Go Back to China

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China | 2019 | 96 minutes | Emily Ting

Spoiled Sasha's spendthrift American lifestyle tries her rich Chinese father's patience until he brings her home to work in the family's factory in this easygoing dramedy.

"An unexpectedly sweet coming-of-age comedy"—IndieWire

It's not turning out to be a great birthday for aspiring L.A. fashionista Sasha Li (Anna Akana). Just out of school, she's dismayed to realize jobs in the industry aren't hers for the asking. (Intern?!?!? No way!) Dad (Richard Ng), a toy manufacturer back in China, has lost patience with subsidizing her lifestyle, though; and after a night of partying, Sasha discovers he's canceled her credit cards. Come back here and work in my factory, he threatens, or the money pipeline's staying shut off. At this point in writer/director Emily Ting's gently ambling dramedy, though, you start to sympathize with Sasha, because Dad's a piece of work: a tantrum-prone tyrant who cut fresh fruit from his factory cafeteria because it cost too much, and who collects new wives and children oftener than some men change socks. Installed in Dad's gilded mansion with the offspring of wives #1 and #3 and new girlfriend #4, Sasha soon figures out she might be able to put her design skills to use freshening up Dad's stuffed-animal inventory. There are bumps in the road (unflappable half-sister Carol has her own agenda), but everything gets wrapped up neatly by the end: Dad eases up, Sasha grows up, and they realize the generational and cultural divides between them aren't as unbridgeable as they thought.

Director Biography
Emily Ting, 39, was born in Taipei, but later immigrated to Los Angeles with her family. After graduating from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Ting spent several years working at the documentary film distribution company Docurama before founding her own production company, Unbound Feet Productions. Ting returned to Hong Kong in 2007 to run her family's toy manufacturing company; an experience that inspired her highly personal documentary, Family Inc. (2008). Her first scripted feature film, Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong premiered in 2015, and Go Back to China, staring Anna Akana, premiered at SXSW in 2019. Both films are semi-autobiographical.

Sponsored by Aegis Gardens, First Sight Productions, Ingeniux

  • Director: Emily Ting
  • Principal Cast: Anna Akana, Richard Ng, Lynn Chen, Kelly Hu, Kendy Cheung
  • Country: China, Hong Kong, USA
  • Year: 2019
  • Running Time: 96 minutes
  • Producer: Emily Ting, Sophia Shek, Frederick Thornton
  • Screenplay: Emily Ting
  • Cinematographers: Josh Silfen
  • Editors: Anthony Rosc
  • Music: Timo Chen
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (2015), Family Inc. (Doc., 2008)
  • Language: English, Chinese
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Cinetic Media