ISM Stories

From ISM to the Big Screen: Doua Moua’s Newest Film Hits Minneapolis International Film Festival

Doua Moua (‘05), an alumni of The International School of Minnesota, recently made waves at the Minneapolis International Film Festival for his outstanding new film, “The Harvest”. Moua’s achievements not only serve as a testament to his hard work and dedication, but also to the quality of education provided by ISM and the excellent opportunities the school offers for students to pursue their passions.

The official trailer for “The Harvest” states: As cultural traditions are slowly becoming a burden of the past, a son returns home knowing that family is the only thing that binds him and his ailing father together. The Harvest tells the story of a Hmong-American son navigating the challenges of caring for his elderly parents. The story focuses on a common intergenerational struggle− a child’s drive to pursue their independence and individuality, while navigating the responsibility (opportunity) to take their place in the family structure. The poignantly written film, which debuted at the Minneapolis International Film Festival on April 15, 2023, reaches across cultural and generational divides.

Doua Moua’s individuality and the risk-taking required to become a filmmaker are qualities he believes are due to the education he received at ISM. “I think ISM really does help people stay true to who they are. You get so many avenues to do so many different things. You can literally be involved in everything you want to.” Reflecting on his time at ISM, Moua said, “It’s like they (the teachers) see every kid and their possibilities, and they are there to nurture them to achieve their dreams.” Doing it all comes naturally for Moua who wrote, produced, and acted in the film. He offers this important advice for anyone pursuing their passions, “Appreciate all the no’s because that’s an opportunity to go find the ‘yes”. Put yourself out there and experience all the rejection you can get. Build thicker skin and create your own path.”

Looking toward the future, Moua has many exciting projects in store. He is currently working on several film projects and is excited to continue pursuing his passions in the industry. Moua's career took a significant leap forward with his role in "Gran Torino," directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. In the film, Moua played a Hmong gang member who clashes with Eastwood's character. Moua also played Po in Disney’s live-action Mulan and wrote the book "Today is Different," which can be found in the ISM library.

Overall, Doua Moua is a rising star in the entertainment industry, and his performance in "The Harvest" is a testament to his talent and range as an actor. Moua’s dedication to his craft and his unwavering commitment to excellence serve as a shining example for ISM students and aspiring filmmakers everywhere. As he continues to take on challenging roles and expand his repertoire, audiences can expect to see more of this talented performer in the years to come.

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