Building a New Home: My Heart is on the Challenges of Immigrants

Building a New Home: My Heart is on the Challenges of Immigrants


The Syrian refugee crisis has been going on for years and remains a regular topic in the news. Since the conflict erupted in 2011, 11 million Syrians, more than half the population, have fled. Director Kristen Chen decided to portray the challenges of refugees and presented the short film in 2016 My heart – oh my heart. The film can be watched on UN Women’s Shorts TV

the story

My heart – oh my heart It tells the story of a Syrian refugee trying to adjust to life in Louisiana, America, after her husband’s immigrant visa was unexpectedly refused. After its release, the film received two nominations and won four awards. Director and screenwriter Kristen Chen My heart – oh my heart Along with actor and co-producer Adam Duncan.

successful cooperation

In an interview, Chen said she has worked with Duncan before. ”In another project, we realized that sometimes we can talk for a long time about all kinds of ideas. Then I come up with an idea, then he comes up with another, and that’s how it went. Then we thought: Let’s make a movie together. And the collaboration turned out to be a success. “It’s great to work with someone you work with on the same page. You can share everything. Negative and positive thoughts and doubts. “We like to focus on the emotions and psychology of the characters. We want to get into the character’s head. We work well together as a team.”

Inspiration from parents

”When My heart My first goal was to honor my parents,” Chen wrote on LinkedIn. “My parents immigrated from Taiwan. Although they are not refugees, I can imagine that they have to deal with quite a few challenges to adapt and succeed in a new country. Much of this short film is based on the stories of my parents in their early days in the United States. From the prejudices they faced to the unknowns who helped them a lot. I wanted to capture those moments in My heart.

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Chen’s parents weren’t the only source of inspiration. During the preparation process, Qin and Duncan read well. We found inspiration in the photo series people from New York And we read a lot of NPR. We did as much research as possible on this topic because we wanted the film to be relevant, authentic and culturally sensitive. “We talked a lot with people about this. We’ve incorporated some aspects of the stories we’ve heard about in the film.”

Recognizable topics

Despite the context of the Syrian refugee crisis, Chen says she does not want to make a political statement. “I wanted to do my own research on what it means to turn a new place into a home. I’m sure this is a topic that a lot of people relate to. It has to do with the different types of people we come into contact with in our lives and the way we interact with them, both positively and negatively.”

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