Luke & Emma and a Gas Station on Franklin Ave is a semi-autobiographical short film from award-winning writer-Director Levi Wilson and produced by Lisa Hammer of Venture Bros fame. Luke is mixed Asian-American, and Emma is white, and they live in 1986 small town America. They have an incidental meeting in the parking lot of a local mini mart while waiting for Luke’s Thai mother and Emma’s white American father to shop. It’s clear they both have crushes on each other, but they proceed with caution as they have an innate understanding of the community ‘s prejudices reflected by their parents’ extremely awkward interaction inside.
Luke and Emma is an 11-minute short film to be used as a “Proof of concept” piece to raise interest in the production of the feature film. The look will be retro in the style of “Licorice Pizza” but with Gen-X 1980’s nostalgia as a backdrop for this coming-of-age story. Hair bands, video games, tall bangs, Walkmans, MTV, the cold war, Live Aid, personal computers, Chernobyl, designer babies, Cabbage Patch frenzies, the Satanic Panic, the space shuttle, Reagonomics, laissez-faire capitalism, latch-key kids, Punk, Metal, New Wave music and even the early world wide web.
“This is a story I’ve been wanting to tell for a long time. it’s a story that isn’t told often. In popular media I find that race and ethnicity are depicted as having reached a new celebrated and aspirational harmony in modern society. Popular depictions of decades past almost exclusively show segregated subcultures, single ethnic groups living apart from each other, ghettoized within the broader melting pot of America. “Ethnically ambiguous” people are sprinkled all over modern storytelling media. But in the 80’s and earlier people of mixed ethnic heritages existed and had unique experiences within supposed monocultures. The societal pull to affirm one culture over the other (often from the dominant culture) often put children at odds with their own parents.
I want to explore these themes as I develop this short into a feature film. Adolescent children will be the main characters as they have yet to fully understand their place in the world and are often earnest and vocal as the explore how they fit into their community. The story of integration began with these accidental pioneers who challenged the prevailing wisdom by simply existing.”
This short film explores issues of racism and sexism in 1986 rural America. The story is told through the experience of adolescents who are exploring their feelings for each other as they push the boundaries established by their parents and their extremely religious community.
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