In this directing masterclass, writer-directors Mina Shum and Philippe Falardeau discuss their craft, compare notes on process, and discuss how they were inspired by each other.
About the directing masterclass with Mina Shum and Philippe Falardeau
We just hosted an amazing discussion between two guest writer-directors, both Canadian national treasures: Mina Shum (Double Happiness, Ninth Floor, and Meditation Park) and Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar, The Good Lie, My Internship in Canada). We discovered that Philippe was very influenced as a filmmaker by Double Happiness, and that Mina took inspiration from Monsieur Lazhar when she made Meditation Park.
Together, they discussed the desire to challenge themselves as filmmakers with each project, working in the Canadian film industry, the importance of casting people of colour, why they like having long-term collaborators (and are also inspired by new blood), how much they love actors, how they approach working with them….and much more!
The conversation took place on Zoom where we had a Q&A with audience questions, and you can now watching the recording on YouTube (where we also livestreamed it).
Who is Mina Shum?
Mina Shum was born in Hong Kong, raised in Canada, and is based in Vancouver. Shum has directed multiple feature films: Double Happiness (1994), Drive, She Said (1997), Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity (2002), the documentary Ninth Floor (2015), and Meditation Park (2017). She has also directed for television, including for October Faction (2020) and Murdoch Mysteries (2019). Double Happiness won the Best Canadian Feature Special Jury Citation at the Toronto International Film Festival, Ninth Floor was one of Canada’s Top Ten films, and Shum has been nominated for multiple Genie Awards.
Where can you watch Mina Shum’s films?
Meditation Park (2017): Stream on 🇨🇦 CBC Gem; rent on 🇨🇦 iTunes, Google Play, YouTube
Ninth Floor (2015): Stream 🇨🇦 free on the NFB website, 🇨🇦🇺🇸🇬🇧 Prime; rent on 🇨🇦🇺🇸🇬🇧i Tunes
Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity (2002): 🇺🇸 Rent on Amazon
Double Happiness (1994): Stream on 🇨🇦 CBC Gem, 🇺🇸🇬🇧 Prime; rent on 🇨🇦 iTunes
Who is Philippe Falardeau?
Philippe Falardeau is a Quebec-based screenwriter and director whose latest film, My Salinger Year (2020), was the opening night gala at the 2020 Berlinale. His feature Monsieur Lazhar (2011) was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, and won Genie awards for direction and adapted screenplay. His political satire My Internship in Canada (2016) was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for original screenplay and was one of Canada’s Top Ten films. Falardeau has also directed several features in the US, including The Good Lie(2013), Chuck (2016), and My Salinger Year.
Where can you watch Philippe Falardeau’s films?
Chuck (2017): 🇨🇦🇺🇸🇬🇧 iTunes, Google Play, YouTube 🇺🇸🇬🇧 Amazon
My Internship in Canada (2016): 🇨🇦 iTunes, YouTube
The Good Lie (2014): 🇨🇦🇺🇸🇬🇧 iTunes, Google Play, YouTube 🇺🇸🇬🇧Amazon
Monsieur Lazhar (2011): 🇨🇦🇺🇸 Kanopy, Google Play, YouTube 🇨🇦CBC Gem 🇺🇸Fandor 🇨🇦🇺🇸🇬🇧 iTunes 🇨🇦 Hoopla 🇺🇸🇬🇧 Amazon
It’s Not Me, I Swear! (2008): 🇨🇦🇺🇸 iTunes, Google Play, YouTube 🇺🇸 Amazon
Congorama: 🇨🇦 iTunes
Filmmakers Shum & Falardeau are excited about
We asked Mina and Philippe if there are any young Canadian filmmakers they’re particularly excited about. Together, they mentioned three films we also absolutely loved, and we’ve actually interviewed all of the filmmakers. Here’s a list of the films, where to find them, and our coverage.
- Kuessipan, an Innu coming-of-age story directed by Myriam Verrault (available to rent on iTunes, Vimeo, and other VOD platforms in Canada; will be streaming on CBC Gem later this month)
- Antigone, Canada’s entry for the Oscars last year, by Sophie Deraspe (available to stream on Crave+ and rent on iTunes in Canada).
- The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, a wonderful Vancouver-set film about an encounter between two Indigenous women, which unfolds in real time and a single take, by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn (streaming on Netlix around the world; will be on CBC Gem in Canada later this month, but currently available to rent on VOD)
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Discover more great Canadian films and filmmakers
Related Lockdown Film School Sessions
- In session 1, we talked to Canadian nonfiction filmmaker Carol Nguyen (No Crying at the Dinner Table) in conversation with Penny Lane
- In session 2, we talked to Canadian cinematographer Catherine Lutes (Mouthpiece, Firecrackers) in conversation with Ashley Connor
- In session 4, we talked to Canadian writer-director Ashley McKenzie (Werewolf) in conversation with Stephen Cone on low-budget filmmaking
- In session 5, we talked to Canadian writer-director Anne Émond (Nelly, Jeune Juliette, Our Loved Ones) in conversation with Madeleine Olnek about writing and directing female writer biopics.
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The last year was one of the best for Canadian cinema in history. Discover these great films through conversations with the filmmakers, guided by the Seventh Row editors in our inaugural annual book, The 2019 Canadian Cinema Yearbook.