With five award-winning feature films under her belt – as well as several shorts, documentaries, TV shows, art installations and essays – Mina Shum has become known for crafting intensely raw stories that dive deep into the relationships people have with each other, the world and themselves.
Part of what makes Mina’s productions so relatable is that they are able to be both specific and universal. For example, in the documentary Ninth Floor she explores the infamous Sir George Williams Riot where a group of Caribbean students started an uprising by accusing their professor of racism. Double Happiness, Mina’s first feature film, is based on her attempts to leave home as a young adult while distancing herself from the strict expectations of her Chinese-Canadian heritage.
Mina’s most recent film, Meditation Park, explores life from the perspective of an older woman – a 60-year-old matriarch who, in her twilight years, begins to question the cultural and societal expectations imposed on her. Starring Sandra Oh, the charming comedy is currently playing in theatres across Canada and expanding to worldwide cinemas, and was recently acquired by Netflix.
Mina credits her hometown, Vancouver, for supporting her success as a writer, director and producer. She takes inspiration from the city’s surroundings of mountain, ocean and rainforests, and commends government funding for independent projects that promote cultural diversity.
Here, Mina shares her favourite Vancouver experiences: