FascinAsian - Try Harder!

Director: Debbie Lum
Runtime: 85 Minutes
Language: English

Year of Release: 2021
Country of Origin: United States

Description: As they prepare for the emotionally draining college application process, students are keenly aware of the intense competition for the few open spots in their dream schools. They scrutinize how every element of their application, from their classes to their extracurricular activities to their racial identities, might be read by admission officers. At Lowell—where cool kids are nerds, nearly everyone has an amazing talent, and the majority of the student body is Asian American—the things that usually make a person stand out can feel not good enough, even commonplace.
With humor and heart, director Debbie Lum takes us to the reality of the American college application process and the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity as experienced by high school seniors living through it. Try Harder! is a portrait of young adults in the most diverse American generation ever as they navigate a quintessential rite of passage and make it their own.

Producers: Debbie Lum, Lou Nakasako, Nico Opper, Amy Ferraris
Cinematographers: Kathy Huang & Lou Nakasako
Editor: Andrew Gersh
Editor & Co-Producer: Amy Ferraris
Composer: Diana Salier
Animator: Leah Nichols
Story Consultant: Spencer Nakasako
Field Producer: Lauren Kawana
Associate Producers: Tiffany Shan, Katarina Shih, Michelle Wang

Executive Producers: Lois Vossen, Sally Jo Fifer, Tony Hsieh, Roberto Grande, Mimi Pham, Kathryn Everett, Bryn Mooser, Naja Pham Lockwood, Geralyn Dreyfous, Yun-Fang Juan, Tracy Chou, Jean Tsien

FascinAsian - Debbie Lum

Debbie Lum

Debbie Lum is an award-winning San Francisco-based filmmaker whose projects give voice to the Asian American experience and other unsung stories. SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE, her feature-length directing debut premiered at SXSW, aired on PBS’ Independent Lens and won numerous awards, including Best of Fest (Silverdocs), Best Feature Documentary (CAAMFest) and Outstanding Director (Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival). It was also profiled on PRI’s This American Life. The film was a “fan favorite” on PBS and alongside its broadcast premiere, Lum launched theyreallsobeautiful.com, a companion website and 5-part short video series about race and dating. Previously she worked as a documentary editor; her editing credits include A.K.A DON BONUS (winner, National Emmy), KELLY LOVES TONY (nominee, IDA Best Documentary), which she also co-produced and TO YOU SWEETHEART, ALOHA (winner, Audience Award, VC LA Film Festival). She has also written and directed several short comedies, CHINESE BEAUTY, A GREAT DEAL! and ONE APRIL MORNING, which screened at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival among many others. She has an M.F.A in Cinema from San Francisco State University, a B.A. in Religious Studies from Brown University.

FascinAsian - Tracy Koga

Media Sponsor
Tracy Koga

Tracy Koga is a second generation Japanese Canadian, born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After a successful career as a dancer with The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Tracy found her second passion in television. With more than twenty five years of TV production experience, she created an online platform to share and celebrate the wealth of knowledge and talent that is out there in our communities. I Like Hue produces content for the website www.ilikehue.com, podcast I Like Hue, and Youtube Channel @ilikehue. Tracy believes follow your dreams and make it happen, Hue Productions is proud to be part of this year’s Fascinasian Film Festival.