Documentary Filmmaker from Beijing
On the first days of my trip to Beijing in 2012 I had some people that I thought of meeting up, but to make a decision easier I decided to
find someone with the same interests as me. The choice was Wing Li, a documentary filmmaker based in Beijing, but not much I could write about her from own words, because of some reasons we couldn´t meet up. So I decided to catch up with her via internet and ask some questions about the world of documentary making in China.
Can you tell about yourself?
I’m 27 years old, I was born in Fuzhou. Me and my dad immigrated to New Zealand when I was 13. I went to the University of Auckland and studied Film and Media. After that I went back to Beijing started a Business with friends. I was working as a creative director in the company.
Were you born in Beijing? Do you like Beijing?
No, I wasn’t born in Beijing. Beijing for me is love and hate. There are many things happening, it’s a multi-culture city. As the economy growing, there are also many opportunities, and you can meet many interesting people here. But at the same time there are heavy pollution and complicated net- working associated with Chinese culture.
My birth town is the Capital of Fujian( in southern china) , it’s a smaller city compare to Beijing, it’s quiet, and nice weather. But I found it also boring to live.
How long have you been in documentary making?
I’v doing short film since I was in College, but this is my first documentary.
Do you have a crew or do you do everything on your own?
I do everything myself at the moment.
Who comes up with the stories? Do you seek them by yourself?
I found this topic when I was chatting with my dad, and I found it very touching for myself.
Can documentary film maker survive from income of the documentary film?
In my own case, I seek income from doing other project. I do documentary only for topics which interested me.
Your favorite documentary film?
Recently there is a very popular documentary called《A bite of China》 almost everyone in China knows it. My recent favorite documentary is an american one called《Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill》, I cried.
You´re working now on the project about cancer victims, can you tell me more about it?
The documentary I’m making is about cancer victims. Some of them were told by the doctor that they could only live for 3 month or half an year, some of them even didn’t have money to do treatment, they choose their own way to survive. They learn Chinese Taichi, breathing fresh air every morning, Chinese medicine, and chinese food therapies.
Why cancer victims?
I found nowadays in China, because of the new medical system, some of the doctors intend to get patients to do more chemotherapy and buy expensive medicine, some of the cancer victims died by over- treatment.
Most importantly I wanted to deliver a positive energy, that the cancer victims have more choice, and there are hope. Fate is in our own hand and often is depend on the state of mind.
Isn´t it emotionally difficult topic?
Yes, I found it a difficult topic indeed. As cancer victims they are emotional and sensitive, and it is emotion involved is a complicated one. Sometimes they are sensitive in front of the camera。
For how long have you been working on this project?
I’ve been working in this project for about a month now.
If you would live today the last day of your life what would you do?
If I can, I would spend today with someone I love, if I cant be there I would just enjoy the day and do film as this is what I love to do.
Interview by M.Borgarbúi