EXCLUSIVE: Emily Hahn explains why we need to watch 'Beautifully Broken' and we are sold!
'Beautifully Broken' premieres on August 24 and Emily Hahn tells us that the movie puts a face to the ongoing refugee crisis while addressing #MeToo
There's something worthwhile coming our way today to give a new definition for the word 'Beautifully Broken.' Based on a true story, set in the backdrop of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, the film by Eric Welch features three families living completely different lives but somehow intertwining to narrate a story of hope and faith.
Prepare yourself for the journey of a refugee’s escape, a prisoner’s promise, and a daughter’s painful secret.
Emily Hahn, who plays the daughter, 12-year-old Andrea Hartley, sits for an exclusive interview with Meaww to share the relevance of the film today while heartily celebrating her decade of being in the entertainment industry ever since she got started in 2008, voicing the character of Bonnie Anderson in 'Toy Story 3.'
"'Toy Story 3' was my first job ever, my first voice over audition and my first acting audition," says the now 18-year-old actress. Ten years after her first job, she clearly sees the difference between working behind the mic and in front of the camera.
"When you are doing a voice over work it is just you and the mic. You don’t see your scene partner or have the physical environment to put you in the moment, so you have to imagine everything. But on camera acting like that of ‘Beautifully Broken,’ you have your scene partner, the environment is set, and everything is just there for you to get into character," says Emily.
While it was a challenge for Emily, she enjoyed every bit of filming and could tap into the pain Andrea, her character, was feeling. The story of Andrea is of pain and triumph. "Andrea faces an encounter that completely breaks her spirit. She feels worthless, alone and unseen," she explains. Her secret is that she was physically and sexually assaulted. Emily was bullied when growing up, and although the experience of it is completely different from that of Andrea's, Emily could relate to her pain.
"I think it’s common for human beings to cover up our pain and consider pain as something that shouldn’t be revealed to other people. It’s a natural instinct," says Emily. "I know when I was younger, obviously this is something of a different context, but I was bullied. Really badly, and I remember not telling anybody because it made me feel like I didn’t matter."
Explaining Andrea's thought process Emily says the event made Andrea feel worthless and objectified. "She did not want other people to see her that way. She did not want her family to see her that way. So she ended up burying it," she explains.
"You see her venturing into darkness and progression through her pain."
"Andrea has a penpal in Africa, and when she reveals her pain, she feels hope. She realizes that no matter how someone has treated her, she matters and she is just as beautiful as she was before the incident occurred." Emily explains that there's a clear-cut message from Andrea's story: "We should talk about pain, we should have an open conversation because that is how we connect deeply and meaningfully."
For example, the title itself refers to the fact that brokenness is your beauty. "'Beautifully Broken' literally refers to embracing your scars and not hiding them because it’s our authenticity and honesty with each other that builds community and hope," believes Emily.
The relevance of the movie is perhaps the need of the hour with the #MeToo movement taking over and the refugee crisis raging in corners of the world.
"We have so many refugees fleeing persecution and what the film really does is it gives a human face to what so many people are experiencing," says Emily. Though the film was set in '94s genocide, the world today isn't any different with the Syrian and Rohingya crisis. "When we think about war-torn places we tend to forget that it's people facing persecution. We tend to objectify them and just put a label but this film puts a human face to the violence that people are experiencing," Emily highlights.
The second noteworthy reason why you should watch the movie is definitely that of the MeToo movement. "Andrea represents anyone who has been unseen, broken and alone in their journey and what we have seen recently is the culture of people rising up and saying "I can talk about what happened to me and I can stand up." Her story is indeed a heroic one like that of so many other people," Emily adds.
Besides the relevance, Emily assures that the film has a universal tone to it and there is something for everyone. "The film has had a massive impact on me and has taught me an important lesson; there is always a light at the end of the tunnel."
"I hope people experience the immense sense of inspiration and discover that worth cannot be taken away from them," she says, adding that only if we are "honest about our pain, we will have a much deeper connection and create a better society in general." Emily's belief is pretty simple; human beings have a job to make other human beings feel valued.
The next project she is looking forward to is a film titled 'The Shaper,' to be directed by Bruce McDonald, where she plays the role of a surfer who wants to go pro.
But if you thought Emily could only do voiceovers and actings, you may want to rethink because she is also a singer. She is, in fact, singing the theme song of 'Beautifully Broken,' in Spanish. Emily's family hails from Argentina, and over the past five years, she has mastered the art of speaking Spanish, so when the crew needed someone to do the theme song in Spanish, she did it.
In years to come, Emily sees herself doing more action-based film and drama. "I love the drama genre. I think it lets us see real experiences we can relate to in a very deep level," she smiles and clearly states that her ideal role to play would be anything to do with mental health. "I’d like to play a character that faces difficulties with mental health because I think it is such a prevalent issue and I want to be in a film about it."
'Beautifully Broken' premieres in theatres today, August 24. The film is under two hours, and the filming took two months. For a month the shooting was done in Louisiana, and the Southern State was modified to look like Nashville. The remaining weeks were shot in South Africa, which again, was modified to look like Rwanda.