Longtime listeners of the Inside Asia podcast will know this is not documentary filmmaker Thomas Morgan’s first appearance on the program. About a year ago I sat with him on a roof-top bar in Singapore’s trendy Club Street district while he was in the throes of completing a film he wasn’t sure he’d be able to get finished.
That film was Soufra—the tale of a Palestinian entrepreneur and refugee living in Beirut who builds a better life through a business run out of the back of a food truck.
And yes, it did get finished after all. This episode begins with Thomas filling us in about the rest of this remarkable story.
I then turn to discussing Crazy Rich Asians. The movie, that is. Box offices receipts have blown past the $100 million mark and show no sign of slowing. For Hollywood’s first all-Asian cast film, that’s a major accomplishment and signifies a recognition that Asia-focused films are here to stay.
Gaining global recognition has been a four-decade endeavor for the Asia film industry.
The story we’ve been telling over the last year and a half of Inside Asia is one about the way in which people are slowly—and often out of necessity—changing the way they think about Asia. Tech innovation, AI, healthcare innovation, e-marketing, mobile payments, robotics, you name it…the days when innovation was understood to move from west to east are over.
Crazy Rich Asians is one more addition to this chapter in that story. The film’s ambitions – like those of Asia at large – are global, not local. Thomas Morgan tells us this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
As always, thanks for listening.