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Tech Hosting Film Focusing On Similarities In Differences

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tech Hosting Film Focusing On Similarities In Differences

A film focusing on the universal feeling of being an outsider and discovering common bonds is being hosted virtually at Tennessee Tech.

Alien Citizen Actor, Writer and Producer Elizabeth Liang will be answering questions on ZOOM during a Q&A and Workshop on April 12 and 14. Liang said struggling to connect because of race, language or culture are not the only ways we convince ourselves we’re different.

“That can happen without having grown up in different countries,” Liang said. “You may know all the pop cultural references but not care about them. You know, whatever’s popular among your peers is maybe not the thing you’re interested in or maybe you’re all growing up similarly but there’s a family dynamic that you think you’re the only one experiencing.”

Liang said she hopes anyone who attends takes away the idea that we all have more in common than we know, and how often a feeling of being different can turn into friendship. Alien Citizen will be screened with a Q&A on Zoom tonight, with a followup workshop on Wednesday.

Both start at 6:00 PM and can be viewed on ZOOM by visiting Tech’s Center Stage Events Page.

“If you’ve been yearning in any way to tell your own story, even one little piece of it, I am so happy to facilitate that on Wednesday,” Liang said. “Because I’ll be leading the workshop, helping people tell their own stories for the page or stage or screen or just for their own family. Something they want to share with family members later.”

Liang said growing up biracial and in a family that constantly moved because of her fathers job inspired Alien Citizen. She said the feeling of being an outsider can grow during adolescence if you’re a child of divorce.

“The learned role of the outsider seems to resonate for people even in their own families,” Liang said. “Like if they grew up in the same place but they were children of divorce and parents got joint custody. Then the kid had to be slightly different according to which parent’s house or home they were in. So in a way they kind of grew up cross-culturally because mom’s culture was different than dad’s culture.”

Liang said her film tries to use humor to help get through the challenges of moving and losing what is left behind and the restarting in a new location. She said she hopes being able to express the struggles of a unique life experience can bring people closer together when we hear how universal those struggles can be.


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