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In “The Unboxing of Paul Sun-Hyung Lee”, director Kathleen Jayme reveals different sides of Kim’s Convenience star

Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Kathleen Jayme
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee is both funny and emotional in Kathleen Jayme's lighthearted tribute film. NFB photo.

Who knew that the voice of the grumpy grocer in Kim’s Convenience was based on actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee’s father? Or that Lee loved action-hero figures as a kid? Or that he gets teary-eyed even today when he thinks about his parents’ sacrifices?

Vancouver director Kathleen Jayme included these surprises and much more in her short tribute film for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award laureate. The National Film Board produced Jayme’s mini-documentary, “The Unboxing of Paul Sun-Hyung Lee”, which was released on May 27.

Jayme (The Grizzlie TruthI’m Just Here for the Riot) came up with the idea from Lee’s YouTube program, Funboxing Sundays. And the new film includes plenty of humour.

“My parents were hardworking, immigrant(s)—they gave up everything to give their children the best opportunities to succeed,” Lee says. “For them, I could be five things. Right? Doctor, lawyer, teacher, engineer, or a failure.”

Check it out below.

Watch the NFB-produced short film on Paul Sun-Hyung Lee.

The NFB produced six other films about Goveror General’s Performing Arts Awards winners in addition to “The Unboxing of Paul Sun-Hyung Lee”. The others featured choreographer James Kudelka, soprano Rosemarie Landry, singer-songwriter k.d. lang, Indigenous leader John Kim Bell, singer-songwriter Molly Johnson, and playwright-screenwriter-librettist Michael Marc Bouchard.

The NFB has made all of these short documentaries available on YouTube.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Toronto Spark editor Charlie Smith has worked as a journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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Arts for Canadians Tomorrow Society is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered on this land, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples whose arts and stories inspire us to bring communities together.