PARK CITY, Utah – For actor Sherry Cola, the mass shooting in her hometown of Monterey Park, California, left her devastated ahead of the premiere of the new film “Shortcomings” at the Sundance Film Festival.
“I definitely cried myself to sleep, to be honest, because this is Monterey Park, California, like where I grew up, the 626, San Gabriel Valley,” Cola said. “This is where my Buddhist temple is, you know? Like all my friends I grew up with they were born in Monterey Park. It’s this hometown that I’m so proud to call my hometown.”
“Shortcomings” is the story of three friends who are Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) living the Bay Area and finding themselves. Saturday night’s shooting left the cast — including Cola, Randall Park, Justin H. Min and Ally Maki — with the difficult task of mourning the victims while speaking about the film ahead of its Sunday premiere in Park City, Utah.
A gunman killed 10 people Saturday night in Monterey Park, a city of about 60,000 people on the eastern edge of Los Angeles that is composed mostly of Asian immigrants from China or first-generation Asian Americans. The massacre derailed Lunar New Year celebrations and sent fear through Monterey Park and other nearby communities with large Asian American populations.
Cola was still processing her emotions on Sunday morning, with limited information available and a search still underway for the gunman.
“It’s just a reminder, as we premiere this film today, celebrating unapologetic, authentic AAPI voices in a different way, it’s just a reminder that we still have to reclaim our validation as human beings in this country and in this industry,” Cola said.
“We have this beautiful film today that we still want to, you know, talk about,” Cola added. “And I think by talking about it is moving the culture and community forward. I think to just show each other grace and having each other’s backs is all we can do, you know?”
Park, who directed the film, added “Regardless of whatever information comes out, it’s just so, so infuriating.”
At a Sundance lounge nearby, a moment in silence was held for the victims.