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Lucky Grandma

Producers Cara Marcous, Krista Parris


In the heart of Chinatown, New York, ornery, chain-smoking, newly widowed 80-yearold Grandma (Tsai Chin) is eager to live life as an independent woman, despite the worry of her family. When a local fortune teller predicts a most auspicious day in her future, Grandma decides to head to the casino and goes all in, only to land herself on the wrong side of luck…and suddenly attracting the attention of some Chinese gangsters. Desperate to protect herself, Grandma employs the services of a bodyguard from a rival gang and soon finds herself right in the middle of a Chinatown gang war.

Director Sasie Sealy brings to life a dark comedy about immigrant life, the vulnerabilities of aging and an unexpected friendship. Set in alleyways underground mahjong parlors with a cast of richly drawn characters (including Taiwanese movie star Corey Ha) Lucky Grandma is a love letter to Chinatown and an homage to all the badass elderly women who inhabit it.

About The Team

Sasie Sealy (Director, Writer) is an award-winning writer/director from North Carolina, with a (still) lingering Southern drawl. Her films have screened at the Smithsonian Institute and festivals around the world, and she has twice been awarded the short filmmaking prize at the Tribeca Film Festival, with New York Magazine calling her film The Elephant Garden “one of the most touching and poignant films we’ve seen this year.” Her previous short Dance Mania Fantastic was named one of Tribeca’s +5, and she has won numerous grants and support from the Sundance Institute, New York State Council on the Arts, Film Independent, the Sloan Foundation, and the Tribeca Film Institute. A fellowship and new short with HBO in 2014 led to a chance to direct episodic television and her first DGA nomination for her work on Gortimer Gibbons’ Life on Normal Street. She has gone on to direct multiple projects for Amazon, including An American Girl Story: Ivy and Julie 1976, which garnered four Daytime Emmy nominations. In addition to Lucky Grandma, she is developing a television pilot with Sarah Jessica Parker’s company Pretty Matches and continues to hone her directing skills in episodic television. Most recently, she directed an episode of Fresh Off the Boat, starring Constance Wu, Randall Park, and Miss Paula Abdul. She is currently based in New York City, where she directs commercials with Bullitt Branded, the filmmaker collective and creative studio founded by Justin Lin and the Russo Brothers.

Angela Cheng (Writer) is a New York-based writer and filmmaker who spent her childhood performing Chinese stand up comedy in Houston, Texas. The jokes weren’t funny but the Chinese immigrant audience was kind to her nonetheless. Since then, she’s traded the stage for making movies detailing the hopes, neuroses, and misadventures of Asian-Americans in the United States. Her short films have shown at South by Southwest, Newfest, Outfest, and Los Angeles International Film Festival. Professionally, Angela has directed the stage for TED Talks, featuring brilliant speakers with “Ideas Worth Spreading.” She is currently the Creative Director of Format Development at TED, experimenting with and launching new forms of storytelling. She and her team are the creative force behind the popular online shows Small Thing Big Idea and DIY Neuroscience. She is also part of the editorial team behind WorkLife with Adam Grant, a podcast about how to make work not suck.

Cara Marcous (Producer) produced the award-winning feature film On The Ice which premiered in competition at Sundance 2011 and was released nationwide in February 2012. On The Ice won Best First Feature and the Crystal Bear for Generations 14plus at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival; The FIPRESCI Prize for Best New American Film at the Seattle International Film Festival; and Best Feature and Best Cinematography at the 2011 Woodstock Film Festival. She also produced the short narrative film Sikumi, which has won numerous awards including the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and the BAFTA/LA Award for Excellence, and has screened at over 60 festivals around the world. Other film work includes the narrative short films Feels Good (2016) and Children of the Northern Lights (PBS FutureStates, 2014) and the feature-length documentary When the Season is Good: Artists of Arctic Alaska (2005). Ms. Marcous is currently developing Qimmit, the second feature film of Andrew Okpeaha MacLean which is a recipient for 2018’s Sundance FilmTwo fellowship and was a part of Sundance Catalyst 2018. She is Head of Production for There We Go Films and produced the popular web series Raw Craft with Anthony Bourdain. Ms. Marcous is also the recipient of the Sheila Johnson Fellowship for the 2009 Sundance Instituteʼs Feature Film Creative Producing Lab.

Krista Parris (Producer) produces narrative and documentary films and series. She recently premiered Charles Ferguson’s documentary Watergate at the Telluride Film Festival and New York Film Festival. A New York Times Critic’s Pick, it premiered as a six-part series on the History Channel last November and will have its international premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2019. Last year she also premiered Madeline’s Madeline starring Molly Parker, Miranda July and newcomer Helena Howard, written and directed by Josephine Decker, at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim. The film had its international premiere at the Berlinale and has played at over 40 festivals worldwide. Oscilloscope distributed the film theatrically in the US. It was nominated for two IFP Gotham Awards, Best Feature and Breakthrough Actor for Helena Howard, is nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards, Best Cinematography and Best Female Lead, and four International Cinephile Society awards, Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Editing and Best Cinematography. The film is on over two dozen Best of 2018 critics’ lists. She frequently collaborates with writer/director Emily Carmichael (Jurassic World III) with whom she’s made two short films and is developing a feature and animated series.

Lucky Grandma is a Cinereach grantee.