Spirit Beside Me
Hmoodle Questions for Independent Filmmaker, Touacha Her.
1. For our viewers who may not have heard of “The Spirit Beside Me”, can you give us an Introduction?
“Spirit Beside Me “ is the first Hmong fantasy drama series that is currently in production for the pilot episode. The series takes place during modern times with flashbacks to characters previous life thousands of years ago in a fantasy timeline of the Hmong kingdoms. The main character is a female who goes through family problems while stuck with a spirit who is bound to her and they journey through the series to figure out why this is happening while still trying to maintain a normal life.
2. We see there are many young professionals collaborating with this project. Can you tell us about the production crew?
The production crew is a mix of people I have worked with in the industry as a independent filmmaker, but I also love bringing in new and talented people as well. The other half of the crew were through referrals. That’s the beauty of filmmaking. Even with various backgrounds of people we can still come together and bring a creative idea to life.
3. Originally who planned the project, and tell us about the journey.
I have been dreaming up this idea since 2010. but nothing turned into script form till 2012. Then I shelved it knowing it’s going to take a whole lot more time than what I know and had at the time. So as the years passed, I curated it and it grew to what it is today and launched it for the world to know about it January of 2018.
4. Explain what the title means and how it was picked?
“Spirit Beside Me “ is a curious title that I wanted to reflect the main themes of the story, but also give a catchy curiousness to it. As people can come up with many memes or sayings to just add a personal touch of what it means to them. I love having titles that are simple but engaging.
5. How far are you guys into production? When will the series be released?
We are pretty much at the very beginning of the project in terms of scope. We are a third of the way through to filming the Pilot Episode. The hope is that we can finish it and release over the Summer then take the pilot and pitch to studios and distribution for the rest of the funds needed to do the first season.
6. Where is the location where the video is being filmed?
The first part of filming took place in Chicago, IL in a studio soundstage. Originally all filming was going to take place in Illinois, but plans always change. We are still to determining the next steps to find the best alternative for filming locations as we are still waiting to accommodate one of our main talents, Yujin Thao who is still waiting on visa processing.
7.We see a list of Actors, can you tell us about their roles?
Sua Vang plays the princess named Nkauj Lia. Yujin Thao plays the Captain of the Royal Guard. Veness Chang plays a lieutenant named Tshaaj Yeej. Elvis Thao plays a lieutenant named Peng. Tsua Lor plays a lieutenant named Kongmeng. And last, but not least Kue Lee plays the King.
8. What were some unexpected events during production?
One of the unexpected obstacles was the delay in the visa for Yujin Thao as additional paperwork is required to bring him in under the work visa. Another area goes with budgeting for the Studio shoot as costs went up higher than expected so working around that is always a process
9. Tell us something that many may find shocking about “The Spirit Beside Me”.
I don’t want to spoil too much, but I can say that many people expect to see Hmong culture and art in a certain way. They way I’m doing things I wanted to bring it in a light where no one ever thought of and still adds to the amazing beauty of Hmong culture.
10. What can future Hmong producers gain from watching this series?
The hope is that the work I create will elevate the quality of Hmong fiilms to where it is perceived as something great and not just a low rated film. This is the only way for people to see the value of Hmong cinema to propel future Hmong producers that much further.
11. How can viewers stay up to date on your project?
Viewers can stay updated on our “Spirit Beside Me “Facebook page and Instagram for the latest updates!
12. Any last words.
We just hope that people believe that this isn’t just for fun. We are trying to take Hmong films to a professional standard that can be on par with hollywood content. And we would like to thank our early supporters and backers who already contributed to push the project forward.
Other Rated Links:
TO BE RELEASED IMMEDIATELY
DIRECTOR: TOUACHA HER
COMPANY: WINDSTRUCK PRODUCTION
EMAIL: [email protected]
Hmong Independent Filmmaker launches Film Event for highly anticipated HDrama, Spirit Beside Me
Chicago, IL: May 5, 2018, Independent Filmmaker, Touacha Her, successfully completed his Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 to produce the biggest Hmong Film Project in Hmong Film History to prove to Hollywood they can make content at their level. This campaign is set out to produce a Pilot film for a Series to serve the Hmong Audience and hopes to reach the huge Asian Drama Watcher audiences as well.
Touacha Her, the Director, says, “I have been sitting on this idea for 7 years waiting for the right time. This is a super story so I needed to make sure everything is ready. That I am ready. We have unique stories and no one will make unless we tell it ourselves.” He has targeted this film project primarily for the Hmong Audience but also hopes to draw in the Asian Drama Audience as well. The Pilot for an upcoming Fantasy Romance Series is called “Ntsujplig Ntawm Kuv Ib Sab – Spirit Beside Me,” the first H-Drama (Hmong Drama) of its kind (Similar to Korean Drama). The Pilot film is based in 2500bc which sets up the back story of the Series through a fantasy world where a Hmong Kingdom is on the brink of destruction by the spirit world. Director Touacha Her says, “I am Hmong myself, and no one has seen a Hmong Kingdom before because we (The Hmong People) were almost wiped away in the history books. So, I am bringing the Hmong Kingdom back and I believe everyone will want to watch this!”
In order to draw attention to the project, The Director has cast some of the biggest names in Hmong Entertainment to help bring this story to life for his audience. Yujin Thao, actor from Thailand, will be playing the role of Captain of the Royal Guard. Sua Vang, model and actress, playing the Princess. Kue Lee, classic hmong actor, playing the King. Veness Chang, well known music producer and singer, will be playing a Lieutenant. Followed by Elvis Thao and Tsua Lor. Touacha says, “They don’t just have a strong following already, but they are also very talented and ideal for the role to add a whole another level to the characters in story.”
The Hmong people is an under-represented ethnic group that came to the United States from Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War. The film project hopes to bring awareness and share the unique Hmong cultures and traditions that has yet to be told. The Director says, “There is a lack of great content for this market. I am set out to change that.” Touacha has spent everything on the project so far almost on the brink of going broke. He says, “I believe in this project so much that I am willing to risk putting everything I have into it, but I know it will be worth it.”
Touacha and his production team has already begun the production and shot the first few scenes in the story with a Red Epic Dragon 6k cinema camera to film this pilot with sponsored by Camera Ambassador.