New comedy ‘Easter Sunday’ celebrates Filipino-American life (VIDEO)

The new comedy “Easter Sunday” has now been deliberately released in theaters, filled with Easter eggs meant to reach and celebrate a Filipino audience.

Career, faith and complicated family dynamics are just a few themes in the new comedy “Easter Sunday,” set in Daly City, California, the real life of 32,000 Filipinos.

It is written by Ken Cheng and loosely based on the life of Cheng and Filipino-American comedian Jo Koy.

“Often our stories, especially when we talk about immigrants, focus on what I call the noble struggle of immigration, and we never savor the joy and happiness, the laughter and comedy of that experience. “, Cheng said.

The film nods to classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Friday.”

“A one-day movie where a variety of hijinks and subplots kind of converge into a dramatic moment at the end of the movie,” Cheng said.

The film is filled with little things – or Easter eggs – meant to reach and celebrate a Filipino audience.

“All of the food included in the film is literally written verbatim in the script,” Cheng said. “It’s like this is the dish you should cook here… She offers a dessert, and the dessert should be this, Polvoron.”

A recurring struggle in the film is its central character’s difficulty navigating stereotypes in Hollywood.

According to a study from CAPE and the Geena Davis Institute, about one-third of API characters – 35.2% – embody at least one common API trope or stereotype such as “martial artist”, “model minority”, or “exotic woman “.

NEWSY’S STRONG AMBER: How did you find how to make this film which celebrates Filipino culture without making fun of Filipino culture? Does that make sense?

KEN CHENG: It makes sense. For me, the priority is that I think it’s a natural byproduct of allowing characters to just be human on screen. It makes sense if you’re able to express the humanity of these characters. I don’t see how you would laugh at them.

There was a brief discussion about moving Easter Sunday and its star cast from AAPI to streaming due to COVID-19, but the filmmakers tell Newsy they and Koy had their hopes on something. bigger.

“These are people that we don’t see on the big screen often, if ever, and it was really important to him and really important to us as producers involved, and to the studio frankly, that we could present this film as we meant to,” Cheng said.

In a film called “Easter Sunday”, there are obviously themes of faith.

According to the Harvard Divinity School, 90% of the people of the Philippines are Christian, the majority Catholic.

“We can all debate the origins of why Catholicism specifically played such an important role as a by-product of colonialism in the Philippines, but it is undeniably such a big part of the specific experience of Filipinos and Filipino Americans,” Cheng said.

The subject of faith is becoming more prevalent in shows with AAPI tracks, such as “Ms. Marvel” airing on Disney+, leaning heavily on Islamic traditions. There’s also the Kim family on the CBC show “Kim’s Convenience,” which features plenty of storylines centered around the Korean family’s Christian faith.

“The church is, frankly, one of the central centers of community where people find community, especially newly arrived immigrants who don’t know anyone else in this country,” Cheng said. “This is where they go to reunite with their compatriots there, to rediscover solidarity and a kind of sense of collective belonging.”

“Easter Sunday” is now broadcast, on purpose, in theaters only.

Alicia R. Rucker