Hmong American Film Director Bao understands too well from personal experience that depression feels isolating, but it doesn’t have to feel hopeless. Part of the isolation feeling comes from the lack of stories that represent Asian communities, like her own, that the media shares about depression. Therefore, she wants to use the power of video storytelling to create a short narrative film about how three members of the Asian community in the Northwest suburbs of Minneapolis experience depression and share the ways they’ve learned to cope with it. Exploring the stories of this population and location is important not only because it represents their lived experience, but also that research has shown that more Asian communities are moving into the suburbs which tend to have lesser community resources and support, and can ultimately impact mental health.
Bao hopes that the stories shared will be empowering and equip her audience with resources to tackle their own depression. At the video showings, there will be a panel conversation with the director, film subjects, and community partners about their experience filming on this topic. Also, from the interests of the community, there will also be a peacemaking circle as an ongoing support group to engage those who cannot share their stories through video but still want to share it with others in a safe space. The circle will begin sometime in April 2019.