Amanda Sum’s ‘Different Than Before’ takes home the 2023 Music Video Jury Award at SXSW. The award-winning music video follows a family of five celebrating the eldest daughter’s engagement at a Chinese restaurant. Each family member takes a turn joyfully singing karaoke on stage until a group of racist hecklers try to ruin their celebration. The head of the family, usually quiet and reserved, gets up on stage to sing next. Through a dreamscape fantasy and montage of childhood flashbacks, Father (Tzi Ma) transforms into mega pop star “Baba,” and finds the courage to stand up for his family. He snaps back to reality, back to the restaurant, back to the hecklers in the room. With a newfound sense of urgency, Father confronts the hecklers and rallies the entire restaurant of onlookers to boot them out.
“The outpour of love that has emerged from ‘Different Than Before’ has been beyond what I could’ve imagined,” says Amanda Sum. “This project stemmed from a craving for change, and to stand up for our Asian peers, elders and families. To see this message go this far is so moving. I cannot thank Mayumi, Sebastien, and Lynne enough for bringing this project to life. I’m so grateful.”
Directed/Written by Mayumi Yoshida, the music video stars Tzi Ma and Olivia Cheng. It was selected as Vimeo Staff Pick and won Best Music Video at the 45th annual Asian American International Film Festival in New York City, among selections at HollyShorts Film Festival and Aesthetica Short Film Festival (a BAFTA qualifying festival).
“It was a real community effort not only by our Vancouver film community but by our Asian Canadian community as well,” says Mayumi Yoshida. “I’m grateful for the award and the recognition for all of our cast and crew. Vancouver is filled with talent, but there aren’t enough chances given to us which is why we need to create opportunities ourselves. It would be amazing if the world and especially Canada, our home, realized how much talent there is in this city. Amanda wrote a beautiful and powerful song that started this whole journey, and I hope that this win will bring more attention to the video and the message of #StopAsianHate.”
Sebastien Galina, Executive Producer, says that “the BOLDLY team is thrilled to see this win for B.C.-based creatives. We were lucky to be surrounded by friends when the surprise announcement came over the airwaves in Austin, Texas. Mayumi and Amanda are visionary forces, and we can’t wait to see what they makes next in all their artforms. We also wish to extend a deep thanks to our Co-Producer Lynne Lee, without whom this project would not be possible.”
“The quality of all 20 music videos was so high, we could not believe we won,” says Lynne Lee, Producer. “I think this is testament that people are recognizing the importance of standing up to racism and that things are becoming different than before.”
The SXSW jury had this to say about ‘Different From Before’: “We were particularly moved by this story of an Asian father’s journey to action when faced with racist hecklers in front of his family. The video creates a brilliant stop Asian hate narrative that accomplishes the near impossible feat of evoking not just tears, but laughter – all in just a few minutes. It’s a rare music video imbued with the power to make viewers smile and weep while learning about racism in America.”
To view the complete credits for ‘Different Than Before,’ see here.