About the film

After getting abruptly fired from her job of over 20 years, a dutiful Chinese-American casino host turns her home into a birth hotel to regain control of her life.


Penny Lan is a popular executive host at the Bonnefidele Resort and Casino. Her most valued client, Shanghai billionaire Frank Yang, is in town with his 16-year old daughter Ming Ming, who is concealing a six-month pregnancy. In order to avoid scandal back home, he wants to hide Ming Ming in the US until the baby is born, and needs Penny’s help to find a high-end birth hotel. Penny admits that there happens to be a birth hotel operation across the street from her home, which makes her uneasy.

When the casino suddenly lays off Penny as a result of budget cuts, she goes to Frank and agrees to take Ming Ming into her home instead. The night that Ming Ming arrives in Penny’s home, an HSI bust occurs across the street, arresting her neighbor who is heading the birth hotel operation. The pregnant women living there have escaped and are hiding in Penny’s yard. Penny brings the women, along with Ming Ming, into her home.

Director’s Statement

This story is inspired by a friend who was a Chinese marketing executive at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. She was abruptly fired from her job during a company merger, and in order to make ends meet, she started hosting wealthy pregnant women from China in her home. What started as a series of casual sublets eventually turned into a grey economy home business, and she was the happiest and most empowered she had ever been.

This film is my imagining of what that origin story is– how a person who has devoted their entire life to a career can lose everything in a moment, and makes a radical pivot to begin another kind of life. (It’s not unlike what many of us experienced during the pandemic.)

Birth tourism is an open secret in certain communities of Los Angeles, where wealthy women from overseas are known to spend exorbitant amounts of money for “all inclusive packages” that cater to their needs and whims as they prepare to have their babies in America. As an immigrant myself, I find the issue both repugnant and beguiling, a bizarre intersection of wealth and opportunity. And I wanted to explore a different side of the immigrant narrative, one that wasn’t about idealism and suffering. And it’s bright and funny and a little ridiculous. Think WEEDS meets CRAZY RICH ASIANS.

The character of Penny and the world of MADE IN USA is also a dedication to the “well-behaved” Chinese women in my life. I want to see these people portrayed in flawed and interesting ways, the way that I know them.

c. 2023 Made in USA