A Letter to Another Me – introducing After the Snowmelt
by Fan WU, producer of After the Snowmelt
I got to know Yi-Shan, the director, first through her writings in 2016. In her incandescent poetic essays, I imagine a young girl, so disappointed by what adults offer in the classroom, and looks for freedom between library and nature. There was a strong desire to break free, to find something bigger and open.
In 2017, Sheng-Yueh and Chen-Chun’s accident was reported with in-depth interviews by BBC and many other local and international journalists (Link to BBC Reportage on their story: Missing Taiwanese trekker found in Himalayas after 47 days). Professional mountain climbers called Sheng-Yueh’s survival as a miracle since to stay alive for 47 days in the snow requires strong wills and professional skills. But many regarded him as an irresponsible adventurer who eventually caused his girlfriend’s death. Overwhelmed by the public spotlight, soon he disappeared from the media.
It was only until a year later, when Yi-Shan approached me with the script, I understood three of them were very close friends since teenage time. The fact that Chen-Chun died for the dream that she too shared, caused a strong impact in her, that she felt writing is no longer enough for her to convey all the grieves and questions she had for Chen-Chun.
Their shared anger and alienated feeling towards institutions and social conventions remind me so much of myself ( and Holden Caulfield in J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye). I too- shared the necessity of breaking free. However at the same time, Yi-Shan’s elegy to her dear friend makes me ponder: how much risk I would take to rebel such given circumstances, to seek for self emancipation?
At this moment of film development, we imagine the film as a gift for every grownup who was once a teenager, so curious of the world and wonders about the meaning of life, just like all the characters in this film. The story wants to offer a space we can look back at those small or big adventures we took to find our own answers. In this sense, I think, we are all survivals of our own teenage time.
“Last Days at Sea” heading to Rough Cut Lab at Visions du Réel 2020
Prior to moving to Lisbon, I did not know much about how festivals worked. However, I wanted to learn. For many nights, I would search online, about film festivals for documentaries, and how the industry program worked, and what kind of documentaries are being made out there. That’s where I first learned about Visions du Réel. In 2017, while we were in the last semester of DocNomads, we were given the chance to attend Visions du Réel as part of their student’s program. I remember being very excited, because I can finally afford to go to Visions du Réel coming from Lisbon. A few weeks later, I was in the middle of filming the graduation film, and realised that the festival would coincide with the filming in front of me. In the end, bookings were cancelled and so was the thought of going to VDR.
In the years that followed I would hear about VDR and its programs. I felt very happy when my friends’ films had their premiers there. When their films entered the library, it made me very hopeful. It gave me the idea that it was possible to be one day part of VDR to watch the selection of films as well as come with a project that is close to our hearts.
So, it is with a great pleasure for us to say that Last Days at Sea would be part of this year’s Rough Cut Lab. During this editing stage of film making, we had faced a lot of doubts and challenges. But behind these, were opportunities waiting for us to try. Things to do that we didn’t imagine we could do with the film.
Thank you to Visions du Réel for this opportunity and for creating this safe space during this time of great global uncertainty. Even if we cannot be together physically during these moments, through the internet, our minds and spirits can go where the body cannot.
For years we have been fans of VDR’s program (When she had access, Fan would watch as much of the library as she can). This year, we have a unique opportunity to be able to access the films free and online on their page. Please come, visit, and take the chance to watch films.
We attended Asiadoc 2019 – Storytelling Workshop in Yogyakarta, Indonesia with project XiXi. Asiadoc is a documentary scriptwriting workshop for Southeast Asian documentary filmmakers to develop their film concept and production plans.
This year, with the kind support of Taiwan Film Institute, Forum Film Dokumenter (Indonesia) and Docmonde(France), Fan could joined other 11 projects to be mentored by John Torres (Philippines) and Vladimir León(France).
The workshop allowed us to go deeper and freer in writing our projects, and of course we shared lots of fun talks between filmmakers!
In November 2018. We attended the IDFAcademy, during the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
It was a week filled with workshops, film screenings, and meeting mentors who would help us in pushing our films forward. We almost met many film makers who are in the process of developing their ideas, and some who are already showing their work in the festival. Hearing other people’s process gives perspective on how there are many different ways we can develop our own when approaching the projects we have at hand.
The week in Amsterdam was busy and incredibly enriching. Here are some photographs of us during breaks.
The workshop gave us an opportunity to meet film makers from all over the world and to share our doubts, ideas, inspirations, and stories. This experience made the process richer. Knowing that other people share our struggles in different ways and forms reminds us that we are not alone in the process.
“Legend of the Fish” at the Tribeca Film Institute IF/Then Shorts Pitch Competition at Docs by the Sea
In May 2018, the team of “The Legend of the Fish” (now “Under the Stars”) was first presented, developed and pitched during the Tribeca Film Institute “If/Then Shorts Pitch Competition” at Docs By the Sea. The program was held at Ashley Hotel in Jakarta.
The film was one of the ten finalists that moved on to the next round of pitching at Docs By the Sea to be held in Bali, Indonesia in August 2018.