Keeping it reel // Secret Life

Chris Hope gets behind the camera

By Jennifer Marston

On Monday June 10th, 2013

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Chris Hope
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

It took business and entertainment lawyer Chris Hope 11 years to wrap up his first solo film production. Hatsumi: One Grandmother’s Journey Through the Japanese Canadian Internment was released by Alliance Films last November and follows Hope’s maternal grandmother’s removal from her B.C. home during WWII.

Hope, who has a BA in radio and television arts from Ryerson and worked as a CBC producer before starting his legal career, researched and shot the film through law school, his MBA and a stint in New York — not to mention during several family trips. “Vacations” with his wife to Vancouver and Ottawa involved long days at local archives.

He originally pitched the film to the CBC while he was working there. “They said it would cost too much and take too long. They were right,” he laughs. “But I did it anyway.”

While Hope’s experience has helped him better connect with his entertainment industry clients, he’s in no rush to move on to another film project. “My legal career is really taking off and I want to focus on that.”

Ed. note: The day after this photo was taken in April, Hope’s grandmother, Nancy Hatsumi Okura, died at age 91.

Web exclusive: Outtakes from the photo session

Photography by Daniel Ehrenworth; behind-the-scenes pics by Diane Peters
Hair and makeup by Shawna Lee