In a Nutshell

The Film Lab, thanks in part to a generous grant from the Asian Women's Giving Circle, produced a psychological drama written by Jennifer Betit Yen with critical assistance from Aaron Woolfolk, to help combat elder abuse.  The film, titled “The Opposite of a Fairy Tale” addresses elder abuse through a fictional narrative designed to increase awareness of the problem and to provide viewers with the motivation and tools to combat elder abuse and to create a dialogue and vocabulary for a widespread societal problem that viewers might never have before imagined.

Check out our upcoming previews, screenings and awards here.  Screen_Shot_2016-06-20_at_12.28.04_PM.png

What's the Story Behind the Story?

 A social worker, Celeste, befriends the woman at a nursing home and uncovers what most of America is unaware of - the all too typical and all too secret world of elder abuse.  The script was written by actor and Film Lab President Jennifer Betit Yen, based on her personal experiences and was made possible, in part, through a generous grant from the Asian Women's Giving Circle.  The film was directed/edited by a team of people including Y Kim (artistic, editor) and Conor Stratton (photography) and Michelle Botticelli (co-editor).  Click here for more on the cast and crew.

The Opposite of a Fairy Tale focuses on (1) changing community attitudes about elder abuse, (2) making Asian communities more accepting of survivors, particularly when women are the victims and (3) educating viewers on how to prevent and address elder abuse through easily accessible, entertaining and creative storytelling.  Read more about the genesis of the film here.

Many of us have been personally affected by elder abuse.  Please share your story here.

The First Public Reading:  August 18, 2015, at AAARI-CUNY

The first public reading of the screenplay, cast and moderated by Erin Quill, took place at AAARI-CUNY as part of the Film Lab's Unfinished Works screenplay reading and workshop series, featuring a star-studded cast of notables from TV, film and Broadway.  Click here to read all about it and see the photos!

Principal Photography Completed on the Movie: December 13, 2015

You can check out the cast and crew via the links above or the IMDb profile here.  Editors Michelle Botticelli and Y Kim, Director of Photography Conor Stratton, audio engineer Nick Bardo, and composer Nick Stubblefield worked on editing, color correction, sound mixing, and scoring.  Stay posted here and on Facebook at for updates and behind the scenes sneak peaks!

Film Selected as a MOCAFilm for First Preview Screening on June 16, 2016

The New York Asian Women's Center and the Museum of Chinese in America teamed up to host the first preview screening of the film on June 16, 2016, in honor of Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15).  

Moviegoers packed MOCA, making the first preview screening of The Opposite of a Fairy Tale, a resounding success.  The sold out standing room only preview was followed by a powerful and engaging panel, thanks to our NYAWC moderator, wonderful panelists and an engaged audience, including one outspoken, fierce and fabulous 92-year-old elder abuse survivor, Betty Lee Sung.  It was an incredible experience.  Photos are up here.  Video footage of the panel is here.

Film an Official Selection of the 39th Annual Asian American International Film Festival

The 39th Annual Asian American International Film Festival selected the film for a special preview screening in July 2016 in New York City.

SAG-AFTRA Foundation Selects The Opposite of a Fairy Tale

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation selected a special version of The Opposite of a Fairy Tale as one of only eight films selected by The Foundation to represent the best of the union short films made in New York in 2016.  Showcase on Septmeber 28, 2016, at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation screening room.

Desert Film Society, Palm Springs, to Preview The Opposite of a Fairy Tale October 2016

The Desert Film Society, Palm Springs, CA, selected The Opposite of a Fairy Tale for a special screening in October 2016, followed by a panel featuring writer/producer Jennifer Betit Yen and actors Bruce Yang, Collin Heald and Timothy Yang.


For press, click on the Press and Media tab, above. 


Elder Abuse in America

I.  The Size of the Problem[1]

Elder abuse (mistreatment and/or neglect) is defined as intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm (regardless of whether harm is intentional) to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder.  Data suggests that female elders are abused at a higher rate than males.  In the United States, the 2010 Census recorded the greatest number and proportion of people age 65 and older in all of decennial census history: 40.3 million, or 13% of the total population.  By 2050, people age 65 and older are expected to comprise 20% of the total U.S. population. The fastest growing segment of American’s population consists of those 85 and up. [2]

II.  Asian American Women

Elder abuse among Asian communities is under-studied and under-reported.[3]   Abused elders of Asian descent, perhaps especially women, are frightened to come forward, not wanting to disrupt the family unit or bring shame to the family.[4]  Those of Asian descent may be less willing than other racial groups to report abuse because of cultural values emphasizing collectivism over the individual; distrust of law enforcement and similar agencies; and/or fear of being isolated.[5]  As explained by Rora Oh, “[C]ultural values can shape Asian American victims’ perceptions of elder abuse and determine willingness to seek help when the victims internalize their mistreatment according to Asian virtues of sacrifice and self-blaming. The victims regard elder abuse as a taboo because it is a direct contradiction of their values and expectations of how other people are supposed to treat the elderly with respect. As a result, this internal contradiction in the victims’ minds run contrary to the state’s goals of detection, prevention, and intervention. It may even turn out that the victim of elder abuse becomes resistant to voluntary and mandatory offers of help.”[6]

III.  To Combat Elder Abuse

The Opposite of a Fairy Tale will expose, through entertaining fictional narrative, the problem of elder abuse for all elders, with a focus on Asian American women - to debunk the myth it doesn’t exist and to highlight avenues of help for victims. As Oh explains, “[S]olutions range from restraining orders, conservatorship, involvement of multiple agencies, and seeking family and community resources. However, what is needed is looking at these resources with an understanding of how cultural values can filter how Asian Americans view elder abuse.”

[1] This section is taken from what was originally and what we are informed has been updated at
[2] According to the Asian American Federation from 2000 to 2010 “Asian seniors grew far faster than the other major race and ethnic groups, up 64 percent compared with the next fastest group, Hispanics, at 42 percent.”[3] [4] Id. 

How You Can Help

Please help us increase awareness of the systemic problem of elder abuse today.  Through this film, we hope to not only increase awareness of elder abuse but also to provide the motivation and tools for everyday people to both recognize and combat elder abuse.  We honor our elderly through this project and aim to create greater empathy, love and understanding between the young, the middle aged and the old.  If you would like to donate, please click here or email us at  Thank you!