I Just Want Things to Work Out
Adapted from true chaos, this is a bilingual slice-of-life narrative that speaks true to the sense of angst, horniness, and helplessness experienced by teenagers and post-teens alike. It tells a story about heartbreak, healing, and love in a dysfunctional family, all while busting stereotypes.
Mission StatementComing from a beach town in China, I have a passion for comedy and drama in real life. This story is rooted in my homesickness and my anger at anti-Asian sentiments during the pandemic. I want to use this story to humanize Asian representation onscreen and address my agency as an Asian woman.
About The Project
Hi everyone! Willow here!
This is a story I hold dear to my heart and it will mean the world to my family and me to see it come true. We appreciate any and all contributions and your support can really make a difference to our production. Your contributions will go towards renting equipment, securing locations, production design, COVID precautions, and feeding the cast and crew.
We are currently in pre-production and planning on filming towards the end of the summer. We will bring this film to the 2022-2023 festival circuit and release it online via Vimeo.
Thank you so much for your support to make our vision come true and help us revolutionalize Asian representations onscreen!
I Just Want Things to Work Out is a refreshing coming-of-age story about a pair of dynamic yet dysfunctional siblings.
After ending her first relationship, Fei, a 20-year-old, foul-mouthed Chinese American girl, returns home for spring break. It didn’t take long for her to find her teenage brother Seymour’s secret -- he has a massive crush on his friend Maya!
Fei suddenly finds purpose in her failed relationship. As Seymour reluctantly accepts her offer to help him pursue Maya, Fei sets out to make her brother the man of her dreams, all while clumsily healing from her breakup.
This film is dedicated to my 15-year-old brother Simon. My apologies for being a lousy wing-woman, buddy.
Because of the pandemic, I haven’t been home for over a year. In real life, everything happened over the phone. When my brother had his heart broken, I didn’t know what to do. I wish I could be there to give him a hug, tell him everything is going to be ok, and just support him with my presence. But I couldn’t.
My Chinese upbringing also never taught me how to verbally express love. So, I decided to make a movie instead and tell him everything I want him to know: healing is hard, but we will always be by his side, because we love him.
This is a slice-of-life narrative that enriches Asian representation on screen by appealing to universal emotions through comedy.
In light of rampant hate crimes against Asians in America, I want to use this film to humanize the Chinese community and show a different side of Asian families. We are not the model minority. We can be flawed. We can be in a dysfunctional relationship that never knows how to communicate. This is the Chinese family that I know. This is the family portrayed in this film.
Moreover, both the love interests for Fei and her brother Seymour are not Chinese, which sparks a rare conversation about interracial dating. As a Chinese woman, interracial dating carries a different meaning for me. In many discourses about the topic, the woman's agency is often diminished by people within and outside her community. I want to use this film to address my perspective and show my agency in my choice. In all, this is a very witty, personal, and meaningful narrative that aspires to debunk stereotypes and provoke crucial conversations.
Team Bio :
Writer/Director/Producer: Yinuo Willow Cai
Coming from a small beach town in China, Willow finds inspiration from the comedic and dramatic moments in the ordinary. Her first short film, Banana Man, an absurdist comedy about the identity crisis experienced by transcultural individuals, was nominated for Best Comedy at the All American High School Film Festival 2018. When she’s not writing the next hilariously relatable narrative, you can find her figure skating, doing stand-up comedy around LA, and working on her video essay channel on YouTube.
Producer: Stanley Lin
Stanley Lin is a producer and cinematographer based in Los Angeles, California. He is currently attending the University of Southern California as a double major between Cinema and Media Studies and Business Administration. He is set to graduate in 2022, after which Lin plans to start working on feature film sets. He holds a strong belief that a good technical background can immensely aid any production as technology and art are becoming more intertwined than ever before. Lin directed his first film in 2019 titled No Part Too Small, a documentary on how climate change is affecting the small Pacific island nation of Vanuatu and what its citizens are doing to fight against it. His career aspiration to be able to inspire a future generation of diverse creatives to enter the entertainment industry and tell their stories because stories from all around the world should be shared and valued.
Producer: Nidhi S. Kulkarni
Nidhi S. Kulkarni is a seasoned student producer, pursuing her MFA in Film and Television Production at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Amidst COVID-19, Nidhi safely completed the production of two shorts, a BAFTA-GSA grant winner “WITNESS” and a USC-funded documentary “IN HER CORNER” which premiered at the Catalina International FF 2020. Before USC, Nidhi worked as an assistant director on Rohit Shetty’s Marathi feature “School College ani Life.” Nidhi is a believer in realistic, character-driven stories and is on a journey to make a name for herself in the film industry, one project at a time.
Advisory Producer: Val Tan
Val Tan is a filmmaker from Singapore! She will soon complete her studies in film at the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts. Val is passionate about telling stories from the heart, leaning towards themes of culture and family. She is proud of her Chinese background and wants to bring more diverse faces to the big screen.
Director of Photography: Luke Sargent
Luke is a seasoned cinematographer and a USC School of Cinematic Arts alumni. He has worked on a plethora of excellent projects including the Sweet Potatoes that won Best Narrative at the Student Academy Award.
Co-Editor: Annie Zheng
Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Annie is a freshman in Media Arts + Practice at the University of Southern California. She is constantly finding new ways to merge various forms of media, with interests in creative coding, multimedia storytelling, and experimental film. Although she has not currently been recognized for her work on a larger scale, she hopes that in everything she does, she will be able to provide a voice to the queer and Asian communities as well as to shed light on the human condition.
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We are so grateful to have you as a part of this journey! Stay tuned for more updates coming your way <33
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About This Team