The short film “Dear Daniel” captured in 20 minutes, what I have experienced my 22 years of life. In fact, every Asian American at least once has experienced the film’s subject.
The protagonist John Lee narrates the tale of his journey of becoming a lawyer. Trouble is, that’s not what he really wants. He wants to be a filmmaker. If you know anything about the Asian community, being a filmmaker is one of the most far left field things any Asian parent wants their child doing. They want their children to have successful, highly respected jobs that bring in the nice paychecks. Like the mother in the film states, “We take care of you, so you take care of us.” However, the reality is that upon the millions of Asian Americans out there, they are just like John. They don’t want to be a lawyer, doctor or engineer. They want to change the world their own way.
The film tackles the ever constant issue in such an articulate way. The writing is brilliant. You see John’s struggle. The audience see the obstacles he faces in his attempts at pursuing his dreams not his parents. The cinematography is beautiful and organic. It captures the story in a real and honest way.
But what I find the best part about this film is that it is so relatable. Being a young Asian American woman, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard “no.” It definitely made work harder after my own goals. I’ll never forget when one of my classmates looked me in the eye and told me “Steph, you’ll never make it to your dream job.” Those words hurt, but in the end I did what I always do. I turned haterade into powerade — any doubt became fuel for me to not to prove every disbeliever wrong, but to do my dreams for me and for nobody else.
Every Asian American should see this film. Not only every Asian American, but everyone who has had anyone tell them that they can’t pursue a dream. Because anyone who says that doesn’t believe in themselves, and they like to see others fail. Everyone has the right to a dream. Dreams are our passion in life, and we can’t take for granted.
I think it’s so bold that you left your schools and jobs to pursue the Jubilee Project fulltime. It’s bold, but it’s brave. You’re doing something so worthwhile, because you’re touching lives. Thank you for inspiring us to dream. Dare to dream, and dare to make those dreams come true.
“A life with passion is a life worth living.”