By Kate Sullivan Green
ITVS Broadcast & Distribution Manager
ITVS’s Kate Sullivan Green sits down with Theresa Loong to talk about the documentary Every Day Is a Holiday, which begins airing on Public Television May 1st.
Filmmaker Theresa Loong
After finding her father’s secret diary from the time he was a P.O.W., Theresa Loong knew she had a story to tell. In Every Day Is a Holiday, she documents her father’s path from being a Chinese Malaysian teenager serving in the British Royal Air Force, to being held as a P.O.W. in Japan during World War II, and his long, complicated path to U.S. citizenship that followed.
Kate Sullivan Green had the opportunity to sit down with Theresa and talk about making her first film, the ups and downs of documenting a family member, and what she learned about the challenges so many Chinese faced immigrating to America.
What stood out to you about your dad while making Every Day Is a Holiday?
His fierce, fierce, fierce determination. I always had a sense he had a really interesting life, but one of the things I’ve taken away is how much struggle he went through to become a citizen. That gives me more appreciation for him and for people in general who go through hardship. I consider myself an empathetic person, but this really puts things in perspective when I am feeling down. I have a deep respect for what he went through.
One other thing is that I didn’t realize how difficult it would be for him to relive the past. I guess I thought he was ready to share his story, but there were times when he would say, “Oh, that’s enough” or get up and walk away. Sometimes it was just because he was tired, but other times I’d see his eyes go to a far away place as he was actually reliving the moment. Especially with first person narrative, we have to balance wanting to know history with sensitivity. Continue reading