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Carol Nguyen

Carol Nguyen

Meet Vietnamese-Canadian filmmaker, Carol Nguyen.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a 21-year-old second-gen Vietnamese-Canadian. I was born in Toronto and am currently based in Montreal. I’ve been making films since high school and have decided to pursue filmmaking since then.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

Montreal is a vibrant city. I feel right at home here as I do in Toronto. The city is very friendly, innovative and inclusive. I enjoy living in Montreal as a young adult right now. The living expenses is affordable, the independent film scene is blooming, I love the people and the energy of the city. The only thing I need to work on is my French! — Right now, however, I am living in HCMC, Vietnam for a few months.

 

I’ve been making films since high school and have decided to pursue filmmaking since then.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

The best thing about Montreal has got to be the innovativeness of the city. I love all the grassroots initiatives, environmental action, small businesses and support for local organizations. It makes you feel like it is possible to grow a community or business of your own. I wouldn’t say this is a “worse thing”, but the multiculturalism in Montreal is different than in a city like Toronto. I feel as if Montreal thrives off of interculturalism, which I’ll still be trying to adjust to. I think getting better at French will help me in the long run.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Supportive, communal, innovative (haha sorry for using this word so many times… but it’s true!)

 

How did you start your career in film?

I went to a fantastic arts high school in Toronto called “Etobicoke School of the Arts”, where film classes were offered. I enrolled in the film program and just fell in love with filmmaking. I had no intention of going into film, but ever since high school, I keep falling more and more in love with filmmaking.

 

I had no intention of going into film, but ever since high school, I keep falling more and more in love with filmmaking.

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Yes! My parents were pretty supportive and because my school was an arts school, my peers and teachers were very supportive as well. I am very lucky to have grown up in such an environment.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

I hope to one day make a feature documentary and to one day open a production company of some sort. I think at heart, as much as I am a filmmaker, I am also an entrepreneur. I would love to be able to create my own space, work with people I love everyday and have funds to independently work or co-produce projects… Something like that. I usually don’t plan too intensely when it comes to the far future — nothing ever goes according to plan! So I just imagine some skeleton and fill out the flesh along the way 🙂

 

I hope to one day make a feature documentary and to one day open a production company of some sort.

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

Hmmm… I don’t even know right now. I’m still trying to make space for myself and push my voice in the film industry. I haven’t really thought about that. I usually collaborate with whomever is right for a particular project.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

I have great women in my life, mostly friends and family. They are hard-working and great role models. The most influential women in my life are my mom and my sister. They are my rock. I admire so many aspects about them. I hope to one day be at least half the woman my mom is.

 

I have great women in my life, mostly friends and family. They are hard-working and great role models.

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

My sister! My sister is also an artist. She is a painter, potter, and writer. She was always the more creative and smarter sister growing up. I looked up to all her bold works, talent and dedication – I still do! Her paintings and pottery are currently taking off and I couldn’t be more proud. She lives in Vancouver right now, so she continues to inspire me from afar. (Shameless plug: @dirtymuttdaddy)

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

There many challenging aspects of being female in my industry. The higher on the chain and closer to Hollywood you get, I find the more challenges there are as a woman in film. Just like any other industry, gender disparities can create inequalities from treatment to pay.

I have yet to reach that stage yet and I honestly don’t know if I want to, or ever will. Right now, I’m just lucky that the people I work with are well aware of gender inequalities and do not discriminate based on gender.

 

Lead your own path, hold your head up high and be present in the roller coaster life has in store for you.

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

Don’t limit yourself! Don’t close any doors for yourself based on what anyone says. Lead your own path, hold your head up high and be present in the roller coaster life has in store for you. Focus on your needs first! You can’t help others until you help yourself first. You can’t love others until you love yourself first. And whatever happens on that career path, just know that everything will be okay.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Carol Nguyen.

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