There are over 1.8 million Koreans living in the United States. Seeing a film where characters look like us and live in working class families like us is the story we wanted to tell with Happy Cleaners.
From concept to finish, the film took 2.5 years but the soul of the film has always been in our hearts since 2012, when we started our Flushing K-Town web series. The three part web series allowed us to revisit our past experiences and share real stories. It was almost as if they were pieces of a puzzle of what we wanted to later show in our first feature length film.
The process wasn’t easy. We found ourselves reliving past pains and hardships of growing up in an immigrant household and had to step away from writing the script because the emotions felt so real. But it was cathartic. We were able to learn and heal during this journey and hoped that it would spark healing for others when we completed the film.
This is a story about an immigrant family and we wrote it from our collective immigrant experiences. If you strip away the ethnicity, language, cultural cues, and language, it’s just a family drama. No matter what background, we want people to think of their families and what it means to love them despite differences.
Happy Cleaners is for us, our friends, our families, and our community. We want to validate our struggles and celebrate our perseverance. Through this feature length film, our stories and experiences will be presented unapologetically.
Julian Kim & Peter S. Lee