Yesterday afternoon I attended the In Conversation with Simon Yam event hosted by Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. Simon Yam is an internationally well-known veteran actor from Hong Kong, having starred in over 170 films throughout his careers not including television dramas. He is also making his directorial debut at the festival with his film Tales From The Dark Part 1 (Stolen Body). At the event, Simon discussed about how his film career progressed from when he first started till present, Hong Kong cinema and how it has changed over the years, experiences working with different directors like Ringo Lam, John Wu and Johnnie To and discussed about his film and being a director for the first time. Simon was really energetic and expressive, and he spoke fluently in English throughout and rarely used his translator (except for the occasional word here and there that he didn’t know in English). He was very engaging and very animated with his body language, making it difficult to capture his photos LOL! He was very inspiring when he said “I’m an actor, not a star. When you’re an actor, each role feels new. Everyone has their own story. I act because I want to feel your story.” That I believe is the essence of film making because we all have our own unique stories that we can share with the world. Towards the end, they had about 10 minutes to wrap up the event and the organizer suggested we take a group photo. Simon dismissed the idea and instead invited the audience to take 1-on-1 photos with him!! So nice and generous, I was really amazed and surprised. I wished I had worn makeup because I look super tired and pale in my photo with him. Despite that, I’m really happy I got to meet him in person and be able to listen to his invaluable words.