Disney Plus has released the trailer for “Chang Can Dunk,” an Asian-led coming-of-age sports film starring Bloom Li and directed by Jingyi Shao.
Li plays Chang, an unpopular high school student who loves basketball and Pokémon. After making a bet with his school’s all-star basketball player, Chang has 12 weeks to try and make a slam dunk.
Rounding out the cast of “Chang Can Dunk” are Chase Liefeld, Zoe Renee, Ben Wang, Dexter Darden, Anthony Lopez, Nile Bullock, Mardy Ma and Angel Oquendo.
Rishi Rajani and Lena Waithe are producing the film through their media and production company, Hillman Grad Productions.
In an interview with Variety, Shao said he was inspired by coming-of-age sports films of the ’90s like “The Mighty Ducks.”
He aimed for the film to tackle social dynamics and relationships of people of color from towns where most of the other residents are not like them.
In a town where there aren’t a lot of other Asian American families, sometimes you don’t know why people are treating you a certain way. That’s why the dunking was so important because it’s an objective goal — it doesn’t matter how people perceive you or how you perceive yourself. You can or you cannot.
Shao believes that “Chang Can Dunk” is the kind of onscreen Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) representation that was virtually absent in the ‘90s.
“My 16-year-old self could have really used this film,” Shao told Variety. “He really needed to watch this. At the time, he was struggling to believe in himself and struggling to believe in his dream.”
“‘Chang’ is an underdog story for someone who maybe doesn’t feel seen, doesn’t feel appreciated, but who wants more respect and what happens if you really put your mind to something and then the people you find along the way,” he added.
“Chang Can Dunk” will premiere on Disney Plus on March 10. Watch the trailer below: