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Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

Origin Story is a documentary by comedian and podcast host Kulap Vilaysack of Earwolf's "Who Charted?" It's an international road trip from Los Angeles to Minnesota to Laos, where Kulap's story began. It's a deeply personal but universal story about family secrets, alienation and personal responsibility.






Origin Story


Origin Story at Houston Asian American Pacific Film Festival

June 27 @ 7:30pm - Free screening with ticket


Origin Story at Center for International Conference on Lao Studies at Cornell University

June 14, 2019 at 2:30pm


Origin Story at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum

May 30th, 2019 at 6pm - Free Screening with advance RSVP


Origin Story at UCBTLA - Sunset

May 17th, 2019 at 8pm

Free Screening, followed by a Q&A with Kulap, moderated by Casey Wilson


Origin Story at Arena Cinelounge

May 10th - 16th, 2019 at various times

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival:

May 7th, 2019 at 6:15pm at Regal LA Live


University of Wisconsin Madison - Association of Asian American Studies Conference

April 25th, 2019 at 7:00pm at the Cinematheque, 4070 Vilas Hall

Free Public Screening. Doors open thirty minutes before showtime.


Chicago Asian American Showcase:

April 6th, 2019 8:00pm at the Gene Siskel Film Center


Seattle Asian Asian American Film Festival:

February 21st, 2019 at 7:00pm at the Broadway Performance Hall


Twin Cities Film Festival: 

October 26th, 2018 at 3:00 PM 

October 27th, 2018 at 10:00 AM 


Austin Asian American Film Festival

November 6, 2018 at 7:30 PM at the Austin AFS Cinema


San Diego Asian Film Festival

November 10th, 2018 at the UltraStar Mission Valley


Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 

November 12th, 2018 at 5:45PM  at TIFF Bell Lightbox


Philadelphia Asian American Film Fest

November 18th at 3:00PM 



Origin Story

WATCH: Origin Story now available on Amazon Prime Video!

Breaking Cycles (and Chairs!) with Kulap Vilaysack

Origin Story, Laos Angeles: An Interview with Kulap Vilaysack

'Origin Story' Filmmaker Kulap Vilaysack Brings Lao Culture to Hollywood Hills

Why Comedian Kulap Vilaysack Got Deeply Personal for Documentary About Finding Her Birth Father

Reviews: Raw docs ‘Game Girls’ and ‘Origin Story,’ plus the suicide drama ‘Just Say Goodbye’

Kulap Vilaysack Is Ready to Share Her Origin Story

Comedian Kulap Vilaysack on documenting the search for her birth father in Origin Story

‘Origin Story’ Director Kulap Vilaysack Talks Uncovering Hard Truths, Asian Family Dynamics And Complexities Of Cultural Identity

“Mighty” - an original song from Origin Story is now available on iTunes & Spotify!

Go Away With…Kulap Vilaysack in the Chicago Tribune, Morning Call, Baltimore Sun, and Hartford Courant

KORE E-Magazine: Family Affair

Kulap Vilaysack exorcises her family's demons with 'Origin Story'

Baring soul: Podcaster Kulap Vilaysack confronts her past in "Origin Story"

The Asian American Showcase explores what it means to be Asian American 

Origin Story - 2019 SAAFF Documentary Review

WATCH: Highlights from Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2018

Seattle Asian American Film Festival 2019 kicks off with a personal journey

Inside Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls 10th Anniversary Dinner (EXCLUSIVE)

Sahtu Press: Origin Story Opens A World of Possibilities

Movie Maker: Bentonville Film Festival 2018 Recap 

Bleeding Cool: Kulap Vilaysack’s Documentary ‘Origin Story’ Deep Dives Into Identity


CAAMFest Announces Origin Story Doc to be Their Centerpiece Documentary of the Festival! 

Mash Up Americans Podcast: Episode 49

Food Republic: Filmmaker Kulap Vilaysack Can Teach You All About Lao Cuisine

XFINITY: Kulap Vilaysack Searches for ‘Bajillion Dollar’ Home While Prepping Her ‘Origin Story’ Documentary 

Splitsider: It's Kulap Vilaysack's Party, and You're Invited 

Tell Tale TV: Kulap Vilaysack on Seeso’s ‘Bajillion Dollar Propertie$’ and Being a First-Time Showrunner

TrunkSpace: Exclusive Interview with Kulap Vilaysack 

The Frame: Showrunner Kulap Vilaysack says future is uncertain for 'Bajillion Dollar Propertie$' 

Awards Daily: Kulap Vilaysack On Creating the Hilarious ‘Bajillion Dollar Properties’ 

New York Times: Young Comic TV Showrunners From Left Fiel

NBC News: Actress Traces Family Roots to Find Her Own 'Origin Story'

Origin Story in 2015!

Origin Story

Origin Story Backers,

Happy New Year! I wish you all the love and support you've shown me and the documentary. Here's our 2015 in review:

  • Restructured central plot; tooled with narrative and tone- Jan

  • Planned main illustrated art sequences with Lead Artist Kevin Dalton- Feb

  • Built transcript content database to refine story points- Apr

  • Screened rough cut for core production team- Apr

  • Cleared legal considerations for interviews and international content- Apr

  • Showed clips of latest edit at University of Minnesota Lao Summit celebrating 40 years of Southeast Asians in America. Discussed documentary on panel; gained new cultural insights for story and art.- Apr

  • Held Director/Editor story-mapping sessions to reconcile evolving edit with new outlines- May

  • Reviewed and redrafted main art sequences; planned new content based on new edit- May

  • Held 2nd screening; invited guests for feedback to producers- May

  • Held 3rd screening; invited artist Kevin Dalton and composers Steve Jablonsky and Michael Cassady- May

  • Held 4th screening, with producers and other post-prod creatives- July

  • Heard 1st drafts of music compositions; started planning soundtrack to complement score. Gave notes to new artwork.- Aug

We paused full-time editing sessions in September for an exciting opportunity. The new NBCUniversal digital platform ordered a show I created, BAJILLION DOLLAR PROPERTIE$- a semi-scripted ensemble comedy, kind of a RENO 911! meets MILLION DOLLAR LISTING. I’m working with fellow executive producers Scott Aukerman, Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant and Dave Jargowsky, along with our studio Paramount, to make a pretty great show that I’m hoping you’ll like, too.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. I was burned out- thrilled as a producer and director, pained and messed up as the subject. I thought I was prepared for what I would dig up from my past, but I wasn't. Spoiler Alert: People are complicated. Real Spoiler Alert: It got real dark. Through this process I doubled my family and have varying levels of relationships with them. The family I had before…Well, this is the story I need to show you in the documentary. And I will show you.

I plan to dive back into editing after B$P post-production this Spring. Music, art composition and minor script revisions continue in the meantime. We may need to shoot more. I expect to invest more into the project, but I can now, thanks to and, frankly, you.

Enjoy the below art stills by genius Kevin Dalton. I look forward to 2016!



Meet Our Post-Production Crew!

Origin Story


Behold! It’s our champa tree, still clothed in its blessed strings! Kulap's incantations helped it thrive into our living, breathing post-production mascot. The champa’s first bloom marks today's one-year anniversary of our successful IGG campaign and the start of our project's third act. All the additional shoots, storyboarding, experimenting and rewrites have led us here. Now intimate edit-bay brainstorms are mixed in with monthly screenings for the whole crew. Next we'll be approving final graphics and musical score, while debating the micro-trims that'll make all the difference.

While you await "Origin Story," meet the stellar post-production team tasked with turning Kulap’s emotional trip into a dynamic mixed-media motion graphic novel. Our newest additions join our editor, Oona Flaherty, who came to us last winter following her work on “Rudderless,” “Welcome to Me” and “Dope.”

Composers Steve Jablonsky and Michael Cassady have joined forces for this project. Jablonsky has scored the “Transformers” series, “Gangster Squad” and “Ender’s Game,” in addition to “Desperate Housewives” and various video games. Cassady is a musician and actor with roots in the UCB theater who’s contributed music to “Don’t Trust the B- in Apartment 23,” “The Dramatics” and “Freak Dance.” The two are working closely to create a complex, cohesive sound for the film, with its live action travel footage, emotional interviews and illustrated sequences. Meanwhile, Graphic Artist Kevin Dalton is bringing key moments in Kulap's story to life using a pastiche of stylistic approaches and cultural influences. We are overjoyed at the results thus far and can’t wait to meet you at the finish.

Thank you, as always, for helping us get there.




A New Year, A New Page!

Origin Story

Origin Story Director Kulap Vilaysack has spent a lot of time on Facebook. But now she's transformed into her very own page. Please check her out here, like and send good vibes, and tell errbody you know to follow your lead. 

See Kuku Perform at Buzzfeed Live Tomorrow!

Origin Story

Not enough Kulap IRL for your liking? Tomorrow at 7pm, BuzzFeed at The Federal Bar will scratch your itch. Snag your spot NOW to be safe- only $10 in advance! Redeem your ticket for a special live performance by Ms. Vilaysack amid other fun.

Come for Kulap and stay for Kyle Kinane and The Toast's Mallory Ortberg, along with Buzzfeed writers Sam Stryker, Erin LaRosa, Louis Peitzman and Ira Madison III. Isaac Fitzgerald and Doree Shafrir are hosting, with music from DJ Alex Naidus. 

Kulap Gets Polished!

Origin Story


Click through to watch Kulap and Comedian Jamie Lee gab away like the two funny women they are, right in the middle of a nail shop. It's the first episode of a new series- "Polished" by Entertainment Weekly.

Stay glossy,

The Crew

Fully Blessed Champa Tree!

Origin Story

We had 272 donors donate $10 apiece toward our successful Indiegogo campaign, and in return, they had their names blessed by Kulap next to our Origin Story champa tree. Here's what it looks like now, each string representing a donor who will soon receive a flood of blessings from the infinite universe. 

Champa Tree.jpg

Thank You

Origin Story

Last Friday -- an hour before the end of the campaign, surrounded by loved ones who also happen to be the Origin Story CA team and cousins from both my dad and birth father... I refreshed my browser to learn that WE HAD MADE OUR GOAL. It was uncomplicated and joyous, and all I could do was scream... then bear hug everybody one by one. Gobsmacked, I was at a loss for words. 

It's all because of you. 

Thank you from the bottom of my very being for contributing to this film. I was terrified to put myself in such a position of vulnerability, scared to ask and very worried about how this project would be received. I am floored by your support. What you have given me, beyond the funds to complete the documentary, is unquantifiable. You have changed my life. 

I am eager and excited for the work that lies ahead. I think I'll do you proud. I owe you that much. 

Love, Kulap 

Tree Ceremony- $10 Perk!

Origin Story


You've got today and tomorrow before midnight to participate in our Indiegogo campaign for the documentary's finishing costs! If you've yet to donate, do consider our $10 perk- Kulap will utter a blessing in your name as she ties a beautiful string to the branch of our official Origin Story Champa tree.

Formally known as the Plumeria plant, and commonly as Frangipani, the Champa comes in over 300 varieties. It's been known to show up everywhere from graveyards and homes in the Philippines to temples in Bali. Pretty and clever, Champa lures moths to pollinate its nectar-less petals at night, when its scent is most seductive. The Champa is the official plant of Laos, representing joy and sincerity to natives. Its flowers adorn monasteries and the necks of visitors when strung together.

Contribute $10 to be included in one of our string-tying ceremonies. We'll hold our first one tomorrow, on the final day of our campaign. Thank you for all your support thus far, and for joining us in this final stretch.

#1dayleft -


The Crew

UPDATE: Photos of our first ceremony, on the #finalday of our campaign.