Program Detail

No Look Pass

Melissa Johnson / USA / 2011 / 87 min / English, German, Burmese with English subtitles / Color / Digibeta, HDCAM*


Emily Tay is a poster child for the American dream. The daughter of hard-working Burmese immigrants, she is a star player on the Harvard women’s basketball team. But when she graduates, her parents expect her to marry a man they choose and become a housewife—a far cry from her dream of playing professional basketball in Europe. Things are further complicated by the fact that Emily is a lesbian—a reality she’s afraid her parents, if they knew, would never accept.

Despite her fabulous skills on the court, Emily seems almost unaware of her prowess: her coach at Harvard describes her as his most talented player, but with “no confidence.” After graduation, she decides to join a second-division German team to remain near her best friend. As an Asian American athlete, Emily is something of a curiosity in small-town Germany, and she quickly learns what it means to be a professional, to stand on her own, and to love openly, even though her new girlfriend, an American servicewoman, is forced to reckon with the impact of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”policy.

Named for Emily’s signature basketball move, No Look Pass is an intimate portrait of a young woman negotiating the tension between personal fulfillment and family expectations. Candid and heartfelt, the documentary is an inspiring, moving appreciation of the complex challenges and contradictions we all must navigate to find our place in the world.

-Sharon Mizota

Attending guest: Melissa Johnson (3/11)

Co-presenters (3/11, 3/14): National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum NAPAWF, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project QWOCMAP, Frameline


  • Director: Melissa Johnson
  • Executive Producer: Sara Sackner
  • Cinematographer: Stefan Glidden
  • Editor: Amanda Hughes


March 11, 2012 6:30 pm
Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Rush Only

March 14, 2012 9:00 pm
SF Film Society Cinema at New People
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