The Suitcase

A mother from rural China must calm her daughter over the phone as she is smuggled to Canada in a suitcase. As her daughter confronts airline attendants, guard dogs and baggage handlers from within the suitcase, the mother paints a rosy picture of her daughter’s surroundings in order for her not to panic.

This live action/animated film deals with the resilience of immigrants and the lengths they go through to establish a better future for their family.

Creative team

Writer/director: Philip Leung
Producer: Graham Folkema

Filmmaker’s statement

Immigration is a hot topic as of late. Donald Trump caused a stir with his comments on deporting undocumented Mexicans. Millions were appalled at the image of a lifeless Syrian boy washed up ashore the Turkish coast. And just this year alone, two individuals were caught attempting to cross the boarder by hiding in a suitcase.

As a Chinese Canadian immigrant, I empathize with those who boldly move to a foreign country. Since moving back to Toronto from Hong Kong a few years ago, I had a taste, an unwelcoming surprise, of what it felt like to be an immigrant (again). Despite growing up in Canada, I felt patronized by strangers and employers as someone who lacked language skills, education and culture.

But my experience pales in comparison with what my parents went through. With little education and no connections, my parents moved my family to Canada 25 years ago in hopes of a better life. And while my parents struggled to put food on the table, not once did they complain or show signs of uncertainty in front of their children. It is their positive resilience that got them by each day at a time.

What I wish to demonstrate in The Suitcase is the positive resilience of not only my parents, but also the millions of immigrants who face countless adversities each day.

About Philip Leung

Philip Leung

Director Philip Leung has been immersed in the film and TV scene for over 10 years. He has written several scripts and directed several shorts including his most recent Hum. He also wrote the script for The Suitcase and has seen success in writing in many other areas.

His work has appeared on CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, Metro Morning, MSN’s The Diary of Amos Lee and film festivals across North America, including Palm Springs International ShortFest.

He has helped develop Digital Frontier’s Mighty No. 9 animated series based on the upcoming $4 million video game franchise to be released on Cartoon Network in 2017.

Presently, Philip is an associate producer at CBC Radio for two shows, Because News and Podcast Playlist. He is also a director at Folkstar Productions and writes in his spare time. Philip holds a BBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and an MFA from New York University’s Tisch Film & Television Program.

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