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One Day You Are Not Here - still #1
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One Day You Are Not Here

NY Premiere

Director: Nancy Ma

United States, 2023, 12 min

Shooting Format:Digital

Festival Year:2024

Category:Documentary Short


Crew:Producer: Nancy Ma. Editor: Nancy Ma, Junting Zhou; Sound Editor: Jeremy Emery; Composer: Cora Chung


A daughter attempts to confront her immigrant dad about the ways he's failed as a father. In the process, she sees his pain for the first time.


About the director

Nancy Ma is a performer, playwright, and filmmaker from Chinatown New York. She is currently a National Arts Club artist fellow. Her work has been supported by the NYFA Women's Fund, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The New Harmony Project, Fresh Ground Pepper, Asian American Arts Alliance, Museum of Chinese in America. Selected acting credits: Barry (HBO), Hacks (HBO), Warrior Sisters of Wu (Pan Asian Repertory Theater), Support (On the Verge, Ojai Playwrights), Three Little Girls Down a Well (UTR, The Public). She also facilitates workshops with The Moth, Brooklyn Arts Council, and Young Storytellers. @iamnancyma

Website Filmography

Filmmaker's note

(one day you are not here) explores intergenerational care through my relationship with my aging immigrant dad. James Baldwin wrote, “I imagine that one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, that they will be forced to deal with pain.” I owe my dad an opportunity for him to be understood. To no one's surprise, Baldwin is indeed a prophet. When hate fades, what I found was my fear of losing my dad, without him knowing how much I care about him. My parents often say they sacrificed much so I could have a better life. This work is proof that time spent together to understand each other is worth more than anything money can buy. Time together was what they gave up when I was younger, and now that I'm older, I want to give that back to them.

This film also aims to archive the Chinese Hoisan dialect. Hoisan was the first language of the Chinatowns in America. Because of gentrification, the devaluation of multigenerational living, and the prioritization of Chinese Mandarin as the “official Chinese language,” Hoisan is at risk of disappearing. Losing a language is losing one's roots. I hope this primes others to practice and proudly speak this dialect.

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