The Filmmakers

Director Mina Shum's story of being shushed on her own set exemplifies film's diversity problem

The acclaimed director shares the story of being stopped by a P.A. on her own set, and why she creates stories without thinking about what her heroes will look like.

'Excuse me, ma'am, we're filming right now!' 'Yeah, I'm the director'

Mina Shum tells the story of being stopped by a P.A. on her own set, and why she creates stories without thinking about what her hero will look like. 0:53

23 years ago, Mina Shum directed her first feature film, Double Happiness, starring a fresh young talent — Sandra Oh. The film tells the semi-autobiographical story of an aspiring actress who struggles with the expectations of her Chinese-Canadian parents, and it went on to win a special jury citation for Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival.

But as a young female Asian filmmaker in 1994 — and still to this day — Shum's identity as a director is sometimes challenged because she doesn't fit the perception of what some people might expect someone in her role to look like.

We're not used to seeing ~this~ as the director.- Mina Shum, filmmaker

In this clip from CBC's The Filmmakers, Shum tells the story of being stopped by a P.A. on her own set, and why she creates stories without thinking about what her heroes will look like.

Watch The Filmmakers this Saturday at 8:30pm (9:00pm NT) on CBC Television or online at cbc.ca/watch, followed by Mina Shum's Double Happiness.