Searching: Significant Panel to Growing Genre of Asian-American Movies–and New Technology

Popular Asian-American-led films, such as Warner’s romantic comedy, Crazy Rich Asians or Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, offer reasons to celebrate.  Some critics, producers and execs in Hollywood have already labeled the new phenomenon as #AsianAugust.

Aneesh Chaganty’s Searching, a new thriller starring John Cho as the father of a missing teenager, belongs to this thrilling revival.

“Searching” tells the disappearance story of 16-year-old Margot’s (Michelle La) and the case’s aftermath through computer and phone screens.

The Sony Screen Gems feature has justly received recognition for its technological innovations as well as for its Asian-American leads.

Searching is using cyberspace as a landscape, enriching the variety of Asian-American stories on screen.

Technology has pervaded our lives, as storytellers we’ve been trying to figure out what the way is that we get to depict these things because we use them so much. But in my experience, every single example of using tech onscreen is false. Whenever you cut to a phone, or cut to a laptop and it’s a weird website that doesn’t actually exist. But the bet that “Searching” made and the bet that I will continue to make, is that there is a way to cut to technology and to frame it in a way that you are still using camera shots, that you can be consistent with your style, tone, and genre–even if it’s a live action piece–and still maintain one unique, consistent vision.  This is a new thing, and we’re still trying to figure out how it fits into the larger thing that is capital “S” story.
Fluency of  contemporary filmmakers in technology

AC:  Very important.  I think more than it is a fluency, it’s an understanding of the importance of doing it accurately. The more time you spend on anything, the more that you notice when it’s done wrong. There’s so much truth and emotion that we give to and get from these devices. It only makes sense that Bo (director of Eighth Grade), who kind of grew up and discovered success on YouTube channels and YouTube videos and that online community, and myself, who worked through the tech side of things making commercials, understands the importance of doing it accurately. Because when you do it accurately, you do it universally, and you do it in a way that billions of people around the world can immediately relate to, because that’s what they do themselves. In doing something that is ubiquitous, we end up touching something on a universal level.