Dallas International Film Festival

PIPPI

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Synopsis

A mother and daughter grapple with their racial self-hatred through their love of Pippi Longstocking.

PIPPI is Mia Walker’s Directorial Debut

MIA WALKER (director)
Mia creates and directs for theater, film, TV, and audio. She was selected as the Drama League’s TV Directing Fellow and is currently developing a new musical podcast series. She has directed world premieres regionally and Off-Broadway, and has worked on multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway shows and National Tours. B.A. Harvard University. www.miapwalker.com
KAROLINE XU (writer/producer)
Karoline was born in Shanghai, China. There was no air conditioning in her mother’s hospital, and she was ten days late. She studied English at Harvard College, and acting at Atlantic Acting School and Actors Theatre of Louisville. Off-Broadway: The Hard Problem at Lincoln Center Theater, and the world premiere of [Veil Widow Conspiracy] at Next Door @ NYTW, for which The New York Times singled her out as “terrific.” TV/FILM: Lincoln (NBC), Evil (CBS), PIPPI, Kiss (Means of Production), music video for Softee’s “Oh No.” Her writing has been a finalist of the FOFIF Fund, WAVE Grant, Outfest, and Orchard Project. She has published with The Establishment and was a writing assistant for Race in America (Norton) and The Written World (Random House). karolinexu.com

 

WRITER STATEMENT: 
From 1998 to 2000, I lived in a municipality next to Stockholm. I loved everything there: underground grocery stores, recess in the woods, dressing up for St. Lucia’s Day. Later, my mom told me that I had a difficult time. The school where I kissed my first crush (a
young Norwegian boy) was the same place where other white boys mocked my small “Oriental” eyes. In 2014, Sweden re-released the 1969 Pippi Longstocking television series and removed a few racial slurs, including the phrase “king of the Negroes” and a sequence where Pippi draws her eyes out into the slant eye gesture and sings a mock Chinese song. There was a large backlash; many Swedes believed this censorship corrupted a national treasure and reflected a submission to the “politically correct” atmosphere. The fusion of these events spurred what would eventually become PIPPI. What is our relationship with our past, and specifically nostalgia, as we evolve as a society? At what point does memory become oppressive and selective and harmful? And how do we talk about the past with the people we love? Aesthetically, PIPPI is a horror film. When I wrote the script, I asked myself: what is the scariest thing I could see on screen that I haven’t seen yet? I wanted to delve into the racial self-hatred that I, and many other Asians, have been experiencing for a long time.
But PIPPI’s beating heart is just that — heart. A child’s love for an icon, a mother’s love for her past, and the strong, albeit complicated, bond between them. I think of that scene in Slumdog Millionaire when the young boy gets stuck in an outhouse while his favorite idol comes to town. In a moment of desperation and intense longing, he takes the ultimate plunge: into the bath of shit below. Then he runs through the village, down the dirt roads, through the dense crowd, until he’s there, in front of the person he wants to see most. Sometimes, the most painful thing is wanting something badly enough.

 

 

 

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Category

Director

Mia Walker

Writer

Karoline Xu

Producer

Jefferson White
Karoline Xu
Mia Walker

Cast

Angella Cao
Karoline Xu

Runtime

7 min

Dallas International Film Festival

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