The film won third place in the 2017 HBO APA Visionaries Short Film Competition

‘Toenail’ director Jingyi Shao, who won third place at the 2017 HBO APA Visionaries Short Film Competition, has discussed his inspiration for the film.

Speaking to Resonate at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF), Shao said inspiration for the film came from writing his wedding speech.

“I was about to get married and i was thinking about my wedding speech where I have to thank everyone,” Shao said. “When it got to my parents, just writing it, I got really emotional. Making a list of all the sacrifices they made for me over the years. For some reason, I thought of my Dad’s toenail.”

“I’ve always been like ‘Dad that’s really gross, can you not show everyone your toenail?!’. When I was writing the ‘thank yous’, I thought it represented all the sacrifices and hard work he’s been through. That led to the film.”

The director commended LAAPFF and the HBO Visionaries competition for allowing him to make his film.

“If it wasn’t for the competition, I don’t think I would’ve made this film. My film is so small and specific that I don’t know where I’d put it if there wasn’t a festival like this.”

“I think it’s super important, especially for story like this that is very personal and means a lot to me.”

Shao also emphasised the importance of film in eradicated prejudice. “Before, we didn’t really know what other countries are like. So often what happens is common narratives or stereotypes become what we understand of other people.”

“So, when you watch a film from somewhere else and it’s totally different from what you expected, you begin to revisit your understanding of these places. That’s the only way we’re going to move past a world where we constantly judge each other.”

To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the films from the competition will be available on HBO NOW®, HBO GO®, HBO On Demand® and HBO Zone® throughout the month of May.