Based in the early ’80s, Cardinal X tells the story of Angie (Annie Q.), a young Asian American who finds herself accepted into a prestigious university, yet lacking the financial resources necessary to pay for it. Utilizing her intellect and resourcefulness to cover costs, Angie learns to synthesize and distribute Ecstasy for classmates and nightclubs alike. Angie’s life is further complicated as her relationship with roommate Jeanine (Francesca Eastwood) blossoms, and she struggles to locate a sense of normalcy for Bree, a young girl whose current environment reminds Angie all-too-well of her own troublesome childhood.
More than just another tale of a dealer’s rise-and-fall in America’s urban landscape, Cardinal X is a richly layered character study loosely based on writer-director Angie Wang’s own experiences. After these events, Angie paved her own path in various avenues before deciding that now is the appropriate time to share her memories and struggles with the world through the craft of filmmaking. Her perseverance and determination to present her journey through her own distinct vision affords the film a dose of realism another artist might not have related to, much less understood.
For our exclusive interview with Angie, she elaborates on her first foray into filmmaking and the difficulties in bringing this deeply personal story to light. Angie also discusses casting Annie Q. and Francesca Eastwood, capturing the authentic Asian American experience, the hyperrealism of directing an actor reliving your own experiences, and her dedicated work with GROW.
A riveting conversation with a talented new voice in film, take a listen to our interview with Cardinal X director, Angie Wang.
Raised by her strict father in an urban neighborhood, Angie is accepted into a prestigious university in the early 1980s. The sudden jolt from hardship to privileged campus life proves to be a challenge. When her financial aid is cut, she uses her book and street smarts, along with the schools resources to synthesize the growing popular drug, Ecstasy. Angie becomes one of the west coast’s largest distributors of ‘X,” cutting deals on campus and in posh nightclubs. Her dual life as the Asian ‘model minority’ coed and profit-driven drug dealer is further complicated by her desire to help Bree, a girl from one of the bay area’s most infamous ghettos who reminds her of her own dark past. Angie lives the high life until her recklessness instigates a sudden tragedy from which she may not recover.
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