Remember Joey Ally’s name. The up-and-coming filmmaker is a member of both the 2017 class at the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and the first class of AFI/Fox Directors Lab. Additionally, Ally was recently selected as one of the five women for the 2016 Tribeca/Chanel “Through Her Lens” program. Oh, and her most recent short film, “Partners,” was an official selection at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Not too shabby.
In her time at the AFI Women’s Workshop, Ally wrote and directed an 18-minute short film entitled “Joy Joy Nails.” According to the film’s official synopsis, “In an upmarket Connecticut strip mall, Korean Sarah manages a Korean-owned nail salon with an ever cheerful, K-pop pumping, manicured iron fist. When Chinese Mia starts training as a manicurist, and looks to be stealing the boss’s son’s affections, Sarah gets her claws out — only to discover that under the varnish, everyone’s a victim at JOY JOY NAILS.”
The film is an official selection for the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and it will have its world premiere on April 21.
According to Ally, the film was made “as a response to Sarah Maslin Nir’s NY Times exposé ‘Unvarnished,’ which chronicles the human rights atrocities taking place in nail salons across the New York tri-state area. In these salons, and others across the country — there are now official claims in Los Angeles county of parallel offenses — pay, living quarters, and basic treatment are determined on the basis of race and language in a community largely comprised of undocumented workers.”
The filmmaker told IndieWire, “What I didn’t fully know, until I started casting, was that the discrimination inside the story was only half of the discrimination we’d be highlighting with the film. When trying to find our cast, I learned the truth in the statistics — only 5.1% of speaking roles across film, television, and digital in 2014 were cast with Asian actors, and that statistic hasn’t improved tremendously since. It’s a problem that feeds itself — how do you find actors who have no representation, because they have no reels, because they’ve had no roles to create the reels from?”
She added, “It’s my aim, and my bet, that the audience will see themselves in these actors and characters…and I suspect that they’ll never look at a nail salon the same way again.”
Check out our exclusive trailer for “Joy Joy Nails” below.