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Mina Shum's new film 'Meditation Park' is a love letter to Asian moms everywhere

Mina Shum, Sandra Oh and Cheng Pei Pei reflect on the importance — and difficulty — of getting these types of stories made.

Shum and her collaborators reflect on the importance — and difficulty — of getting these types of stories made

CBC Arts caught up with Mina Shum, Sandra Oh and Cheng Pei Pei on the set of Meditation Park in Vancouver to talk about the importance — and difficulty — of getting these types of stories made. 3:19

Longevity is not easily afforded to any filmmaker. So in 1994, when Mina Shum made her feature debut with Double Happiness, starring a then-unknown Sandra Oh — also acting in her first feature film — neither could likely imagine the careers that would be born out of that experience.

But the moment when your first film wins the Best Canadian Feature award at the Toronto International Film Festival that same year, you probably realize you have something special. Double Happiness centred around a young Chinese-Canadian actress struggling to assert her independence from her familial expectations. And now, 23 years later, director Mina Shum and Sandra Oh are back together on set telling another tale of Chinese female empowerment — this time focusing on an older woman played by the legendary Cheng Pei Pei, known from a multitude of martial arts films including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Sandra Oh and Cheng Pei Pei. (CBC Arts)

In the new movie, titled Meditation Park, Pei Pei's character finds herself at a crossroads in her marriage after finding another women's thong in her husband's laundry, propelling her on an empowering journey of mental, financial and physical emancipation. The film is the first to be produced through CBC's Breaking Barriers fund, and CBC Arts caught up with Shum, Oh and Pei Pei on set in Vancouver. Meditation Park is set to premiere at TIFF this fall, but in the meantime, check out the film that began Shum and Oh's longtime collaboration — Double Happiness — this Saturday on The Filmmakers.

Watch Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 12:30 a.m. (1 NT) and Sundays at 3:30 p.m. (4NT) on CBC Television.

About the Author

Lucius Dechausay

Lucius Dechausay is a freelance illustrator and filmmaker. His short films and animations have been screened at a number of festivals including The Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs. Most recently he directed KETTLE, which is currently streaming at CBC Short Docs.

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