Paper Lotus

A drama-comedy about Tess, a young, struggling Taiwanese-American accessories designer who tries to reconnect with her father while navigating the mysterious traditions of her grandmother’s traditional funeral. When a rare career opportunity occurs, Tess is forced to choose between work and family, and risk losing her father's love forever.

  • Kai-Ting Tiffany Wu
  • Kai-Ting Tiffany Wu
  • David Chen
  • JC Chang
  • Jennifer Ng
  • Jessika Van
    Key Cast
    Rush Hour, The Messengers, Awkward
  • Jim Lau
    Hangover 3, Big Trouble in Little China
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Drama, comedy, family
  • Runtime:
    30 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 15, 2013
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    Chinese, English
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • USC First Film Awards
    Los Angeles
    March 17, 2014
  • Palm Springs International ShortFest
    Palm Springs, CA
    June 20, 2013
  • Los Angeles Movie Awards
    Los Angeles, CA
    May 11, 2013
    Best Student Film, Best Directing, Best Screenwriting, Best Actress
  • Newport Beach Film Festival
    Newport Beach, CA
    April 15, 2013
    North America Premiere
  • Taipei Film Festival
    Taipei, Taiwan
    July 18, 2013
    Asian Premiere
  • Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival
    Toronto, Canada
    November 24, 2013
    Canadian Premiere
  • Athens International Film+Video Festival
    Athens, OH
    March 16, 2014
Director Biography - Kai-Ting Tiffany Wu

An immigrant from Taiwan, Kai-Ting is a writer-director dedicated to making films about cultural identities and personal relationships. She spent her childhood in Worcester, MA, where her parents pursued their graduate degrees. As the only minority student in the class, Kai-Ting got a true taste of cultural shock, but the experience was more of a jolt of excitement and stimulated her desire to explore global cultures. Upon returning to Taiwan, she chose Journalism as a major, with the goal to become an international correspondent who writes about the world. But soon she was lured into the field of visual media and found her passion there. After college, she worked for programs designed for underserved communities at the PBS of Taiwan. This inspired her to pursue the art of filmmaking, and brought her across the Pacific Ocean to Los Angeles. Kai-Ting recently graduated with an MFA degree in Film & TV Production at the University of Southern California. Her thesis film, Paper Lotus, about a young Taiwanese-American designer’s struggles to reconnect with her estranged father, has been an official selection at numerous international film festivals. Kai-Ting is a recipient of the Tania Trepanier Scholarship and the Bernard Kantor Award. She currently works as a freelance set PA in Los Angeles, and is developing her feature debut as the writer-director of The Ice Dancer, a drama about an Asian-American ice dancer who battles through injuries and depression to make a final comeback.

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Director Statement

The subject of “family” has always been the center of my creative interest as a young filmmaker. Family is what constitutes us as a human being; we live and breathe the influence of it, perhaps even after we cease to exist on earth. Of the many facets of family relationships, I am interested in one particular aspect: the “silent love.” This is the kind of love that is expressed indirectly, awkwardly and sometimes inappropriately. For instance, parents might show that they care about you through demands and criticism instead of warmth and encouragement. Born and raised in Taiwan, a country culturally Chinese, where such repressed expression between family members is ubiquitous, I am well acquainted with this language of communication. My father, for example, often speaks to me with a cold, demanding tone, even when he means the complete opposite. It is not just because he hides all expressions of love behind this, but also because he was brought up this way and knows only such. His mother, in particular, was a fervent advocate of adopting the strict, demanding parenting methods for her child’s own good, which probably resulted in her fiery relationship with my father. They quarreled endlessly. Sadly, their conflict was never resolved before she passed away last summer. At the time, my father dealt with her death in the same repressed fashion and never shed a tear, but really he was in deep pain, having forever missed the chance to express his feelings to his mother. As I watched him suffer quietly, I wondered whether I would act the same at his funeral, given our estranged relationship. This film is my search for that answer, and an exploration of our deepest desires to connect as human beings.