JUNE 14, 2022
USA | 15 minutes | 2021
Drama short film directed by Shane P. Liao
Starring Haley Sakamoto, Sharlene Radlein, Felicia Tu, Taylor Threadgill, Eric Arriola
An Essential Delivery
When a down on her luck young woman is laid off due to COVID-19, she takes a food delivery job to pay rent, exposing her to the challenges and unexpected blessings of life.
CineAsian Films (CAF): What was the inspiration behind An Essential Delivery?
East Side Stories (ESS): During the pandemic, members of East Side Stories saw a dramatic and painful drop in business in Asian American communities in NYC. Our Chinatown streets, restaurants, and shops were emptying as tensions were rising– more and more people, especially women and the elderly, who felt more fearful as anti-Asian rhetoric and violence became more commonplace online, in the streets, and across mainstream media.
We created An Essential Delivery to send a message to both our communities and to the larger public: we see the pain, the burdens, and the suffering every-day working class people have had to shoulder during this pandemic, especially within the Asian American community. The only way to get through this is to lean on, support and protect one another. We are never truly alone– there is an innate drive in people to support and uplift others even in the worst of times.
CAF: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during the production process?
ESS: Finding funding and support for An Essential Delivery was a task that required a lot of coordination and collective work. An Essential Delivery was funded by the friends, family, and community of the East Side Stories crew. Additional funding and support came from Chowbus, an Asian American founded and led company that connects independent and smaller Asian restaurants with customers through their delivery app.
We wanted to work with an entirely Asian American crew as well. One of the pillars of East Side Stories’s values as a nonprofit is to advocate for local, emerging Asian American talent to work in the arts and on sets. Considering the historical lack of BIPOC artists and creatives in the film industry, being able to work with an entirely Asian American crew was a unique and truly special experience that we don’t get to experience often! Amazingly, we were able to staff our crew with local NYC artists and creators– many of whom continue to work with East Side Stories even a year later. We’re very grateful for the support from both our immediate community and the larger Asian American community.
CAF:What do you hope people can take away from watching this?
ESS: Our goal is to inspire empathy, compassion, and a desire to build bridges in solidarity with those who are trying to survive similar struggles. We hope that when all else fails, people will come to the aid of others. We hope people remember kindness even in the darkest times.
The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
An Essential Delivery is one of the many great projects shared with CineAsian Films through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them, submit your project.
Director, Editor: Shane P. Liao
Producers: Joann Wang, Joyce Chang
Writers: Shane P. Liao, Jessica Chen
Cinematographer: Brandon Lee
Also starring: Jessica Chen, Jordan Diggory, Miguel Espino, Kyle Jurassic
In English and Mandarin Chinese.