In Jean Shim‘s feature directorial debut, Great Divide, the filmmaker explores the anti-Asian racism that bubbled up at a fast pace during COVID, Deadline reports.
Written by Shim, Jeff Yang, and Martina Nagel, the film follows a Korean American family that leaves the Bay Area for rural Wyoming during the early days of lockdown. Emerson Min (Always Be My Maybe, black-ish) plays Benjamin Lee, a young boy struggling with the trauma of loss during the pandemic.
Ken Jeong (Community, Crazy Rich Asians) and Jae Suh Park (Friends From College) play Isaac and Jenna Lee, Benjamin’s parents, each of whom has a different agendas for their move to Wyoming — Isaac has a new job, Jenna wants to ensure that Benjamin gets into the college of her choice. MeeWha Alana Lee plays Grandma Shim, Jenna’s mother, who has an important lesson to impart to her beloved grandson and a lifetime of memories to share with him before it’s too late. Miya Cech is Ellie Licht, Benjamin’s best friend and maybe more, a Chinese adoptee whose protective parents have shielded her from the darker sides of the world.
Meanwhile, the less-than-welcoming residents of small-town Wyoming include West Mulholland as Hunter Drake, a young potential classmate of Benjamin’s who begins as a bully but ends up warming to Benjamin and Ellie. Seamus Dever plays Ranger Tom Drake, Hunter’s brutal father, who plots with Wyatt (Marshall Allman) to drive the Lees out of town. And Jamie McShane is George McNather, the last surviving descendant of the town’s founding family, a generous benefactor to “his” people and a deeply suspicious and hostile nemesis to those from the “outside.”
Shim, Yang, and Nagel; and Shim produced alongside Brian Yang (Snakehead, Linsanity). Sung Kang (Fast 10), former Alibaba Pictures president Wei Zhang, Takashi Cheng (Dealing with Dad), Julia Gouw, Toni Wang and Jeong are executive producers.