Synopsis: Following a graduation celebration, four Chinese must navigate their relationships’ future as dictated by the circumstances of life and their families.
Dylan Locke (Wizz)
Arthur Peng (Xudong)
Crystal Huang (Mingyi)
“You’re watching the results of five thousand years of sexual repression,” remarked Ang Lee famously in The Wedding Banquet.
I wear my heart on my sleeves for this film. As a Chinese LGBT individual, I have been asked by elders and relatives countless times if I am getting a girlfriend or when I will get married. For politeness, all I could reply is to smile with them. But deep down, my heart breaks: I hope so much that I can share with them the pains and joys of being someone they will probably never understand, but in the end I could only swallow it and keep who I am a secret.
With this broken heart comes the idea for “Graduation.” The plot was inspired by my own graduation experience at Duke University last year.
“Graduation” is a romantic comedy about lies and secrets – and how they crumble when we are away from the pretensions of society and allowed to be true to ourselves. It is a film about family, about the gaps between generations that could probably never really understand each other – but somehow find themselves in similar dilemmas as their forbidden love chafes against the confines of society.
Most importantly, it is a story told from an Asian-LGBT perspective but demands a universal recognition. Love happens to any human being regardless of age, sex, or sexual orientation — and one will set himself/ herself free by giving others the freedom to pursue their own love.
Lastly, I envision the film as a synthesis of Call Me By Your Name and Eat Drink Man Woman. I hope that this film will help the parents of LGBT youths – including my own – understand their children and themselves better. We all want to love or be loved, and it is the time that we recognize each other as human beings.
Zhongyu (Robin) Wang is an award-winning director and screenwriter based in Los Angeles. He graduated from Duke University with a BA degree in English and is now an MFA candidate in Film & Television Production at the University of Southern California. In Fall 2021, Robin is selected to direct “Wei-Lai,” one of the three greenlit Thesis projects fully funded by USC Film School. With his main interests centering around the diversity of queer and global Asian experiences, he strives to create comedies and dramas that are meant to be a captivating, illuminating, and authentic portrayal of the APIQ community.