Two years ago, Toronto University Student Reangsei Phos felt frustrated with the lack of Asian representation within film, so he did what he felt he had to; drop out of school and create ‘that’ film. And it was this film that didn’t just represent his artistic capability but represented his community; it was long overdue.
With the pandemic came more time for him to really hone in on his idea and move towards this objective. During this period, Phos spent the rest of his time making his vision come true. What was once a thought, an idea, a catalyst to leave Toronto University was now a reality, an accomplishment.
And after that two-year-long journey into the unknown, the ex-Toronto Metropolitan University student Reangsei Phos turned his film Talisman into an international award-winning debut film and made it go viral on TikTok too.
Behind The Lens
Phos’s goal when creating this film was simple; he hoped to bring Asian representation to the screen by pulling from his own superstitious childhood experiences.
Not long after the completion of Talisman, the film was screened at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth in Seattle where Phos took home the Audience Choice Award.
In this world, you take any opportunity you get, especially when it can showcase your art to more people. So this is what Phos continued to do.
With the Audience Choice Award already in his possession, he decided it was time to take his film to the popular short-form video hosting service Tiktok. There he shared the art he created, and that audience spoke.
On Tiktok, he was able to find an immediate and growing audience that was attracted to his film, rapidly gaining 100 thousand followers and millions of views on the social media platform.
Charm & Good Fortune
Talisman, coming from a place of authenticity, this film highlighted the Asian Community in all its excellent glory and truly represented Asian heritage and traditions.
In the past three years since Phos decided to drop out to chase and accomplish his dreams, Asian representation has started to take over the mainstream.TV shows like Squid Games and Alice In Borderland and movies like Parasite and Everything Everywhere All at Once have taken the world by storm. And now, Talisman can be right up there with the rest.
In the pandemic, we all decided to sink or rise above it all. Some took a detour and changed their life, and then there were some who took back their lives and used their time; Phos was one of those people, Taking a negative and turning it into a positive, making it into an award-winning viral positive.
A talisman is often described as an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune. In this case, Phos’ Talisman wasn’t just his award-winning film; it was and is his ‘talisman,’ it was his good fortune and charm, and this charm is something we all get to enjoy together, as he intended, as it was meant to be.
The film can be found here.