Reel Asian 2018: Origin Story

A woman travels to Laos to meet her birth father in Origin Story. Kulap Vilaysack is a Lao-American comedian and podcaster, who received the shock of her life at the age of 14 when she found out that the man she considered her dad was not her birth father. Kulap decides to get answers about who her birth father is and her journey leads her to the country of Laos, where her parents has fled as refugees many decades earlier.

Origin Story is a documentary by Kulap Vilaysack about her efforts to get answers about her birth father. Kulap has strained relationship with her mother, who a recovering gambling addict and is unwilling at first to participate in her daughter’s documentary. However, Kulap is eventually able to contact family members, who put her in touch with her birth father, who is back living in Laos, resulting in Kulap travelling to meet her father for the first time.

The title of Origin Story is referencing to comment Kulap Vilaysack makes early on in how her story is like tragic origins of comicbook characters. A source of frustration and anger for many years, Kulap is desperate for answers about why her birth father left her so many years ago. Even after finding him, Kulap is apprehensive to get to close, fearing a possible ulterior motive. Overall, Origin Story is a well done documentary about Kulap Vilaysack trying to piece together her own personal history.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).