After being promoted to a stressful managerial position, a small-town appliance repairwoman begins noticing unwanted similarities between herself and her autistic brother. To cope with her growing anxiety, she hides away in the garage, tinkering with her grandmother’s eerily difficult washing machine. Little does she know, the machine has other plans for her.

Director’s Vision

Growing up in a traditional Hong Kong household, mental illness was heavily stigmatized. I felt helpless knowing several people in my family struggled with mental disabilities in silence. When I moved to the US, I realized these attitudes pervade diaspora communities too. I talked about this a lot with Peter, writer of “Pieced Together”, who also witnessed this internalized shame while growing up Asian American with family members on the autism spectrum. Unfortunately, this stigma disproportionately affects women of color, as many autistic characteristics that they possess are often mistakenly attributed to their gender and race, and they are socialized to mask these symptoms. Because of this, many women are deprived of support and feel shame for their inability to be “normal”. As we listened and learned about stories of women who are on the autism spectrum, it became clear that the exclusion of women in representations of autism has played a role in the stigma. We decided to tell a small, family-focused story that shows the intersections between gender, race, and neurodiversity from an Asian female perspective. Inspired by the tone and style of Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “Pieced Together” incorporates elements of magical realism and sci-fi to portray our human vulnerability.