Girl From the Station: A short film that highlights the untold story of the Asian-American community

Promotional photo for Girl From the Station
(Photo courtesy of Instagram @girlfromthestation)

In a country where the stories of Asian-Americans have not been heard, it can be difficult to be brave enough to be the first one to speak up. However, Girl from the Station, a short film created by NYU juniors Matt Liang and WHS alum Larry Yu, breaks barriers and reveals the long-awaited truth of the Asian-American community. 

Not only does this short film highlight the suppressed stories of many Asian-American families, it hits home for Director Matt Liang. “It’s basically a story about my dad. He is schizophrenic and had an episode about two or three years ago. This is my way of understanding him and what he was going through,” said Liang.  

Liang’s experiences with his father echo similar situations that many other Asian-American families face. The stigma against speaking up about personal problems to family and friends makes it difficult for Asian-Americans suffering from mental illness to ask for help. Liang said, “A huge part of the film is about how people in the Asian community have a tendency to internalize their struggles, which is a big reason why my dad never really talked to anyone about his problems. I wanted to amplify that in the story.”  

To accurately depict the Asian-American community, Liang needed a team that would be able to bring his story to life. “ I thought it was important to make the whole crew Asian because a huge message from the film is to stand up. This is our way of standing up, coming together and making something special,” Liang said. 

An entirely Asian crew is not seen often in entertainment, making this film revolutionary. Yu said, “It’s important to highlight the underrepresented voices of the Asian-American community, especially in Hollywood and the TV and film industry.” 

Despite its important message, Liang and Yu were hesitant about releasing such a trailblazing film in the beginning of their journey.  

Liang noted, “There have been an insane amount of times where I’ve thought, ‘Are we good enough?’ or ‘Are we ready for this?’ especially since we’re essentially all students.” 

Yu added, “Earlier on, I remember being nervous about if it was the right time to tell the story, not only on a societal level, but also because it’s something that is so personal and fresh in Matt’s own life.” 

Ultimately, Liang and Yu believe that this was the right thing to do. “At the end of the day, we decided it was something important to tell and we’re confident enough that it’s going to come out the right way,” said Yu. 

Despite the breathtaking scenery that comes with filming in New York City, the overcrowded areas do not always help with the filming process. “Initially, a huge part of the film was going to be in the subway,” Liang said. “Once we found out the insurance policy that we would have to pay, we decided to change our idea.”

Yu and Liang both knew from the beginning that it was going to be challenging to fully capture Liang’s vision because they were limited financially. 

“One of the bigger issues we run into as film students is fundraising. We’re not even in our senior year [of college] yet so our networks are pretty small,” Yu said. 

Since the main message behind this film is to stand up and bring awareness to all of the issues underrepresented communities face, Yu and Liang hope to make an impact by giving a voice to the billions of those who are struggling to find theirs. 

“We hope it can spark conversations and get people talking,” Yu said. “The most important thing about mental health issues is that people don’t talk about them enough, so we hope this gets people talking more.” 

Click HERE for the fundraising website for the short film.

Photo courtesy of Instagram @girlfromthestation