“people are the main resource in this industry.”-Teresa Ho
What initially drew you to a career in film and television?
I was on a path that was going to lead me to be a journalist or a filmmaker. I took the filmmaker path, went to York University and succeeded in getting a BFA in Film Production. I chose this path because I realized I was spending so much time formulating stories for film, I didn’t even notice the passage of time. That’s how I knew I was hooked! I found my passion in telling stories behind a lens.
Tell us about the upcoming series you’re producing, Hello (Again). How did you and co-creators Simu Liu and Nathalie Younglai come together to develop the show?
Simu and Nathalie came to me with their romantic comedy in the spring of 2019. Who knew that a couple of months later, Simu would be announced as the next Marvel superhero?! With his blessing, Nathalie and I continued on the journey with the scripts they had written together. With the support of CBC Gem, we were able to secure more funding for short-form series from Bell Fund, CMF and Ontario Creates. It all rippled from there, although the biggest question on our minds was, how do you film a rom-com in the midst of a pandemic? We were finally able to start principal photography in October of 2021, and the series is set to launch on March 25, 2022. We made a very conscious decision to surround ourselves with people who could bring authenticity to the storytelling. We celebrated having a multi-faceted romantic leading Asian male on our series. It’s a story that is not often seen. With more of these stories, we hope to normalize them. Asian love stories matter.
You are the founder of the production company 100 Dragons, which focuses on cultivating and gathering diverse people and inclusive ideas to create innovative programming. What can you tell us about the experience of starting 100 Dragons, and what have you learned since?
I started 100 Dragons to tell different kinds of stories. But when I launched the company, the market wasn’t ready for the kind of storytelling I wanted to produce. So many “no’s” for so many years! I actually remember the first yes, a small amount from a pre-development fund. I jumped for joy, but it was one yes for a hundred no’s. In the meantime, I was learning and absorbing while employed at a different production company and learning the craft of production. When I went back to freelance and started Production Managing on a larger scale, it helped me understand that people are the main resource in this industry. It has helped me focus my vision for 100 Dragons to be diverse and inclusive. And now the marketplace is ready for that kind of a focus. It’s exhilarating to think about how I’ve been accumulating experience for all of these years, and now, I have the opportunity to bring these kinds of stories into a world that is ready for them.
You are one of the co-chairs of DGC Ontario’s Diversity & Inclusion committee. Tell us what it means to you to chair this committee and why you feel it’s essential to be on the ground level regarding issues of diversity in film and television?
Over 20 years ago I was asked to be on the executive board of DGC Ontario to represent the Accounting Caucus. Back then there were very few Diverse individuals. But alas, I was a new mother at the time and didn’t have the time to devote to strengthening the underrepresented voices. And, unfortunately, the voices of the underrepresented were still quieted until recently, 20 years later, I’m here to uplift those voices. What is important is to amplify the voices and humanize Racialized people, and shine a light on anti-racism efforts. It’s no longer enough to simply not be racist, we must all take a stand to be Anti-Racist. Those voices need to be heard and amplified.
Imagine it’s 2032. What does your career look like?
Ten years from now I’m hoping that I will have achieved the level of storytelling that I’m currently dreaming of. I love to focus on people and their multi-dimensional stories. I hope that I will have achieved that! And probably looking at retirement possibilities in Hawaii! ☺