Forget the Academy Awards. The best acceptance speech of the weekend happened at the 32nd Independent Spirit Awards, courtesy of writer/director Andrew Ahn. His acclaimed coming-of-age drama Spa Night won the John Cassavetes Award, which is presented to a film budgeted at less than $500,000.
Stepping up to the mic, Andrew nervously admitted, "I'm gonna barf," then offered some heartfelt thanks for honoring his film about a Korean American immigrant family and queer Korean American people. He also stressed the importance of telling stories by underrepresented voices.
"Now, more than ever, it's important that we support stories told by and about communities that are marginalized; that we tell stories about immigrants, Muslims, women, people of color, trans and queer folk," Andrew said. "Film is such a power tool in humanizing these communities so that we can't be pushed aside and labeled as "other." We are a part of this great country and we are undeniable."
Here's the full video of his speech:
Spa Night, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of David, a young Korean American man who works to reconcile his obligations to his struggling immigrant family with his burgeoning sexual desires in the underground world of gay hookups at Korean spas. It's a moving, deeply personal film.
Someday, mark my words, we'll see Andrew giving a version of this speech at the Academy Awards.