Surrender, a new, dramatic, fiction film written and directed by Jess Dang, and starring Andrea Bang from the hit CBC series Kim’s Convenience and Keiko Agena from Gilmore Girls, has just begun principal photography in Los Angeles. Produced by Long Lunch Break, the film was selected for production as one of 10 fiction films by Film Independent’s Fast Track Fellowship Program.  

Principal photography on Surrender, which marks Dang’s directorial debut, will continue through the month of February in Los Angeles. Dang plans to have the new project hit the film festival circuit during 2025. Picture producers are Jessica Olthof and Darren Haruo Rae, and Dang under her Long Lunch Break company banner. Andrea Bang will serve as an Executive Producer.

Film Independent has partnered with the filmmakers of Surrender as the project’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit fiscal sponsor. The Surrender team plans to raise additional funds for the post-production phase. For information on how to make a tax-deductible donation to Surrender, please CLICK HERE

Surrender Storyline
Triggered and wanting to escape her past trauma, Naomi (Andrea Bang,) a young, Asian American female, falls into the world of blackjack to regain a sense of control, but finds herself addicted to the game. By day, Naomi is successful at her job. By night, she is a high-limit blackjack player. Her compulsive gambling puts her in a secret cycle of shame as she suppresses her internal feelings to appear externally sound, impacting her mental health.  

History of Surrender
In 2021, Surrender, the short film, was produced. The film starred Andrea Bang from Kim's Convenience, and Keiko Agena from Gilmore Girls.

In 2022, Surrender, the short film, premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, before traveling globally - from local to international film festivals. The short film received a licensing deal with NBC Universal via Comcast, following its presentation at the Portland Film Festival. Simultaneously, the feature film version of Surrender then participated as one of ten films chosen for production by Film Independent's highly-selective Fast Track Fellowship Program. The film was also selected by Owning It, a program of the Gotham Film & Media Institute, dedicated to supporting, connecting, and empowering women and non-binary creators and entrepreneurs who break down boundaries in the media and entertainment industry.

During the course of 2022, the original Surrender short film earned critical acclaim, including being named the Winner of that year’s Stockholm City Film Festival. Surrender was also recognized in 2022 as an “Official Selection” by many other events, including the Los Angeles Asian Pacific, Portland, Catalina, Vancouver Asian, Philadelphia Asian American, Seattle Asian American, Pittsburgh Shorts, and Independent Filmmakers Showcase Film Festivals.

About The Cast
Andrea Bang: Andrea Bang was born and raised in Burnaby, B.C. She is best known for playing Janet on CBC's Kim's Convenience, which has earned her multiple Canadian Screen Award nominations for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy. Her other television credits include recurring guest stars in Running with Violet, and ABC's A Million Little Things.

In film, Andrea starred as Grace in Stay The Night, which premiered at SXSW in 2022. She had a supporting lead role opposite Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones in the Legendary thriller, Fresh, and held a role in Luce, opposite Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer -- both of those films were premiered at Sundance. Next, Andrea stars as Waverly in the Wattpad adaptation of Float for Lionsgate.

Aside from acting, Andrea continues to write, make videos, and watch way too much TV. She is represented by The Characters Talent Agency, and Authentic Talent and Literary Management.

Keiko Agena: Keiko Agena is best known for her series regular roles on the shows Prodigal Son where she played Dr. Edrisa Tanaka, and Gilmore Girls, where she played Lane Kim for seven years, later reprising the role in Netflix’s Gilmore Girls: Seasons. As an improviser, she has performed at UCB Sunset/NY and IO WEST. In between, Agena has been a series regular on Hulu's The First, and held recurring roles on Better Call Saul, Dirty John, and 13 Reasons Why.

About The Filmmaker Jess Dang 
Jess Dang is a Chinese-American writer and director based in Los Angeles. She values collaboration and hopes to continue telling stories that can work as visual conversations. Dang holds an MFA in Film & Television Production from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, and a BFA in Communication Design from Parsons School of Design.

Dang’s work has screened at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, DOC NYC at the IFC Center, an event produced by The New York Times, and on Gaiam TV, among others. She has also created content for brands such as Intel, Audible, Google, Snapchat, Target, MTV, Gold’s Gym, I Love NY, the University of Pittsburgh, and The Islands of The Bahamas. Her work continues to reach multiple audiences due to her use of color and forms.

Dang is committed to amplifying Asian voices and centering underrepresented communities in her work – exploring narrative themes of social justice, moral and humanitarian progress, and mental health.

Dang is a Film Independent Fellow and has participated in Owning It, a program of the Gotham Film & Media Institute which supports women, non-binary creators, and entrepreneurs who break down boundaries in the entertainment industry. 

Surrender marks Dang’s directorial debut feature film.