Apple Store 3 - Part IV

Uploaded by dgeneratefilms on 15.06.2010

JZ: So after having seen Director Jian Yi's works and listened to him talking about his filming experiences,
do any of you have any questions for him?
We will pass the microphone to anyone with a question. Now let's begin.
Man #1: What is your goal?
JY: My goal?
Man #1: Yes. And second, what do you wish to express today?
JZ: What does he wish to express today?
JY: (Jokingly) My talk must be really lousy today.
Well, one thing that had been on my mind all the while was that I only had half an hour. Half an hour was all I had.
JZ: Let me try to rephrase the question a little.
Did you want to ask Director Jian Yi what he wishes to express through his works, which he just showed us today?
Man #1: The screening went by quite fast.
I wasn't able to understand what drove you to do such projects. What thoughts do you have behind them?
JY: My goal, let me see.
Well, as I mentioned earlier, all the works that I do concerns me in one way or another.
I have never felt like searching for a topic so as to film it.
I would never go to a remote village and set a goal to film it because the village would not be something that I am truly familiar with.
I am not saying that that village is unimportant.
I only mean that I am not inclined to challenge myself to film something that I have no knowledge of.
I like to start from myself and what I can see.
I picture myself as a tiny molecule, perhaps one of the tiniest, in this big world.
I would like to open up the rest of the world from me.
I started from the things I ate. If you also try it, you will see that it could be quite a formidable project at first.
JZ: It is like a self-dissecting process in front of others.
JY: Not yet in front of others, only in front of myself.
Woman #1: I can sense from your talk that you have a personal philosophy that runs undercurrent throughout your work.
In fact this personal philosophy isn't totally explicable.
It's common to many of us.
That's probably why people shoot documentaries, write music, and so on and so forth.
I want to say that what you have been doing and your persistent input in making feature films and documentaries are admirable.
For most people including me, even though we also have similar insightful moments in life,
where our smooth-running everyday life ruptures to reveal something much deeper,
for example, we feel being treated unfairly in society,
we do not have the means or the talent to capture these moments,
albeit make them widely known.
Often these moments pass by without ever being recorded in any way.
My question for you is about your next step or your next goal.
Where are you being led?
JY: What we are doing now is already a lot of work.
That's part of the reason that I don't have in mind what my next project is going to be.
As I mentioned earlier, our work is divided into five parts. Making documentaries is only one of them.
Photography is also part of our work, like the photographs that were produced by elementary school and middle school students.
Besides those, we have oral history and documenting theater productions.
Whatever you film, you are mediated by video cameras.
But for documenting theater productions, the presence of video cameras isn't going to be that strong.
As for documenting architecture, architecture itself is already a strong link between people and the environment that they live in.
JZ: What about your ultimate goal?
JY: That's not easy to say.
You used to word "roar." I don't think what we are doing is simply roaring. 0:04:39.000,0:04:44.000 If that was what we wanted, we would be not doing what are doing.
I think that there are many things that worth roaring right now and there are many brave people who are roaring.
But despite what they do, they are doing it onto others, not to themselves.
How much of our time do we spend asking ourselves what we can do to help?
How do changes happen in society?
I don't think our society is an automatic running machine that runs on its own but
is run by people like you and me.
That's why I really don't think that what we do is simply roaring.
Woman #1: "Roaring" is probably not an appropriate term.
What I meant was a kind of roaring that requires spiritual inspirations, which ordinary people don't experience much.
For those who don't have a much deeper understanding of the world,
they may not have the ability or even the means to do the same work as you do.
The act of roaring isn't the language of roaring.
I have another comment too.
You want to document the history and culture of a small city.
If you succeed in doing it,
what you do will give us ordinary people a sense of empowerment and entitlement to our own history and culture.
This is especially meaningful and important to people like me
who are not from Beijing, Shanghai, and other big metropolitans.
You are the first to start this kind of project
and this kind of organization independent of the state,
which always imposes restraints on similar projects and organizations.
And I want to thank you for doing that.
JZ: Let's say your organization really grows and matures a few years from now,
do you wish to start another one of its kind in a different city?
Is that in your plan?
JY: I have had such a thought before.
But it is already not easy to do it well in just one city, so I stopped dreaming about such things.
I honestly think that by being there, our organization is already a success.
And it could be just because of the fact that the people working there feel changed every day by doing what they do.
Maybe what we do seem similar to what the local broadcasting agencies do, for instance, local community DV's.
But we are actually very different from them in essence.
We are stationed in the local community,
whereas the local broadcasting agencies assign people to work on projects.
Another point that I want to add is that,
as you probably know, independent documentaries do not reach a wide audience.
Very often, independent filmmakers could only show their works to one another.
It is a closed and limited circle of people.
However, from my father, I was able to change the way that I viewed independent documentaries.
My sister and I bought a video camera as a gift for our father and let him film our grandmother.
He had a bad relationship with her because she disapproved his marriage in the old days.
She lived in an old folks' home. Old folks' home is a new phenomenon in China.
This one became a quite extraordinary place for my father.
He filmed her for a year there, during which I wished to see a change in their relationship for the better.
Unfortunately what I wished didn't happen because she passed away in the midst of it.
However, my father's experience during this year changed his view on documentaries.
In the past, he had not been interested in watching documentaries, nor had he known what documentaries were.
After that year, he became interested in them and watched every documentary I had at home.
What I learned from him is that my team and I are not only developing a documentary-making community but also developing our own audience, both of which are genuinely for community building.
JZ: In other words, the work acquires personal and communal meanings.
JY: That's right. I think that it's pointless to make films without people who can actually watch them.
Those films won't have the chance to influence people that way.
JZ: Right. Are there any more questions?
Well, thanks for everyone who is here and Director Jian who shares his works and his experiences with us.
Do you have some conclusive remarks for today in the name of the coming Chinese New Year?
JY: Everything we do is to establish and strength interpersonal relationships.
We have a small project called "Passing the Video Camera Project" right now.
Many people today who have old digital cameras and old video cameras with resolutions ranging from 8 to 10 megapixels do not use them anymore.
These old machines sit in their homes or get thrown out.
We collect such old cameras and pass them on to children, young people, etc. in our community who seem interested.
So if anyone today is willing to donate, please contact us.
JZ: That's really meaningful. Thanks Director Jian again.