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The New Hollywood North: Tiffany Hsiung

The Apology director on her big break, her favourite films and what movie she’d make with $1 billion

The New Hollywood North: Tiffany Hsiung

Known for: The Apology, a documentary about sexual slavery during WWII 

First filmmaking experience: “When I was six, without a camera, I reenacted the time-travelling scene from Back to the Future using a tissue box and my brother’s toy car. I was storyboarding, but I didn’t know it at the time.”

Why you decided to become a director: “In my high school photography class, I was obsessed with trying to freeze time. But, when I realized that photos couldn’t necessarily tell a full story, I switched to filmmaking.”

Your big break:The Apology, which got me known as a filmmaker.”

Something every young director should know: “To prevent burnout, remember that it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.”

Desert island movie:Eat Drink Man Woman by Ang Lee. The movie is all about food, though, so watching it on a desert island would probably be torture.”

Hollywood star you most want to work with: “Michelle Yeoh. She’s the full package.” 

Most memorable celebrity interaction: “While documenting the Olympics in 2008, I met Serena Williams, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. It was surreal.”

Favourite cinema snack: “Dumplings from Chinatown. I sneak them in.”

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Toughest part about directing: “Having to finish. Every film is like your child, so wrapping production is like watching them leave home.”

One simple fix that would improve the film industry in Canada: “Making independent films more accessible. There’s a lot of good stuff out there, like Parasite, but mainstream crap tends to get the most distribution.”

Someone gives you a $1-billion budget. What movie do you make? “I’d collaborate with filmmakers from around the world and make a single, unified story.”

Would you rather win an Oscar for best director or direct the highest grossing film of all time? “I think direct the highest grossing film of all time. That way I could spread the wealth and create opportunities for other filmmakers.”

Your next project: “I’m making a feature-length version of Sing Me a Lullaby, my film that won best short at TIFF.”

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The New Hollywood North: Up close and personal with the city’s new superstars

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