“Mulan” actor Doua Moua will star in the independent film “The Harvest,” a Hmong American family drama based on his own screenplay.
What to know: “The Harvest,” which Moua wrote in 2009, follows an estranged son who comes home to help his ailing Hmong father and ends up setting off “a chain of events that affects the lives of his entire family.” The script made it to the 2019 CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) List and is a 2017 Academy Nicholl Fellowship semifinalist.
- Moua will co-produce the film with John Houselog under Chiyou Entertainment, his new independent production company that “seeks, develops, and produces diverse stories with the intention of challenging, reflecting, and celebrating the underrepresented community.”
- Yoson An, his “Mulan” co-star, and Money Vang, a visual effects supervisor who has worked on 31 films, will both be executive producers.
- The film will be directed by Caylee So, whose credits include “Paulina” (2012), “Rupture” (2012), “In the Life of Music” (2018) and the 2021 documentary “Remembrance and Renewal.” So is Cambodian American.
- Financed by Dogecoin, “The Harvest” will go into production later this year. Mai Moua, Tsabmim Xyooj and Kue Lee are also involved.
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Why this matters: Asian American representation continues to lack in film, and in the few instances in which Asian actors take the lead, the diverse community is typically portrayed as a monolith. Moua wanted to tell his own story.
- “As an actor, I was told my type of Asian does not fit into the narrative of America, which leads me to writing narratives that I want to tell,” he told The Wrap. “I want to redefine what diversity really means and that is inclusion, in front and behind the camera.”
- “The Harvest” may have taken more than 10 years to make, but no story is worth telling “if it doesn’t have a journey of its own to tell,” Moua suggested. He cited the recent Olympic victory of Suni Lee — a Hmong American like himself — as an example.
- “She [Suni Lee] has helped open the doors to tell the world that a Hmong story is worth telling because we too are American,” Moua told The Wrap. “Growing up as a Southeast Asian American, there were no stories or no family on film that reflected that of my own. It was rare. It is still rare.”
- But as the film industry makes progress, so has “the voices of our brothers and sisters,” Moua said. “We are now seeing how important it is to be visible, to have a platform, to speak about and for a world that has always existed with us in it.”
Featured Images via 3 HMONG TV – TWIN CITIES HMONG TELEVISION