FascinAsian - Marvelous & The Black Hole

Director: Kate Tsang
Runtime: 81 Minutes
Language: English & Chinese

Year of Release: 2021
Country of Origin: United States

Description: A teenage delinquent (Miya Cech) befriends a surly magician (Rhea Perlman) who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional family with sleight of hand magic. A coming-of-age comedy that touches on unlikely friendships, grief, and finding hope in the darkest moments.

Writer: Kate Tsang
Producer: Carolyn Mao
Co-Producers: Allison Avery Jordan, Christa Boarini
Cinematographer: Nanu Segal
Editors: Ryan Denmark & Cyndi Trissel
Casting Director: Amey René
Production Designer: Yong Ok Lee
Set Decorator: Elena Cozlovschi
Costume Designer: Amanda Bujak

Director: Kate Tsang
Kate Tsang is an artist, filmmaker, and Emmy-nominated writer creating imaginative, offbeat stories with heart. Her award-winning live action and animated shorts (“SO YOU’VE GROWN ATTACHED” and “WELCOME TO DOOZY”) have been watched by millions online and broadcasted nationally on PBS. In addition, Kate has written on the hit shows ADVENTURE TIME: DISTANT LANDS (HBO MAX) and STEVEN UNIVERSE FUTURE (Cartoon Network).

MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE is Kate’s debut feature film. It premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival landing on the must-see lists of The Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed News, Vox, and Teen Vogue.

Director Statement: My parents divorced when I was young, and I was shuttled back and forth between their homes in Hong Kong and the US for years. Everything felt unstable and isolating. My parents buried their feelings and themselves in work. It felt especially strange when new significant others were introduced, and I was supposed to accept things as is. During this time, I found comfort in coming-of-age and fantasy films. I was drawn to stories about characters caught in the in-between, like ghosts and monsters and, well, teenagers. John Waters’s HAIRSPRAY, Tim Burton’s EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, and Steven Spielberg’s E.T. were a few of my favorites. They made real on the screen what I felt inside and made me feel less alone. They helped me believe that even though the world is full of terrible things, it still has pockets of joy and wonder. But as much as I appreciated these films, there was something missing. I never saw protagonists that looked or sounded like me, an Asian American girl. MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE is my answer to this missing piece of the American film experience.

MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE celebrates the unlikely friendship between two outsiders: an unruly Chinese American teenager and a surly magician who’s old enough to be her grandmother. They come together during an especially fraught time in each other’s lives and change it forever in unexpected and fantastic ways.

The story is loosely based on my own childhood experiences with depression and loneliness. And my attempts to find hope within a dark and confusing period. Much of Margot and Sammy’s relationship was inspired by my relationship with my grandfather. He helped raise me after my parents’ divorce. At night, he would tell stories to help me sleep. Stories that I would later realize were his own horrifying experiences with the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong that he transformed into wondrous and cathartic fairy tales. He taught me the power of channeling pain into something beautiful. In MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE, Margot imparts the same lesson to young Sammy through the expressive art of sleight of hand magic.

MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE is a joyful celebration of resilience. I made it for those who are grieving a loss, for Asian American women who rarely get to see themselves as the leads in films, and lastly, I made it for me. This is the film I wish I had growing up, and I hope it’ll bring some joy during difficult times.