Alisa Yang’s experimental documentary short Sleeping With The Devil is showing at this year’s 55th Ann Arbor Film Festival. Yang is a graduate of the University of Michigan Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, and this is her second film. The first, Please Come Again, her graduate thesis work, depicts the culture and psychology of Japanese love hotels.
Sleeping With The Devil is raw and direct in its reflections on the artist’s personal past with Evangelical Prophetic ministries. In it, she subjects herself to a Skype interview with a professional exorcist, then mixes the recording with footage appropriated from various online sources.
Yang uses humor to disarm the audience during the beginning of the film. As she converses with the exorcist, heavy topics are brought to light and the personal and emotional weight of this film becomes evident. Yang used the film as a way to explore her relationship with her mother, for whom religion and the “saving” of her daughter were primary concerns, creating a wedge in their communication.
Yang investigates the harmful effects of religion by exploring her own personal emotional trauma. Her raw introspection of a past sexual assault aims to empower others while articulating the prevalence of rape culture.
The Skype interview proved to be cathartic for Yang who was exorcised not from the devil, but as she put it,“the shame, guilt and self hatred I had been conditioned to feel growing up in the Evangelical Prophetic ministry.” She was motivated to show her vulnerability in front of a camera so that she could ask others to do so.
Yang is currently working on a documentary film about her journey through the Silk Road train route from Moscow to Beijing. She also has plans to create a feature length on love hotels in Asia, a topic she has previously worked with before in Please Come Again.
A long-time fan of the AAFF, Yang is excited to have her work included in the festival for the first time. Through her films, she aims to contribute to a greater media representation of Asians, and to disseminate poignant stories of her fellow women of color. As she loves to be moved by film, she wishes to move others with her work.
Sleeping With The Devil is showing during Films in Competition 6 on Friday March 24, 2017 at 7pm in the Michigan Theatre Main Auditorium.