Navigating Narratives: Christine An’s Cinematic Journey in ‘At What Cost’
Pardee student Christine An (BA IR ’24) is set to premiere her film, “At What Cost,” this Saturday, December 9, at the Center for Computing & Data Sciences, 17th floor, at 7 pm, offering a unique blend of personal narrative and social commentary. Christine, who is pursuing dual degrees in International Relations and Film & TV Studies, shares her journey of navigating familial expectations, personal passions, and the pursuit of a meaningful education.
Growing up with a mother who prioritized academic success over artistic pursuits, Christine found herself drawn to the world of dance, despite familial resistance. The tension between her desire for artistic expression and her family’s concerns created a complex dynamic. Christine reflects, “Even though my mom and I don’t really have a good relationship to this day, her high expectations really pushed me to achieve more than I would’ve been able to.”
Balancing dance with academic pursuits, including college courses and Model United Nations competitions, she navigated a complex path in high school. Arriving at Boston University, Christine was resolute in her decision to study International Relations. Her passion for global affairs and social justice found a home at Pardee.
“I was very certain that I wanted to study International Relations through Pardee because I have been passionate about global affairs and social justice,” Christine shares.
Her academic journey at Pardee was purposeful, choosing regional politics and cultural anthropology to deepen her understanding of different countries and cultures worldwide. For Christine, the connection to her own cultural roots was essential, leading her to select Asia as her functional track. This intentional academic path not only shaped Christine’s worldview but also laid the groundwork for her exploration of film and TV studies. Through her commitment to academic excellence and her growing interest in filmmaking, she seamlessly integrated a minor in Film & TV studies into her curriculum at Pardee. This minor, fueled by her newfound passion, eventually evolved into a dual degree.
Christine’s path to film was paved with challenges and a determination to reconcile her love for the arts with her academic pursuits. Drawing inspiration from her upbringing, childhood memories, and past dance recitals, Christine intertwines personal experiences with a broader exploration of the costs associated with one’s actions. The film is a poignant reflection on familial expectations, sacrifices, and the emotional journey of confronting unresolved traumas.
Christine explains, “I had to confront many fears and come to terms with some of my unresolved childhood trauma in the making of this film, but I also matured a lot as a person and became more appreciative of my upbringing along the way.”
Christine credits her education at Pardee for shaping her into a well-rounded storyteller and filmmaker. Studying International Relations provided her with a global perspective, enriching her ability to craft narratives that resonate with diverse audiences.
“I want to curate/write stories that have a social purpose and impact, and that cannot happen without being exposed to different cultures and understanding world events,” she shares.
Her documentary project, “The Story of Charcoal,” paved the way for this film, addressing underrepresented communities and social issues. Her internship with the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange further fueled her passion for storytelling, earning her the COM Fellowship that partially funded “At What Cost.”
As Christine gears up for the film premiere, she emphasizes her goal of using filmmaking as a tool to humanize statistics and historical facts. “I really want to use film to humanize the statistics and historical facts we learn in the textbooks, to understand them as experiences of real people with real emotions,” she expresses.
Reflecting on her journey, she expresses gratitude, stating,“I don’t ever want to forget where I came from and the people who helped me grow into who I am today.”
Christine An’s “At What Cost” promises to be a compelling testament to the power of storytelling in navigating the complexities of identity, family, and the pursuit of one’s passion.
More information on her film and an interview with Christine An can be found in BU Today.