By Leisle Chung, CEO Vanguard Skin Specialists
My brother, Lee Isaac Chung, showed an early version of Minari to our family over Thanksgiving 2019. As we drove away, I turned to my husband, Vinh Chung*, and said, “I think it was a good movie, but I’m not an objective viewer. Was that a good movie?”
He replied, “It was a really good movie.”
But none of us, including my brother, expected what followed. Minari went on to win both the Grand Jury prize and the Audience Choice awards at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020. I watched my brother accept both awards with tears streaming down my face. I cheered when Minari won a Golden Globe Award, and I am elated that Minari has received 6 Oscar nominations (yes, six!) including Best Picture and Best Director. Minari has been described by the LA Times as “the movie we need right now.”
Leisle with her brother Lee Isaac Chung, after he won both Grand Jury and Audience wards at Sundance 2020.
After watching Minari, I dreamed vividly of the past, scenes from my childhood interspersed with scenes from the movie; unclear what was memory versus the dream-like film. From the single-wide trailer filled with Korean decor down to the detail of the red lunchbox my mom carried to the chicken hatchery, I recognized the backdrop of my childhood.
Inspired by Willa Cather who said, “Life began for me when I ceased to admire and began to remember,” Isaac devoted an afternoon writing memories from childhood. My parents immigrated from Korea, and they eventually settled in Lincoln, Arkansas. Isaac remembered “our family’s arrival at a single-wide trailer on an Ozark meadow and my mother’s shock at learning that this would be our new home.” He remembered our father’s love of the land and how he would cradle the dirt with his bare hands to inspect it. My brother remembered the time a tornado threatened our fragile home on wheels and the buckets required to catch rain from our leaking roof. He remembered the arrival of my spirited grandmother who taught us how to gamble, swear in Korean and appreciate WWF wrestling. From Isaac’s ~80 memories emerged a story arc that became Minari.
The Chung Family in Arkansas
As one of the most acclaimed movies of the year, many have written about the talented actors, gorgeous cinematography, entrancing score, and beautiful story. But what I appreciate most is the humanity that Isaac brought to the people and places we loved in our childhood. We were an unlikely family to move into a small, rural farming community in the Ozarks. The town was curious about us, and to us, the town felt foreign. Over time, we all discovered there is more that brings us together than apart. Isn’t that the beauty of human relationships? We formed deep attachments, and my parents remained in Lincoln for ~30 years.
My parents and I eventually returned to Colorado, our first home when we moved to the United States. Thus, it is with great pleasure that I share this personal film with the communities I love and call home today. Vanguard Skin Specialists will be hosting screenings of Minari everywhere we have offices – Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Cañon City and Woodland Park. These are communities where our patients enrich our lives with their stories and relationships, and these are communities where citizens have come together during a most challenging year.
Like many of you, this past year has been challenging. Our practice was impacted by a shutdown, I lost a loved one, and I have missed being with my family. As we start to see hope, my heart is filled with gratitude toward so many. Thus, we are giving away complimentary tickets for frontline healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential heroes.
I consider Minari to be a love story about what families will do to sacrifice for each other. I hope these screenings can express my love for our Colorado home and honor the sacrifices so many made over the past year.
Vanguard Skin Specialists CEO
Very proud older sister of Lee Isaac Chung
*Yes, my maiden name is “Chung,” and I married Dr. Vinh Chung. We are the union of the Korean Chung family of Arkansas (who inspired Minari) with the Chinese-Vietnamese Chung family of Arkansas (who are featured in Where the Wind Leads).
GET A GLIMPSE OF OUR COLORADO SPRINGS EVENT
Colorado Springs – April 1, Roadhouse Cinema, Red Carpet Event (SOLD OUT)
Colorado Springs – April 7, Roadhouse Cinema (SOLD OUT)
If you missed our screenings, you can still watch Minari online (Amazon, Apple TV) and in local theaters.
VANGUARD AND MINARI IN THE LOCAL NEWS
- Fox21 Living Local
- KKTV News
- KRDO News
- KRDO Morning News Radio
- Colorado Springs Gazette
- Pikes Peak Courier
- Pueblo Chieftain