“Dealing with Dad” and cinema’s role in combatting the stigma of mental health

by Samantha Reavis

This past Thursday, UCLA alumnus Tom Huang returned to his alma mater to share his latest film, “Dealing With Dad,” with the UCLA community. The screening took place at the De Neve Auditorium at 7 p.m., an event sponsored by UCLA Residential Life and the UCLA Cinema Fraternity Delta Kappa Alpha. This event is part of a broader initiative to promote Asian American and Mental Health Awareness Month.

“Dealing With Dad” stars Ally Maki, Hayden Szeto and Karan Soni. It has been well-received, earning a nomination for the prestigious Humanitas Prize for Comedy Feature. Additionally, the film has won 14 awards and has been showcased at 37 film festivals across the United States, reflecting its critical acclaim and widespread appeal.

The film is a dramedy that centers on an Asian American family grappling with a father suffering from depression. By tackling the stigmatization of mental health, “Dealing With Dad” normalizes mental health struggles and provides a voice to families experiencing similar situations. The narrative offers a poignant and often humorous look at the challenges of mental health within the context of familial relationships, highlighting the cultural nuances and pressures that can exacerbate these issues.

The film’s relevance is heightened by its alignment with Asian American and Mental Health Awareness Month, as it aims to critique what is an often-overlooked topic within the Asian American community. With mental health being a critical issue that is unfortunately frequently stigmatized, particularly in minority communities, making films like “Dealing With Dad” proves essential for fostering cultural understanding and empathy.

Huang’s return to UCLA to present his work underscores the importance of community engagement and the role of cinema in addressing and reflecting societal issues. The event provided students and attendees with not only an opportunity to enjoy a compelling film but also engage in meaningful discussions about mental health and its impacts on families.

As “Dealing With Dad” continues its screenings across the country, it stands as a significant contribution to the discourse on mental health, encouraging viewers to confront and destigmatize these issues in their own lives and within their communities.

Featured Image Photographed by Finn Martin/BruinLife

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