Mina Shum is a wonderful director and writer who I first worked with on her break-out film, Double Happiness. I was her story editor on that movie, and for a couple of years helped her through a couple of dozen drafts. When she finally shot the film, she asked me to do a cameo, the only piece of film acting I’ve ever done. My scene, playing a bone-headed director, was picked by Siskel and Ebert when they gave it a two thumb’s up review. When my mom saw me on TV, she was thrilled, thinking that I’d finally seen the light and given up writing to become a famous actor. Unfortunately I popped that bubble and stuck to the keyboard. Luckily, she’s come around and still likes me.
Mina and I wanted to work together again, and she had an idea for a film about the Chinese New Year’s greeting Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity. We set to work as co-writers, conceiving an interwoven plot about three generations of Chinese-Canadians who live and work in our neighborhood. The tragedy of 9-11 occurred around the time we were working, reinforcing our determination to make a film that reaffirmed life and the human spirit. In the end, Mina’s wonderful visual sense and a team of gifted actors (including the wonderful Sandra Oh) created a magical, delightful film.
Vancouver International Film Festival: Best Canadian Screenplay, Special Mention