Mina Shum at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival
Mina Shum: A Writer’s Journey
Wed. Nov. 1st, 7:00 PM
It was an inquistive audience at the Mina Shum presentation for the Vancouver Asian Film Festival. They had come a special event Shum first showed a clip from her first film “Mom, Ramona and Me,” and talked about her experiences developing the films, and how the themes were developed for her subsequent films.
She also showed clips from “Double Happiness” and “Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity which featured award winning actor Sandra Oh – currently part of the television acting ensemble of “Grey's Anatomy. Shum explained her recipes for story arcs and feature films.
“Present the main ideas and characters in the opening, so the audience has an idea where the film is going. Create 5 to 6 segments that rise and fall, each with a climax.
Shum demonstrated how the characters created the story lines. “For Double Happiness, we had the character Jade Li in the middle of the poster, with her boyfriend on one side, and her parents on the other. This summed up the movie.
“People are intested in cross-cultural stories… but that alone doesn't sell movies. My movies are billed as romantic comedy.”
She also shared that this was her first big outing in a while, “I just had a baby seven weeks ago, so this is the first big event I've been out to.
Sharing her screenwriting tools and tips,
and using clips from her films, Shum will examine what it takes to turn
an idea into a successful screenplay.
Shum took a number of questions from the audience and gave good advice to people asking how to develop screen plays and how to get involved in the movie industry.
Todd Wong with film makers Julia Kwan and Ham Tran at VAFF Karaoke party – photo Ray Shum
At the conclusion of the event, the audience was invited to come to a party event at Hoko's Sushi on Powell Street. At the restaurant I talked with VAFF executive director Peter Leung, who said “This is incredible! People coming out on a Wednesday evening,” as we watched actors and directors and writers all performing karaoke, singing along and dancing together.
“After the event ended for the Mighty Asian Moviemaking Marathon, we couldn't get them to leave the place. They all kept wanting to talk. This event tonight is a great ice-breaker. So now, when they are on a panel discussion or see each other at the screening events, they can say 'I liked that song you sang, or that costume you had.'”
Costumes and songs? There was an tickle trunk full of costumes and accessories that the VAFF crowd dressed up in, full of day-after-Halloween spirit. Leung was wearing a McDonald's happy day apron going around asking people “Would you like fries with that.” Videographer Kathy Leung was given long evening gloves to wear, then later was handed a crinoline style skirt to complete the elegant ensemble. Actor Rick Tae had little cat ears on his head. Director of the opening night film, Journey From the Fall, Ham was wearing a viking helmet with horns. Julia Kwan (director of Eve and the Fire Horse) was wearing a jester hat. I found a witch's hat and gown and pronounced myself a wizard.
Actor Taylaa Markwell won a prize for her duet with Rick Tae for “Summer Nights.” Lucas Walker sang a great version of Doobie Brothers' “Listen to the Music,” Ham and Julia were part of an ensemble singing Dan Hill's “Sometimes When We Touch.” And me in my wizard/witch costume? I sang Frank Sinatra's “Witchcraft.”
It was a great event with lots of great food. VAFF puts on some of the BEST parties! Opening Night on Thursday followed by Opening Night reception for their 10th Anniversary!