When I Grow Up I Want to Be White (2008)

Banana Portrait


English and Cantonese, 14 minutes

Trying to fit in when you’re already a local can be hard.

When I Grow Up I Want to be White is an ode to the trials and tribulations of being a second generation Chinese-Australian, lost in a strange identity predicament of being a ‘banana’- yellow on the outside, white on the inside.

It’s a short 14 minute comedy and satire; presenting a mental portrait of a so-called Banana named Shannon, an early 20s Australian-born Chinese girl, who must learn to confront racism in all its different forms in order to come to terms with her own identity and prejudices.

It’s a funny little film about big serious issues.

Winner of the 2008 ‘Short and Sharp’ Pitching Competition- presented by OPEN CHANNEL in association with HRAFF and generously supported by Film Victoria.  Agatha received mentorship and assistance to translate her vision into film within five months to premiere at the 2008 Human Rights Arts and Film Festival.  

… I wanted to make this film because it’s about being Australian; and in particular, about Australians whose appearances don’t fit into the mould of ‘white’ society.  The film draws on my own individual anxieties and frustrations growing up as a second generation Chinese-Australian.  There’s actually a lot of comedic potential in the idea of racism than we would sometimes like to admit; such as our constant strive for political correctness (which to a certain extent reveals more about how racist we are than anything else); the constant schizophrenic voices from different cultures that try and dictate the way you live your life; and the ridiculous assumptions people make based on your appearance.  ‘When I Grow Up’ is by no means a definitive guide to the ‘banana’ experience since it’s merely my individual story; however, I do hope that it will challenge some peoples’ misconceptions about race and bring attention to how ridiculous we all can be…

Full Cast and Crew


Shannon: Agatha Yim

Narrator/Reporter: John Wood

Gemma: Jennifer Connelly

Mum: Miles Paras

Banana Man/Asian Aussie: Aljin Abella

Man: Martin Copping

Mark: Glenn van Oosterom

Crazy Asian: Sheryn Gung

Dad: Philip Lau

Aussie Girl on Mobile: Sarah Hallam

Asian Lady: Connie Mah

Asian Girl tying shoes: Michelle Mah

Skateboarder: Matt Pastor

Pigeon Guy, Sailormoon: Ian Dixon

Extras: Adam Lee Sparnon, Mary Cong, Louisa Yim, Vincent Tan,

Herbert Yim, Stella Yim, Bill So, Terry So


Producers: Ian Dixon and Agatha Yim

Writer: Agatha Yim

Directors: Ian Dixon and Agatha Yim

Director of Photography: Troy Lee-Brown

1st Assistant Director: Adam Lee Sparnon

1st Camera Assistant: Sanjay Rakesh

2nd Camera Assistant: James Bellheiz

Director Assistants: Chris Smellins, Robert Smellins, James Bellheiz

Gaffer: John Butcher

Sound: James Auld

Voice-Over Recordist: Final Sound Paul Shanahan

Sound Design: Stu Baker Creative Services

Boom Operators: Chris Smellins, Robert Smellins, Deyan Cui

Editors: Agatha Yim and Ian Dixon

Script Editor: Ian Dixon

Runner: Rob Langrish

Choreographer: Alethea Jones

Costumes: Aron Katona

Production Manager: Catherine Leos

Yak illustrations: Darcy Prendergast

Online Editor: Stu Baker Creative Services

Legals: Shaun Miller

Music: Stephen Smooker

Stills: Adam Lee Sparnan