Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With Heather Muriel Nguyen

Editor Note: Hamish has another in his series of Five Questions With…

Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?

Thank you Hamish for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all for your hard work.

Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.


 

 
TGG: Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

HMN: Hi! I’m Heather Muriel Nguyen–a queer Vietnamese-American director, writer, and actress passionate about visceral stories about queer and trans communities of Color grappling with intergenerational trauma and self-love.

TGG: Could you tell us about your debut film?

HMN: My vibrantly vulnerable film THƠ (pronounced: tuh) is the first film about and by an asexual girl of Color, based on my experiences navigating toxic romance and fighting to be understood and loved. Asexuality is a constantly overlooked queer identity, and it’s so rare
to see the intersectional experience of being both asexual and Asian-American authentically depicted in film.

TGG: I believe that it’s based on a personal experience. Was it cathartic to make? What kind of reactions have you had so far?

HMN: THƠ was cathartic to make, because often during sexual trauma, there’s an unconscious disconnection that happens between the mind and body of the person experiencing the trauma, in order to protect them–which can make it difficult to process the horrific experience.
I made the film to reclaim my body as my own, and I wanted to explain viscerally the costs of forcing a specifically asexual person to do sexual acts, in the name of what’s assumed to be “normal” in a romantic relationship.

Forcing someone to do something that’s painful for them, in the name of “love,” shouldn’t be normalized. Trying to understand the different things that give each of us joy (sexual, emotional, or otherwise) and makes us feel safe, in our own bodies and minds, should be normalized, because it’s beautiful compassion.

It’s been amazing to hear audiences resonate with my film’s bold authenticity and clear up some common misconceptions about asexuality! The film is currently private, because of film festival submissions, but those who have seen it have told me about loved ones who are
identifying as asexual, and how my film helped them better understand how to love and discuss intimacy preferences and queerness with the aces in their lives.

I’ve also learned how closely my experiences with sexual trauma are shared by sexual people, and I’m glad my film can also be a vehicle through which they can feel seen and be able to process their experiences. Sharing about our film online has led to fans of our team to feel more open to sharing about their queer identities, and that makes me so happy! When THƠ allows for folks to boldly celebrate their queerness, that’s the biggest win to me. That’s what the film’s about.

TGG: Thank you for sharing that. What is next for you?

HMN: I’m currently collaborating on several incredible films and series that amplify the voices of Queer and Trans communities of Color, with dear friends of mine–including Xan Churchwell and Chance Calloway. There’s often a muffling of our stories that we have to constantly push up against, and when we’re doing it together—I believe we can poke holes in the fabric and shine to the point that ignoring us is irrational.

I’m also finishing a proof-of-concept for an action film that delves into my experiences with morality OCD, harm OCD, and depression—and how therapy is this constant process, rather than the one-time solution that mainstream media often portrays it to be. I’ll always be drawn towards visceral stories that are unapologetic.

TGG: How can we best support you (follow you on social media, watch your film etc)

HMN: My phenomenal crew and cast of THƠ are crowdfunding with me to release our vivid, fiercely vulnerable film, and we’d love for you to join us! We have until March 19 to raise the rest of our funds, and each of the incentives are created by our team, so you’d be celebrating our stellar creatives double-fold. We’re a primarily BIPOC team across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, and our stories deserve to be championed.

Follow us for updates on our social media:
instagram @lavenderstitch_tho
twitter @tho_film
facebook page @lavenderstitch.tho
(Our social media handles all vary LOL so it’s a party.)

Crowdfunding website: https://seedandspark.com/fund/tho-film
Website: heathermurielnguyen.com

TGG: Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed today!


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