Austin filmmaker brings coming-of-age story, inspired by her Filipino-American family reunions, to SXSW

Kayla Abuda Galang’s “When You Left Me on That Boulevard” received the Texas Short Special Jury Award for Vision.

By Marissa GreeneMarch 15, 2023 11:36 am,

When Austin filmmaker Kayla Abuda Galang went home for the holidays, she noticed how each generation of the family would spread out across the house.

“We often had my aunties in one room gossiping and chatting and laughing and singing karaoke, and my uncles also kind of separated from the group, either playing poker or mahjong or watching the game and drinking,” Galang said. “All of the kids and the teenagers would be left to their own devices.”

Galang wrote and directed  “When You Left Me on That Boulevard,” a coming-of-age short film inspired by her own emotional experience of family reunions in her Filipino-American household.

The film follows a teenage girl, Ly, and her cousins as they get high before a boisterous family Thanksgiving at one of their auntie’s houses in San Diego in 2006.

Through the film, Galang hopes to share the universal feelings surrounding family reunions and hopes to reach her Filipino-American community in a slice-of-life genre of film.

“I would love for people who come from communities like mine, the Paradise Hills Filipino-American community, to be able to see themselves in something as intimate and weird and funny as this,” Galang said. “I just want people to be reminded of what it’s like to be loved and held by people who love you and whether that’s your mom or your sibling or cousin or friend or whomever.”

“When You Left Me on That Boulevard” premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded the Short Film Grand Jury Prize, and screened this week at South by Southwest in Austin, where it received the Texas Short Special Jury Award for Vision.

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