On The Cusp, Longlist - Short Film

Hello From Taiwan

Tiffany Frances

Valiant Pictures

With the backing of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women program, this short film, Hello From Taiwan, developed into something truly special for me, as it was workshopped and made a reality with the support of so many talented women in the film industry. When my parents immigrated from Taiwan to America back in the 70s, they made tough sacrifices in order to make the American Dream work. My dad went through different business ventures, with some success but mostly failures, causing tension between him and my mom. They started the divorce process, and he ended up taking my two older sisters with him back to Taiwan. After a year, he came back and asked my mom to consider re-marrying in order to unite the family back together. It took years for me to write “Hello From Taiwan”. It started off as a single scene of my hazy memory of re-meeting my sisters at the airport when I was four years old. We could only say the words “hi” and “hello” to each other because there was an immediate language barrier. When my father passed away a few years ago, I felt like I had no choice but to continue writing this story. At age four, I didn’t understand why we had been separated in the first place. The significance of the transformation my family went through didn’t really hit me until my adult years. I suddenly wanted to explore themes of family relationships and why it’s so complex, particularly with immigrants and their children in America. Writing this script was a way for me to look back in reflection at the sacrifices and hardships my parents faced yet overcame. This film was also created as a labor of love amongst an amazing crew of women. Our key crew on set was majority female, not to mention people of color, and a largely Mandarin-speaking cast and crew. It was an incredible experience to create with those who truly understood the story at its heart.

Tiffany Frances is a Taiwanese American writer and director working in commercials, music videos, and narrative film. She loves to create character-driven, dramatic storytelling with lyrical visuals, and exploring stories about women, marginalized voices, and finding surreal moments within authentic situations. She was raised in California, from San Jose to the suburbs of Los Angeles. She has always been a multi-disciplinary artist - she grew up studying photography, theater, dance, and music. She attended UCSD for undergraduate studies in Media with a minor in Theatre, where she gained a deep appreciation for film history and theory. Simultaneously, she was taking classes on Asian American representation in media. The question of how we can use the power of film to send messages that can elevate society fueled her desire to enter a career into filmmaking. After traveling to Cairo, Egypt to document Sudanese refugees, she went to Art Center College of Design for her MFA in Directing. She moved to New York City and worked in film production as a Producer, Casting Director, and Editor in commercials and music video, all while working on her own Directing reel. After a decade on the east coast, she moved back to Los Angeles, where she became a participant as one of eight women selected in the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, 2020. She was selected for SHOOT Magazine’s 2018 New Directors Showcase, where her work screened at the Directors Guild of America Theater in New York. Her personal work has been featured at La Femme Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Berlin Fashion Film Festival, Brand Film Festival, Paper Magazine, Ladygunn, Stereogum, among others. Her producing credits include Barney’s and Red Bull, music videos for Toro Y Moi and Killer Mike, while her directing clients include National Geographic, Vogue Magazine, Citibank, Thrillist, Acura, Glossier, Dia & Co, Tanya Taylor, Montiel, Jonesy, Anna Shoemaker, Dirty Sweet, House of Angels, and The Silent Comedy. She is a recipient of The Future of Film is Female fund on her AFI DWW film HELLO FROM TAIWAN. Her passions lie in writing female stories in interesting ways, thinking about sustainable solutions, surfing, exploring, and taking portraits of people she loves. She also composes music as Porcelain Skyline.\