‘Turning Red’ directer Domee Shi talks record Asian representation at 2023 Oscars

It was a record year for Oscar nominations when it came to actors and filmmakers of Asian descent being recognized. Domee Shi is one of those people, her Pixar film Turning Red, about a tween Chinese-Canadian girl who turns into a giant red panda when she gets emotional, is nominated for Best Animated Feature.

Shi thinks the representation we’re seeing is amazing, telling ABC Audio, “It’s huge that movies like Turning Red, like [Everything Everywhere All at Once] are being seen and celebrated because I think it really gives these…future filmmakers from these communities hope and…evidence to [tell] their parents, ‘Look like if they can do it, so can I. So please believe in me.'”

But while it’s “a really exciting time” in the industry right now, she constantly has to remind herself of the reality that “this is continuous hard work that we have to keep doing every single day and keep championing these new voices because it could so easily go backwards as well.”

Likewise, the lack of nominations for female directors is a matter of concern for Shi, who says “We have to continuously bring up the people that are coming after us as well. And that change doesn’t happen immediately…if you don’t constantly fight for it.”

As for her Academy Award nomination for Turning Red, Shi, who already has an Oscar for the 2018 animated short Bao, admits, “This was so far away from anything I could have imagined because you just didn’t see people that looked like me getting Oscars or being nominated or making movies or animated films.”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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