Creative Partnership

Minari

Register to screen ahead of its wide release this new critically-acclaimed feature film about an immigrant family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their American dream.
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RAICES collaborated with A24 to offer our extended community of supporters and volunteers unique complimentary access to stream Minari, a stunningly beautiful film that captures timeless universal truths about the immigrant experience. A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm during the Reagan Era in search of their own American dream. Immediately following the screening, we offered a panel conversation with actor Steven Yeun, writer/director Lee Isaac Chung, and producer Christina Oh, moderated by Ramy Youssef, with an introduction by Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA 27). You can watch it here:

If you were unable to join our event, please keep in mind that Minari will be streaming on video on demand beginning on February 26. To receive priority notice of Creative Partnership events in the future, please email [email protected]

Minari film still
Photo credit: (L-R) Steven Yeun, Alan S. Kim, Yuh-Jung Youn, Yeri Han, Noel Cho, Photo by Josh Ethan Johnson, Courtesy of A24

ABOUT MINARI:

Named for a peppery Korean herb, Minari is a tender, funny, evocative ode to how one generation of a family risks everything to plant the dreams of the next. A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother, yet they soon discover the imperfect but magical bonds that root the family to their past as they reach towards the future. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home. Based on writer-director Lee Isaac Chung’s own lived experience, and described as a love letter to all parents who make a stab at hope for their children’s futures, this film is the epitome of a timeless story that celebrates the immigrant experience. Chung has the opportunity to explore how a family navigates not only the very specific dilemmas of assimilating into rural America but also broader questions of elemental humanity – the gaps we all wrestle with between family ties and independence, faith and skepticism, feeling like an outsider and yearning to belong. Minari was awarded the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. It will be screened in theaters beginning on February 12, 2021 and available on video on demand beginning on February 26, 2021.
Running time: 115 minutes

“RAICES is proud to partner with A24 to bring ‘Minari’ to a global platform on the weekend marking the anniversary of the Immigration Act of 1917. ‘Minari’ is a film that tells the story of an immigrant family pursuing the American dream at a time when that dream was at risk. February 5 is a noteworthy date in U.S. history as it marks the anniversary of the Immigration Act of 1917, a piece of anti-Asian legislation filled with hate and marked with nativist rhetoric and intentions. Although that law was rescinded and has since been forgotten by some, today we again find the American dream at risk, with potent forces of hate and nativism dividing our country. Yet Minari reminds us that the drive, spirit, and hope of immigrants and their pursuit of the American dream is one that perseveres through all odds. Ours is a country built on immigration and we can never forget the vital role immigrants have played in the United States.”
-Manoj Govindaiah, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, RAICES

Minari film still
Photo credit: (L-R) Alan S. Kim, Steven Yeun, Noel Cho, Yeri Han, Photo by David Bornfriend, Courtesy of A24

FROM MINARI’S CREATIVE TEAM:

Lee Isaac Chung, Writer and Director (Munyurangabo, Lucky Life, Abigail Harm):
“For me, the film comes down on the side of hoping for the best in each other. The thing I most wanted was to let people into this family’s world with sincerity and honesty, and without judgement of anyone in it. There’s so much more drawing us together as human beings than the superficial categories we have created. For some, Minari might be a chance to see a Korean American finally telling our story, but I have found these characters mean just as much to people from Arkansas – or from New York, or anywhere. That has been one of the most moving things to me, to see how such a personal story to me can touch so many different people in meaningful ways.”

Christina Oh, Producer (Okja, The Last Black Man In San Francisco):
“I felt for the first time I was seeing [the immigrant] story from an empathetic, humanistic, personal point of view rather than from the outside. You really feel a part of this family’s lives; you enjoy them, and you care deeply about them. Their story has such a rich mix of feeling – funny, sweet, sad, and hopeful. And for me, as a child of South Korean immigrants, it felt like an incredibly important encapsulation of that experience, the honesty of which I had never seen before. Even though I didn’t grow up on a farm or go through the things this family does, they felt so deeply true to me, and I think that authenticity will speak to everyone… Regardless of language, this is a very American film about the chasing of an American dream.”

Steven Yeun, Actor (Burning, Okja, The Walking Dead):
“…I was blown away by the story’s simplicity and truthfulness. Reading Minari, I realized what was missing from other things on this topic: the feeling that the story is coming from an intrinsic, relatable humanity rather than a narrow identity… [Minari] both reflects on and transcends the moment we’re in right now. There’s something so deeply human about it that maybe it is beyond labels. It’s about questions we all ask: what is a good life, what is purpose? I think it can spark conversations about who we are, but I hope the answer will be really no different from anyone. All people have their masks, all people have their triumphs and their failings. I think anyone can see a bit of their family in this family.”

Minari film stills
Photo credits: Left (L-R) Yeri Han, Steven Yeun; Photo by Josh Ethan Johnson, Courtesy of A24; Right (L-R) Alan S. Kim, Yuh-Jung Youn, Photo by Melissa Lukenbaugh, Courtesy of A24

CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR MINARI:

2021.01.21, “Making of ‘Minari:’ How Lee Isaac Chung Created a Unique American Story Rarely Seen Onscreen,” The Hollywood Reporter
“This was the spirit in which ‘Minari’ was made. Intentionally composed mostly of Koreans and Korean Americans, many the children of immigrants, the cast and crew of the movie seized on the industry’s invigorated reverence for authenticity and representation to create a new type of American story – their own.”

2021.01.11, “‘Walking Dead’ Actor Steven Yeun on His ‘Minari’ Breakout,” The Wall Street Journal
“At a time when America is grappling with systemic racism and the entertainment industry has adopted ‘representation’ as a corporate buzzword, Yeun, who is Korean-American, is particularly wary of roles that he sees as tokenism or caricature. He gravitated to ‘Minari’ – the story of a Korean family striving to carve out a life in the American South, which he also executive-produced – because it eschews archetypes.”

2021.01.02, “Watching ‘Minari,’ I Saw My Immigrant Experience On The Screen For The First Time,” WBEZ Chicago
“Seeing one’s own life, culture, and perhaps more importantly, their economic class, mirrored in a film is not a common experience for many immigrants – and more broadly, for people of color. Recently, Hollywood has held up films like ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and ‘Always Be My Maybe’ as examples of Asian-American representation. But they still portray a life that does not reflect mine beyond the color of our skin. ‘Minari,’ which features a leaky mobile home and a cursed farm for much of its running time, is a truer reflection of the precarious struggle of my family and many others like us.”

2020.12.23, “In ‘Minari,’ a Korean Family Tries to Make a Home in the Heartland,” Vulture
“Minari doesn’t at all set out to generalize about the immigrant experience, but in all the careful texture of its details, it gets at the disorienting loneliness that can be such a key part of it anyway. The film is deceptively gentle, but that only makes its final crescendo more devastating, a burst of bittersweet emotion that unites the characters, not through a shared understanding, but through loss.”

2020.12.15, “The 50 best films of 2020 in the US: No 4 – ‘Minari,’” The Guardian
“Writer-director Lee Isaac Chung’s semi-autobiographical tale of a Korean American family moving to rural Arkansas is a warm and moving triumph.”

2020.12.11, “‘Minari’ Review: This Boy’s Life” Rolling Stone
“Filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung’s look back at growing up as a Korean-American in 1980s Arkansas is the sort of coming-of-age film that turns the personal into the universal.”

2020.12.10, “‘Minari’ Captures the Messy Truth About the American Dream,” Observer
“What is so remarkable and refreshing about ‘Minari’ is the manner in which the various elements of the movie—from the way the family dynamics shift over time to the different shades of racism the Yi’s encounter in Reagan’s America—are informed by lived experience. This veracity shines through nearly every frame of the movie and becomes most heartbreakingly apparent with the film’s devastating coda. It is this adherence to the messy truth that puts Chung’s film on par with Chloe Zhao’s ‘Nomadland’ as one of the most profound and honest cinematic depictions of what it means to be American, not just this year, but in recent memory.”

2020.12.08, “Oscar Hopeful ‘Minari’ Is One of the Best Movies of the Year,” Slate
“Thoughtfully directed, vividly written, and beautifully acted, it’s a hopeful film, universally appealing despite – or perhaps because of – just how very Korean American it is.”

2020.01.29, “‘Minari’: Film Review,” Variety
“Waiting until his early 40s to make sense of memories from when he was 6, the year his grandmother came to live with them in the U.S., Chung transforms the specificity of his upbringing into something warm, tender and universal.”