St. Paul native brings Asian American experience through new movie ‘The Harvest’

St. Paul actor highlighting Hmong culture

St. Paul actor highlighting Hmong culture

A new film is bringing the Asian American experience to the big screen at the 42nd annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, which runs from April 13-27.

“The Harvest” is a film about a Hmong American family where an estranged son returns home to help his ailing father. The storyline sets off a chain of events affecting the lives of the entire family. Actor and St. Paul native Doua Moua produced, wrote, and starred in the movie. Caylee So is the director of the feature film.

According to The Main Cinema, Moua plays Thai, a Hmong American man from Southern California struggling to become a writer. When his proud and resolute father, Cher, begins to succumb to years of kidney failure, Thai returns home to find a family in disarray, hiding their secrets, which include mounting medical bills. Thai must balance the fine line between returning to the fold and being his own person. This moving portrait of a Hmong family struggling in California is also a strong statement on the burdens of American capitalism.

Actor Doua Moua got his big break in the 2008 Clint Eastwood Film “Gran Torino.” The actor also appeared in the Disney live-action film Mulan. Moua said he began writing “The Harvest” shortly after acting in Gran Torino.

“I felt like I need to start writing a project for myself because if I don’t, then nobody is going to write a film for me, no one’s going to want to show my narrative or show a different perspective of what Asian American is,” said Moua.

The Harvest (Chiyou Entertainment)

Unspoken topics and themes within the Hmong community saturate the film. The hope is to spark conversations.

“I hope people can have an honest conversation with themselves and also with their family and how to navigate through these tough topics that’s within the film,” he said.

Without spoiling the movie, Moua said the film shows a different perspective of the intergenerational gap immigrants and refugees face. Moua said while the film features the Asian and Hmong narrative, it’s still an American film where others can also relate to.

The film makes its premiere in Moua’s hometown this weekend on Saturday, April 15, at 2 PM at the Landmark in St. Paul and Sunday, April 16, at 7:15 PM at The Main Cinema 3 in Minneapolis.

“It feels amazing, but again it so scary because the thing is, it’s a film that I feel like might shake the Hmong community in a good or bad way,” Moua said. “I think it’ll be a huge impact for the Hmong community and southeast Asian community.”

Tickets for The Harvest can be found here.