bitter melons





the story

BITTER MELONS is a short film about the pain we hold, and the growth we experience when we learn to let go. Sophia, a female line cook is tasked with delivering bitter melons to her estranged father. The delivery doesn't go as planned, but through personal encounters and challenges involving the bitter melons, she is forced to confront her past and connect with her heart, tribe, and cultural roots. 



I was weak and listless during the summer of 2015. My body endured chemotherapy twice a month, and the rest of the month was spent recovering on the couch. Time seemed to slow down during what felt like never-ending days. There was a lot of TV watching, but I was also afforded time to think. Before this, time was at a premium and there was never enough of it. After months juggling two jobs; struggling to find creative time for a feature documentary I started; and experiencing numbing heartbreak, I could finally catch my breath. In the summer of 2015, I learned to let go of fear and answered the call towards writing a script for BITTER MELONS. 

I believe that BITTER MELONS will be healing, not just for me but hopefully for everyone who will work on it, and eventually, for audiences who will see it. The seed of the idea had been whispering to me for several years. All I had to work with was my love for this “exotic” vegetable/fruit, my fascination for the culinary world, and my need to explore a father/daughter relationship in the context of the Cambodian refugee immigrant story. It wasn't until I realized that tomorrow is never promised, did I commit to making this film. 

Although this story is rooted in my own personal experiences, I want to dig deep below the layers of cultural and ethnic identity to find the common thread that connects us all. I especially want to explore the ways food, tribe, and family becomes a means to our survival as human beings.

I'd like to use this time between now and the premiere of the film as a time of incubation. A safe space not to just tell old stories, but to honor them and let them go so that we can create new ones. I want this project to encompass more than the film itself. I want to spark deeper conversations, and pave new paths to greater love, connection and self-acceptance.  

I know I am the lucky one to have survived two major wars – the one raging in my body during cancer treatment and the one in the faraway land of my parents' memories. This short film is ultimately a tribute to life and to anyone who’s doubted that healing can take place in the darkest of moments, or needed a telling of a story where love is the ultimate medicine.