A conversation with director Jason Karman and producer Kristyn Stilling on their new film, GOLDEN DELICIOUS.
Eight years back, Canadian filmmaker, Jason Karman met Canadian writer, Gorrman Lee. Jason read Gorrman’s script and thought, “I need to work with you!” So, he did. And he never looked back.
Eight long years later, their movie premiered, first at Vancouver International Film Festival, then Reelworld Film Festival, then Vancouver Asian, Seattle Queer, Boston Asian American and, today, November 1, at the 29th annual Austin Film Festival.
It was eight years of hard work, relationship building, script changes and trust, but, by the raving reviews, that time spent was clearly worth it. Director Jason Karman certainly thinks so.
“I believe in long-term relationships,” Jason says. “I wanted to work with [Gorrman], so I did.”
Jason’s film, Golden Delicious, is the story of a Jake Wong, a high school senior, as he struggles with his sexuality, his family, and his future. It’s Eighth Grade, but with the romance of Love Simon.
It’s just like Sixteen Candles, but only if Molly Ringwald were Asian-Canadian and gay.
“It’s really important to Jason that we all worked as a team, so we did!” Golden Delicious’ producer Kristyn Stilling says.
Kristyn has been with the project since 2019, when she was attached as the producer, but, before that, Jason and Gorrman worked alone to make the script the best it could be, draft after draft.
“Gorrmon’s initial draft was him wanting to create something representative of his time in Canadian high school, which wasn’t the same as he saw on TV,” Kristyn says.
When Jason joined the project, he helped Gorrmon incorporate the LBGTQ element, which really upped the stakes and deepened the film’s heart. Jason also helped introduce the element of basketball.
“In all of Jason’s films, he has some element of physicality and movement," Kristyn says. "So that’s why he brought basketball to the story.”
Finally, the script went through a few more changes when Kristyn joined in 2019, specifically, with the sister character, Janet. For numerous drafts, Janet's story arc wasn’t full fleshed out, but Kristyn helped to revise that.
In the fully finished film, Janet's story was the one I most connected to: the story of a young woman with a dream who just wants her family’s support.
Without the collaboration of this film’s trio “dream team”, Golden Delicious wouldn’t have been the powerful engine of empathy that it turned out to be, and it wouldn’t have touched so many communities.
Thanks to Jason’s faith in his team, Golden Delicious now has reached audiences all over North America, and it still has some showings left, at Rainbow Visions Film Festival and Vancouver Asian Film Festival.
After seeing this film, it’s renewed my faith in long-term projects over short-term results. Hard work doesn’t happen overnight, and neither did this film. Good art takes time, and I’m grateful to the Golden Delicious team for showing me that. Get your tickets on their site!
Special thank you’s to Kristyn Stilling, Jason Karman, and Jaimie for welcoming me into your group at the Austin Film Festival Brunch. I’m so glad mimosas brought us together.
For more information about Golden Delicious, visit https://www.goldendeliciousfilm.com/
About the Thoughts Blog:
Before Payton wrote pilots, before articles and poems, Payton wrote in her journals and on Google Docs, always titling the entry: Thoughts. For this reason, this blog was easy to name.