up-to-date on the latest "Lunchbox" news!  It's 100% free. 

What does the "Lunchbox" team get out of it?  Seed&Spark rewards us for building our audience.  The more followers we get, the more we unlock products, services, and festival fee waivers courtesy of Seed&Spark!


You can make a contribution to our film by making a pledge.  We have to collect 80% of our crowdfunding goal to keep our funds.  You can choose an incentive or make a pledge to a specific wishlist item.  You can choose any pledge and incentive amount that fits your budget.  No pledge is too small.  Every dollar makes a difference in making our film possible!


Can't make a monetary pledge but have services or items you can donate or loan?  Check out our wishlist!  We can offer credit and/or advertising.  Feel free to make a loan request in our "Wishlist" tab or email us at [email protected].

Here are some items we are seeking:

  • Lodging near Mayfield Heights, Ohio for fully vaccinated cast and crew
  • 1995-2000 sedan to be featured in our film
  • Props and wardrobe from 1993-2005
  • Mayfield Letterman's Jackets (around year 2005)
  • Shooting location to be featured in the film
    • 1980's kitchen
    • Current modern-day kitchen
  • Craft services (snacks, coffee, bottled water)
  • Catering
  • Extras
  • Drivers
  • Ground transportation
  • Accounting services or a clerk
  • Production assistants
  • Medic
  • PPE



The only way we will reach our crowdfunding goal is if we reach beyond our networks.  If you’d like to be a part of supporting AAPI female filmmakers and stopping Anti-Asian hate through AAPI stories, YOU can make the difference in our success!

Please share our campaign via your social media, email, word-of-mouth, however you want!  We can't do this without you!

Here are some examples.  Feel free to copy and paste!


Help filmmaker @annehufilms by supporting her heartfelt AAPI film LUNCHBOX about a Taiwanese American woman reconnecting to her late immigrant mother through cooking her childhood lunches.  Join them on @seedandspark:


I just watched the LUNCHBOX Virtual Reading directed by filmmaker @annehufilms and WOW, you've got to support this AAPI short film!  Join them on @seedandspark:


I'm so excited to see the short film LUNCHBOX, by Mayfield Alumn and director/writer @annehufilms, be made in Mayfield Heights, Ohio this fall including a role with MHS staff Mr. Francetic!  Support them on @seedandspark:

We thank you again for all your love and support.  Together we can make this love letter possible and bring the change we want to see.



In Loving Memory

Chinluen Judy Hu

Mom, for all your strengths and weaknesses, I love you.

Thank you.


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.


Costs $5,000

Pay our talented crew!


Costs $3,000

Pay our talented actors!

Art Department

Costs $3,000

Props, wardrobe, costumes, make-up costs.


Costs $4,000

Airfare, car rentals, gas, toll costs.

Ground Transportation

Costs $1,100

Vehicles, drivers, fuel costs. Volunteers welcome!


Costs $2,550

Provide meals for cast & crew. Donations welcome.

Craft Services

Costs $250

Looking for snacks, coffee, water! Donations welcome.


Costs $2,400

Lights, camera, lenses.


Costs $1,400

1 week stay for 10 fully vaccinated team members. Donated rooms and housing welcome.


Costs $294

Hand sanitizer, masks, COVID testing kits, cleaning supplies. Donations welcome.

Picture Car

Costs $1

We are looking for a 1995-2000 era vehicle to feature in our movie! Can you lend us your vehicle?

1990's Props and Wardrobe

Costs $1

We are looking for props and clothing from 1993-2005. Do you have items you can lend?

Mayfield 2004 Letterman's Jackets

Costs $1

Do you have a letterman's jacket from MHS around 2004? May we borrow it?


Costs $1

You or your child want to be in a movie? We need extras! Volunteer to be an extra.

Modern Kitchen Location

Costs $1

Want your home in a movie? We are looking for a modern kitchen to feature in our film!

1980's Kitchen Location

Costs $1

Want your home in a movie? We are looking for a 1980's kitchen to feature in our film!

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team


Director, Writer, Editor, Actor "High School & Adult Shirley"

Anne Hu is a Taiwanese American, award-winning director, writer, editor, and actress.  Her directing focus is in narrative film and TV.  As seen in The Hollywood Reporter, Hu made the 2020 Alice List for Emerging Female Filmmakers who Have Not Yet Directed a Feature.  She shadowed director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) on Netflix’s The Society.  Hu is also a fellow of the 2019 Space on Ryder Farm Film Lab.  She has directed, written, and starred in award-winning short films.  Her short CAKE was accepted into 38 festivals, earned 9 awards, and was featured in The Washington Post.  As an actor, she has trained at T. Schreiber Studio and The Barrow Group.  In CAKE, she and the cast were nominated for Best Ensemble.  Hu hopes to provide catharsis for audiences and inspire them to regard marginalized voices with their whole humanity.  She is managed by Writ-Large.




Rachel is a producer based in New York and Los Angeles. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Bioengineering and Entrepreneurship, she produced her first feature, "Sleepwalkers", which won the Creative World Awards Creative Concept Award and Indiewire’s Project of the Year. Rachel produced music videos including the official lyric video for the triple-platinum song “Honey I’m Good” by Andy Grammer and multiple official music videos for platinum recording artist group AJR before line producing feature films including "In a New York Minute", and "Bite Me". Most recently she produced the feature "Student Body", and the animated pilot "Action Dinosaur". She currently co-hosts on the Nerds of Color Media podcast “We’re Not All Ninjas”. With her background in STEM and business, she is committed to exploring and innovating in the intersection of film, technology, and finance, as well as promoting new and important stories.




Chenney Chen is a 10+ year veteran in independent filmmaking. Her foray into film began in casting when she worked on award-winning features such as CAROL, MILES AHEAD, DAYS OF MERCY, and SURVIVING COMPTON.  Since then, she has gone to produce films such as EVIL TAKES ROOT, HEARTLAND, and BUFFALO. 

She is a co-founding member of SheStrikes, an entertainment and media company that produces original content in features, documentaries, and limited series. Through her work, she has produced televised content for Lifetime called HER AMERICA, ESPN’s SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE, BBC Network’s SILICON VALLEY, and National Geographic’s BEEtv. With her creative direction on branded short films, she has received three Telly Awards and an Aurora Award. Her long-term career goal is to uplift the voices and work of minorities in the industry.




Gabriella Murillo is an NYC-based documentary Director and Producer. Her films focus on the Asian American experience and the complexities of human relationships. Her past work in documentary film/tv includes Netflix’s: Dirty Money (season 2), How to Fix a Drug Scandal, and HBO's “Becoming Warren Buffett". Additionally, she has worked as an assistant director and production coordinator for independent narrative shorts. Gabriella is currently an Associate Producer at Firelight Films.



Voice Artist, "Announcer"

Brian Francetic is the “Voice of the Mayfield Wildcats."  He has been announcing high school sporting events for the past 22 years.  Brian does voice work for radio and TV commercials, promotional videos, and has voiced training videos for the world-famous Cleveland Clinic.  He has emceed numerous charity events as well.

Brian offers a friendly, charismatic, regular-guy voice that is sincere, passionate, and energetic. He has announced nearly 500 sporting events as the football and basketball public address announcer for Mayfield High School in suburban Cleveland, Ohio.    

Brian has experience as a television play-by-play announcer and pregame show host.  He has been the emcee of Mayfield’s famous “Sweet Sixteen Homecoming” for nearly two decades.


Current Team