One of the most poetic acceptance speeches this weekend came from filmmaker Andrew Ahn, who received the 2017 John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit awards ceremony on Saturday. The award is given each year to an independent feature that was made for less than $500,000, which he funded on Kickstarter.
His film, “Spa Night,” tells the story of a closeted gay Korean-American, who takes a job in a spa to help supplement his immigrant family’s income. He ultimately discovers an underground world of gay sex that he finds both titillating and terrifying.
Ahn’s acceptance speech began with an honest moment of hilarity. “I’m going to barf,” he confessed.
But his message turned to an impassioned speech about his parents accepting their gay son and the need for Americans to acceptant immigrants and “the other” into their communities.
“This is so meaningful that this is going to a film about a Korean-American immigrant family — about queer Korean people,” he began. “Now more than ever it’s so important that we support stories told by and about communities that are marginalized. That we tell stories about immigrants, about Muslims, women, people of color, trans, and queer folk.”
He went on to urge others to tell these stories as a tool for humanizing those too often seen as “the other” in a post-Trump era.
“Film is such a powerful tool in humanizing these communities so that we can’t be pushed aside [and] labeled as other, we are part of this great country, and we are undeniable,” Ahn said.
you can watch his full acceptance speech below: