DOCS BY THE SEA. LAB: JULY 11–21, FORUM: AUGUST 18–26
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How to Stop Firecrackers from Burning

How to Stop Firecrackers from Burning

by Angeline Teh, Jeremy Luke Bolatag

The filmmaker breaks their family’s silence by discovering intimate diaries and suicide letters left behind 20 years after her mother’s death.

During the pandemic, Angeline discovered her mother’s diaries. As she was scarred by her mother’s will to neglect the family, she decided to confront her family’s trauma which had been kept silent for 20 years. In translating the letters and diaries, new layers were revealed. She goes back through time, through her personal history, and unearths the challenges faced by the Hokkien-speaking Chinese minority throughout the 20th century: from her mother’s last words through the suicide letters, to her parents’ marriage struggles, generational gambling addictions, surviving the Japanese occupation, and her grandmother’s ordeal as a child bride.

When time returns to the present, we observe how the current generation copes with the collective family trauma passed down from the late 19th century. Conversations with her siblings and extended family members are held to break the silence of secrecy and end the cycle of survival for the upcoming generations to thrive.

Angeline Teh
Angeline Teh

Director

Jeremy Luke Bolatag
Jeremy Luke Bolatag

Producer

Project Status
  • Development
Participating Lab
  • Storytelling Lab
Completion:

Mar 2025

Length:

80 mins.

Production Company:

Huni't Pagaspas Films (Philippines)