Sun Mar 1, 2020 – 12:00 pm | Bushel & Peck’s
Directed by Pailin Wedel
USA, Thailand | 75 min | 2018
In 2015, two-year-old “Einz” became the youngest person in the world to be cryopreserved. Her head and brain now rest in a cryonic tank in Arizona. Before her death, Einz fought cancer bravely. This convinced her parents she was determined to live at any cost. Her father, Sahatorn, a Thai Buddhist an Ph.D.-holding laser scientist, hopes she will one day experience rebirth inside a regenerated body. Matrix is Einz’s 15-year-old brother — a whiz kid who programs circuits in his spare time. The family now wants him to embark on a journey. Matrix is told to travel abroad and meet some of the scientists uncovering breakthroughs that could possibly help revive Einz in the future. The film weaves personal footage of Einz’s life with observational scenes of the family following Einz’s death. It explores the technology used to preserve the human mind as well as the emotional struggle of a loving family— one devoted to reviving their daughter at all costs.
A few years ago, when a partner’s mother, a LGBTQ+ activist, asked whether I would be attending Pride, I answered with a resounding “No”. I felt a total disconnect to what I perceived Pride to be. Her response was: “You don’t know your history!”. She was right – I didn’t. I had no knowledge of Section 28 and knew only of rumours and lies regarding the AIDS crisis. Exploring our history has helped me to understand why I grew up as an isolated young gay man filled with shame and fear. I knew I had to make this film in the effort to prevent anyone else feeling that way.
Are You Proud? is an exploration of a community that has tirelessly campaigned for my existence; the lives and battles fought that aren’t discussed or taught in schools, of a community that I am a part of, and is a part of me. Through this journey, I found friendship, love, voice and purpose.
A work-in-progress screening at BFI FLARE 2017 was pivotal, giving the audience the opportunity to have their say in shaping the end result. What started as a film being made alone in my bedroom has now grown into a film made by the community, for the community.
I’d like to thank all of those who supported our Kickstarter, our Executive Producers Andy Whitmore, Glenn Scott Wright, Charlie Parsons, Andrew Su, and Bruno Wang for believing in a first time filmmaker; and Andrew Lumsden, Lisa Power, Fox Fisher, Phyll Opoko-Gyimah and Dan Glass for their advice, guidance and trust. This process has ensured Are You Proud? is like no other film on the LGBTQ+ community, a film that is truly reflective of who we are. And with that comes the reality that within our community there are issues and differences of opinion that have to be addressed. Are You Proud? is as critical of us as a community as it is of those who oppress us.
Are You Proud ? is the film I needed to see when I was a child, and as a young gay man coming out. Making this film has emboldened me to continue the fight that so many have fought before me, and I hope that it encourages others to do the same.
~ Ashley Joiner
Pailin Wedel is a Thai-American journalist and filmmaker who grew up in Asia. … Wedel works with Al Jazeera English, Bloomberg, The New York Times, National Geographic, and Monocle. Wedel was formerly the Asia Interactive producer for the Associated Press