Director Angela Sun talks about her film she directed that was released on iTunes in August. Angela spent years researching and uncovering the plastic pollution crisis, which she then decided to film the documentary Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garage Patch. Angela’s journey is one that everyone living in a disposable society needs to see.
Q1. When and how did you start your career in the entertainment industry?
I knew what I wanted to do since I was thirteen, but I got my career start in the entertainment industry as a PA out of college. I actually started working in sports earlier; executive producing a news magazine show in high school while interning at a local sports show. I worked every single type of job I could as a development intern, director’s assistant, production assistant, casting assistant, etc while chasing on-camera aspirations. There was no cup of coffee or dry-cleaning run that was above me, and I really did pay my dues. My first national show as a host was for Fox Sports Net on action sports and from there, I started to build my resume.
Q2. What made you want to film and document the plastic pollution epidemic in the United States?
I actually feel like it is a global problem but I didn’t have budget to fly around the world as it was mainly self-financed. I didn’t really know how vast in scale the problem was when I first started. It was just a short doc idea for a network that I worked for, a story pitch for television. I sort of fell into creating an indie doc feature as it was initially thought to just be a small part of a broader series.
Q3. Plastic Paradise brings huge awareness to the alarming rate of plastic pollution on our planet. Where there any startling facts you found out during filming?
There were A LOT of startling facts. I think the biggest take away was that almost every single piece of plastic that has ever been created is still somewhere on this planet! This seemingly perfect material that was indestructible is now proliferated to the farthest reaches of the earth and in almost every ecosystem. That fact still blows my mind.
Q4. After watching Plastic Paradise, one can think differently on how they can take better care of the environment and themselves. What are some easy and effective ways one can start being environmentally friendly?
REFUSE before you reduce, reuse and recycle. It’s as easy as bringing your own bag, bottle, utensil, straw, reusable lunchbox/containers whatever you feel compelled to do. Of course it’s not as CONVENIENT to take an extra moment to think before heading out the door, but we are paying for our throwaway culture by our carelessness in detrimental ways. The easiest is to REFUSE. I focus on that because recycling is a way of pacifying the public to continue consuming when what we really need to do is stop it at the source. No amount of beach cleanups and river cleanup efforts will work if we keep putting it in.
Q5. Plastic Paradise has won several awards recently. What are your proudest accomplishments that happened before and/or after filming the documentary?
My proudest accomplishments before filming the documentary was being part of great shows and teams in the sports/hosting worlds from primetime to online. After filming the documentary, my proudest moment was actually finishing it! Seeing it be received so well on great platforms and on television gave me the confidence and validation to keep going. Not just something I was a host of, but something that I created and produced, and formed from inception until now.
Q6. Who are your favorite directors/ what are your top three favorite movies?
Favorite Directors: Ang Lee, Ava DuVernay, and Steven Spielberg.
Favorite Movies: Sound of Music, Forrest Gump, and Point Break
Q7. What are your plans for the future?
I hope to continue to create thought-provoking media that can teach, inspire and share untold stories and change the world for the better.