Filmmaker Spotlight: Kathy Uyen

How to Fight in Six Inch Heels,” co-written and produced by Kathy Uyen is featured on the X1 Asian American destination this April in the Vietnamese Experiences collection . We had the chance to ask Kathy what inspired her filmmaking journey and how her Vietnamese American heritage influences her work.

Photo: Kathy Uyen

Tell us about your film featured on X1 this month!

Kathy Uyen: Girls in high heels kicking butt! “How to Fight in Six Inch Heels” is a romantic comedy film about Anne, a neurotic fashion designer that suspects her fiancee, Kiet, is cheating on her with one of three models while on a business trip. Anne devises a plan to go to Vietnam, unbeknownst to Kiet, to befriend the models, infiltrate the model fashion industry and find out if he’s guilty or not.

How did you get into filmmaking?

KU: I have been in love with acting and filmmaking since middle school. I started pursuing acting full-time in Los Angeles after I graduated college. A few years after, I received a leading role in a Vietnamese romantic comedy in Vietnam. It lead me to several other leading romantic comedy roles. I kept waiting for dream, quirky, strong, women roles to appear—but it didn’t. I realized I needed to write my own stories and dream characters. “How to Fight in Six Inch Heels” is the first film that I co-wrote and produced.

What are some films and/or filmmakers that have inspired you?

KU: So many films but some of the rom coms back then that we based Six inch heels was “Miss Congeniality”, “The Devil Wears Prada”, “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “Sophie’s Choice”. We wanted a palette of diverse strong, beautiful and crazy women characters in a modern fashion backdrop, all in the search for love and discovery of own self and identity.

Do you have a favorite Asian American film?

KU: Better Luck Tomorrow” was a big inspiration to me back then. “Asian Stories” was a personal favorite experience of mine.

Photo: Kathy Uyen

How does your Asian heritage influence your work?

KU: Being born and raised in San Jose, California, I always knew what it was like to be American. However, I didn’t truly understand what being Vietnamese truly meant until I moved to Vietnam. As an artist, I believe the closer we can identify the core of what makes us unique, and be aware of our soul’s desire to explore, express and share, can our art’s message be specific and have the ability to reach and touch the hearts of audiences. For me, that has been a journey back to Vietnam, the place of my parents birth to learn, experience, and share what it truly means to be Vietnamese American.

What is your outlook on the state of Asian American cinema?

KU: I feel very positive and excited about the growth of both Vietnamese and Asian American cinema, I think it’s amazing to work together to share our cultural stories for while its a patriotic pride to be unified as an American. It’s also a privilege to have a cultural history to explore, identify and share stories about.

What’s next for you?

KU: Next up, I’m very excited for next feature film, a psychological romance thriller to be shot in Vietnam. I am currently co-writing—this will be my directorial debut.
Photo: Kathy Uyen

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Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Kathy Uyen! Watch the “How to Fight in Six Inch Heels” series on the X1 Asian American destination or with Xfinity Stream this April.

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For more Filmmaker Spotlights or Asian American news and entertainment visit Xfinity Asian American.