Film tour features Tisch students


Wenjie Kong

Bruce Li, Kate Tsang, Jingyang Cheng, Shan Jin, Yulin Liu and Min Ding present their films at Quad Cinema on Oct. 9.

The North America Chinese Directors Short Film Tour showcased the talent of both current and past Tisch students at Quad Cinema on Oct. 9. Four of the six short films screened were produced by Tisch alumni Yulin Liu, Bruce Li and Kate Tsang, and Tisch graduate student Shan Jin. Each of them is one of the 21 finalists in the film tour.

Liu directed “Door God,” which was awarded the silver medal in the narrative category for the 41st Student Academy Awards. In the film, 7-year-old Lingli’s mother returns home to her after two years, bringing changes to Lingli and her family.

Liu was inspired by her own family’s stories to direct the film.

“My great grandma and I used to live in a small village in Henan, China and she told me so many stories happened there. Lingli was one of [them],” Liu said. “Like her, so many emotions in this village are being neglected. I want to tell those overlooked stories and bring those unique and amazing characters through the power of cinema.”

The other students’ films encompass many genres. Li directed the film “Caught,” a story about trading illegal contraband in a middle school.

Jin directed “The Right Thing,” which creates a tension between three guardians and an “innocent” person.

Tsang, the director of “So You’ve Grown Attached,” used black and white to tell a story about a girl who plays with her imaginary friend, who is later forced to retire when the girl starts to grow up.

Her work is distinguishable by its use of animation.

“My entire life is basically watching Miyazaki Totoro and I remember how incredible [his work] made me feel,” Tsang said. “I’ve never seen or experienced something so powerful … Since then I’ve been chasing the energy and the joyfulness I felt.”

Her artistic approach took a turn to black and white for several artistic and pragmatic reasons.

“The character reads a lot of black-and-white comic books [so it’s] a good reflection of that. And, I want it to be a film that from the first frame you see you know that it’s a different world … Also the imaginary friend has a black mask. If I edit that in color from frame to frame, my budget couldn’t afford that,” Tsang said.

When asked about plans for the next 10 years in the Q&A session, Liu spoke of an ambitious goal of cross-cultural art.

“In 10 years, I will move back to China and continue telling these Chinese stories to the people around the world,” Liu said.

The North America Chinese Directors Short Film Tour will travel to Chicago for its next stop on Oct. 23 and will eventually hit Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and China by 2015.

 A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 16 print edition. Email Wenjie Kong at [email protected].