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Dueling Citizenships: Heritage, Cultural Identity, and Mental Health

Voices With Impact 2021: A week of films, conversation, and exploration related to mental health within Black and immigrant communities.

About this event

If mental health is the sum total of the way everyone see and experience the world, then they are at once personal, familial, and cultural. What happens, then, when the context of your culture shifts? When things that were once obvious “facts” are now questioned “opinions” that are out of sync with the world around you? In this session, they will watch three films that illuminate aspects of mental health in Mexican, Filipinx, and Chinese cultures with filmmakers Thea Loo, Emilie Cheung, and Adàn Àvalos. Together, they will ask questions about how, why, and when heritage, cultural identity, and mental health intersect.

Note: This session has been designed to honor and center the full expression of mental health as experienced by first- and second-generation immigrants. Allies are welcome. Anything coming up in the session that decentralizes first and second generation immigrants will be compassionately redirected.


Adàn Àvalos, “Rompiendo Olas/Breaking Waves”

Adán Ávalos is a filmmaker and scholar who believes in exploring both theory and practice of art, directing his own documentaries and art installations. As one of eleven children from a Mexican migrant labor family, Adán has focused his artistic and scholarly career on paying tribute to the lives and experiences within migrant communities.

Emilie Cheung, “Fish Out of Water”

Emilie is a 20 year old shorts director based in the UK. After training with the BFI Film Academy in 2016, she made her directorial debut at 17, with a commission from Channel 4’s ‘Random Acts’, for her short film ‘Pas De Deux’. She’s since gone on to direct a variety of projects; from social media commercials for ‘Adolescent Content’, to narrative shorts, including Underwire nominated ‘Walk of Shame’. She has also worked as a ‘Young Reporter’ for Into Film, giving her the opportunity to interview some of the most influential names in film, such as Damien Chazelle, Richard Curtis and Millie Bobby Brown. She is currently working as an In-House Runner at SISTER, an independent production company founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, Jane Featherstone and Stacey Snider

Thea Loo, “Nanay”

Thea Loo is an emerging film producer and director who holds a BFA in Film Production from Simon Fraser University. She began her producing career through an administration internship at the Vancouver Film Studios and working as a production office assistant on the Amazon Studios TV series “Man in the High Castle”. Thea’s most recently produced short film “No More Parties” (Dir. Natalie Murao) premiered at the San Diego Asian Film Festival and was created with the funding support of the National Film Board of Canada. She is creatively producing a short narrative still in development entitled “Soule”, about Filipino Canadian sneakerheads. Her directed works focus on investigating the Asian Canadian experience particularly through the lens of spirituality and the perspectives of the Filipino diaspora. Through the support of Voices With Impact, her short documentary “Nanay” will focus on patterns of trauma affecting immigrant Filipino families and shed light on their mental health journeys

For more information about Voices With Impact 2021, please visit Art With Impact.

Upcoming Dates

  • Tuesday, June 22, 2021, 1:00 - 2:30 pm